What I’ve Been Reading

1. The World is What It Is, by Patrick French.  This authorized (yes, authorized) biography digs up all the dirt on V.S. Naipaul; I’ve never read anything like it.  Here is a Paul Theroux review.  Here is another rave review.  Theroux’s own self-loathing, quasi-fictional biography of his "friendship" with Naipaul — Sir Vidia’s Shadow — remains one of my favorite books but this is a wonderful sequel.  And if you haven’t read through Naipaul’s ouevre you should, especially A Bend in the River, A Turn in the South, and Among the Believers, among others.  There is something to be said for misanthropy raised to an art form and packed with intellectual content.

2. Paradise with Serpents, by Robert Carver.  The only question is whether this is the first or the second best book on Paraguay in the English language; here is the other contender.

3. The wisdom of Arnold Kling

4. Problems with farm price futures, worth a read.


You mean "misanthropy", right?

I'd love to hear more about farm price futures. I've never really understood the futures or options markets, so needless to say I have no opinion on what's causing the problems in today's market. The article is a good start but a Tyleresque introduction would be great.

"Problems with farm price futures, worth a read."

There is no doubt that the increased volatility that naturally accompanies much higher prices has made hedging more challenging and difficult. We won't be going back to the good old days of quiet, cheap markets for awhile I'm afraid. The solution is more sophisticated marketing plans and probably professional advice for the Average Joe. If Joe likes high prices, Joe must accept greater risk and challenges to marketing. I think that CBOT and CME do a fairly good job in keeping the markets orderly and functioning, but the system is not perfect and it must be approached in a conservative and wary posture. You can't protect everyone from everything in a free market.

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