Monday assorted links

by on April 24, 2017 at 11:51 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Bilbo April 24, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Typo: Hofmann should be Goffman

2 prior_test2 April 24, 2017 at 12:15 pm

No need to point things like that out – Prof. Cowen only occasionally reads the comments, according to him.

3 Ricardo April 24, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Ned, you are always wrong.

4 Rami April 24, 2017 at 12:12 pm

I am sure Alice Koffman can easily reinvent herself as a successful fiction writer.

5 prior_test2 April 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

You mean Alice Gufman? After all, some names are really tricky to spell.

6 y81 April 24, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Alice Cooper? Early transgender activist? I’m surprised that the students would turn against someone like that. The Revolution devouring its own, I guess.

School’s out forever!

7 Rich Berger April 24, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Did you see the Simpsons’ take on events at Yale? Mr. Burns as a sympathetic character.

8 Jeff R April 24, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Right, isn’t the main reason to oppose her being hired at your school that she’s a fraud? Then again, it’s sociology….not too many people are in a position to throw the first stone, if ya know what I mean.

9 lemmy caution April 25, 2017 at 10:27 am

somebody went to philly and talked to the people involved and the book checks out:

Guffman did use other peoples accounts of events so there were errors, but there was not any fraud

10 rayward April 24, 2017 at 12:13 pm

2. Years ago I did work for an enterprising fellow who purchased semi-trailers and then leased them out for use as an advertising platform, the ad painted on one or two sides of the trailer. From time to time I see them while I’m driving on the interstate highways. Of course, semi-trailers and shipping containers are the same thing. Since contemporary life is all about trade, why not live in the containers that make trade efficient: if containers are good enough for shipping goods, they should be good enough for housing people and their businesses. We are what we trade.

11 prior_test2 April 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Don’t give the airlines any ideas about improving passenger densities.

12 MOFO April 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Because they are not designed to be lived out of and are unsuitable for the task.

13 Anonymous April 24, 2017 at 12:30 pm

I think the strange thing about shipping container reuse is the fascination people have with it. They are heavy, steel, and scrap probably is the best use.

Like “bamboo bicycles” a romantic idea of what should be efficient trumps what really is.

14 Thiago Ribeiro April 24, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Yet Brazil has used it again and again with unmitigated success.

15 Anonymous April 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm
16 Thiago Ribeiro April 24, 2017 at 1:42 pm

The Chinese can use it to house workers because their savage regime enslaves its own people – soon or later, the roiling masses will rise against their Red masters. In Brazil, the containers are used to house prisoners. I doubt anyone has ever escaped from them.

17 Milo Fan April 24, 2017 at 12:37 pm

3. Considering the defining trait of liberalism is irrealism, not sure how that’s supposed to work.

However, the article is still stupid. People ARE moving out of those high tax states.

18 Anonymous April 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm

They mention normalizing the data. That should exclude retirees cashing out, and moving to low growth states intentionally.

19 JWatts April 24, 2017 at 4:48 pm

“That should exclude retirees cashing out, and moving to low growth states intentionally.”

Why? I don’t see a particular reason why you’d desire a large group of people with a guaranteed income and (as a group) a high net worth, to intentionally leave.

20 Anonymous April 24, 2017 at 5:03 pm

You (as an imagined governor?) might not want them to leave, but when they can dump the $1m house, buy a $500k condo, and a season’s ski pass .. I am not sure you are going to entice them back with “less government.”

In an even poorer state (with even less government?) that condo might be $300k!

21 JWatts April 24, 2017 at 6:21 pm

” I am not sure you are going to entice them back with “less government.””

I suspect it would work better than the counter ploy of offering ever higher taxes. California is showing signs of bifurcating into a rich/poor state with a disappearing middle class. Not spending $70 billion on high speed rail might be a decent move towards “less government”.

22 Anonymous April 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm

People seem to invert cause and effects when they view California from the outside. The most populous and prosperous areas create vast wealth.. Their biggest problem is that they are running out of land near those dynamic business centers. There is the dusty, dry, hot and polluted central valley, but it certainly isn’t over-regulation that made it that. The opposite. It’s red counties with red state problems.

The high speed rail will die a neglected death. I wonder if the bonds are general obligation or can simply be defaulted …

23 Jason Bayz April 24, 2017 at 10:44 pm


Poverty is a “red county” problem? The map shows it’s worse along the Taxes-Mexico border(who lives there?), the Black belt, the Indian reservations, and Appalachia. But you wouldn’t know that, would you?

24 TheNewHumeanBieng April 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Defining traits and what they are associated with is a science with right and wrong answers associated with it. Irrealism the philosophical concept is not a personality trait nor is it associated with trait liberalism.

25 MegaRagingDoucheNozzle April 24, 2017 at 9:49 pm

Tyler’s inability to see clearly is doubtless due to being distracted by Malcolm Gladwell’s abnormally large forehead.

26 David Condon April 25, 2017 at 9:11 pm

The question posed by the article is not whether people are moving out of the highest tax states. The question is whether people are moving into the lowest tax states. The answer is no; they are not. There’s a correlation when considering the worst performers, but there is no correlation anywhere else in the distribution.

27 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:07 am

Also, people are moving TO those states.

Is it relevant if the one number is larger than the other? I dunno, I think I’ve gotta call a friend on that one …

28 Anonymous April 24, 2017 at 12:43 pm

3 was good, and the very idea that good government should even be a goal is vastly underrated.

29 P Burgos April 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

I think that a focus on good government gets you to government that is overall more libertarian (compare the U.S. to the Nordic or Baltic countries for an example of what I am thinking). However, good government tends to get you a government with a much more sensible regulatory regime, but not necessarily lower taxes. Perhaps good government even gets you higher taxes (along with better roads, better public schools, lower crime, and more affordable housing, among other things). So good government doesn’t seem to be a really good fit for either the left or the right in contemporary USA. Good government would boost the social status of mid level professionals and skilled tradespeople (included unionized tradesmen), while likely reducing the social status of wealthy business owners, unskilled laborers (including many immigrants), many ethnic minorities, and members of some religions. A focus on good government would definitely raise the status of the Upper Midwest and of Mormons. It seems to me that neither political party really wants to champion Utah, Iowa, or Minnesota as ideals of what the USA as a whole should try to emulate.

30 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:13 am


The discussion would be (and is) quite different in other places.

31 Garth7 April 24, 2017 at 1:40 pm

…… #3 article is shallow & dumb

Jettisoning libertarian core principles to gain mainstream acceptance (become “realistic”) is an absurd proposition. The dominant progressive-socialism in American government, academia, and media is a much more utopian ideology than libertarianism– but nevertheless has successfully entrenched itself in power thru control of the nation’s education system and primary media. Most average Americans reflexively reject the abstract concept of socialism, but eagerly embrace it in their daily lives… as delivered by the massive federal/state/local government behemoth.

There’s little competition among states– they are 90% sub-agencies of the Federal government– and lost any genuine Constitutional sovereignty 150 years ago.

Libertarian polite tinkering on the ‘margins’ (to be “popular”) is a guaranteed failure… Ron Paul’s long political career is a prime example of that.

32 Hua Wei April 24, 2017 at 1:44 pm

“they are 90% sub-agencies of the Federal government– and lost any genuine Constitutional sovereignty 150 years ago.”

More or less when some of those states were made know that people could not actually be owned?

33 Alan April 24, 2017 at 5:46 pm

When they began electing senators by popular vote …

34 A Definite Beta Guy April 24, 2017 at 2:45 pm

#3 just depends on what you want to accomplish. Libertarians are like nascent capitalists in a manoralist system, in terms of how far from the mainstream they are. If they want a libertarian society, they need to give up elected office and evangelize like hell.

Of course, that probably won’t work, since most people strongly disagree with libertarianism, and libertarianism apparently appeals to a rather small and shrinking demographic.

35 Anonymous April 24, 2017 at 3:37 pm

“Jettisoning libertarian core principles to gain mainstream acceptance (become “realistic”) is an absurd proposition. ”

Yes, because a fringe (a consistent 3% share over the last 50 years?) has had their chance at “gain mainstream acceptance.” They can only engage (as the article says) with mainstream desires now .. or not. In the “not” case they remain a self-interested fringe with inflated sense of their own importance.

36 MS April 24, 2017 at 4:35 pm

“Most average Americans reflexively reject the abstract concept of socialism, but eagerly embrace it in their daily lives…”

Isn’t this what behavioral economists refer to as a “revealed preference”? Which is actually the point the author is making? (Also I guess for the purposes of this discussion we can pretend that socialism isn’t restricted to “social ownership of the means of production”.)

37 MS April 24, 2017 at 4:36 pm

oops this was a reply to Garth7

38 RJ April 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm

“revealed preference” implies a voluntary choice was made, not a government dictate

the American flavor of partial, soft socialism was imposed by the government and the populace has gotten very used to the lifelong shackles

the U.S. K-12 school system is a textbook case of socialist principle in wide scale practice, which few recognize; other examples are bountiful (most Americans favor the Social Security System but are totally unaware that it is based on socialist economic tenets)

there are various degrees and practical implementations of socialism; it does not require 100% government control of the means of production; even true socialists widely disagree on how a socialist society should operate

39 MS April 24, 2017 at 9:37 pm

> “revealed preference” implies a voluntary choice was made, not a government dictate

_Some_ kind of choice was made. Sure, we don’t choose government policy the way we choose our breakfast cereal. But we don’t live in totalitarian dictatorship either. And the fact that while Americans generally reject socialism (in the abstract sense), they actually like or at least don’t mind specific social programs like Social Security says something. Consider if it were the opposite: if people professed their love for socialism as an idea but their behavior (voting, migration patterns, mass opt outs of the social programs and the rise of parallel private systems, etc) signaled a strong preference for very limited government. Which would you say is more telling about what people actually prefer?

40 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:17 am

I don’t think you understand how much a 2-party system nullifies this way of thinking.

If you have a system where there are 4 or 5 parties with representatives for an extended period, then you know it’s possible for a party to grow in time if there is support. They get 5% of votes, get some seats, and then maybe grow.

But if you need 20% of votes before you can get a seat, then you just get the 3% who will vote their conscience (or protest vote) instead of voting for what they do not want. You might have a full other 17% there who would support it if it were plausible to go anywhere.

But instead you’re stuck in a 2-party system. And, as far as I can tell, with little or no way out.

41 Hazel Meade April 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

The dominant progressive-socialism in American government, academia, and media is a much more utopian ideology than libertarianism– but nevertheless has successfully entrenched itself in power thru control of the nation’s education system and primary media.

Exactly. Somehow complete economic and social equality is supposed to be a rational and achievable objective, but free markets are hopelessly idealistic.

42 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:28 am

Markets are well served by just outcomes which do not enable widespread resentments that eventually lead to masses collecting their pitchforks.

A Gini inequality index of above 0.4 is often considered as a marker beyond which conflict becomes far more likely. The USA is at 0.45.

43 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:29 am

Sometimes its cheaper and better for economic growth to help people than to regularly beat/oppress them into submission, for example.

44 Hazel Meade April 26, 2017 at 11:04 am

A just outcome is defined by being the product of voluntary exchange under fair rules.
In other words, in a genuinely free market, outcomes are by definition just.

45 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:41 pm

A different sort of view on what a free market is. Not “laissez-faire”, but inclusive of a state which prevents oppressive acts designed to pressure people in a way that cannot be regarded as a “free transaction” or something?

So, between theory and practice, how are those rules determined, and what degree of allowance within a minimalist interference system are there for the fact that various lines will be in somewhat different places than many people think. Whether that be related to specific policies, or the local/state/national level of aggregation for certain jurisdictions.

As a matter of practice though, from those principle, once you put the existing electoral system of the USA onto the analysis, how do you suppose you end up at anything much different than what presently exists? It’s a 2-party system, and you’d have to get 20 or 50 million votes before there’s really a payday in even a seat or two, so it’s not very plausible that a real alternative presents itself.

46 CMOT April 24, 2017 at 4:44 pm

I like how Ozimek thinks that the Cato freedom rankings tell you everything you need to know about the states of Texas and New Hampshire and nothing about the validity of the ranking system. And when the data (growth rates) conflict with the theory (Cato’s rankings), well, it’s the data that gets ignored.

This is really about Cato, and Niskanen’s, efforts to gain legitimacy in the eyes of elite media and society by ginning up a Stuff White People Like version of libertarianism. Good luck with that.

47 Hazel Meade April 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Well if there are any parts of libertarian ideology that are worth jettisoning, we can start with the guns and confederate flags and public accomodations stuff.

The core parts of libertarianism that are grounded in science are the economics. The kind of people who think that freedom is all about fondling one’s semi-automatic weapons while waving a confederate flag and discriminating against black people we can really do without.

48 Art Deco April 25, 2017 at 10:24 pm

You’ve outed yourself as a bourgeois status-signaler, in addition to everything else wrong with you.

49 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:33 am

There are strong political reasons too. The principle of freedom from government intrusion in one’s life.

That does not need to have any economic basis to have appeal.

The problem is when that means that someone else is interfering in your life in a big way that you do not like. But then there is no government that can do anything about it. From there, the options are to fight or roll over like a good doggie. So in that sense, libertarian policy advice transferred directly into action would lead to more problems. But as a locus of upholding many worthwhile ideals (ignoring the downsides that I’m sure others periodically remind you of), it can very often be respectable.

For example, there are those who would delight in ills falling upon people due to reduced government interventions. However, it seems to me that libertarians see these sufferings as unfortunate indeed, and would really like it to not be that way and all … but just not willing to give up on those ideals.

50 Slocum April 24, 2017 at 1:04 pm

#1. In this case, the student mob could be on to something:

However…past history of domestic terrorism certainly hasn’t hurt the academic careers of a number of ex-60s radicals, even when the CV includes a felony murder conviction, so I’m not sure why they’re picking on ‘poor Alice Goffman’.

51 The Centrist April 24, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Well, the reason given was because she is white and was chosen ahead of two black candidates.

I wonder, though, what the real reasons were. Clearly Alice is the wrong colour and certainly she’s been deemed to be insufficiently radical, by whatever metric they use.

52 Slocum April 24, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Maybe an internal supporter of one of the rejected candidates decided to call out the Red Guards?

53 FYI April 24, 2017 at 1:06 pm

#3- I don’t think the problem is libertarianism or our version of it. I think this is how it needs to exist. We live in a Democratic system based on compromise. In order to get anything done your way, you need to start from an extreme position and negotiate your way into the middle. That’s why we have Mike Lee’s and that’s why we have Bernie Sanders’ in congress. Actually, the whole ‘polarization’ we talk about so much is simply a sign that liberalism has, in small ways, been winning since the 80s.

54 A Black Man April 24, 2017 at 1:07 pm

#3. Yeah, and bears need to stop pooping in the woods.

#5. I don’t think anyone with a three digit IQ thinks modern art requires skill. What it requires is a way to lure rich people into using your work to display status and virtue. Rich people will pay a lot to show off to other rich people. Software could help model the human behavior behind the buying of modern art, but producing it is a non-issue. Marketing it and the artist is where the real art lies.

55 thfmr April 24, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Data point: Jeff Koons

56 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:40 am

OK Mr genius. Why don’t you tell us what an “IQ” test has to do with art?

About needing to sell to rich people if they want to make lots of money, yes. But you could also just paint a bunch of flower pots and apples and stuff, and sell them to middle class people who want a couple/few simple pieces for the office or bathroom or something.

57 The Centrist April 24, 2017 at 1:08 pm

From the letter:

“Should we not receive a response to our demands by Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 5PM, WE WILL TAKE DIRECT ACTION.” *

* Caps in bold in original.

That’s tomorrow. Well, then, I wonder what the Direct Action will be…

58 BC April 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm

I wonder whether the Direct Action will be taken anonymously.

59 Josie B April 24, 2017 at 4:09 pm

I would not make a good campus administrator these days: Too many “appalled” students “demanding” redress of imagined grievances, too much play-acting at activism in a safe space with no consequences. My guess is that either the appalled students will win and gloat or the “racist” candidate will withdraw. Either way, an ugly spectacle.

I remember my own college days when I knew everything. Age and experience have a way of mediating this sort of puerile grandiosity, at least in people willing to listen occasionally to what other people have to say.

60 rayward April 24, 2017 at 1:18 pm

3. Who are you calling libertarian. Does a libertarian oppose crony capitalism and neo-mercantalist nationalism? Does a conservative? Is there a dime’s worth of difference today between conservatives and libertarians? Was Hayek a “reformist conservative”, his claims to the contrary notwithstanding? If libertarians become more “realistic”, are they libertarian?

61 Garth7 April 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm

…apparently political labels confuse you, as they do most people.

The fundamental political dividing line between people is between those who inherently trust government — and those who do not.

Liberals/Progressives/Collectivists/Conservatives/NeoConservative/Republicans/Democrats/GreenParty all fall in the first category. Libertarians are alone in the second.

62 rayward April 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm

I think you missed my point. By calling for libertarians to be more “realistic”, I’m suggesting that libertarians would no longer be “libertarian” if they do. I’m no Hayek expert, but I understood that’s why Hayek denied that he was a “conservative”.

63 Anonymous April 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm

That is wrong, but in an interesting way. Many, many, people right of center have bought into Ronald Reagan’s “nine most terrifying words in the English language” and yet no, they did not go all the way to libertarianism.

They just stopped at the mistake that they should not press government for actual solutions.

Trump is an outgrowth, malignant endpoint, of that mistake. If “not pressing for solutions” does not produce solutions, blow it all up.

64 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:43 am

You need government to prevent monopolies, etc., at the very least.

Not because you trust government. But because if they don’t do their job you can kick them out and get someone who will.

The problem arises when there are only two options and the 500 different monopolists in 500 different industries have bought up all two sides, line by line, on practically ever matter to be considered in a legislative cycle.

65 Elias April 25, 2017 at 12:38 am

I think the reason libertarianism is not popular is because it is a mix between two of the five main personality traits talked about in behavioral psychology. While people who exhibit personality trait openness tend towards the left, and people who exhibit personality trait conscientiousness tend towards the right, libertarians are alone in embracing an ideology which takes from both camps. People who are willing to forfeit their intuitions of conscientiousness or openness in picking their ideological affiliation are rare, which is something that is characteristic for systemizing thinkers. Libertarians are overwhelmingly heavily systemizing thinkers.

66 Anonymous April 24, 2017 at 1:21 pm

1. To be honest, I read a little bit into he-said she-said things like this, and I just strike them from my list of things to care about. Screwed up people interacting in screwed up ways. No one is going to impose order. It is just a weirdness that happens in very specific and isolated situations. It isn’t going to come find me.

Probably most of the kids who had “protest” on their college years bucket list will check the box and forget about it. A few screwed up people will stay screwed up, but again, what can you do?

67 Larry Siegel April 25, 2017 at 2:43 am

Meanwhile, a lot of well-meaning kids whose parents are paying significant money to go to Pomona to learn some sociology, won’t.

68 Massimo Heitor April 24, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Cowen has been a big defender of academia, yet says, “academia has gone crazy.”

The letter directly accuses the Claremont Independent news outlet of “violence inflicted on communities of color”. Wow.

Notice that the letter makes a threat, in bold, with a deadline of tomorrow, “Should we not receive a response to our demands by Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 5PM, we will take direct action.”

69 BC April 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm

I’m not sure if it’s fair to say that “academia” has gone crazy. The letter was signed by 128 anonymous “students, alumni, and allies”, or so they claim. We have no way of knowing how many people anonymously “signed” the letter. Do (undergraduate?) students and alumni represent “academia”? I would usually consider faculty to represent “academia”. I doubt that many faculty think students should play a prominent role in faculty hiring.

70 Massimo Heitor April 24, 2017 at 4:25 pm

The letter and the small group behind it definitely don’t speak for academia. Anonymous students say a lot of crazy stuff. There is a trend that is bigger than this single incident, and that is a highly subjective claim.

71 Massimo Heitor April 24, 2017 at 6:21 pm

OK, anonymous students don’t speak for academia, but this woman actually does:

“Ulrich Baer is vice provost for faculty, arts, humanities, and diversity, and professor of comparative literature at New York University.”

Ms. Baer supports physical threats and intimidation, and ultimately violence to stop the likes of Milo or Ann Coulter or Charles Murray from speaking at universities. This isn’t some fringe student group, this is the faculty and administration of a significant university. Yes, academia has gone crazy.

72 Pablo Martínez-Almeida April 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm

#2 Take a look at Blokable, an American company offering modular housing. A good example of what the future may hold:

Technology has already disrupted several industries and the real estate sector may be next. We will see big changes in the way we build as a result of the use of robotics, 3d printing, new materials and BIM. Other technological trends (AI product recommendation, autonomous transportation, VR-AR…) and basic income-like schemes will further change the business model and affect real estate investing. If any of you are interested you may read my take on all this here:

73 Viking1 April 24, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Typical vaporware. No price list on web site. Looks like the other small housing frauds, give us 30% of the area for 75% of the price.

74 demon john April 24, 2017 at 4:27 pm

A little research on their press kit says that build prices range from $150 to $350 per sqft, depending on the level of finish.

For those who are not familiar, stick-built custom homes (not modular) can be built for between $150 and $200/sqft, going down the larger the home is.

Modulars usually come in between $90 to $150/sqft.

When Blokable can deliver quality construction at modular prices, they might be worth looking at for homes, but for now, you might as well hire an architect and design your home to your exact specifications.

75 Daniel Weber April 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Building houses out of shipping containers is a solution in search of a problem. People figured out how to build houses a long time ago.

76 JWatts April 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm

As far as I can tell blokable has had no significant unit sales. So yes, vaporware.

77 thfmr April 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm

7. Sam Harris gives Charles Murray the hearing most academics won’t:

78 Eric S. April 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Is it 1919 in South Dakota? What about that fact that Barrel House Liquor and Ideal Market, two liquor stores about 20 miles away from Whiteclay, appear to still exist? This just seems to me like there’s going to be a hell of a lot more drinking and driving on Hwy 87.

79 clamence April 24, 2017 at 9:20 pm

I remember hearing some on the res opposed liquor license revocation in Whiteclay for just this reason (at least if walking distance the drunks endanger just themselves +/- a possible fetus).

It would be interesting to compare alcohol use patterns from other towns, like Kyle or Martin to determine how increased distance plays a role (I was driving South out of Martin a few weeks ago and saw several people walking(!) the 18 mile one-way distance to Merriman, NE).

80 Eric S. April 25, 2017 at 8:23 am

The website says the reservation is the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined so the 21 mile distance between Whiteclay and a different liquor store seems immaterial.

81 clamence April 25, 2017 at 1:46 pm

Based on the clientele I encountered last time I was in Whiteclay, a lot of them looked like they don’t own a car so the distance may matter somewhat–but I suppose that is an empirical question that will soon be answered (I will be in Whiteclay/Pine Ridge again on the 1st when the liquor license expires)

82 Edward Burke April 24, 2017 at 2:32 pm


“Academia has gone crazy”, or only “the domain of sociology has gone berserk”?

Couldn’t be happening to a nicer sociologist, we can all be sure.

83 The Centrist April 24, 2017 at 3:19 pm

I agree. But I doubt that the Cultural Revolution will devour AG only and then decide it has eaten its fill.

84 Ray Lopez April 24, 2017 at 2:32 pm

#6 – this story I’ve seen before: did I read it here a while ago? Liquor store in Dakotas draws people from miles away, some of them from the rez…

85 Moo cow April 24, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Same topic different article. I believe the hook here is that the 4 liquor licenses have been revoked?

86 ad April 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm

I’ve read Goffmans book. It was interesting. I would say she was sympathetic towards her subjects, but not especially PC. Presumably that last point is the reason someone thinks she can be driven off.

87 BC April 24, 2017 at 4:24 pm

I think there should be a rule that if something only happens A) on a college campus, or B) on social media, then it should be taken with a grain of salt.

88 Jason Bayz April 24, 2017 at 4:35 pm

3. Article claims libertarianesque government isn’t that popular, but only cites two examples, Texas and New Hampshire. It points to Texas’ slightly below average ranking in some Freedom Index*. But that index breaks Freedom down into three categories, regulatory freedom, fiscal freedom, and personal freedom. Texas’ relatively low score is driven by its average performance on the “regulatory” dimension and its second to last performance on the “personal” dimension. The personal dimension includes things like the “crime adjusted incarceration rate,” arrests for “victimless crimes,” and even laws banning sodomy and cousin marriage. I would expect people to prefer less of this “personal freedom” but “economic freedom” is another matter. Specifically, people seem to like states without income taxes. Of the 9 states without income taxes, 8 had more domestic in-migration than out-migration from 2003 to 2013. Of the 9 states with the highest taxes, 7 saw less than more out-migration:

This includes New Hampshire, which had slightly more in-migration. It has had, as Ozimek pointed out, less total population growth than average, but that is due to its low birth rates and lack of international migration, not because more Americans are leaving.


That’s not to say economic libertarianism is particularly popular as a whole. Many of those states have natural resource wealth, so they can cut taxes without cutting government services. In addition, the state tax system is substantially more regressive than the federal tax system. Thus, ordinary people will, all else equal, prefer an across the board cut in state than federal taxes. Libertarians could certainly use some realism, namely a realization that people won’t vote for a cut in their benefits in order to give a tax break to the wealthiest Americans.

89 JWatts April 24, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Frankly, your analysis is better than the Forbes article.

90 ckb April 24, 2017 at 6:24 pm

I’m a bit dubious of “victimless crimes,” and regard private sexual acts between consenting adults as none of the government’s business. What do you see as the libertarian position?

“Even” sodomy laws…libertarianism runs about a millimeter deep with some people.

91 Jason Bayz April 24, 2017 at 6:42 pm

Well, for me, libertarianism is absent. I just agree with them on some occasions.

I don’t have a strong position one way or another on “victimless crimes,” but a lot of people want them to be enforced. “Quality of life” and all that. Sodomy laws are currently unenforceable, my point was that few would make a decision to move based on them.

92 Troll Me April 26, 2017 at 1:57 am

My understanding is that the quality of life is not very high among those who go to prison for victimless crimes and have a criminal record thereafter.

93 Ricardo April 25, 2017 at 9:25 am

No-tax Florida is famous for attracting retirees of above-average means. How successful is it and other states at attracting people under 60, though? Turning your state into a big retirement community is not a scalable model.

94 Art Deco April 25, 2017 at 10:21 pm

About 80% of the population is under 60 nationally. In Florida, 75% is under 60. Since 1930, the population in general has increased 2.6 fold while Florida’s population has increased more than 13-fold. They appear to be doing all right attracting working-aged people.

95 Bob April 24, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Government efficiency is often far more important than government size in economic terms: A small, yet completely wasteful government is not necessarily better than a far larger one that serves its functions well.

This is an area where has led me to extreme disappointment with local government: Many parts of the US have tiny municipalities that affect people living outside the municipality about as much, if not more, than the people that reside there. The government makes itself not so visible to the people suffering its corruption, and the media situation is such that even major misbehavior, in percentage points, won’t be seen by media, and thus not be seen by voters.

This is an area where forcing a certain level of transparency through software would do wonders: Open data that can be mined leads to all kinds of opportunity for fraud detection. If we can do it to minimize credit card fraud, we can do it for government mismanagement.

96 April 24, 2017 at 9:20 pm

#4 Modelling British electoral process? Simple.

97 Ed April 24, 2017 at 9:44 pm

#6 – How is closing the 4 closest liquor stores going to solve anything? Is everyone on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation going to suddenly stop drinking? I don’t think so. People from the reservation will just be forced to drive further to buy beer, causing drunken driving problems.

Would it be unreasonable to ask the Pine Ridge to solve this problem on their own, perhaps by legalizing alcohol in some form?

98 Thanatos Savehn April 25, 2017 at 12:18 am

Sociology Departments are our generation’s Cabrini-Greens. Have you seen a recent graduation? Have you seen a school of the mines graduation? The world has not changed.

99 April 25, 2017 at 1:13 am

Re: Previous Economist article on the OECD PISA project

A survey on the selection/competition in high school. Is low competition a reflection on complacency? Could it be that complacency (low competition) might improve school performance?

Although the article inferred that competition reduced performance, the chart plotted was actually anxiety vs competition. Plotting PISA scores vs competition agreed in general with that inference. However on closer inspection the points plotted resemble a rotated ‘Y’ curve, the data points bifurcated after the OECDav point, some countries like Canada, Australia, Denmark, and the East Asian countries performed better with competition whereas some others sloping downward. US sits rigth in the middle of the bifurcation.

Thus high competition to be the best (low complacency) improves performance in some populations but overall increases segregation and inequality. Straddling on both sides might not be a good option.

100 mkt42 April 25, 2017 at 3:55 am

2: Decades ago while traveling around Alaska I stayed at a motel that was made from old containers, reportedly left over from constructing the Alaska oil pipeline. It worked okay, as someone commented containers were not designed to become housing units. But as a relatively cheap spartan place to spend the night it worked.

101 Ricardo April 25, 2017 at 5:49 am

Realistic libertarianism is otherwise known as “liberalism” or “conservatism” depending on the compromises one ends up making. I observe that most people who were radical libertarians wind up looking more conventional as they age past 25 or so. More wind up as conservatives who think marijuana should be legalized (no longer a very edgy or controversial view) but a few become liberals with some free market sympathies.

102 Hazel Meade April 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

The pressure to align oneself with a tribe is intense.
But some of us respond to such pressure by digging in.

Fuck you all, I’m not becoming a conservative, or a liberal. Libertarianism is correct and no amount of peer pressure is going to change my mind about that.

103 Anon April 25, 2017 at 9:01 am

“Dr. Alice Goffman as a sociology professor and turn over control of future hiring to students.”

Craziness. What the hell.

104 ScottA April 25, 2017 at 11:04 am

On #1: not sure she deserves much sympathy. The open letter is standard-issue absurdity for colleges these days, but there’s a small part that has some truth to it: “voyeuristic, unethical research”. And I’d add, completely unverifiable and possibly fictional, while removing the word research. Her best-known work is basically a story that might have happened.

In any case, she should know that this is a risk when you get into a field with no standards of objective truth.

On #3: largely true, but the real problem for actual Tiebout sorting is that state/local taxes are irrelevant (100% deductible in a very quiet, automatic fashion), so no one cares about how much their local governments spend. The strongest pressure for reducing government is tax pressure (provided there’s no actual gov’t violence), but won’t exist unless people are really seeing those taxes, and they don’t in the US.

105 Art Deco April 25, 2017 at 10:11 pm

#1: Alice Goffman and this crew deserve each other.

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