11
Oct
11

Things you should read today

To start with, Bryan Caplan has a post up addressing precisely the sort of “who’s to blame?” question that’s given this post one of my longest comment threads ever:

Many, perhaps most, of Wall Street’s products are junk.  I couldn’t sell them with a clean conscience.  So why do “complex financial schemes” – and not-so-complex schemes like the typical actively managed fund – survive and prosper?  Because of consumers!

[…]

Of course, consumer demand isn’t the only problem on Wall Street.  Many “complex financial schemes” are about regulatory arbitrage – finding perverse incentives and enthusiastically responding to them.  And the perversest incentive of all is “Heads you win, tails you get a bailout.”

There’s no reason to excuse businesses for their role in these evils.  But once again, there’s plenty of blame to go around.  Politicians, yes.  Regulators, yes.  But above all, voters.

RTWT.

——

Next, we have a post by Elmo Iscariot on the common ground between Occupy Wherever and the Tea Party:

The political landscape as it stands has one political party’s rhetoric advocating alliance with big business against big government, and the other advocating alliance with big government against big business. The faithful follower of one of these parties sees one of the two enemies, misidentifies the other as a friend, and studiously avoids seeing the two shaking hands behind his back.

For the record, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to convert conventionally-partisan people to libertarianism (or perhaps just push them in its direction) by pointing out the means by which libertarianism accomplishes their stated aims.  I talk to lefties about regulatory capture and moral hazard and the socialization of risk, and to righties about state overreach and regulatory agencies picking winners and malincentives distorting markets.

It never, ever, ever works.  I must be doing it because it makes me feel better — and probably because I enjoy the cognitive dissonance it creates.  I think people only become libertarians when they get mugged by the state, unless they were inclined towards liberty to begin with.

——

Speaking of liberty, I think this is a good sign:

I’m rather aghast at the idea of peace between judges and legislators.  Not only do I expect an adversarial relationship between branches of government that exist to balance each other out, but I’d be happier if the Supreme Court of Canada occasionally sent bailiffs into Parliament to stalk MPs from the shadows and batter them about the head and neck with rattan sticks.  But here’s the money shot:

The Insite ruling forged a new means to strike down laws if there is scientific or statistical evidence showing that a regulation worsened the danger that an individual or group faces.

I’m not at all sanguine about the ability of public servants to interpret “scientific or statistical evidence”.  So, worst case, this is a vector for regulatory capture by people who can lie with statistics.

Meh.  Still probably no worse than we had before, particularly as the ruling only appears to allow laws to be struck down rather than magicked into existence.

——

Finally, hill-climb porn.  Full-screen, 1080p, volume cranked, go:

Note the size of the air-dam up front compared to the spoiler on the trunk.  That’s got to be exciting in the rain.

(Hat tip: Jalopnik.)

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2 Responses to “Things you should read today”


  1. 1 perlhaqr
    October 11, 2011 at 17:41

    It looked like it got kinda exciting in the rain there a couple times. But, uh, at least the spray from the road probably kept the brakes cool?

  2. October 12, 2011 at 06:55

    Thanks for the shoutout.


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