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Gouging games

What kind of a world do you want to live in? Read more »

Gouging games II

Here's a less-stark scenario. Stop me when someone has dones something wrong.

Mike is running late for his girlfriend's surprise birthday party. He ran into some traffic, and soon realizes that he needs to fill-up his car if he expects to get there at all. He pulls up to his favorite gas station to find that it's closed - very early, in fact. He sees the manager inside, so runs in to ask him why it's closed so early.

"No gas.", he says.

"No gas?" Mike asks. "What happened?" Read more »

Woe is me

With each natural disaster comes the inevitable call for protection from price gouging - for gas, food, whatever. I won't go into why such protections are naive and counter-productive this time - others can do a better job at that. I just wonder why in the midst of this housing boom no one has thought to protect me from the actions of the house gougers - those people who buy a house one day, and manage to charge an exorbitantly higher price for it mere months later. They do it because they know they can get away with it. Read more »

Does Sesame Street Oppose Its Own Funding?

Episode 4033 of Sesame Street (originally aired 4/9/2003) (yes, I've been reduced to watching Sesame Street) offers a life-lesson at the conclusion of a bit of drama. Following a recent spate of cookie thefts, Cookie Monster finds himself falsely accused. The following excerpt occurs after the true thief reveals himself.

Maria: Hey, wait a minute. Those are my cookies. I baked them myself. Where did you get them?

Dependence on <i>Foreign</i> Oil

Is the fact that something is “foreign” important in discussing its merits? I frequently hear discussion about foreign oil, and how if we drilled more domestically, we could end our dependence on it. Read more »

Dependence on <i>Foreign</i> Oil

Is the fact that something is "foreign" important in discussing its merits? I frequently hear discussion about foreign oil, and how if we drilled more domestically, we could end our dependence on it. Oil well" alt="" /> Read more »

Please don\'t feed the animals

Analogies only go so far, but consider this pearl of wisdom:

Please don't feed the animals.

Why do you always see signs imploring you NOT to feed the animals? Don't they care about animals? Do they want them to starve? What possible reason could they have for NOT wanting people to feed the animals?

Whatever those reasons are, tell me why they shouldn't apply to all forms of welfare: corporate, social, AND foreign aid.

Does God Change His Mind?

I don't watch network news anymore, so my exposure to the mainstream media is typically through radio. But what I've heard lately leads me to believe that there are at least a few media pundits out there who think that the Catholic Church, in picking the next Pope, ought to pick one who might be willing to soften the Church's stance on abortion and birth control. Read more »

The Employers with Ignorance and Bias Act

From an editorial in today's NYTimes re: Supreme Court ruling on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (requires registration): Read more »

What would you do?

If a truly reliable source told you that inflation in 1 year would be 10%, and your savings

Scarcity and Prices

Cold Fusion and Opportunity Cost

I think some people have the idea that laws of economics might work well for most things, but don't apply to certain things (like when one says that markets work well for most things, but not for ____). I''m talking about, more specifically, when one thinks that there's something magical about technology, and that certain goods aren't subject to the same pricing pressures caused by scarcity.

For example: we're all familiar with the fact that a barrel of oil has an associated price (approx. $53 right now).

Nosey-Bodies are Nothing New

Talk to a pregnant woman about her experiences, and one of the pet peeves you might hear about is the audacity of complete strangers voicing their concern about her actions - smoking, drinking, eating etc. Once the child is born, nothing seems to elicit random acts of opinion-voicing more than a crying baby: "He's tired.", "Why don't you feed him?", "Pick him up.", "He's cold. Give him a blanket.", etc. There seems to be no limit to the number of opinions on how you should run your child's life. Read more »

Cold Fusion, Robots, and Guitar Instructors


Buying v Renting

This week's Economist has two articles on Global House Prices that challenge the common assumption that it's always better to buy a house:

Assume that rents rise by 3% a year, in line with wages, while house prices from now on rise in line with inflation of 2%.....

Read more »