Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club
"Unintended consequences"


We have replaced "Killer Applications" with "Killer Appliances." What is needed is a multiplicity of approaches to solve any problem. The wisdom of the free market will produce the Pareto Optimal solution to whatever problem or possible problem you want to consider. That applies to potential environmental change or any other issue. Anything that limits the flow of information or impedes the ability of an actor to participate in the market reduces the ability of the system to reach the optimum state.

Racism excluded some voices from the market and limits the ability of all of us to benefit from their contributions. Perhaps a child who could invent a better refrigerator does not get the proper training or if they do they are not hired or listened to because of racism. That would be an example of an externality that damages the intellectual market.

Political Correctness also limits the flow of information. By attempting to predetermine results before a free inquiry can occur it excludes other choices with unforeseen consequences. Once it is politically determined that some voices cannot be heard or others criticized under hate speech codes then the conversation and learning end. Once it is politically determined that combatting global warming is a paramount goal then any mechanism that purports to aid in that effort is mandated, no matter how inefficient.

If the shift away from CFC based refrigeration systems had relied more on micro-economic market forces, such as tax incentives or liability costs, then a superior solution would have been found. The blunt force of the government mandate, whether in choosing coolant systems or low flow toilets (that actually end up wasting more water) or racial hiring quotas, restrict future growth and breed cynicism and resentment. More ends up blowing up then the refrigerator.

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What percentage of Americans are descended from pre-1860 white inhabitants in slave owning states?
To anyone descended from the Eastern Europeans, the Southern Europeans, the Asians and the Latin Americans who came to America after 1860, almost all of whom have their own history of serfdom/oppression that they escaped from, the question of what is owed to the descendants of slaves simply does not compute. I am not sure what percentage of even the non-English Northern Europeans, Germans, Scandinavians and Irish in America came before the late 19th century waves. For anyone like Skip Gates to walk around in the United States in the 21st century arguing that they should be judged by anything other then "the content of their character" makes as much sense as if they were to move to Beijing and argue "You owe me because my great grandfather had it rough." That would go over big.

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Robohobo and no mo uro,
(who discussed the impact of global trade on US semi-skilled labor)
Great end of thread points. During the Reagan era the Right smugly assumed that we had won the intellectual battle at home and that the voters would be rational and support us. Once the Berlin Wall fell and History Ended the right thought the game really was over and went off on vacation. Give the Left credit for being savvy. Union membership collapsed during the 1970s through the '90s, except in government and the highly regulated and subsidized industries of health care and transportation but the Left did not go away.

The secret that was in plain sight was that the Left wing capture of the universities, and associated NGOs, gave them a refuge that kept them alive. Also the Left wing lock on declining but significant Black voting block allowed them a secure internal base from which to plan a return to power. Since the Free Market model had removed the institutional locks, unions and urban ethnic block voting, that kept the old Democratic machine in power, the task is now to strengthen those sectors linked to the current party and force more of the population into dependent relations with the government.

The pressure that global economic forces placed on the old industrial base of the Democratic Party could have become a source of strength for the Republicans if they had effectively defended an entrepreneurial America. Unfortunately going back to Nixon's expansion of domestic statism, with unregulated expansion of regulatory authorities under the guise of the EPA and then with the ADA etc., Republicans have helped forge the tools that give the State unlimited authority under the control of Democrats.

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