Footballers and the Top 1%: Footballers’ salaries have skyrocketed in recent decades, just as CEO salaries have. Yet few say that footballers are perpetrators of some unjust conspiracy. The fact is that markets are amoral; people "deserve" whatever others are willing to pay them.

Can we torch Time Magazine’s offices now?: Nick Cohen lays into an article in Time that equivocates about the firebombing of the offices of a French magazine that printed a cartoon of Muhammad.

Your Parents Were Richer Than You Are: I hate this kind of thing. Houses were cheaper back in the 1970s, but can you make a comparison about virtually anything else? My parents could not send a message to anybody they knew on the planet instantly from a mobile device; how much is that worth? If you can’t put a price on the value of technology to people’s lives, then you can’t make meaningful comparisons of wealth across time.

Unleash the Entrepreneurs: Contrast the production-focused approach that this article takes to the credit-focused view that our government takes. Banks are not lending the money they have – is the solution to try to bypass them altogether ("credit easing"), or to make the business environment more attractive to investment? My money’s on the latter.

What Do the French Really Believe About Capitalism?: Famously, the French disdain the "Anglo-Saxon model" of free markets and small government (doesn’t bear much relation to the reality of the Anglo-Saxon world, sadly, but that’s another story…). But what are they trying to get Italy and Greece to do? Cut the size of government and free up their markets through deregulation. Funny, that.

Osborne Has Had a Thatcher Handbag EU Moment Over Tobin Tax: This shouldn’t be newsworthy, but it is so rare that it is. George Osborne rules Britain out of an EU Financial Transaction Tax at a meeting of EU finance ministers. Good for him. If the Eurozone wants to shoot itself in the foot by bringing one in for itself, the City of London can expect to welcome quite a few Frankfurt traders.

I Was Wrong, And So Are You: It turns out that all economists are biased depending on their political preferences. Is that surprising? There’s a good discussion of the questions used to determine this in the comments here, especially of the question of whether an extra dollar is always more valuable to a poor person than a rich person.

Larry White’s “Talking Points” for Yesterday’s Reuters Hayek vs Keynes Debate: Fabulous, concise outline of Hayek’s view of macroeconomics. Should be required reading for everybody interested in the mess we’re in.

Prohibition fuels firestorm of new dangerous drugs: File under "government actions, unintended consequences of". Includes this important, grim point: "These drugs are nobody’s first choice. BZP was originally a worming tablet for cattle. Ketamine was a veterinary anaesthetic. GBL was a superglue remover. In all likelihood, that is what they would have remained had ecstasy not been banned."

 

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