Friday , February 26 2021
Home / Tag Archives: Politics and Economics

Tag Archives: Politics and Economics

The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club Commentary, Part 5

We continue our discussion of Orwell’s “War Is Peace.” Abe: I don’t think that Orwell did believe the Soviet system could last for a long time. In fact, I’ve always suspected that the last third of 1984 was more tongue-in-cheek than people believe; Orwell was in fact poking fun at people in his time who believed that such a society could be perpetuate itself. My reason for believing this is this essay where he reviews James Burnham’s “The Managerial Revolution”:...

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Great Moment in Public Service Number 12,933

I live in Monterey County, where the Monterey County Health Officer, Dr. Edward Moreno, has had a lot of control over our daily lives since last March. Many of us were hoping that at least he would do his job and get Monterey County its pro rata share of the Covid-19 vaccines allocated to California. No such luck. Here’s what a local weekly publication, the Carmel Pine Cone, reported in an email on February 13: On Thursday the Wall Street Journal, citing data from...

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Will Joe Biden Be a Dictator?

This might look like a ridiculous question to ask about a soft-looking near-octogenarian who signals his virtue by repeating the inclusiveness mantra. But not so much if you define “dictator” as a political ruler who imposes on the whole population some shared preferences of the minority who brought him or keeps him in power. A more inclusive definition would replace “minority” by “majority short of unanimity.” Biden was elected by 51% of the American voters. If, to...

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The seen and the unseen

Here is someone arguing against loosening regulations to allow more home building, unless supported by the neighborhood in question: I would only support upzoning in order to create affordable housing if the zoning changes were supported by the community that they would affect. Currently, our land use process provides inadequate opportunity for substantive community input. I oppose upzoning our City’s historic districts. We can address our city’s affordable housing...

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Ezra Klein on California Housing Restrictions

In much of San Francisco, you can’t walk 20 feet without seeing a multicolored sign declaring that Black lives matter, kindness is everything and no human being is illegal. Those signs sit in yards zoned for single families, in communities that organize against efforts to add the new homes that would bring those values closer to reality. Poorer families — disproportionately nonwhite and immigrant — are pushed into long commutes, overcrowded housing and homelessness....

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Vaccine Adventures

Following up on information that Covid-19 vaccines were available there, I walked into the small Maine pharmacy. I saw nobody inside, not even at the cash register. I continued to the back of the store: nobody manned the two counters of the pharmacist’s hideout. I stood in front of one. After just a few minutes, an employee appeared on the other side. “Could I see the pharmacist?” I asked. The pharmacist came. “I have been told that you have Covid vaccines,” I said....

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The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club Commentary, Part 4

We’ve now moved on to “War Is Peace.”  Here are my thoughts on your latest comments. LEB: I know you were speaking to the specific Huxley quote, but on the whole I wouldn’t dismiss “Brave New World” so quickly.  Americans have willingly ceded a great deal of their freedom to the government in recent decades… I agree that Americans ceded a great deal of freedom to the government over the last century.  I don’t see that there’s been a net loss of freedom in American...

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The Economics of Violence: A Short Introduction

The simplistic declarations about violence heard after the “insurrection” of January 6 at the Capitol invite a reflection on the economics of violence. The economist’s starting point is that an individual uses violence when it is in his personal interest to do so—when, given his circumstances and constraints (including subjective moral constraints or the lack thereof), he finds the net expected benefit of violence greater than the net expected benefit of peaceful...

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The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism Book Club, Part 4

Now our ongoing Book Club turns to Chapter 3 of Orwell’s book-within-a-book, famously entitled “War is Peace.”  I continue to refer to Orwell as the author of the book even though he’s playing a role and may not have fully agreed with his own words. Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments and I’ll do an omnibus reply later this week. The splitting up of the world into three great super-states was an event which could be and indeed was foreseen before...

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The Covid election

Over at MoneyIllusion, I did a post discussing some odd election anomalies. Now that I’ve had a chance to look at the detailed election map more closely, certain consistent trends seem to show up. Let’s start with the basic overview. In 2016, Clinton beat Trump by 2.9 million in the popular vote. In 2020, Biden won by over 7 million votes. So obviously the country shifted substantially toward the Democrats. But many sub-groups went the other way: 1....

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