Open thread: Sunday morning talking heads
43 minutes ago
At the heart of the ideology that motivated Danny Pearl’s killers is not religion but the same totalitarian impulse that we have seen appear and reappear, like a pestilence, across numerous countries and cultures and eras, intensely so during the past hundred years.It's Nazism with religious cover.
Conservative critics who disparaged the Nobel Prizes following the awarding of the Peace Prize to President Obama should think again. On November 12, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the economics Nobel jointly to Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson for their advancement of the field of “economic governance.” The governance they analyze is actually governance without government, which could also be described as “voluntary self-regulation”—something American conservatives should celebrate.
Here's why. In traditional economic theory, the market allows resources to be allocated optimally by coordinating the actions of self-interested individuals through the power of price signals. However, there are circumstances in which some other mechanism or institution is needed, either because the transaction costs of determining a price are too high, or because the good in question is freely available—insofar as it is not owned by anyone—but nevertheless finite—as in, for example, fishing stocks. For many politicians, especially left-leaning ones, the solution is government regulation or ownership. Ostrom and Williamson, however, have explained how other forms of non-market governance have worked so well for centuries.
Oliver Williamson argues that when a transaction is very complicated and difficult to pin down in a contract, a company may be better off undertaking it internally. This is why companies often expand through mergers and acquisitions rather than outsource particular tasks. Williamson’s work has contributed to the recent welcome decline in antitrust intervention in the case of vertical mergers. Large companies, frequently maligned as rapacious by the left, expand to cut costs, not to impose monopoly prices on hapless consumers. Top-down government mandates that get in the way of such expansions make things worse for companies, their customers, and their employees.
Elinor Ostrom also has analyzed resources not regulated by market-transactions: those that are “unowned” or held in common, such as pastures, drinking wells, lumber, wild game, and fishing stocks. According to the theory known as the “tragedy of the commons,” the absence of property rights over such finite resources results in depletion or environmental degradation. The traditional solution has been to confer private property rights on individuals—such as in the English Enclosure Movement—or to impose government regulations.
But Ostrom argues that this is not necessarily the case. In situations in which the people who use a resource interact on a regular basis, credible retaliation makes cooperation possible. Ostrom cites numerous instances in which such “self-regulation,” via formal or informal agreements among private parties, has prevented the depletion of a resource held in common. She argues that government intervention often disrupts these institutions without providing an adequate or beneficial alternative, to the detriment of the stakeholders who are affected.
A similar logic helps explain how institutions ranging from voluntary associations to the family operate without price signals or top-down state control: If the agents in question regularly interact with each other, and the transactions cost for setting a price is high, then other forms of governance will naturally arise. Hayek’s concept of “spontaneous order” comes to mind.
Politicians’ pretense of knowledge and failure to understand the ability and willingness of stakeholders to cooperate help to account for the proliferation of damaging regulations across the economy. For example, logging restrictions are unnecessary, because loggers have an inherent incentive to avoid depleting their resources. In fact, the total forest area in temperate countries actually increased between 1980 and 1990, thanks to the use of efficient forest planting methods and improved agricultural productivity.
Yet even so, as The Economist reports, “an entire industry seems to have sprung up to identify ‘new commons’ or to claim as commons things not always seen that way.” For instance, recent and ongoing attempts by governments to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten to increase energy prices without any palpable benefit for consumers. Under the current European emissions trading regime, designed to cut emissions, total GHGs produced within Europe have actually risen even as energy costs have skyrocketed. The cap-and-trade bill now under consideration in the Senate would have a similar effect for American consumers.
With the economic crisis pressing heavily on voters’ minds, conservative politicians need to highlight the significant economic costs of state regulations and the additional costs that would be imposed by new environment and health care initiatives. And they might even find a good word to say for the Nobel prizes in the process.
Approximate government ownership percentages:
Chrysler Finance: I couldn't find quickly
But isn't it the role of the Board of Directors to set executive compensation? Why would they not call a Board of Directors meeting and put the compensation packages to a vote of the shareholders (Hint: they may lose the vote)….
"No doubt many will cheer executive pay cuts ordered by the Obama administration at companies that received U.S. bailouts last fall, but the celebration will prove short-lived. Obama pay czar Kenneth Feinberg, who has unprecedented authority to dictate pay in the private sector, has told executives at seven companies that their paychecks will be cut by 90 percent this year. In lieu of cash, the top 25 executives at American International Group (AIG), Bank of America, Citigroup, Chrysler, General Motors, and the financing arms of the two car companies will receive restricted stock in their companies, most of which they can't touch for years. On average, their total compensation will drop by 50 percent."
Still, this might be a fair assumption to make--obviously the economy is #1 in peoples' minds these days, and understandably so. But isn't it slightly possible that there are other factors at work here that have people doubting Al Gore's hysteria?
As NewsBusters rightly points out, couldn't the fact the BBC recently reported that "for the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures" have an impact on peoples' perception of "global warming"?
"Not Evil Just Wrong," the feature-length film she made with her husband Phelim McAleer, coolly reveals how Al's disguise of hot fanaticism as cold fact arrives as the Senate begins to gear up for debate on "climate change" legislation.Watch the documentary, then buy my husband's book - Really Inconvenient Truths - and make a weekend out of it.
Many readers will have come across Roger Pielke Jr, a professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Roger is a political liberal and a firm believer in the theory of anthropogenic global warming. However, because he has had the temerity to suggest that certain parts of the received wisdom of climate alarmists have little substance (such as the idea that there have been massive increases in weather-related damages caused by global warming), he is no longer welcome on the Left. What is most interesting is the way his detractors have gone about his ostracism. Roger describes how the leftist wing of the blogosphere works in some detail here. It is worth everyone's time to read. Some further details on the behavior of two of the principal actors against him, Clinton-era officials Joe Romm and Brad DeLong, are here and here.
“A loosening of Morals leads to a hardening of hearts.”
“Turning the other cheek does not mean letting yourself get slapped around. Forgive but don’t let it happen again.” Me - if you knew my history, this is something I need reminding of.
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Dr. Martin Luther King
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, popular, or political; but because it is right.” Dr. Martin Luther King
“God is not merely interested in the freedom of brown men, yellow men, red men and black men. He is interested in the freedom of the whole human race.” Dr. Martin Luther King
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Dr. Martin Luther King
Now, when a union complains about taxes, you just know they must be over the top. Indeed, they are.