Thursday, 14 July 2011

Interesting blog bits

  1. Peter Klein asks an interesting question: Is the Internet “Transforming” Business?
    In the 1990s and early 2000s there was a huge debate about the impact of information technology on productivity. Robert Solow famously quipped, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”
  2. David Henderson Consumer Surplus from the Internet: Remember the Producers
    Tyler Cowen challenges me to engage "with the academic literature" on consumer surplus from the Internet. Fair challenge.
  3. Philip Cook and John MacDonald on Public safety through private action
    In the US, more people work in private security than in all police forces combined, yet public debate about crime prevention typically looks at the use of public resources to deter, incapacitate, or rehabilitate criminals. This column calls for more discussion of how private action can make policing more effective and reduce the profitability of crime. One such experiment – “business improvement districts” in Los Angeles – has generated remarkable social benefits.
  4. Winton Bates asks Should politicians be required to meet competency standards?
    As a discussion starter, Shona suggests that politicians should be required to have a Master of Politics – something like an MBA for politicians. The degree would include practical work and be politically unbiased. It would cover a range of topics including political science, debating and language skills, law, economics and presentation.
  5. Art Carden on Price Controls Make A Statement About Society
    The last refuge of the interventionist defeated at every turn by the laws of supply and demand is to say that while his or her program might have unintended consequences, it “makes a statement about the kind of society we live in.” 
  6. Carlo Favero asks Is Europe an optimal currency area?
    Is the euro doomed? This column argues that economic differences within Europe, clearly exposed by the current crisis, are reasons to doubt the sustainability of the single currency.
  7. Chidem Kurdas on Soros and Open Society in America
    As a young man Soros studied with Popper, who in his 1945 The Open Society correctly identified the defects of socially engineered systems. Hayek was a friend and supporter of Popper. Perhaps Mr. Soros needs to revisit both Hayek and Popper.
  8. Roger Kerr on The Treasury's Living Standards Document: New Wine or Old Bottle?
    In May the Treasury published a paper Working Towards Higher Living Standards for New Zealanders. It’s not immediately obvious what’s new in the Treasury’s thinking.

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