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Archive for October, 2014


“Don’t let anybody tell you that . . .”

Corporations and businesses create jobs

Apparently, Hillary Clinton thinks that corporations and businesses don’t create jobs. She said this in the context of poo pooing trickle down economics. The best thing to read on the subject is something written by Thomas Sowell in 2001. You might also be interested in a post in this blog on “Who built that?”


Travel Bans

I’ve been watching the CDC head as well as politicians hem and haw about what is wrong with travel bans. So I thought that I would lay out the case against them. This is not to suggest that I am against or for travel bans. I am only describing one side of the argument.

Let us suppose that a travel ban is imposed on the few west African countries that are experiencing ebola outbreaks. What would people at risk in those countries do? They would scatter to other countries. This would probably spread the ebola problem. So instead of dealing with the ebola problem in a relatively limited geographical area, the problem is compounded by the increased geographical spread.

People at risk would scatter, because they would hope to land in a developed country if they have ebola. Their hope is that they would receive more sophisticated treatment in the developed world.

Can you depend on their passports to determine where they have been? This is doubtful. Bribery is rampant. I assume that you can buy a “clean” passport in almost any country . . . maybe even in the US, but I digress.

The point is that travel bans can make things worse in one dimension and may be difficult to enforce as well.


How to stabilize Iraq, Syria, etc.

There are a few countries that can utilize the solution, let’s call it the Alaska Rule. Well, you’ve probably guessed what it is, but permit me the opportunity to spin it anyway. There are some countries that are very rich in terms of natural resources but have a citizenry which is mostly poor. “How can this be?” you may ask. The answer is simple. These countries have despotic rulers who engage in mischief. They buy palaces for themselves and their children. They reward their tribe and punish others. They promulgate inter-religious distrust and hatred. They buy military hardware beyond any reasonable need and employ relatively huge armies.

What I propose is that the receipts from the sale of natural resources (or perhaps 80% of the receipts) be distributed to the population of these countries on a per capita basis. That is every adult, male or female, gets the same share. Oh how this would change behavior. No longer would people tolerate those among them who would blow up pipelines or oil wells. Respect for women would miraculously rise. Tribal and religious animosity would diminish as attachment to the state would increase. Most importantly, the ruling class . . . if one remained, would have fewer opportunities to engage in mischief.

How do you get from here to there? There may have been a moment in the midst of the Iraq war when such a solution could have been imposed on Iraq. Maybe it could emerge in Iraq as part of a negotiation among the various parties attempting to hold that country together: Kurds, Sunni, Shiite, tribes, whomever. Maybe the Free Syria Army could make this a plank in their platform as a device to pull the undecided to their camp. Once the Alaska Rule has been imposed, it would be very difficult to undo it.