Assorted links

by on December 22, 2010 at 11:43 am in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. More on why it is hard to get tough on bank creditors.

2. Scott Sumner: "It's complicated."

3. Active Duty Army Ranger named #3 pastry chef in the world.

4. Roger Garrison's Powerpoints for macroeconomics.

5. How women want to be wanted.

6. U.S. will resume deportations to Haiti.

7. Economic History blog is back.

8. al-Qaeda in Iraq, 2005-2006, turned a profit but paid low wages.

9. The hazards of nerd supremacy; some observations on Wikileaks.

10. Michael Kremer's program leads to actual vaccines.

11. How to shut down a libertarian summit.

allan December 22, 2010 at 8:05 am

#2 shorter: Ron Paul is right.

Basically, the argument is that the banking sector and the government are corrupt. It is a bit of an extortion scheme. We do nothing about it because we actually derive some benefits from the system.

moron December 22, 2010 at 8:41 am

Don't worry allan, Ron Paul is right about everything.

dirk December 22, 2010 at 9:42 am

5. Science once again proves Roissy right! Or so he will say…

Noah Yetter December 22, 2010 at 11:00 am

#9: "I read Assange's essay and didn't understand a word of it."

anonymous December 22, 2010 at 11:24 am

Re: #9

Facebook is already creating a world where everyone, from childhood, will live in the same sort of lifelong fishbowl scrutiny previously experienced only by members of the British royal family.

Members of the royal family, of course, take great care to construct a bland and inoffensive public persona. Prince Charles's idea of edgy social commentary mostly consists of complaining about modern architecture. If you erase the distinction between public and private lives, then this sanitized persona is all that you will have left, for everyone.

This will be a duller and more sterile world, a world where (quoth Will Durant) "nothing is often a good thing to do, and always a clever thing to say".

Complete transparency isn't the wave of the future so much as a return to the past, a return to the small rural village life of our ancestors, where all your comings and goings were observed by neighbors and your business was everybody's business, from the parish priest who took compulsory weekly confession to the gossiping fishwives.

That was no "open" utopia; rather, it was a place where social norms and conformity are enforced by shaming and the dead hand of tradition, a place our ancestors fled from for the free air and anonymity of town life. And often it was a world of omertà, where the truly powerful operate from the shadows and open secrets are known but cannot safely be spoken.

If knowledge is power, then power flows to those non-governmental elements who have the capacity and will to brutally enforce information asymmetries and leverage them to supplant the ostensible civil authorities. Ask the residents of northern Mexico what that's like.

Ram December 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Re: #2
Who here has seen the Luskin clip?

bbartlog December 23, 2010 at 5:31 am

Re: #9, is there an actual argument in there somewhere? All I saw was a series of somewhat related claims, none of which followed from each other. I suppose it's possible that I missed the logical connections that were self-evident to Lanier but it sure looked like bloviation to me.

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