Just a collection spot for things of interest about where on the Laffer Curve is the sweet spot. At what point is power so concentrated in the hands of petty government agencies that things start to slow down? At what point do economies thrive and overall growth is best for the greatest number of folks? I’d been planning to make a decent posting out of them, but a “Opera / YouTube Bug” has caused me to just toss the stuff here, half done…
England, Hong Kong, and Sir John Cowperthwaite
Even the French Quebecois recognize this Scottish Wisdom:
SIR JOHN COWPERTHWAITE, THE MAN WHO BROUGHT FREEDOM TO HONG KONG *
by Alex Singleton
Sir John Cowperthwaite was the main figure responsible for Hong Kong’s economic transformation, lifting millions of people out of poverty. While scholars like Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek put an intellectual case for the free markets, it was Cowperthwaite who provided the textbook example showing laissez-faire policies leading to swift economic development. His practical example provided confidence to the Thatcher and Reagan governments, and was a key influence in China’s post-Mao economic liberalisation.
Cowperthwaite read classics at St. Andrews and Christ’s College, Cambridge. While waiting to be called up by the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), he went back to St. Andrews to study economics. This Scottish education imbibed him with the ideas of the Enlightenment, especially the work of Adam Smith, who had been born nearby in Kirkcaldy. He was a liberal in the 19th century sense, believing that countries should open up to trade unilaterally. In 1941, he joined the Colonial Administrative Service in Hong Kong. When it fell to the Japanese, he was seconded to Sierra Leone as a district officer, before returning in 1946 to help the colony’s economic recovery. “Upon arrival,” the Far Eastern Economic Review put it, “he found it recovering quite nicely without him.” He quickly worked his way up the ranks and was made Financial Secretary in 1961, in charge of its economic policy for a decade.
Asked what is the key thing poor countries should do, Cowperthwaite once remarked: “They should abolish the Office of National Statistics.” In Hong Kong, he refused to collect all but the most superficial statistics, believing that statistics were dangerous: they would led the state to to fiddle about remedying perceived ills, simultaneously hindering the ability of the market economy to work. This caused consternation in Whitehall: a delegation of civil servants were sent to Hong Kong to find out why employment statistics were not being collected; Cowperthwaite literally sent them home on the next plane back.
One can only wonder at the degree to which AGW is a matter of “statistics” and ‘fiddling about remedying perceived ills”
Given how many time this particular experiment has been tried (central government control vs markets) and how regularly and universally the same answer has been found (free markets and minimal taxes lead to the greatest shared wealth creation); one can only wonder if the complete failure of the Anglo-Saxon and EU west to recognize “the virtue of it’s own historical creation” might be due to some more nefarious desire on the part of those “in power” to assure power and control in preference to wealth creation for all…
Milton Freedman on Robber Barrons
The problem with this “analysis” is pretty simple: Monopolists do NOT depend on willing buyers and willing sellers. The most direct example of this is that Standard Oil under old man Rockefeller demanded a tithe from the rail companies for each barrel of oil shipped by his competitors (or they would be run out of business). When you own most of the chips you can do things like that which harm your competitors and stand between those willing sellers and the willing buyers. No rail company could afford to have John D. as an enemy, so they were forced into raising costs for his competition and providing unearned profits to him. There are many such “predatory practices” that are forbidden by the antitrust laws and it is those practices that define what was evil about the Era Of Robber Barons. Yes, economic activity in total rose fast enough that everyone gained some; but that does not mean their were no Robber Barons.
Economics is a Social Science
When thinking about all these things, you will frequently run into a load of Economists with great theories and wonderful “scientific” proof for why their argument must be right. ( I know, as I am an economist by training and we had to study this stuff at great length.) At those times, it is valuable to remember what Mr. Feynman had to say about “Social Sciences”:
The “short form” for folks not wanting to watch the video is: ‘It isn’t in conformance with the actual requirements of science; so it’s basically just opinions dressed up in fancy talk’.
I would assert that “Climate Science” and especially model driven “Climate Science” is a “Social Science” for all practical purposes…
Unrelated Grab Bag
I have discovered a bug in Opera such that if you have “too many” youtube videos open, any video will load and play the sound, but the picture only moves if you wiggle the mouse over it… As I was prone to holding several videos open, this “caused issues”. (Thus the videos being collected into the above commentary posting). As I’d like to be able to watch videos without constant mouse wiggling, I’m sticking a couple of them here. Unrelated to the rest of the posting, but things that I think are important that I’m pondering (and may someday turn into a posting), stuck here so as not to tickle a bug (instead they can tickle a fancy ;-)
There’s a whole bunch of stuff, including some dwarf planets, orbiting out there a long ways on very eccentric orbits. Intending some day to make a summary posting of what they are and what they do, so this is here as a ‘marker’. One comet explodes when a CME hits it, another (Lovejoy) plunges into the solar ‘atmosphere’ and then comes back out again. Comet Haley ‘erupts’ when out near Neptune (and supposedly too far from solar warmth to do so). Comet Holmes also brightens dramatically on the exit cycle when a solar wind burst happens. And several more similarly blowing up when too far out and too cold to do so. Probably the most odd is Comet Linear that blows up with an X-Ray burst… touched by the electric finger of the sun/god they just explode with fragments separating at 20% of the comet velocity. There’s a lot to ponder here, and I’ve just not had time to ponder enough to make a posting out of it. Nice electric discharge patterns in plastic shown toward the end too.
Cancer and electric fields:
Turns out you can cure cancer with low intensity electric fields as they disrupt cell division via causing that whole spindle / chromosome sorting process to get halted. Also leaves me wondering what the laptop is doing to cell divisions in my lap… but that’s another issue ;-) It does imply, though, that there are a large number of new technical areas waiting to be developed unrelated to cancer. Use of low level electric fields to play with genes in selecting varieties of crops, or potentially in bacterial control or mutation / selection. Can biochemical production be influenced by impressed fields? (Think zymurgy: cheese, wine, beer, even some drugs and chemicals are made via fermentation. Could an impressed electromagnetic field change the products? The rate? Give an on/off switch? Could two different bugs be mixed, one subject to turning on / off at the ‘right times’ and the other left free running? Sourdough bread has a race condition between yeast and lactobacillus, if you could turn on/off the lactobacillus you get finer and easier control of the quality of the bread, as one hypothetical…) This just leads in so many directions…
And, just for amusement, the Torah Code says Romney will be the nominee and probable President:
Against odds of 1,379 to 1, the axis term MITT ROMNEY at it minimum ELS has PRESIDENT at the same skip in a 1-column matrix that only has 17 letters in it (see the yellow background in the top matrix). As is shown after the spreadsheet below, when MITT ROMNEY is found at the second lowest ELS, it still takes only 20 letters in two columns to show PRESIDENT parallel to MITT ROMNEY. The larger matrix shown (377 letters) includes OBAMA, but it was not worth the expansion to include his name as this matrix only appears against odds of 113 to 1.
Somehow I have to think that it’s just a simple consequence of “unlikely things do happen all the time” and the basic assumption that things can only happen ‘by accident’ in their statistical probabilities that is the error. The “clear text” is not a random set of letters, so the ‘hidden text’ ought not be random either, IMHO. Then again, it has a remarkable “postdictive” power ;-)
Oh, and it dumped a couple of more inches of rain on my head yesterday / last night and the spouse reports even MORE snow on Mount Hamilton, so I’m off to see if I can get another picture or if the clouds are too thick… Snow in springtime in Silicon Valley? Yeah, I’m sure that’s because it’s warmer… /sarcoff>;
With that, I can clear some tabs on my browser, see videos again (already tested and it worked! Yay!), and folks can have some interesting stuff to ponder while I continue to not make a decent posting out of them ;-)