Saturday, July 31, 2004

Tort Reform

Robert Levy from the Cato Institute objects to the federal government putting caps on damage from litigation. He says that there are reforms being enacted at the state level so federal intervention is unnecessary. Levy also believes that litigation shouldn't be recognized as interstate commerce because litigation isn't a commercial transaction, but a judicial matter. While we're on the subject of tort reform, whatever happend to the enacting of a loser-pays system, which I think would help. It was a part of the "Contract with America", right?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Protectionism Watch

U.S. Proposes Shrimp Tariffs for 4 Nations

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Idea Trap

Bryan Caplan, who's guest blogging at Marginal Revolution, believes public policy, growth, and ideas are self-reinforcing. The idea is explained further in a paper called the Idea Trap (warning PDF file). Caplan goes into a little more detail here.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Myth Busting

Another good article from the Mises Institute, this time about a number of myths that persist among political, economic, and cultural elites. One myth I encounter often is the first one mentioned, the Broken Window fallacy. I usually see it used in regards to war, but I occasionally come across people who use that fallacy when there's a natural disaster like an earthquake. Another good one is the fifth, that government policies to promote exports are a good idea. This thinking is used to justify everything from protectionism to inflation to taxing corporate profits abroad.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Civil Liberties

Here's a funny, if not scary, online video from the ACLU. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's only a matter of time before there's a huge database with all of our personal information on it, but then maybe I'm just paranoid.

Link via Samizdata

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Discrimination...or is it?

Thomas Sowell comments on the recent class-action suit against Wal-Mart: "The grand fallacy of our times is that various groups would be equally represented in institutions and occupations if it were not for discrimination. This preconception has undermined, if not destroyed, the crucial centuries-old legal principle that the burden of proof is on the accuser."

Link via Order From Chaos


In todays Mises Institute article: "'Need' now means wanting someone else's money. 'Greed' means wanting to keep your own. And 'Compassion' is when a politician arranges the transfer."

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Myth of Natural Rights

Here's a review of a book called the Myth of Natural Rights, which sounds like something I'd be interested in. The book seems to advocate a similar position that I hold regarding natural rights, though I wouldn't consider myself to be an "amoralist" like the author does, but I do believe that rights are a social construct and not inherent in our existence.

Update: Catallarchy has more on the subject. Indeed, how does one falsify an ethical statement?

Death By Garbage

Some say it's only a matter of time before we're drowning in our own garbage. Willy Sutton says otherwise and provides a beautiful picture of a former landfill turned into a golf course.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Please Stop!

Is it just me or do politicians seem to go out of their way to try to write bad laws into the Constitution, first it was forbidding gay marriage and now it's forbidding flag burning.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Obesity and Wealth Redistribution

Keith Burgess-Jackson warns us of the wealth redistribution that will follow when the federal government classifies obesity as a disease:

"...wealth will be distributed from the healthy, fit, disciplined, and productive to the unhealthy, unfit, lazy, and unproductive. Just think: You can lie around, eat all you want, never exercise, but have your ensuing health problems solved at others’ expense.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Poverty and Wealth

Arnold Kling has an article at TCS that argues that things are getting better over time. I think he does the right thing when he uses consumption as an indicator of prosperity as opposed to wages.

Link via Marginal Revolution

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Economic Freedom

The Cato Institute released its Economic Freedom of the World: 2004 Annual Report

Link via Evolution will be blogged

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Senate Scuttles Gay Marriage Amendment

Now we can get back to real issues.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Lunar Property

Two websites claim they're selling property on the moon. One is and the other is My guess is these sites are fraudulent, but the more romantic side of my hopes maybe someday we'll be able to purchase cheap outer-space property.

Links via Order from Chaos


I accidently multi-posted one of my posts. It's funny because I looked I was going on and on about free-trade. Sometimes blogger messes up when I publish stuff and I don't know whether it prints or not, so I got frustrated and hit the publish button a number of times (which is obviously a big mistake). Again, sorry.


Walter Williams has an excellent article on connection between nations and wealth. Here's a sample:

There's no complete explanation why some countries are affluent while others are poor, but there are some leads. Rank countries along a continuum according to whether they are closer to being free-market economies or whether they're closer to socialist or planned economies. Then, rank countries by per-capita income. We will find a general, not perfect, pattern whereby those countries having a larger free-market sector produce a higher standard of living for their citizens than those at the socialist end of the continuum.

If you want to know more about the connection between economic freedom and prosperity check out the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Trade Again

Cafe Hayek links to an essay by David Boaz that discusses trade.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Anti-Dumping Laws

Radley Balko is angry at the hypocrisy over shrimp protectionism. I agree with everything he says except that "I miss Bill Clinton" part at the end.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Sin Taxes

An article by the Heartland Institute explains what's wrong with sin taxes. Some problems include:

It reduces the income of the buyer.

It lowers profits for the seller, and leads to reduced investment, wages, and jobs.

It is not likely to seriously discourage consumption habits when those habits are intensely desired.

It may eventually decrease government revenue, especially as people move their business to the informal sector.

It encourages people to turn to harder substances to feed their habits at the same price.

It creates underground markets, which tend toward corruption and violence, and fosters disrespect for the law.

It sets up a moral hazard for policy makers, who vacillate between wanting to discourage undesirable behavior and wanting to encourage it for revenue purposes.

The article also gives us an example of how consumers respond to high sin taxes. When Canada enacted cigarette taxes cigarettes that were manufactured in Canada, exported to the United States, then they were smuggled back (!) via the black market.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Green Apocalypse

The Commons notes the release of a revised version of the thoroughly discredited book Limits to Growth.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Innovation and Globalization

Here's a short piece produced by the Independent Institute on innovation and globalization.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Gas Prices

California (my home state) pays a hell of a lot more for gas than most states. Okay, some might argue that the regulations are good because they help the environment. Personally, I think paying higher than the national average bites.

I'm back

I just got a new computer and I've been busy playing around with it. I'll try to blog as consistently as I did before, but I might be busy playing some new video games.