Sunday assorted links

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#1 - Public choice, alive and well! That steering wheel with the spike in the center...

Not all professional economists are idiots. Some are omniscient.

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Conversely, always interesting how these guys that are always skeptical of central planning, wasteful infrastructure projects, wasteful make work, criticizing the bias to action and the ‘must do something' framework, must 'attack' negative externalities, appreciate the power of unintended consequences, calling out BS linear friction free policy proposals projections, etc. are usually silent if not supportive when it comes to the latest neocon good idea regime overthrowing adventure that is framed as some weak WWII/holocaust analogy with linear projected outcomes since the US military is believed to be a potential tool for every problem.

One's mood affiliation may fill in the blank to who I am referring to so consider this comment straussian.

Do they really? What was Buchanan’s it Tullock’s view on the vietnam war? Most big name libertarian economists - the kinds most likely to cite Public choice theory - have usually opposed military intervention.

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This criticism applies to "conservatives" rather than Libertarians.

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Very sad news about Kobe

This whole thread has gone to pot. At the risk of sounding perverse, I thought the most interesting fact about the Kobe crash was that the Sikorsky S-76 bearings never need lubrication. I never would have expected that. Keep in mind the bearings are taking the entire load of the chopper which is heavy, over 5 tons, and seats 15 people. RIP Kobe, who spoke Italian.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_S-76
The main rotor hub has a single piece aluminum hub with elastomeric bearings designed not to require lubrication or any other kind of maintenance throughout its design life

Bonus trivia: the French have the best helicopter pilots, and in theory but not in practice even with the engine off you can feather land a chopper.

Also the S-76 did not from initial reports appear to be overloaded in weight. This is important since if a helicopter is overloaded, even a single passenger getting up abruptly, say in a panic, can actually tip the chopper into a fatal spin, especially at low altitude (planes are not dissimilar; once on a commercial jumbo jet I was on the pilot requested people not all rush to the left side of the plane to see some view since it was causing the plane to strain; also common with parachutists on smaller planes). I don't know if they have black boxes on commercial choppers but it would be something if it was found the passengers, somehow panicked due to the low visibility and caused a fatal spin. But more likely it's routine pilot error with instrument flying.

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More sad about the rest of family.

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2- One makes you dumber, the other counteracts was that effect a little, but shortens your life and compromises your health.

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2 - cool. Do coffee next.

Been done. Cigarettes activate a couple of liver enzymes that burn off caffeine faster. These leads to increased consumption needs to get the same level of caffeine effect.

Cigarettes lead to increased coffee consumption, not so much the other way round.

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#4

Interesting. What’s the Scott Sumnerian take? These sanctions didn’t make the Syrian government lose the war, if anything they just added to the sum of human misery from the conflict.

Sanctions can move the needle on a cost benefit analysis. When a regime’s survival is already at stake, though, sanctions are probably counterproductive in a purely negative utilitarian “prevent suffering” sense.

But then repeated games.....

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In the early '70's I was TA for an Intro Econ class. At the time, the Canadian government[s] was considering legalizing marijuana. The beer producers and wine importers were in favor; whiskey was against. The professor turned that into an exam question: Using the concepts of substitutes and complements, explain why that is rational self interested behavior.

One student answered: There is nothing better than to hold a bottle of Boone's Farm Apple Wine in one hand and a joint in the other. I gave her full credit! :-)

Good ones -- both the question and the answer!

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1. The best government the wealthy can buy: that's public choice. Duh.

It’s literally the opposite.

But its afternoon and you’re sundowning. I’d say call your children but you of course don’t have any. Just like anonymous, aging unsuccessful Boomers that failed to reproduce now word vomiting into cyberspace.

Insert “it’s all so tiresome” meme

The wealthy may not vote for the stuff, but they are the ones who pick up the interest premium on government debt.

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Public choice theory would indicate that ignoring public choice theory is predictable.

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#1. This would be more persuasive if fewer authors would refrain from using "public choice theory" as an incantation meaning "Stop!" I'd like to see it applied to going on our way less merrily.

When you're going the wrong way, stopping gets you closer to your objective than proceeding 'less merrily'.

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# 2 So legalization of marijuana and increased taxation of cigarettes are complementary policies.

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#4 Images reminiscent of the opening sequence of “The Prisoner”.

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1. I feel like this was written for me:

"When critics appeal to “public choice problems,” it’s tempting to tell the critics that they’re the problem. The political system isn’t that dysfunctional, is it? In any case, reflexively whining, “The political system will muck up your clever, appealing policy proposal,” hardly makes that system work better. The naysayers should become part of the solution: Endorse the clever-and-appealing policy proposals – and strive to bring them to life."

I'm the guy saying we should strive to bring real solutions to life. It's fine with me if solutions are merely pragmatic rather than especially clever, but I'd be onboard with either. I'm fully ready for far more cooperative action than I'm ever offered. I really do think naysayers, and a growing cynicism in American life, are a big part of the problem.

And perhaps unsurprisingly I didn't find the second half of the piece, arguing against "solutionist" thinking to be that convincing. I didn't see a better path offered.

I'd say be happy with incremental improvements, and don't lose faith. Because if too many lose faith you don't just get an edgy public choice critique of democracy. Without a common belief in foundational values it's quite possible to fall to kleptocracy, amoral oligarchy, for any number of very bad patterns.

We are suffering that kind of decline right now, this week, as crimes don't matter - and we are too cynical to ask for anything better.

Actually Caplan did offer a solution, quite clearly: doing nothing is better than doing something when that something fails a cost benefit test. And implied here, that doing nothing is better than the GND.

And sure, it’s nice for most of us to agree on foundational values, but why do they have to be your values? Why should t self-ownership or freedom of exchange take precedent over democracy? Everyone agrees that we should all agree, that’s the easy part. What to agree on is the hard part.

I did not see Caplan apply a cost benefit test to anything, just point out as if it were sort of revelation, that given public choice theory the net benefits will be less than if measured without taking into account public choice.

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If you think government is "cooperative", that's your problem right there.

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@anonymous: " I'm fully ready for far more cooperative action than I'm ever offered. "

Public-Policy ls not about voluntary "cooperation" it's all about "forcing" people to do what they do not want to do.
It is the imposition of the values/goals of some people upon other people who oppose them.

P.S. Caplan has great difficulty getting to his point,.

I take the deep historical view. Man has never lived as a naturally solitary creature. We are a social species. It's taken "a village" longer than we've had written language. Maybe even longer than spoken language. From when we were troops, bands, taking down the woolly mammoths.

We've always found ways to cooperate. This has always been necessary for survival, and prosperity. Large democratic, representative, constitutional governments are just the way we've found to scale that aspect of human nature. Up to millions of empowered citizens.

And in terms of how to organize, or "force" consensus, democracy really had proven to be less bad than all the others.

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Wherever they are found, band hunter-gatherers (hereafter referred to simply as hunter-gatherers) live in small, mobile bands that move regularly from place to place within large but relatively circumscribed areas; do not condone violence; are egalitarian in social organization; make decisions by consensus; own little property; readily share what they do own; and have little occupational specialization except those based on gender (Kelly, 1995).

It's natural, and I think constitutional democracy it the best way we've found to scale it.

I mean, maybe it would be nice to wait for a full consensus of 300 million people, but it's not really practical.

.....And, there's the rub. Tell yourself a sweet story about people cooperating in the mists of time, then justify sending goons out to threaten to fill anyone who disagrees with you full of holes because actually cooperating isn't 'practical'. But its interesting that you still want to feel all warn and fuzzy by pretend it's just the modern day version of cooperation. Maybe we should only have those laws everyone can agree on at the federal level, and if consensus doesn't scale to 300 million, that's a sign it's a decision that should be made by a smaller group.

^^ A good reason the founders were right to chose a republic rather than a straight democracy.

It certainly makes it easier to 'get things done', but if most (or even a large minority of) people don't want it done, why would we consider it 'good'? Just because some megalomaniac has a vision for society? How is the war on drugs going for you? How about the war on poverty? Have we reached the great society yet, or is America great again?

This is exactly why we have cascading levels of government, so contentious issues can be solved in different ways in different places, but thanks to the republic, almost all issues of importance are decided at the federal level, and now the country is tearing itself apart as the two parties try to seize DC with the sole aim of inflicting maximum damage to the other's earnestly held vales. Slow clap for republicanism.

So what is the superior alternative?

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1. “Once you pay proper respect to public choice theory, however, you cannot simply continue on your merry way.”
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We are far from proportional democracy. So or votes are far from relevant to our lives.

Fix one thing first, inform all our expert pundits to understand,"We are not a proportional democracy"

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1. Things are looking/feeling very different on the ground here in Australia. The current government's position has gone from:

"Some gas you may or may not remember from high school probably isn't doing anything bad we need to worry about..."

To:

"Higher temperatures don't increase bushfire risk."

This isn't going to fly here. Not in a country raised on bushfire warnings.

The government is likely to dump our current Prime Minister and replace him with someone who will promise to take action on climate so they can win the next election. While the promises may be mostly window dressing, it will be a major change from their current insistence that Australia should bend over backwards to do as little as possible about global warming.

Here's news clip showing Australians swearing at the Prime Minister:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh7pf88_4y4

Assuming that recovery from the brushfires will require additional expenditures and that the deficit does not need to be increased for macroeconomic reasons, a tax on net emissions of CO2 would seem to be an excellent way to raise revenue and address the negative externality of CO2 emission positive externality of CO2 capture.

That's not a bad idea at all. However, this current government is responsible for removing the carbon price we had. Same government, just a couple of Prime Ministers ago. They also reduced our Renewable Energy Target by 20%.

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