Assorted links

1. The perils of underpaying doctors and dentists

2. Feature creep, by James Surowiecki

3. The horrors of Lou Dobbs

4. Book reviews by Herbert Gintis; see #2 in particular on heterodox economics.

These round-up posts are hard to do from Norway, easy to do from home.


Nice article on feature creep. This problem has been recognized within some areas of computer science for probably a couple of decades now. (Guess how many Google hits you get for the phrase "users don't know what they want", for example. Would you have thought as many as 19,000?) It's not a simple problem with a simple answer, of course: it's not the "fault" of users, interface designers, software developers, hardware engineers, or marketers, but rather the way they all come together. . .

Regarding the LouDobbs smear, you might want to check out the link. There's a few things the "reporter" forgot to tell you.

Ironic that Lou Dobbs is spreading hysterical misinformation about illegal immigrants spreading leprosy in the U.S., while in reality an American is spreading incurable TB in Europe.

Intellectual honesty: Lou Dobbs is a kook.


Did you even bother reading the NY Times article? I read your link and it did 0% to rebut the facts in the article, unless you consider ad hominem attacks a rebuttal.

Some quotes from the NY Times article (on Lou Dobbs):

Mr. Dobbs has a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.

This is a polite way of saying he is either a liar or irresponsibly careless in his demagoguery.

He has said, for example, that one-third of the inmates in the federal prison system are illegal immigrants. That’s wrong, too. According to the Justice Department, 6 percent of prisoners in this country are noncitizens (compared with 7 percent of the population). For a variety of reasons, the crime rate is actually lower among immigrants than natives

Your link repeats the lie that immigrants are more likely to be criminals, and doesn't even try to rebut the Justice Department stats.

it defies belief — and a whole lot of economic research — to suggest that the problems of the middle class stem from illegal immigrants. Those immigrants, remember, are largely non-English speakers without a high school diploma. They have probably hurt the wages of native-born high school dropouts and made everyone else better off.

No response from your link. The fact is that Lou Dobbs relentlessly tries to frighten his viewers into thinking that immigration is a threat to the middle class. In reality he gets it backwards.

Ms. Romans, the CNN correspondent, relayed: “There were about 900 cases of leprosy for 40 years. There have been 7,000 in the past three years.†

“Incredible,† Mr. Dobbs replied.

The NY Times story points out that that number is for over the past 30 years, not the past 3 years. Your link on the other hand still tries to make it out to be an epidemic. This is nothing but classic Lou Dobbs scaremongering.

The fact is that there is nothing in the article that unfairly smears Lou Dobbs, it is all documented facts, and your alleged rebuttal link doesn't do anything to rebut the facts that buttress the NY Times accusations. I'm willing to read anything that contradicts the facts in the article that finally tries to take down Lou Dobbs, but you'll have to do better than that.

The big thing I take out of the Dentists article isn't that there's a danger of underpaying dentists, it's that it is such a highly regulated "professional" service. Many states discourage dentists from entering their states. The fact that you have to get licensed by going through an accredited graduate program (I am assuming they need accreditation like Medical and Law schools) is the primary reason the cost is so high. Sure, at some levels of service you get a higher quality of service (given whatever outrageous insurance plan you have), but at some levels you don't get service at all.

Let others practice. Let the market decide.

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