Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Economics and Social Policy - XLIV

Welcome to the February 12, 2008 edition of economics and social policy.

Avant News presents Citing Faltering Economy, Lawmakers to Forego Cocktails posted at Avant News.

Heh. I strongly suspect that the U.S. Government’s bar tab runs over the $291 million mentioned in this satirical piece…

Leslie Carbone presents Spending Like Drunken Economists posted at Leslie Carbone.

Is there anything more depressing than a drunken economist? Goodness knows, we’re gloomy enough already…. Last time I was in a bar with a bunch of drunken economists, a fight broke out between Phillips Curve and Laffer Curve devotees…. Slide rules were drawn… not a pretty picture.

It’s been said that if you laid all the economists in the world end to end, they still would not reach a conclusion, and wherever you have 3 economists, you have 5 opinions.

But just about nobody believes that we’re in the grips of a recession driven by lack of aggregate demand. The current driver – the subprime crisis – is more properly a credit crunch engineered by the government’s easy money policies.

Mark Koester presents The Future of Economic, Political, Socio-cultural, and Ethical Interconnections: What if all borders were abolished? Part 1 and Part 2 posted at The Mystic Atheist.

Interesting. But, at the end of the day, nations are more than borders; they are distinct cultural groups. While a cultural group can assimilate and adapt to new immigrants over time, that capacity is not infinite.

There’s also the question begging associated with who has the ability to abolish borders. For all of the lip service paid to the U.N., no national government recognizes their authority as supreme; and if they do, it’s only because those specific actions bolster the local regime. Enforcement of any U.N. directive occurs only if the U.S. Armed Forces is directed to do so. Otherwise, it’s strictly lip service only.

And what if individual localities don’t go along with the program? Think that the Saudis are going to let someone build a synagogue or church in Mecca anytime soon?

Or for that matter, on a more practical level, anybody see Putin giving up power? Cause the U.N. Says so? Righty-ho, then.

But these are purely practical considerations. The larger question is whether or not life without borders is possible. Conservatively, I tend to think not; the state is a construct on the larger edifice of culture; cultures are shared history, languages, and worldviews.

As much as we’d like, there’s no shot that we can give the world to make the vast majority of people in the mold of Adam Smith or Edmund Burke.

Louise Manning presents Food shortages posted at The Human Imprint.

Conversion of farmland from food production to fuel production is a problem. Other major problems include: U.S. and European agricultural policy, trade policies, as well as the progressive instincts in places like Zimbabwe and Venezuela to a) control prices, causing shortages; and b) redistribute farmland to the politically connected.

Adam Pieniazek presents Economics Battle: President Bush versus Facebook Users Adam Pieniazek

More on the stimulus package. Mr. Piueniazek doesn’t like it either.

For the most part, one has to absolve President Bush of indulging in this kind of foolishness too often. Granted, “compassionate conservatism” = “domestic liberal”, but, until this episode, his tax polices were pretty sound. The spending polices, on the other hand, explain why he’s not working with a Republican majority in congress.

Raymond presents Looking Forward To Receiving and Not Spending My Economic Stimulus Rebate Check and Invest In Gold As A Hedge Against Inflation, Recession, and The Weakening Dollar posted at Money Blue Book.

Save your rebate check! Didn’t anyone send Raymond the memo about how saving was unpatriotic? Next thing you know, he’ll be revealed as a closet goldbug…. Oh wait.

Sagar presents 10 Reasons to Be Critical of the Federal Reserve posted at Currency Trading.net

Only 10? But I don’t think that you can lay the entire blame for the subprime mess on the Fed’s doorstep. Congress had a big role.

:: Suzanne :: presents know before you vote posted at :: adventures in daily living ::.

A link to a Ron Paul website. Or supporter’s website. With Dr. Paul dropping out to defend his congressional seat, this becomes marginally less relevant.

Whatever you think about libertarianism, Dr. Paul’s newsletter scandal should have been a dealbreaker. It may well cost him his seat yet.

Wenchypoo presents Do-It-Yourself Fair Tax Plan (Super L-O-N-G), The Right Kind of Government Handouts and Elections: The Ultimate Marketing Scheme posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket.

Actually, they’re all long, but they are thoughtful.

Warren Wong presents Why Compounding Returns Isn?t That Important posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "Some reasons why compounding returns is less important than it seems."

Actually, compounding returns is very important. But Mr.Wong raises an important question – what’s the opportunity cost of spending the time to learn to be a better trader?

For most people, most of the time, risk adjusted rates of return suggest that the cost is pretty high. Investing for the long term, on the other hand, with some minor education on mutual funds, stocks, and balanced with real assets, can pay off pretty well.

That concludes this edition. 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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