Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Big Bag o Blog Links

Easterly -- the obstinate educator never gives up hope that teaching probability theory could promote world peace.

Wilde -- To say that this farmer could have earned an equal profit from certifiably organic production is to say that he has misunderstood the economic incentives that are internal to his business. I doubt it. To me, the most interesting questions about his business relate to environmental consequences that an economist would call externalities, because the farmer's profits come in part at the expense of other people external to his business.

Kling -- Old consensus: we need Freddie and Fannie in order to make housing "affordable."
New consensus: we need them in order to "prevent further house price delclines," in other words, to make housing less affordable. (HT: MR)

Yglesias -- If someone in New Jersey wants to hire a New York lawyer to represent him in some matter, that should be between them. ... I get that New Jersey and New York have different laws. But New York has different laws in 2010 than it had in 1990 and yet there’s no requirement that you need to retake the bar exam to check if you’ve been up to speed. In general the failure to re-test incumbents is a good sign point that you’re looking at an arbitrary barrier to entry rather than a real indicator of quality. I’m not sure how big a deal this particular brand of licensing abuse actually is since I don’t get the sense that inadequate supply of lawyers is driving any particularly pressing social problems.

Henderson via Thought du Jour -- the scary thing is how far the margin has shifted. Remember what Norman Thomas of the Socialist Party told reporters about why he wouldn’t run again for President in 1956. He said that the Republican Party had accepted virtually the whole of his 1932 platform. The way respect for property rights matters so little in the ground zero mosque case is frightening. I used to be able to use, only about 15 years ago, the idea of government regulation of fat content of food as a reductio ad absurdum in arguing against regulations on smoking. I no longer can. And it’s outrageous that Bush and Congress trashed our freedom to travel by air, one of the most important freedoms we have.
David Henderson, “My Reason Interview”, EconLog, 21 August 2010.

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