catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Around the blogs 6 Jan

with 11 comments

The ten best pro-liberty books of the decade. Great picks! Bill Easterley has two on the list. (hat tip to Michael Warby).

A new pro-liberty Kiwi think tank.

Becker at al on the slowness of the US recovery. Regime uncertainty and waste.

The second factor is less obvious, but possibly also of great importance. Liberal Democrats won a major victory in the 2008 elections, winning the presidency and large majorities in both the House and Senate. They interpreted this as evidence that a large majority of Americans want major reforms in the economy, health-care and many other areas. So in addition to continuing and extending the Bush-initiated bailout of banks, AIG, General Motors, Chrysler and other companies, Congress and President Obama signaled their intentions to introduce major changes in taxes, government spending and regulations—changes that could radically transform the American economy.

The efforts to transform the economy began with a fiscal stimulus package of nearly $800 billion. While some elements served the package’s stated purpose and helped to soften the recession’s impact, the overall package was not well designed to foster a speedy recovery or set the stage for long-term growth. Instead, the “stimulus” was oriented to sectors that liberal Democrats believe are deserving of much greater federal help. This explains why much of the stimulus money is going toward education, health, energy conservation, and other activities that would do little to soak up unemployed resources and stimulate the economy.

The only way to make sustained progress is by lifting productivity. That is missing from the Keynesian equations. If is missing from the rising tide of trade union demands as well.

Never mind, just throw another school hall on the barbie.

Andrew Norton on happiness indicators and the recession.

The GSS is an annual poll, but the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index surveys most days. It found that using an average of these results 2009 was slightly worse than 2008 for ‘happiness and enjoyment without worry’ (down .8% to 47.4%) and ’stress and worry without enjoyment’ was up .7% to 11.7%.

Though the trend is in the direction I expected, the more important point is that these numbers are remarkably stable. This has been the pattern over the 60 or so years that happiness surveys have been conducted. Major events affect the results at the margins, but over time they head back to their normal level.

Calling Jason Soon. “I was recently contacted by Robert Atkinson of the Information Tech and Innovation Foundation in Washington. His group is looking for a neo-Schumpeterian economist interested in the role of innovation in addressing climate change.  Here’s the position listing. Surely there is a reader of O&M out there who fills the bill.”


Written by Rafe

January 6, 2010 at 12:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

11 Responses

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  1. I wonder about the validity of various happiness scales that are reported in the media from time to time. People treat them as perfectly valid, but they exhibit suprising and inconsistent properties (such as sometimes not finding a relationship with wealth) that should call their validity into question.

    daddy dave

    January 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm

  2. Don Arthur blogs on cocktails flavoured with bacon

    Jason Soon

    January 7, 2010 at 9:30 am

  3. I saw that Jason.
    Wish I hadn’t.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 7, 2010 at 10:20 am

  4. I don’t think I’m averse to the idea at all. After all I imagine it’d be like Adberg whisky which already has a smoky flavour without any bacon.

    Jason Soon

    January 7, 2010 at 10:24 am

  5. I think bacon-flavoured beer could fill an unrecognised market niche.


    January 7, 2010 at 10:54 am

  6. Should we ever meet for a barbie Jason, I’ll whip up a batch of my patented Mint Ox(-en). The name is a Perthling in-joke.

    1 thick porterhouse steak per person
    Lime juice
    Vodka (a good one)
    Fresh mint, crushed
    Salt & Pepper

    Barbecue steaks to your preference (although the recipe works best with medium rare).
    Allow steaks to relax, each on its own little dish, for 5 mins.
    Plate up steaks, and pour off steak juices into a biggish shot glass containing a large crushed mint leaf.
    Measure up roughly how much liquid you have, and add half that amount of lime juice, and about half again as much vodka. So, for 20mL bloody juice, add 10 mL lime and 30mL vodka.
    Season with salt and pepper.
    Drink, then eat your steak.
    Thank FDB.

    Note: Do NOT attempt to chill this drink, or use chilled ingredients. The resulting fat globules are a bit gross.


    January 7, 2010 at 11:54 am

  7. Speaking of Perth FDB:


    January 7, 2010 at 2:19 pm

  8. Bacon flavored vodka


    January 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm

  9. Well, FDB, let me never say that your commentary has no value.


    January 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm

  10. Measure up roughly how much liquid you have, and add half that amount of lime juice, and about half again as much vodka.

    Don’t you mean ‘double up on vodka’?

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

  11. I’m no cocktail pro, and no doubt that would have been more economical Sinkers.

    Anyway, I strongly urge anyone who likes steak and drinking to give it a try. I’ve never been quite so happy with a wacky experiment in the kitchen.

    And yes Birdlab – I know TWOP. I go there from time to time, but every time I do, I get Mmmm-Bop (sung as T-WOP) by Hanson stuck in my head for days. So it’s only every month or so I can stand it.


    January 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm

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