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What Iraqi party matches your beliefs?

The murdering FDA

Using force to stop someone from getting potentially life-saving medicine sure seems like murder to me - and that is what the government does by regulating what medicines dying people can use, as in Brian White's sad current case. Read more »

An Economist Said That?

Some people identify economics, particularly the more libertarian, laissez-faire economics, with unbridled capitalism and consumerism. Russ Roberts gives a nice demonstration of how wrong that is in Shopping is not patriotic: Read more »

Uncovering the Undercover Economist

With the long weekend of gluttony and shopping behind us, we've got a little special something to wake up your sluggish brains and perhaps even lighten the load on your burdened wallets. Read more »

Human Development Trends

Don't miss this lovely animation, graphically presenting key numbers about worldwide trends in poverty and prosperity. If more economics reports were this snazzy, people might actually pay attention to them.
(via Mahalonobis)

Taking cash from the govt: A Moral Imperative?

Social Security card - hands offDue to my son's 3 month premature arrival, I recently applied for Social Security, which may give me some cash because of his long hospital stay. While I don't really need the money, I feel as though taking cash from the government is a moral imperative. After all, when a bandit tribe steals a third of everything I produce, year after year, and I finally get a chance to lighten their pockets a little, it feels pretty damn good. But should it? Read more »

Why we don\'t just blog about politics

I don't read Stumbling & Mumbling, but perhaps I should start. He was interviewed here, and wrote a fabulous followup, I found the second half quite profound: Read more »

Harry Potter And The Half-Crazed Bureaucracy

I was going to blog about the libertarian themes in Harry Potter, particularly book V, but it looks like Ben Barton has already taken care of it here (via Instapundit). It begins: Read more »

War Thoughts

This is a comment of mine on Samizdata last summer, which I think is worth posting:

The problem I see with the libertarian pro-war position is that libertarians don't have recourse to the most powerful argument for the war: that it made the world a better place. Non-libertarians can yammer on about freeing poor Iraqis who were crushed under the thumb of Saddam Hussein, and that's definitely a benefit. But Libertarians don't believe it is OK to steal money via taxes and spend it on other people. Hence they can't use this argument.


Another election is here, which means another chance for people like me to try in vain to preach the futility of voting and the inefficiency of the whole democratic system. Here's a nice Freakonomics column in the NYT about the subject. Read more »

Intolerant Of The Intolerant

There is a tendency for bloggers, when covering emotional subjects, to make overly-emotional statements that don't stand up to closer scrutiny. It is the responsibility of other bloggers, of course, to correct them. The ever-eloquent Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek made that mistake today: Read more »

Community Auction

Some friends and I are forming a group to create a residential community, possibly by buying an apartment complex. Some fascinating economic questions naturally come up in the process, and I'm interested in any thoughts on the following:

Given some property, with some number of heterogenous units, how do we allocate the units do individuals, and how do we apportion the total purchase cost among the various units?

Note that individuals have differing preferences and budgets, and that the costs here are very large compared to their net worth, hence budget restrictions are tight. Read more »

Surprising Honesty From Social Security

So I'm on hold with the Social Security office, who may give me some money because my son was born at 27 weeks. (It won't be much, but taking money from the government is a moral imperative). Now here's the weird thing - the on-hold-messages are mostly honest comments about the solvency of SS and what changes need to be made! We're talking warnings straight out of the anti-SS rhetoric:

* How the baby boomers will strain the system.
* How demographic changes are increasing the ratio of workers to retirees. Read more »

MMORPGS for social network research

A fascinating article from Life With Alacrity about group size research done on Ultima Online and World of Warcraft. I think this is a good example of how doing things online (whatever you are doing) provides the added side benefit of creating data. When groups hang out and game in person, you don't get to compute statistics afterwards unless you go through the tedium of tracking things. But computers love to track things.

Is it frequently wrong to exercise employee stock options?

I've been thinking about the valuation of employee stock options lately. One of the key questions options-holders often ask themselves is when to exercise. Usually their main focus is the mostly fruitless question of timing the market - will the stock price go up? Will it go down? Read more »