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Happy Birthday Ocean

In honor of book author and founding member Ocean Gebhardt’s birthday, a collage of photos representing some of our favorite posts (click on the images to be taken to the posts).

An Alternative to our most inefficient form of transportation

An Alternative to our most inefficient form of transportation

Proving the dead weight loss of Christmas

Proving the dead weight loss of Christmas

The face you get if you tell him markets are a zero sum game

The face you get if you tell him markets are a zero sum game

And, just for the record, how he actually looks when he is debating the great theories and ideas you read in this blog:





I’ll have a large slice of employment, please

Thomas Dalrymple responds to Paul Krugman Slice of Labour.

He concludes:

Mr Krugman’s argument is not the argument in favor of labor market rigidity as above, however. He is what one might call a slice-of-cake man, where an economy is a cake to be sliced rather than a dynamic organism to be nurtured, and where supply and demand can be managed without reference to price. There may be cruder economic ideas, but I don’t know what they are. He is also, of course, a proponent of ever-greater government stimuli to the economy. In this article, he quotes John Maynard Keynes on the dangerous influence of ideas. I wish he had quoted Keynes’ eloquent words on the effects, social, psychological and economic, on the debauchment of the currency.

Capitalism and Socialism – definitions

Taken from Bleeding Heart Libertarian:

However, if you insist on saying that the USSR, Cambodia, China, etc., were not socialist because they don’t match the moral ideal of a socialist society, keep in mind that this same move is available to capitalists. If you complain about bad behavior or injustice you see in real-world commercial societies, I can just respond, “Oh, that’s not realcapitalism, because that kind of thing would never happen in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Village.”

We must be careful not to equate socialism with moral virtue or community spirit. Capitalism and socialism are simply ways of organizing the ownership of property. In capitalism, individuals may own the means of production. In socialism, they may not—the means of production are owned collectively (or by the representative of the collective, such as the State). Socialism is not love or kindness or generosity or oceans of delicious lemonade. Socialism is not equality or community. It’s just a way of distributing the control rights over objects.

Beer and Freedom

Via The Skeptical Libertarian, who comments:

I think if anything can debunk the leftist trope of ” free markets benefit the rich at the expense of the poor” it’s this. 

No, it was LAWS that benefited the rich at the expense of the poor. Get rid of the laws and watch the industry explode. There are literally thousands of independent breweries now.

He is linking to the article How Jimmy Carter Saved Beer, which shows this graph:


Technology Predictions

Are usually wrong. Because it is not about the technology but how we use it and how it shapes us.

From a Freakonomics interview with Clay Shirky:

SHIRKY: …And in fact one of the things that I study when I study social media is they ways in which people got a lot of this right about, you know, a lot of the early theorizing about this network, right about access to data, access to content, and they completely missed or misunderstood the social aggregates, in particular the group communication part inasmuch as it replaces the telegraph, the telephone and the fax machine.


DUBNER: Why do you think that is? I have a theory, which I’m sure is not at all right, but I’m curious to know yours.


SHIRKY: It’s I think for two reasons. One, people have enormous anxieties about social change that they don’t about other kinds of technological change. And I wrote about this a little bit in my first book, “Here Comes Everybody.” I grew up when Popular Mechanics was saying, you know, you’ll fly your flying car to work. And your…


DUBNER: What you don’t?


SHIRKY: Alas, Citibike is about the best I can do at this point. And your housewife, as a wife, will have all plastic furniture that she can hose of. But the idea that gender relations would change, nowhere, nothing in Popular Mechanics ever suggests that anything other than me going to work and my wife staying at home was going to be the norm. And so we would have big arguments about which, is this the Space Age or is this the Nuclear Age? Is this the 1970’s, is this the Space Age or the Nuclear Age? And it turned out it was neither, it was the Transistor Age and the Birth Control Pill Age. Those were the really important technologies. And they were important not because they were big photoready government projects, but what individuals chose to do with them in aggregate lead to social change that no one was in control of. So the idea of trying to guess what a technology will do when regulating in advance is to me I think almost the surest way to guarantee, just by the way the regulation would be structured, that you miss out on the opportunities. You know, when the bioethics group was convened under Bush, this is off the subjects of the Internet, but they made the same mistakes, which is essentially they imagined what we could do with stem cells, sequencing the genome and so forth standing from a position when those things were just barely possible. And that kind of regulatory hand is in general the worst way to figure out what a new technology can do.