Sin Taxes for the Financial Industry

I really wished Jeff Frankel blogged more since economists have established an (undeserved) reputation in the media as John Hodgman-style general experts, but the prominent ones who aren’t named Krugman skew decidedly right and reinforce the laissez faire conventional wisdom. That said, Frankel came through today with a post on the head of Britain’s financial […]

Business Opportunities in Reading

I think it’s more evidence for Cheap Talk’s application of the binding constraint to the pricing of writing (usually free) that when an author can identify a desired class of readers (lefty professors and journalists) and verify they have read the work (force them to write reviews), they are willing to pay. And I like […]

Charitable Quantz

I once had a very long philosophical conversation about this very issue with a homeless man at a greyhound station. He was not amused; he was hungry. I still don’t understand the best behavior. There’s too many tradeoffs involved:

immediate vs long term action individual vs collective efforts personal vs structural change

Of course, right […]

Trickle-Down Charity

Pax Americana, in defense of deductable charitable donations for the arts:

The first [reason] is that deductions are an indirect subsidy to lots of people who aren’t rich, including the middle class, artists, and those that benefit from the research done by universities, which might end up including poor people. The second is that if […]


LA Times does a profile of Freegans living in…New York! Similar to the NY Times longer, better article from back in June. Now I’m a fierce defender of LA against the New York evangelists, but the LA paper makes it hard when they get scooped by 3 months. Plus, I know LA has it’s own […]

The Nonviolent Extermination of the Rich

Mike Meginnis cracks me up:

…my preference would be the version that doesn’t require murdering the ruling class and anyone else who gets in our way. At least we could fail humanely.

My alternative would be capitalism with limits — allow people to seek profits, but under serious guidelines and with tremendous, progressive taxation. A […]

Plastic not Paper

That using cash encourages people to save more than credit cards strikes me as largely generational. There’s no inherent reason that a green piece of paper is less abstract as a representation of money than a white one. Plus you’re less likely to make compulsive purchases if it requires the whole approval, signing process and […]

Drowning the Patriarchy…or something

Before this site was founded with the goal of becoming the web’s #1 source for phallic building news, Litbrit was on the case. From back in July, she brings us mocking of the Hydropolis Underwater Hotel, which breaks with the angular phallacy of the past to explore a more organic kind male structural forms. The […]

Turning Arnold Blue

I haven’t been paying enough attention to this, but the California budget continues to be deadlocked one vote shy of the 2/3’s required to pass. The problem is the Republicans, naturally, who are borrowing plays from their US Senate brethren and trying to dictate policy despite the fact that the public has chosen to keep […]

Men loooooved Nuclear Families

In reading Family Structure, Institution, and Growth(link to pdf) by Avner Greif, I happened upon this fascinating little tidbit:

Relative to the kinship family structure, the nuclear family has both growth-enhancing and growth-retarding properties. For example, while the nuclear family enhances flexibility in economic decision-making, kinship groups can better provide social safety nets than the […]

Tobin Tax

I agree with Ezra Klein’s commenters that this list of Five Lies My Economist Told Me from Foreign Policy is a fairly elementary view of of the problems with the current economic order. That said it does provide me an opportunity to talk about Big Lie #3: the free flow of international capital is a […]