Saturday, 19 November 2011

Interesting blog bits

  1. Joanne Nova on Naomi Klein’s crippling problem with numbers
    Naomi Klein was the wrong person to send to a heavy-weight science conference — in “Capitalism vs Climate” she notices hundreds of details, but they’re all the wrong ones. Naomi can tell you the colour of the speakers hair, what row they sat in, and the expression on their face — it adds such an authentic flavor to the words, but she’s blind to the details that count. She can explain the atmosphere of the room, but not the atmosphere of the Earth. One of these things matters, and Klein has picked the wrong one. Her long attack on the Heartland ICCC conference this year is all color and style, and nothing of consequence — the lights are on and no brain is home. Unpack the loquacious pencraft and we wallow in innumerate arguments that confuse cause and effect, peppered with petulant name-calling. She can throw stones, but she can’t count past “one”.
  2. Hans-Werner Sinn on The threat to use the printing press
    The first major crisis in the era of independent central banks is severely testing that independence – nowhere more so than the Eurozone. This column argues that the ECB is monetising the sovereign debt – a view widely held in Germany. It argues that the ECB is the Eurozone’s economic government with the power to enforce comprehensive rescue measures, up to and including a fiscal transfer union.
  3. Joel Waldfogel asks Is the Sky Falling? The quality of new recorded music since Napster
    Napster – the first peer-to-peer file sharing service – changed the music industry forever. Many people now download music without paying, often illegally. This column looks at the effect on the music industry, in particular what it means for the quality of new recorded music.
  4. Bruno S Frey and Lasse Steiner on Selecting World Heritage sites: A new proposal
    There are nearly 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage sites. These sites benefit hugely from tourism, so suspicions of fixing the judges’ verdicts are rife. This column suggests a novel way to get rid of the politicisation: random selection.
  5. Gary Becker asks Has Structural Unemployment Become Important in the United States?
    The persistently high unemployment rate in the United States during the Great Recession has led to claims that much of American unemployment is “structural”. According to this view, the demand for workers by companies is insufficient to employ all unemployed workers because there is a mismatch between the skills possessed by many American workers and the skills required by companies. The structural advocates believe the skills demanded by companies tend to exceed or otherwise be different from the skills possessed by many unemployed workers. As a result, so goes the argument, these unemployed workers cannot find jobs and remain unemployed for a long time.
  6. John Mackey says To Increase Jobs, Increase Economic Freedom
    Business is not a zero-sum game struggling over a fixed pie. Instead it grows and makes the total pie larger, creating value for all of its major stakeholders, including employees and communities.
  7. Eric Crampton on Post-Kyoto
    Extending the date for various industries' entry into the New Zealand Emissions Trading System costs the public purse only to the extent that the government is required to buy carbon credits on the international market to make up for any failure to reach aggregate pollution reduction targets.
  8. Peter Klein on Shakespeare and Epistemology
    We university types love The Bard — we’ve got bookstores hither and yon, pizza joints, you name it. Not surprisingly, Shakespearean scholars are up in arms at Roland Emmerich’s film Anonymous, which they view as silly entertainment at best, disreputable Oliver Stone style revisionism at worst.
  9. Art Carden on Absolut Insanity? Underage Drinkers Don't Need Vodka-Soaked Tampons
    This much is certain: people like to get high. Indeed, people have probably been experimenting with mood-altering substances since the beginning of time. Attempts to control these impulses with prohibitions and regulations have either backfired completely or created “cures” that are probably worse than the disease.

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