FM newswire for May 27, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. How Progressive is the U.S. Federal Tax System? A Historical and International Perspective“, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 2007
  2. Security Spending Primer: Getting Smart About The Pentagon Budget“, National Priorities Project, 2009
  3. Good summary:  “After combat, suicide top killer of Marines“, Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon, MCAS Yuma News, 11 March 2010
  4. Excellent brief about an important and timely subject:  “Monetizing the Debt“, Daniel L. Thornton (VP), Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 19 March 2010
  5. Recommended, IMO one of his best ever:  “Those irrational, misled, conspiratorial Muslims“, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 26 May 2010 — About propaganda, molding our views of the world (but we love it).
  6. Gates, Congress, and Obama: Mutually Assured Debacle“, Winslow T. Wheeler, Huffington Post, 27 May 2010 — Rather than addressing the fundamental problems in our military forces, they are focused on mutually exclusive short term, tactical goals.
  7. After recognition of defeat, we see the grapes are sour:  “What Has Iran Really Won?“, Judah Grunstein, World Politics Review, 27 May 2010
  8. We’re too broke to be this stupid“, Mark Steyn, Maclean’s, 27 May 2010

Excerpts from today’s Feature Articles

(9)    America’s new culture war: Free enterprise vs. government control“, Arthur C. Brooks (President, American Enterprise Institute), op-ed in the Washington Post, 23 May 2010
(10)  Today’s urban legend debunking: market failure and the QWERTY keyboard

(10)  Almost entirely myths, confusion, and lies:  “America’s new culture war: Free enterprise vs. government control“, Arthur C. Brooks (President, American Enterprise Institute), op-ed in the Washington Post, 23 May 2010 –Key points:

  • Talking about non-materialist values does not mean Obama opposes free enterprise.
  • Government housing policy played a small role in the financial crisis.
  • Limited government and free enterprise was one element in America’s rise, and probably not the largest.
  • Very few Americans want small government.  For example, most conservatives love massive defense and homeland security apparatus and farm subsidies (to name a few).
  • For more detail see “The Myth of Rugged American Individualism“, Charles A. Beard, Harper’s Magazine, December 1931

(11)  Today’s urban legend debunking:  market failure and the QWERTY keyboard

The Fable of the Keys“, Stan Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis, Journal of Law and Economics, April 1990 — Abstract:

This paper examines the history of the QWERTY typewriter keyboard, often put forward as the archetypical case of markets choosing the wrong standard. Contrary to the claims made by Paul David and Brian Arthur, we find virtually no evidence to support a view that QWERTY is inferior to DVORAK. Instead, using records of typing experiments, studies by ergonomicists, and examining the historical record of competition among different keyboard designs back when QWERTY first became dominant, we conclude that QWERTY is about as good a design as any alternative.

Why does this myth still circulate?  It’s politically useful, as explained in “Typing Errors“, Stan Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis, Reason, June 1996 — The standard typewriter keyboard is Exhibit A in the hottest new case against markets. But the evidence has been cooked.”


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