Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quotes of the day

Large funds are strong at raising capital and utilizing connections, but not strong at nurturing start up enterprises.--Mark Humphery-Jenner

When such uneven distribution of wealth is entrenched in a society, a serious labor-capital (or, in the European context, a left-right) split emerges. This is why Greece is politically similar to Latin American countries, which face the same infrastructural and capital problems, right down to periods of military rule and an ongoing and vicious labor-capital split. ... The core of Greece is the Aegean Sea — the actual water, not the coastland — which allows these three critical areas of Greece to be connected for trade, defense and communication. Control of the Aegean also gives Greece the additional benefit of influencing trade between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Without control of the Aegean, there simply is no Greece.--STRATFOR

Now, not everyone is as moralistic as I am on this point (as I am not as moralistic as some others on some other points), but most people are not psychopaths, so most people are going to feel at least a little squeamish about taking money nonconsensually from others. Some might be willing to overcome that squeamishness in exchange for a reasonable share of the bounty (but not for a smaller share). That doesn’t mean they’re irrational. Quite the contrary. It means everyone has his price. Just like your Principles of Economics teacher taught you.--Steve Landsburg

The Bay State has blown nearly $500,000 in taxpayer dough on road signs promoting President Obama’s stimulus projects - nearly 10 percent of the total nationwide - in a campaign Republicans are ripping as wasteful partisan propaganda in tough election year, a Herald review shows.--Hillary Chabot, Katie Carlin and Joe Dwinell

The standard Keynesian argument against cutting extended [unemployment insurance-UI] benefits is that it would reduce inflation expectations, and hence [aggregate demand-AD] would fall. Any job-creating effects from lower wages would be swamped by the deflationary impact of falling prices. But if the economy is at the zero lower inflation bound, then cutting UI benefits does not reduce inflation. ... Lower UI benefits will tend to shift the [short run aggregate supply] curve to the right. Normally this would lower inflation. But if we are already at the zero inflation bound, then the Fed will react to this policy shift by moving the AD curve to the right, in order to prevent prices from falling. In that case we are in a classical world, where less UI and lower minimum wage rates will lower both nominal and real wage rates, and also boost employment.--Scott Sumner

... the patience of the bond markets is surely not boundless (and say what you like about kowtowing to the markets, if we’d like them to lend us money we have good reason to care whether they are willing to lend it). And there already is an awful lot of stimulus spending going on right now, so it’s not absurd to suggest we could get by with less as the economy bounces back. I realise that I am sitting on the fence here, but it’s part of my new maxim, which is never to stand in the middle of a fight between Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson.--Tim Harford

Okay, if Paul Krugman is going to keep on writing the same column twice a week every week forever, then I am going to keeping on objecting to it forever, though not, I promise, twice every week. ... Sometimes a caramel macchiato is worth the cost and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes an unemployment benefit is worth the cost and sometimes it’s not. We have useful ways of thinking about these things. Some people say: “You know, that macchiato is expensive but it’s worth it.” Others say: “I don’t think that’s a very wise expenditure right now.” Paul Krugman says: “AHA! So a caramel macchiato is unaffordable, but you still haven’t visited the ATM!” And I say: How’s that again?--Steve Landsburg

Money costs too much.--Ross Macdonald

When it comes to having faith in experts, I yield to no one. I have tons of faith in experts. I just lack faith in experts who require the power of the state standing behind their expertise. Bill Joy's Law of Management says that "No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else." He formulated that law to apply to business. However, it also applies to government.--Arnold Kling

Andy Grove, former entrepreneur and head of Intel, has gone over to the dark side. Once the greatest Jedi in all of the Republic of Entrepreneurship, he's become a Sith Lord, calling for state-planned investments at big companies.--Tim Kane

The American people want judges who impartially follow the text of the Constitution. They reject judges who use their power to impose their own political views — liberal or conservative — on the nation. Throughout her career, Ms. Kagan has placed her politics above the law.--Jeff Sessions

[Elena Kagan's] own confirmation hearings in late June were a Galilean moment. How much of her 1995 statement would she recant? Almost all of it, it turned out. ... It would be a mistake, as I said, to force nominees to state their voting intentions on particular concrete cases. But they should be required to discuss the larger issues of constitutional philosophy that I have mentioned: to provide a general account of how they propose to interpret and apply the grand but abstract clauses of the Constitution. This account might include, for instance, stating a general definition of what equal citizenship requires, what they take the purpose of the First Amendment’s free speech protection to be, and whether they are drawn to a majority-rule conception of democracy or a conception closer to that Justice Breyer defended in his recent book, Active Liberty.5 Skillful nominees can answer such questions without forecasting their own future votes in particular cases. In that way they can educate the public in the political complexities of constitutional law without compromising their protection of individual and perhaps unpopular constitutional rights. --Ronald Dworkin

As Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a related concurring opinion last year, digital technology has actually widened the amount of broadcast spectrum available today, undermining the earlier notion that scarce slices of the airwaves justified stricter free-speech rules for broadcasters. He has made it clear he now favors removing all content regulations on broadcasters. Though we are not used to agreeing with him, we hope his philosophy prevails when the Second Circuit’s decision eventually comes back to the Supreme Court.--NY Times Editorial Board

If nothing else the new Espenshade/Radford study helps to document what knowledgeable observers have long known: "diversity" at competitive colleges today involves a politically engineered stew of different groups. drawn from the ingredients selected by reigning campus ideology. Since that ideology is mainly dictated by the Left, it is no surprise that the diversity achieved is what the larger American landscape looks like when it is viewed through a leftist lens. I suggest a different approach: elite colleges should get out of the diversity business altogether and focus on enrolling students who are the most academically talented and the most eager to learn.--Russell K. Nieli

Within all ethnic groups, wealthier parents were more likely to have autistic children, and the pattern held for undiagnosed autistic children as well. Neuroskeptic hypothesizes that paternal age may be partially responsible for the disparity. --Freakonomics

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