Link Purge
January 12, 2012, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Because my Google Reader was all clogged up with starred posts.

  • A Tale of Two Workers by Hopaulius. Who, to spoil the punchline, is both of them. Will not be understood by lefties who think in static economics terms. By the way, is it weird that I’m always seeing posts that remind me of posts of mine I already wrote, and thus I end up Googling my own post so I can find it and link to it? That one’s from like over a year ago. Why did I even remember it? Weird, right?
  • The following is one of the worst arguments against one of the worst arguments against socialism I’ve ever seen. Not that I read all that many arguments against bad arguments against socialism. You know what might be more convincing for someone who favored socialism to try? Arguing against a good argument against socialism.
  • Arnold Kling states the obvious when pointing out that to the extent you measure poverty as a relative concept, you ensure that no public policy can eliminate what you call poverty. Of course, this is a feature not a bug of definitions of ‘poverty’, the purpose of which is to attract revenue and power to people who work in public policy.
  • It’s sort of redundant to link to one or another of Per Kurowski’s zillion explanations of why capital rules based on risk-weighted assets are dumb, but I’m going to do it anyway: “Occupy Wall Street? No! Occupy Basel”.
  • Penelope Trunk: Investors fund mostly men, which is fine for women
  • Video scientifically proving that men and women can’t be friends, via OneSTDV.
  • Foseti reviews Reckless Endangerment and talks about the GSEs. This reminds of a dilemma; in my situation, for reasons too dumb to explain a thing I might could theoretically do is to try to get a job with a GSE. But every time I consider it, I remember that I do not think that GSEs should exist or do the things that they do. Similar issue arises when pondering working for certain sorts of government agencies. Not really sure how Foseti manages it.
  • Arnold Kling responding to some Fukuyama thing:

    The problem is that policies are poorly implemented. Fukuyama suggests that our system of checks and balances, rooted in a fear of government, is the cause.

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I think that the problem is fixable without getting rid of checks and balances or without losing our anti-government bias.
    I think that policies are poorly implemented because the people who make policy know nothing about implementation.

    Here is my thought: Policy-making is high status. ‘Implementation’ is low status. The people who make policy are not actually interested in the details or effects of that policy. They are interested in parading their high status like peacock feathers. Obamacare, which we had to pass to find out what was in it, and which high-status Smart People almost uniformly support vigorously despite still not knowing fuck-all about what’s in it, is my Exhibit A.

  • I’ve always wondered this: what were the Star Wars prequels supposed to be like? If you read to the end of that post, there’s an interesting tidbit I had not guessed at: we may be able to blame the prequels’ suckiness on…divorce law.
  • Robert Higgs explains why your dog doesn’t own your house.
  • Seth Roberts says the evolutionary reason we touch our mouths is to expose ourselves to germs. Had I been forced at gunpoint to guess at the reason I would have probably guessed it had to do with making sure we’d gotten all the food out of our beards (surely evolutionary man all had beards), to prevent insects, etc. If I’m right I suppose men should do it more than women. There’s an undergrad research project in there somewhere. Or maybe not, I never was very good at academic research.
  • I had not been aware of these voicemails to Christian Slater. Now I have to go listen to them all.
  • mkfreeberg on eat pray love. Which reminds me, did I ever find out how it turned out? Can’t remember. (See?? Do I remember all my posts??)
  • Matt Levine, who I usually get a kick out of as he seems to be the sharpest Dealbreaker contributor and to actually be more interested in knowing what the hell he’s talking about rather than in industry gossip (yet, or therefore?, all the commenters there seem to hate his guts), unusually misses the mark in his reaction to a dumb idea from Vikram Pandit to have banks test their metrics against some standardized benchmark portfolio. Per Kurowski had a response to that. Better yet, and more specifically, a commenter on the Dealbreaker thread illustrates exactly why it’s a dumb idea:

    TOTEM, a division of Mark-it partners, tried to do something like this in the specific market space for bespoke credit correlation, back when that existed. The results were mostly an exercise in trading desks gaming their risk managers.

    People need to learn to grasp this concept as a more general rule: when you implement ‘clever’ regulations designed to achieve something benficial, the results will be mostly an exercise in gaming.

  • I happened to favor the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq (“The Iraq War”™). However, from the early stages I was very clear that I was not favoring such a move primarily for the purpose of, or because I thought doing so would, ‘help Iraqis’ or ‘make Iraqis’ lives better’. I am now happily accruing the benefits of that shrewd positioning by now not having to care about or respond to the fact that Iraqis don’t think the invasion made their situation better. Never said it would! Ha! Advantage: me.
  • Shockingly, the latest Wes Anderson movie looks to be very Wes Andersony. Can’t wait.

3 Comments so far
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Loved your “leftist static economics” piece.

In my darker (or drunker) moments, I start thinking that our “progressives” are really — for lack of a better term– “neo-feudalists.” They claim to want a world in which people are equal — i.e. an indistinguishable mass– but since that’s impossible, they’ll settle for a perfectly stratified society in which everyone’s status is instantly legible in his dress and manner (or skin color, steroid chemistry, and sexual orientation, take your pick). Everyone has their assigned duties, nobody can ever move up (or down!) a level, and the priests have unlimited power to enforce orthodoxy (while being in practice above the law themselves).

Liberalism is, in other words, an attempt to ease liberals’ social anxiety by legislative fiat.

Terribly reductive and rather unfair, I know, but when I read pieces like the ones you linked in that post, I really do start to wonder….

Comment by Severian

I’ve seen socialism itself referred to as neo-feudalism. One can think of it (in its modern form) largely as a 19th-century conservative reaction to the upheavals of the free market revolution, a backlash against the nouveau-riche. This would help explain why so many early (and, for that matter, current) ‘socialists’ were nobility or upper-class – often, falling/decaying nobility. Lenin, for example.

Comment by Sonic Charmer

Isn’t this more of a binge?

Comment by Pastorius

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