The Economist's Cookbook

Recipes For A More Free Society

  • "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."

    - F.A. Hayek

End-Run Around The Second Amendment

Posted by The_Chef On 11:40 AM 0 comments

Let's face it gun control is not popular right now. Especially when it comes to national level legislation. Several Supreme Court cases have helped to bolster our case for the ability to "cling" to our guns. So instead of playing by the rules, the gun control nuts are trying an end-run to ban all ammunition that has lead in it. So ... basically all of it.

...the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Lisa Jackson, who was responsible for banning bear hunting in New Jersey, is now considering a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) – a leading anti-hunting organization – to ban all traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, a law in which Congress expressly exempted ammunition. If the EPA approves the petition, the result will be a total ban on all ammunition containing lead-core components, including hunting and target-shooting rounds.
I know this is executive branch because it's going through the EPA, but everyone needs to get in touch with their Congressman/woman and raise all sorts of hell. Spam fax lines if you have to. If this goes through, there is going to be some serious fallout. And I do mean the kind of fallout where people that are normal, peaceful people begin throwing Molotov cocktails at the EPA building. I do not want to see violence against the political class. It won't help our case. In the end, it might end up happening, but we're not there. Hopefully we'll never get there.

The bullet points are interesting:
  • There is no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations.
  • Wildlife management is the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 50 state wildlife agencies.
  • A 2008 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on blood lead levels of North Dakota hunters confirmed that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition does not pose a human health risk.
  • A ban on traditional ammunition would have a negative impact on wildlife conservation. The federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent) is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding. The bald eagle’s recovery, considered to be a great conservation success story, was made possible and funded by hunters using traditional ammunition – the very ammunition organizations like the CBD are now demonizing.
This should scare you if you're a shooter. It is legislating by proxy with little or no recourse for the "little guy" you can't vote bureaucrats out of office.
(image Courtesy of Oleg Volk)

I found this especially interesting. It's very much worth watching and raises some interesting arguments in the justice sphere. How can we hope to "rehabilitate" people that are literally ticking bombs from a neuroscience standpoint.


Well ... the 9th Circuit Court of appeals has done it
again. This is quite frightening. Courtesy of the DEA, of course.

They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.
After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand.
So we can watch you from traffic or CCTV cams, we can track you through OnStar without your consent. They can now attach a GPS to your car and watch you where ever you go.
In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy.
Really? So... trespassing no longer applies to others? Or is it only okay for agents of the state when they are watching you ... the little guy?

Iran: Still Nothing To Worry About.

Posted by The_Chef On 11:29 AM 1 comments

A friend of mine sent me this on facebook and it helps to corroborate what I've been saying for a while: Don't worry about Iran. The place is a mess with internal instability and as a result they are not a threat to anyone. In fact, intervention by the west might help to unify the government under the current Iranian Administration and that's the last thing we want to see happen.

People want to be free and the Green Revolution movement that was quashed about a year ago was only the first incident that might be coming down the pipe for Ahmadinnerjacket's Administration. Ya see, people are tired of the bullshit over there. The Shah was immensely corrupt, this current government is no less corrupt but wraps itself in the purity of the Muslim State as determined by the Imams. The outcome? Well let's see: You have a pissed off young generation that feels squeezed and controlled by their masters. You have politicians that are beginning to realize that the overthrow of the shah left them with a corrupt state drawing its power from religious tyranny. And you even have some of the Imam's questioning whether or not the path their country is on will lead them to a collapse.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Leave them alone and let the whole thing collapse on itself because it can't help but do otherwise. In fact, this might be one of the few positive things to come out of the invasion of Iraq. With the removal of Saddam Hussein and the current political infighting in Iraq, there is no longer a strong militaristic presence to threaten Iran. Without that fear, Ahmadinnerjacket lost one of the weapons to control his populace.

Hell, their own military is shooting down their own lauded drones. Heh ... if the Iranians can shoot them down, I'm quite sure that the US or the Israeli militaries could swat them out of the sky with ease. As long as they are left alone, the system will collapse on its own. Now what comes out of it? We don't know, but it can't be much worse than what we see now.

Justice Dept. called yo.

Posted by The_Chef On 10:42 AM 0 comments

The US Justice Dept. is hiring Ebonics experts to decode bugged calls.

Your tax dollars at work.

Fo' Shizzle.

I don't know, I've got nothing.


The Economics of the "Gender Gap"

Posted by The_Chef On 10:02 AM 0 comments

There has been a lot of hubub over the so-called "Gender Gap" between the payscales of women and men in the workplace in both the US and in some countries in Western Europe. In a culture where it is anything but PC to assume that there are differences between the sexes, there are some interesting notations to be made. Ironically one of which is a rather insightful comment from someone that I completely disagree with on many issues: Peter Singer. Yeah, the guy that basically jump-started the animal liberation movement. But in writing about the differences in pay scale between men and women. He makes a very interesting observation:

While Darwinian thought has no impact on the priority we give to equality as a moral or political ideal, it gives us grounds for believing that since men and women play different roles in reproduction, they may also differ in their inclinations or temperaments, in ways that best promote the reproductive prospects of each sex. Since women are limited in the number of children they can have, they are likely to be selective in their choice of mate. Men, on the other hand, are limited in the number of children they can have only by the number of women they can have sex with. If achieving high status increases access to women, then we can expect men to have a stronger drive for status than women. This means that we cannot use the fact that there is a disproportionately large number of men in high status positions in business and politics as a reason for concluding that there has been discrimination against women. For example, the fact that there are fewer women chief executives of major corporations than men may be due to men being more willing to subordinate their personal lives and other interests to their career goals, and biological differences between men and women may be a factor in that greater readiness to sacrifice everything for the sake of getting to the top.1
It would seem that Singer makes an interesting evolutionary argument for the difference between men and women. I'm not saying here's right, but it did get the wheels turning a bit. I do respect him for not falling into the typical feminist argument of "THERE ARE NO DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SEXES!" line that I have heard from people and has actually been espoused by feminist philosophers. To throw a bit of libertarian economics into Singer's argument (which I'm sure would give him a stroke as the guy is a raging socialist and "social justice" advocate): It would seem that, if we accept Singer's argument that males face an evolutionary incentive given our background and genetic programming, we should expect them to have a higher drive to succeed as it increases their potential mate pool. And this isn't that far-fetched given that we know that women in general highly value the stability and ability to provide in a mate.

There is also another reason that I've seen advanced by several Economists with some interesting data to back up their statement that: Women make less during their child-bearing years because companies are discounting the value of their labor inputs because the chances are very good that these women are going to want to have children. As a result they are basically lost to the company for at least 12 months. There's not exactly a temp service for a VP of Plant Operations. I can't seem to find the study right off the top of the net, so if someone has a link to the actual paper I'd appreciate you sharing it. What they noted was that this so-called "gender gap" seems to disappear in post-menopausal women ... I found that, extremely interesting. Yes yes, Correlation is not Causation. That doesn't mean it doens't bear more investigation.

1 Peter Singer, A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), pp. 17-18.