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Protection is Monopoly Privilege

Even though protectionist policies are supported through populist rhetoric, they are always about giving a particular group monopoly privileges, whether that group is farmers, steel workers, IT professionals, or autoworkers. An article in Wired shows another group benefitting from the same type of practice, this time from interstate, rather than international, protectionism - wholesale liquor distributors. Read more »


There was another terrific article on the topic of homeschooling last week which was just brought to my attention. Michelle Bates Deakin wrote a long, informative article in the Boston Globe that put a personal face on the subject. What I really liked was its explanation of "unschooling" which when mentioned usually puts people in a state of disbelief. Children are usually thought to be entirely incapable of learning without an outside source for guidance. Read more »

Passing the Outsourcing Buck


Though it is too early to predict any sort of bubble on the horizon, the rise in India's salaries could prompt more U.S. companies to consider other parts of the world, where wages are far lower. Indeed, even some Indian companies have begun offshoring their own work to China.

Anonymity with Reputation

Among the other things I learned from Natalie Solent's confession about the fraudulent episodes of her life as a university student (who didn't have them?) is that she writes under a pseudonym. Having been on the internet for nearly 11 years, this sort of thing should not suprise me, but it did. Read more »

Carnival of the Capitalists

Thank You Democracy

Sebastian Mallaby of the Washington Post writes of the ridiculous maneuvering and hoop-jumping the Commerce Department goes through to achieve the dishonestly named "fair trade". Read more »

Road to Hell Indeed

Police Officers in Louisiana no longer need a warrant to do a search of private property.

It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone: Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business.

Leaders in law enforcement say it will provide safety to officers, but others argue it's a privilege that could be abused.

Civil Society 1, Public Goods Problem 0

John Venlet links to an article showing the voluntary provision of a good with nonrivalrous consumption and nonexcludable benefits.

Guess which building Jonathan's apartment is in?

Let a thousand free-riders roam.

Exit and Voice

With the paucity of reaction to my question about trying to bring about a change in the dietary options available on McDonald's menu, I can conclude either that the question was not understood by most people, or that most people found the answers so obvious that they did not bother to answer. I am hoping it is the latter.

I submit that if you did indeed find the answers blatantly obvious, and that if carry out the same reasoning to its logical conclusions, most of you will be surprised or even shocked where it leads you. Read more »

Questions: The Costs of \"Voice\" and \"Exit\"

As a follow-up to Micha's post below, some questions for readers: Read more »

When the Virtual Becomes the Real

Julian Dibbell's main source of income comes from the buying and selling of 1's and 0's. Read more »

Gee, Thanks Dad

It used to be that the nanny-staters attacked private enterprise one issue at a time. No more. Now they come at us from all directions - mixing metaphors, combining multiple paternalistic volleys, and generating a hybrid vigor of various conceits. A NY Times editorial piece today not only wants us to use cars less, but justifies this by arguing that we are too fat, and that using cars less is for our own good. Read more »

Markets and Governments: Voice and Exit

The recent discussion over at Crooked Timber, which Micha has responded to below, raised some interesting issues. Particular attention was given to the concepts of "Exit" and "Voice" from Albert Hirschman?s Exit, Voice and Loyalty. I have not read it, but (I think) I understand the concepts of Exit and Voice discussed. Exit, from what I can tell, means the ability to abandon patronage to an institution. Voice means the ability to express dissatisfaction with the institution. Both are seen as mechanisms by which to affect the performance of institutions. Read more »

Trump Tries to Trademark "You're Fired!"

Donald Trump is trying to trademark the signature phrase from his television show The Apprentice. This is reminiscent of former Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley's trademark of the word "threepeat", except that it is much more ridiculous.

I ought to trademark the word "indeed". Heh.