Sunday, October 08, 2006

Economics and Social Policy - XVI

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Welcome to the October 8, 2006 edition of Economics and Social Policy.

Tom Blumer sez Call Me a Unilateralist, But a Private ICANN Makes Me Uneasy on BizzyBlog, saying, "ICANN remains a private entity with Dept. of Commerce oversight. I think the govt. should make it clear that the oversight isn't going away; otherwise, a private ICANN might start compromising its integrity with the UN, EU or others."

And it’s not like the UN, EU, or “others” don’t have an interest in censorship to preserve their own regimes.

John Buehler presents Rebuilding Eden - The 3rd Channel » The Financing of War posted at Rebuilding Eden.

There’s more to moving from the gold standard to absolute fiat money than Vietnam. In the 60’s America was not only fighting in Vietnam, but maintaining the peace in Korea, as well as containing communist aggression around the world. At the same time, we were also building a welfare state of unprecedented size (and corresponding social destructiveness). It wasn’t like people were lining up to encourage tax increases to pay for any of these things, and inflationary finance is always government’s path of least resistance.

Tim Abbott presents Drops in the Bucket: USDA Funds Announced for Invasives Research posted at Walking the Berkshires.

An interesting post; I’m not sure that we know enough to understand which “invasives” are bad, and whether or not the current state of any sub-ecosystem is in it’s ideal state. After all, there’s a a reason why life in the state of nature is “poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.

Editor’s Choice Section, as befits America’s Pastime:

Leading off, we have Donald Luskin on the HP mess. Mr. Luskin actually knows some of the principals, something I can’t claim, but I think that we are in agreement over the danger posed to people by power-tripping Attorneys General. For example, see the how the States became silent partners with big tobacco, or just about anything with Eliot Spritzer’s fingerprints.

Batting second, Prof. Bainbridge has an interesting post on agency costs and casino management. Sort of out of the scope of the carnival, but it’s always worthwhile to read something that takes a good, hard look at incentive structures.

In the three hole, the platoon of Tyler Cowen (What do Prize Committees Maximize?) and Greg Mankiw (Home Runs, Base Hits, and Nobel Prizes) chew over the Nobel Prize in Economics. I’m not sure if which one would be the lefty or righty in a platoon situation. On the Nobel, I’m essentially in agreement, with the exception of Gunnar Myrdal. My sneaking suspicion is that the committee really, really wanted to give it to Myrdal, and decided to split it with Hayek to save them from outright derision for having picked a nonentity like Myrdal (but he was Swedish – doesn’t that count for something with the Committee?).

As a plus, Mankiw tosses in a piece on how to write well. Something I should probably look into.

In the cleanup slot, the Dynamic Duo of Gary Becker and Richard Posner, both covering ground that Larry Summers now fears to tread. Choice bit: “Unfortunately, this NAS Report on women in science is no exception to the tendency of its Reports to be heavy on beliefs and weak on carefully documented analysis.” Get a tenured professor and a federal judge together, and there’s not much need to pull punches.

Thanks for reading. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Economics and Social Policy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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