Archive for the 'Adventures in Economics' Category


Civil unrest is participating in “Give 1, Get 1”

Information is what changes the world.  From oral tradition to cuneiform to WordPress, information has always been what changed the world.  The one child one laptop program is trying to change the third world with information.  We have decided to help, and get Molly a nifty tool in the process.   If her Daddy let’s her use it.  All politics and polemic aside,  if bloggers want to change the world getting behind Negroponte is one thing that can do it.   Not corny food aid.  Not medical assistance.  Access to computing power and information.  I challenge bloggers to Give 1, Get 1 and then use it to spread the word, develop content, change the world however you can.


Thoughtmerchant offers criticism of Ron Paul as a candidate for black americans.

 Thoughtmerchant blogged about how Ron Paul is not the candidate for black americans.  A rowdy converstion ensued and one respondant, ebogjonson, seems to think all ‘Paulites’ are folks ignorant of race relations and cultists in RP’s “unpersonality.” 

I beg to differ. 

Speaking only for myself I would have to say it is a difference, not in knowledge of history but of  worldview.  We ‘paulites’ tend to believe that all individuals benefit from liberty, and even the beneficiaries of the state’s ‘largess’ are victims of that state as well. Find my response below.

ebog,“The fact is that Ron Paul supporters don’t give a flying a fuck about the health of the black community.”  I personally beg to differ.  As a wary Ron Paul supporter I have to say that a great number of RP supporters do care about the black community.  Please don’t paint us all with the same brush.  Any community has its trolls.  The more conscientious among us are concerned about all our communities but my concern for black americans (not black america, I hate the collectivization of individuals in that term) is part of what leads me to support Dr. Paul.  He is the only candidate who would end the War on Drugs that, in addition to being an unnecessary and colossal failure, has disproportionately and disastrously effected black Americans.He is the only candidate who opposes ‘anti-gang,’ which we all know are just euphemistically clothed anti black, gun laws.He is the only candidate who would end the foreign policy that has led to the current imperial wars abroad where our, again disproportionately minority, soldiers are dying.He is the only candidate who will end the war swiftly, without equivocation, without starting new ones in Pakistan or Syria or Iran or Africa or the Baltics.He is the only one who wants to end a tax system where anyone with a clever lawyer can pay less than your average working family.You know what else, ebog?  You seem pretty fond of rhetoric yourself.  I ask you, did congress give anything in the Civil Rights act that blacks had not already won for themselves?  You wouldn’t be sitting in the back of the bus now.  Rosa Parks and the Montgomery church leaders won your seat on the bus through direct action.  It was the courage of civil right leaders, their courage and humanity, that did the most to end racism and segregation in this country.  Don’t rob them of the accomplishment by attributing so much to the actions of reluctant and halfhearted congresscritters.  It is the continued hard work, talent and interconnectedness of brave and good People that will erase racism for all time.   Don’t let yourself be fooled.  The government hasn’t improved the situation. In spite of integration we have a public school system, especially in urban areas, more segregated than ever.  We have a failing education system that delivers less learning to black children.We have a criminal justice system obviously biased against blacks.And your solution is to criticize the one candidate who is not offering more of the same failed state?  I think you might be a little rhetoric over substance.


Are there any non-profits that focus on building social capital and institutions?

From Ronald Bailey’s interview of Kirk Hamilton in Reason: 

Reason: The economic historian Angus Madison calculates that it took 1,800 years for average incomes in Western Europe to rise from $450 per capita in the Roman Empire to $1,250 in 1820. About that time, the West somehow stumbled onto the institutions that allow people to create wealth at exponential rates. If we know what kind of institutions work to create wealth, it would seem we should try to duplicate that in poor countries if we want them to develop.

Hamilton: The only difficulty is that the institutions are local creations. They reflect a particular place and a particular history. If you think of some of the most important institutions we have in the Anglo-Saxon world-things like the beginnings of rule of law and control of the power of the elites-the roots go back to the Magna Carta. The roots of English Common Law go back even farther than that.

Some people tend to be a little bit pessimistic about our ability to impose or create institutions. If it’s true that it actually took centuries of slow, painful, incremental building to get to the point where you are, that’s not a very good message for developing countries. So we have to hope that pessimistic point of view is wrong. We do have some examples in recent history in developing countries-South Korea, India, Thailand -where some sort of crisis or impetus came and institutional change occurred very quickly and had a major impact. So it’s important not to be too pessimistic.

We have recently been putting more focus on investing in countries where there are better institutions, but it leaves us with the question of what do you do with the rest, the poor countries, the low-income countries under stress? We have to think hard about how humanitarian needs can be met, and how we start to change the institutions, how we start countries down that road, because it does seem to be a pretty fundamental part of the development story. There are no easy answers that I’ve seen.

Read the rest here:

 My question is “Who is out there in the world building Trust?”  Are there institutions IGO’s, NGO’s that are building the societal capital that makes wealth possible?  Are they hiring?