Re: Private urban green space

2004-08-03 Thread Sampo Syreeni
On 2004-08-03, Fred Foldvary uttered:

Public goods means collective goods, used simultaneously by some
group. This is a completely different meaning from public as in
public sector.

Precisely what I meant.

Solved publicly is ambiguous because it can mean solved by a group or
solved by government officials.

I should have been more explicit, but you evidently get the meaning.
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Re: Private urban green space

2004-08-01 Thread Sampo Syreeni
On 2004-08-01, Fred Foldvary uttered:

Economists are not hostile to public goods.

Still, knowledge of economics tends to make you more receptive to the
idea of the invisible hand and the possibilities of private economic
organization. Hence, it makes you more libertarian. And libertarians are
sure hostile to the public goods scene, because there the emphasis is on
things that *need* to be solved publicly.

Public goods are facts to which economists apply theory like any
phenomenon. There is nothing inherently good or bad about public goods.

I agree. Public goods are also highly interesting because they perfectly
illustrate how hard econ can be. I mean, the simple rationality
assumption we often apply to people clearly ceases to apply in case of
public goods and all the various private ways people deal with their
existence.
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Re: Siberia and Canada

2004-04-08 Thread Sampo Syreeni
On 2004-04-08, Bryan Caplan uttered:

Question: If there were free migration between the U.S. and Canada,
would Canada lose a lot of population to California, Florida, and other
more desirable locations?

In fact we might expand the rationale to something I once asked: in the
event totally free economy ever came about, and transportation continued
to get cheaper, would the total populus of the Earth eventually live in
a narrow band centered on the equator? Alternatively, if the center of
this band was too hot or the tilt of the Earth with respect to its orbit
around the Sun required some correction, would we witness some other
circular concentration of population, or perhaps two separate bands
centered on a great (perhaps tilted) circle around the planet?
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Re: How do I convince New Agers that not everybody should get the same wage?

2004-01-19 Thread Sampo Syreeni
On 2004-01-19, Kevin Carson uttered:

By competition. And how does that arrive at this solution? Simply by
depreciating below their labor value the commodities which are by reason
of their quality or quantity useless or unnecessary, ...and in making
the producers feel, ...that they have manufactured articles absolutely
useless or unnecessary, or that they have manufactured a superfluity of
otherwise useful articles.

Yep. In fact seem to remember that Popper also takes note of this in Open
Society, when he argues that Marx should have just forgotten about labour
value and taken exchange value more seriously.
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Re: Too many choices

2004-01-06 Thread Sampo Syreeni
On 2004-01-06, Fred Foldvary uttered:

 He says that as the number of choices we have grows (for products) we
 become less happy,

Is he just guessing, or is there evidence for this?

I seem to have heard of some controlled experiments to this effect, in the
psychological literature, so I think there might be a small grain of truth
to the claim. (As usual, no cite. Take the grain of truth with a grain of
salt.) But I also think the problem is elsewhere.

Basically, lots of choices are only a problem when you habitually look
back, mull over the opportunity cost, and start to hesitate with choice
because costs are involved. That's a sure sign of a mindset where people
refuse to understand that choices are by definition about not having it
both ways. Some of the problem also comes from not acknowledging that sunk
costs are indeed sunk, and that that's just fine.

From this perspective the idea that lots of choices are bad is simply a
symptom of people's unwillingness to conceive of choice the way orthodox
economics does. But what really makes me wonder is why these ideas are
becoming so commonplace right now. Have people in fact been more
economically savvy in the past, or what? And if they have, why the change?

(It shouldn't come as a surprise that, as a libertarian, I'm prone to
blaming creeping socialism for these sorts of things. ;)
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Re: Why is a dollar today worth more than a dollar tomorrow?

2003-12-05 Thread Sampo Syreeni
On 2003-12-05, john hull uttered:

For some reason, I can't get it straight in my head why the risk-free
rate of interest would be higher than zero.

The easiest example I know of is, would you be happy saving all of your
income for the next year, without receiving a formidable compensation?
That'd kill you, after all, because eating is consumption. This shows us
that people have at least some urgent desires which aren't interchangeable
with longer term ones.
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Re: Why is local currency good or bad or neither?

2003-10-31 Thread Sampo Syreeni
On 2003-10-30, Fred Foldvary uttered:

So basically this is a response to credit constraints.

Another reason people may be inclined to use local currencies is that the
narrow circulation and informal accounting usually associated with them
make it difficult to collect taxes on the associated transactions. At
least in some cases we can analyse local currencies as instances of tax
evasion.

Another common reason why local currencies are used is unemployment. When
people are unable to earn a living on the open market, they'll have to
rely on friends and neighbours for help, which easily leads to reciprocal
trade in services. That can easily spread and give rise to a new, local
currency when bilateral trade no longer suffices. From this perspective
local currencies can also be a means to circumvent labor market
rigidities.

I've heard of a couple of examples here in Finland where the system has
basically started out as a mutual help collective, then undergone
expansion and the usual problem with a commons, and finally adopted some
unit of accounting. A list of currently operating LETS's (Local Community
Exchange Group) in Finland lives at
http://hammer.prohosting.com/~msurakka/suomi.htm . It seems that a dislike
for hard currency is a big part of why they exist. What I can't fathom is
why these people engage in indirect trade, use what is essentially money
and even compete, but still think that it's somehow more neighbourly or
human to do all this in an alternative currency.

The funniest part is that in many cases local currencies are started by
different kinds of socialist collectives who wish to fix the hourly wage
or simply do not like hard currency. It's really quite funny to see a
bunch of sworn communists denounce money, only to reinvent it in another
form a couple of months later.
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Re: Why is local currency good or bad or neither?

2003-10-31 Thread Sampo Syreeni
On 2003-10-31, Fred Foldvary uttered:

 At least in some cases we can analyse local currencies as instances of
 tax evasion.

So why not just use federal paper dollars for that?

Because if you get caught, you'll pay for it. In case of local currency,
the tax authorities do not bother as easily because of the cost and the
trouble with drawing the line between mutual help and legally taxable
transactions. (From the econ standpoint, there's no such line. If we were
to be perfectly logical about it, tending to your children is a service to
your spouse with a taxable value.)

 From this perspective local currencies can also be a means to
 circumvent labor market rigidities.

Again, why not just use federal cash?

Because it isn't always available if the relevant markets are rigid. Local
cash on the other hand can be created on demand, and even neglecting that,
is somewhat decoupled from the ordinary cash economy.

What is more neighbourly is the local organization and the relationships
it fosters.

So why not just use federal paper dollars for that?
--
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Re: Why is local currency good or bad or neither?

2003-10-31 Thread Sampo Syreeni
On 2003-10-31, [EMAIL PROTECTED] uttered:

People also often suffer from a confusion between income and money.
They tend to think of the two as synonymous, that anything not received
in money isn't income and therefore isn't taxable.

Precisely. If we drop the distinction, we can for instance easily see that
all sex is actually prostitution of one kind or another.

Not that I'd easily argue that in public... ;)
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