Assorted links

1. Too big to sail?

2. What do we know about a possible marijuana legalization? (pdf)

3. The Japan Travel Agency for Stuffed Animals.

4. Arthur Danto has passed away.

5. Free to Choose? (car ad).

6. Bordo and Landon-Lane on credit booms and bubbles, here and here.  Some dare call it Austrian.


The legalization article is now in JPAM and if you are gonna link to that article you should link to the entire series (Point/Counterpoint)

Some great work all around.

It seemd like none of the littany of problems rattled off by the NYT article related to a ship being too big. It was basically, "ships are too big. *littany of non-size related issues* therefore, ships are too big."

Size exacerbates fire and evacuation issues.

Other one person making a bald assertion to that fact, none of the example demonstrate that the fire/evac issues cited were size related. They were random example of poor training, faulty equipment, failure to follow procedures, etc., but none of them were examples of something that wouldn't happen on a smaller ship.

I think you are correct here. Note the complete lack of any statistics in the article. I have a feeling that size doesn't make the ships any more unsafe, it just means that the statistically inevitable accidents are that much more visible. My gut personally buys the "bigger ships means more and better protections and equipment" argument.

Classic argument by anecdote.

Bigger ships probably mean the average passenger is farther from the outside and higher up once they get to the outside. It also means that a given area of ship surface has to handle a greater number of people's egress per unit time if you want to maintain the same evacuation time as a smaller ship. So there's some reason to think bigger ships should create harder evacuation problems.

But, as you say, bigger ships may lend themselves to better solutions that themselves work better at large scales. For example, bigger lifeboats are safer and a bigger ship can more easily accommodate bigger lifeboats.

I don't know if there are enough modern, large passenger-ship accidents to make statistics useful, but more data than was provided in the article is certainly required to come to conclusions.

To some extent statistics can't help since we are only now approaching the passenger-ship-size where this size-risk becomes high.

Some of this will remain speculative, because it's trying to avoid just the sort of disaster that will show up as a big red blob in the statistics.

#5: The 1950s called, and they want their car ad back.

Insensitivity abounds. There was a billboard back about 10 years ago in Silicon Valley that said for some product: "buy (picture of a wife)", "lease (picture of a girlfriend)" or "rent (picture of a hooker)". Against that, or perhaps concomitant, was the billboard by RuPaul, the drag queen, that simply said (for some company communications product, long forgotten): "Meetings are a drag". But my favorite was (and I wish I could have torn these posters down and kept them, they made me laugh out loud): some bus, subway and trolley posters in San Francisco that showed homeless people being made fun of. One of them--sorry but I split my gut laughing in front of total strangers while dressed in my business suit when I first saw these--around 1994--was two businessmen looking at some bum fishing something out of a garbage can, and them saying: "He's not gonna eat that is he?". Supposedly the artist was trying to highlight insensitivity but some people took it the wrong way. Those posters were the best modern art I've ever seen. LOL, literally.

Why is loose monetary policy being absorbed in asset prices rather than general inflation? It seems like the easy answer is inequality. The people who get the money do not spend it they invest it.

#2. One area this paper failed to cover is the possible labor market implications and how this may relate to crime. What does the legalization of recreational marijuana do to the labor market (black and formal)? I imagine that it will displace many currently working in the black market, and I question what will those black market workers do as an alternative? I think this is one of the key unknowns, and it may negatively effect crime if those working with marijuana move onto to new black market activities.

#6: It seems dangerous to me to attribute all of those movements in interest rates to monetary policy. If real rates are low for structural or cyclical reasons, and these rates cause asset prices to rise, then if the central bank tightened monetary policy as a response, they would be doing exactly the opposite of what they should be doing.

I did a post on the peculiar interaction between real and nominal interest rates and home prices here:

Here are my follow up posts:

I attended a conference in Denver over the summer. If the 16th street mall is the face of marijuana legalization then Colorado can have it.

Nein, nein, nein. The business cycle is not a monetary phenomenon at all, but rather a simple matter of microeconomics. Because land is a basic factor of production that is perfectly inelastic in supply, it will always tend to increase in price and create incentives for speculation, hoarding and fraud. This conflict between the expected returns to landowners and the necessary subsistence returns to labor and capital is an inevitable result of allowing the rent of land to be capitalized and is the root cause of the business cycle. Easy money can certainly amplify the problem, but once a stalemate occurs you cannot allow the financial system to collapse in order to clear the market.

The solution is simple: don't allow the rent to be capitalized. Side effects include better allocation of resources and the elimination of all other taxes.

Fred Foldvary, an editor for EJW, took a pretty good swing at this some years ago.

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