Archive for August, 2008
Lenders Have Not Stopped Lending

People continue to assert that “nobody wants to lend” or that “credit has dried up,” but the data fly in the face of such claims. A great deal of lending is taking place. The interest-rate data I reported in a previous post derive from this lending. For example, commercial and industrial loans at all...
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Guardian Angels for Oakland

With the murder rate in Oakland, Calif., reportedly 3.5 times the national average and violent crime overall 2.31 times the national rate, the citizenry has become increasingly outraged as Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and the city’s political establishment have appeared incapable of even understanding the issue. Similar problems have plagued other major cities as...
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Why Are Interest Rates So Low?

A month ago, I posted a little piece at The Beacon to raise some questions about the so-called credit crunch. You boys and girls should note that this expression is not a technical term in economic science, but rather an idiom that journalists and financial pundits toss around. In any event, for my trouble, I...
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Incentives Matter: Blood Money

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported on Thursday, August 7 that Memphis and Mid-South area blood collection facilities are going to have extra hours on Friday with everyone who tries to donate getting a $10 gift card to Kroger. At issue is the reported shortage of O-positive blood, described as “extremely critical” by a representative from...
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Michael Phelps Said No to Ritalin

If Michael Phelps had stayed on Ritalin, would he be where he is today? Here’s a story Thomas Szasz would appreciate: At age 9, Michael was put on Ritalin, a stimulant used to treat hyperactivity. His mother thinks it helped a little. “He seemed to be able to focus longer,” she said. “He could...
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The Seeds of Another Cold War?

Russia should not have attacked Georgia, especially Georgia proper, and some of its animosity toward Georgia is clearly not noble. But it is fascinating how the American establishment and media have portrayed this conflict as just another case of Good vs. Evil, with the U.S. ally, Georgia, clearly in the right and Moscow clearly...
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Must the Government Combat Americans’ Addiction to Foreign Bananas?

Americans, we are told again and again, are “addicted to foreign oil” and “in love with the automobile.” These phrases are so common in news commentaries that they glide past our intellect almost unnoticed. Yet, they are the sheerest claptrap, and the arguments that accompany them are a waste of the electrons required to carry...
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A Query on Two Secessions: Kosovo and South Ossetia

Can anybody explain why the U.S. opposed violent anti-secessionism by Serbia in Kosovo but (apparently) now supports violent anti-secessionism by Georgia in South Ossetia?

Gasoline as Money in Zimbabwe

Prohibited from using U.S. dollars or other currencies in the midst of hyperinflation, the people of Zimbabwe have now turned to using gasoline coupons for money—anything but the Zimbabwean dollar. The result is that people transact in liters of gasoline, with the coupons as the currency. Zimbabweans face acute shortages of local currency. Already...
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Olympic Games

The 2008 Olympic Games opened on 8-8-08 in Beijing with the rather disturbing slogan, “One World, One Dream,” especially given the Chinese Communist Party’s collectivist hegemony. The opening ceremonies exploded with enormous spectacle featuring 2,008 drummers (despite the buzzing of numerous police helicopters overhead), but spectacle for what? According to the International Olympic Committee...
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