Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quotes of the day

The [European] Commission's Statement of Objections reveals a profound misunderstanding of both database competition and open source dynamics. It is well understood by those knowledgeable about open source software that because MySQL is open source, it cannot be controlled by anyone. That is the whole point of open source.--Oracle Corp

Several factors led the [Antitrust] Division to conclude that the proposed transaction is unlikely to be anticompetitive. There are many open-source and proprietary database competitors. The Division concluded, based on the specific facts at issue in the transaction, that consumer harm is unlikely because customers would continue to have choices from a variety of well established and widely accepted database products. The Department also concluded that there is a large community of developers and users of Sun’s open source database with significant expertise in maintaining and improving the software, and who could support a derivative version of it.--U.S. Department of Justice

Just because some of your investors and outside fund managers think you might be at least a little bit dirty, doesn't mean you are. And no one has ever produced any incriminating evidence or substantiated allegations against SAC. So we're inclined to side with Stevie Cohen here. For all we know, SAC is the cleanest hedge fund ever.--John Carney

The paper concludes that the probability of default by the GSEs [such as Fannie Mae] is extremely small.--Joseph Stiglitz, Peter Orszag, Jonathan Orszag

Larry, gatt schmatt!--Michael Dukakis, to Larry Summers, in 1988

Expected future NGDP is the most powerful force affecting nominal interest rates; both the inflation component and the real component. Under NGDP targeting both the money supply and nominal interest rates would probably be far more stable than under current policy. ... If we went back to pegging the price of gold (which I don’t recommend) both the nominal and real price of gold would become much more stable. When you target NGDP along a given trajectory, both real and NGDP will become more stable.--Scott Sumner

Increasingly when I bother to watch the news I come away feeling like the world is not en route to hell, but has already arrived at the bottom floor.--Tony Woodlief

But I'm as inclined to believe that presidents claim these magical powers [such as 'creating or saving jobs'] because voters demand them, as that the causality runs the other way.--Megan McArdle

The complexity of today's economy means that old-fashioned Keynesian policies will not restore full employment. Pump-priming and stimulus policies are a good fit for a manufacturing economy with homogeneous labor affected by temporary layoffs. They are not such a good fit for a post-industrial economy with an educated labor force facing permanent structural changes.--Arnold Kling

In 1950, 59% of U.S. corporate profits were from manufacturing; 9% from financial activities. During the past decade (2000 -2008), 18% of profits were from manufacturing and 34% from finance.--Frederick Sheehan

I am in the category--white men ages 25-44 with a college degree-- with almost the very lowest unemployment rate (3.9%). Just to compare, as pointed out in the comments, black males 15-24 without a high school degree have an unemployment rate of 48.5%.--Alex Tabarrok

I've always had a fear of financial insecurity, and for good reason. And I have never found fortune to favor me whether I was in my bravest moment or my darkest cowardice. Until now. Suffice to say, dude, I'm not paranoid anymore. I'm not fearful. It's interesting to be surfing this tremendous crisis of capitalism — and I know there's a coral reef under me and I don't want to hang ten, but I do think that when you're in the pole position, that's when you try to beat your best personal time. ... There's a plan. What do they say, though — if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan.--Robert Downey Jr.

College attendance, in my view, is usually a drain on our economy and society. Encouraging talented people to spend many years in wasteful status contests deprives the economy of millions of man-years of output. If this were really an "investment," of course, it might be worth it. But I see little connection between the skills that students acquire in college and the skills they'll need later in life.--Bryan Caplan

Given the projected explosion in both Social Security/Medical costs, there really isn't an answer other than: more work, less retirement.--Joe Weisenthal

As long as doctors and hospitals are paid for each extra test and treatment, they will err on the side of more care and not always better care. No doctor or no single hospital can change that. It requires action by the government.--David Leonhard

Hogwash. To see why, change just a few words in the above quotation: “As long as sales people and clothing stores are paid for each extra necktie and nightie that they sell, they will err on the side of more selling and not always better customer service. No salesperson or single clothing store can change that. It requires action by the government.” Make sense? Of course not. The problem isn’t fee for service; it’s subsidized payments by third-parties. The result for medical treatments is no different than it would be for clothes if clothing retailers were paid not by each customer but instead by heavily subsidized third-parties.--Don Boudreaux

A key feature of the House and Senate health bills would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions. The new coverage would start immediately, and the premium could not reflect the individual's health condition. This well-intentioned feature would provide a strong incentive for someone who is healthy to drop his or her health insurance, saving the substantial premium costs. After all, if serious illness hit this person or a family member, he could immediately obtain coverage. As healthy individuals decline coverage in this way, insurance companies would come to have a sicker population. The higher cost of insuring that group would force insurers to raise their premiums. (Separate accident policies might develop to deal with the risk of high-cost care after accidents when there is insufficient time to buy insurance.) The higher premium level would cause others who are currently insured to drop coverage, pushing premiums even higher. The result would be a spiral of rising premiums and shrinking numbers of insured.--Martin Feldstein

In 2005, global warming worriers warned, as they tend to do after all adverse or anomalous environmental events, that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming and foreshadowed an increase in the number and destructiveness of hurricanes. As this year's Atlantic hurricane season ends, only three hurricanes have formed -- half the average of the past 50 years -- and none has hit the United States.--George Will

Most of China's growth this year has been unsustainable, driven by stimulus. China's money supply has risen 29% in the past year. At the government's behest, banks have increased their lending by nearly $1.4 trillion, or 32%, during that time. That flood of borrowed cash has been channeled into new infrastructure and production capacity. These investments will account for up to half of China's gross domestic product this year, according to some estimates. A key question is whether China needs all of this investment. Analysts at the London hedge fund Pivot Capital Management say that China already has enough idle steel-production capacity, for example, to match the steel output of Japan and South Korea combined.--Mark Gongloff

If China remains culturally closed, the Chinese Century will never come to pass. Instead, the United States--a country that has struggled with race and racism for centuries, and in the process has become more culturally open and resilient--will dominate this century as it did the last.--Reihan Salam

What’s powering your home appliances? For about 10 percent of electricity in the United States, it’s fuel from dismantled nuclear bombs, including Russian ones. --Andrew Kramer

[The ordinary person] blows hot and cold from day to day; he is kind and cruel, chaste and lustful, honest and deceitful, generous and covetous; he longs to be good and chooses to be evil, yearns to know God and turns his back upon Him, hopes for heaven and heads toward hell. He is morally loco.--A.W. Tozer

[A senior military commander] resigning (asking for retirement or reassignment) over advice not taken, policy disagreements, or moral or ethical qualms undermines the relationship between military officials and their civilian superiors and destroys the professionalism of the U.S. armed forces.--Richard Kohn

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