Thursday, December 01, 2005


From Protein Wisdom, Conundrum presents:The incoherent Democratic message. Now that's comedy for the third millennium.

-Pedestrian in a time of Hovercars

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

He's still an objectivist
Alan Greenspan made an interesting speech on Columbus Day(via Michael Barone's econoblog):
We weathered a decline on October 19, 1987, of a fifth of the market value of U.S. equities with little evidence of subsequent macroeconomic stress--an episode that hinted at a change in adjustment dynamics. The credit crunch of the early 1990s and the bursting of the stock market bubble in 2000 were absorbed with the shallowest recessions in the post-World War II period. And the economic fallout from the tragic events of September 11, 2001, was moderated by market forces, with severe economic weakness evident for only a few weeks. Most recently, the flexibility of our market-driven economy has allowed us, thus far, to weather reasonably well the steep rise in spot and futures prices for oil and natural gas that we have experienced over the past two years. The consequence has been a far more stable economy.
Perhaps he's resigned to government intervention as a fact of life rather than a positive influence, but he's still got the old analysis going, with a nod to deregulation:
Starting in the 1970s, U.S. Presidents, supported by bipartisan majorities in the Congress, responded to the growing recognition of the distortions created by regulation, by deregulating large segments of the transportation, communications, energy, and financial services industries. The stated purpose of this deregulation was to enhance competition, which had come to be seen as a significant spur to productivity growth and elevated standards of living. Assisting in the dismantling of economic restraints was the persistent, albeit slow, lowering of barriers to cross-border trade and finance.
I wonder what Peikoff thought?
I don't seem to be able to get a comment to work on this post on Social Affairs Unit, but in response to this thought:
But the emotional climate that is happiness is not necessarily attractive. One reason for this is that happiness goes with a sense of completion; a sense of the end of struggle, of equilibrium, and the calm of a "happy ending". The Enlightenment was obviously drawn to calm and equilibrium, and it is not surprising that they made a cult of happiness. But the Romantic revolution had quite a different set of attractions. And we remain their heirs. Does everyone want a happy ending?

this is what I would say:
Perhaps happiness, undefined as it will probably ever remain, is not as important as the avoidance of unhappinesses - death, sickness, hunger, boredom, bad movies. Wealth allows one to avoid the most obvious and generally agreed-on unhappiness. Education, only possible through the possession of some wealth, allows one to avoid boredom and the feeling that other people know something you don't. For instance, I've always thought it must be intensely boring not to be able to read. But reading does not necessarily bring happiness. Stimulation, perhaps, but hardly cow-like contentment (Sorry, Elsie!) How pleasant the world seems when one is cut off from the daily deluge of small and large unhappinesses called the "news". But how colorless.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ooh, car arson!

OK, Thanksgiving's over. Back to double-dipping comments and blogging. Eric Raymond, despite his oh-so-shameless self-promotion, had a good post on the car fires in France:
Yes, you read that correctly. 98 car-torchings a night is “normal” in the glorious Fifth Republic in 2005. Civil order in the banlieus has collapsed, but instead of addressing the breakdown the French response is to define it out of existence. (In other breaking news, war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ol’ George Orwell is spinning in his grave.)
. Some of the other commenters were saying that a lot of these cars might be people having their cars burned for insurance reimbursements, which I believe is the favorite - perhaps the only - pastime of those who live in Lawrence, Massachusetts. This theory didn't seem to hold water for yours truly:
The phrase “98 cars torched” would seem to exclude the idea that owners were purposely burning cars for insurance purposes. So apples and oranges. Is it simplistic to assume that the previous totals of cars burned during the riots, by masked rioters, in defiance of the police, for rage-related purposes, excluded those burned by or on the orders of their owners for insurance reimbursements? Unless some sharp entrepreneurial arsonist had the happy thought, “Hey, I don’t have to take on the risk of burning these cars on my “to-do list” myself. I’ll just park them in front of Stalinist-looking apartment blocks and wait for darkness and riotousness!” ‘Tis an ill wind…
Hey, I might actually have home internet service today, dialup only. And I got the phone line without giving out my D/L number or SS #(I never did like the Stutz Staffeln, anyway). Thank you JJ Luna!