Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Human Relations, Homeland Security, and Walmart


Perez, Evan. 2007. “U.S. Intensifies Immigrant Raids.” Wall Street Journal (20 June): p. A 4.

John Torres, director of detention and removal operations for the enforcement division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said, “You want to be able to know where everyone is at all times …. “When you think of the amount of inventory that Wal-Mart keeps track of, or how UPS keeps track of packages, that’s the direction we’re going next year.”


How can Congress demand the their Iraqi counterparts reach specified benchmarks? Why can’t people demand that the U.S. Congress meet benchmarks? How about ending the war? Create a single payer system? Promote equity? Stop despoiling the environment? Try Bush and Cheney for war crimes?

Marxism Lesson in 30 Seconds

I picked this up from Lou Proyect’s Marxism list.  It is priceless, as any good value theorist would say.

Chanelling Walras

This article tells the story of the construction of an almost Walrasian strawberry market in France.

Callon, M. 1999. “Actor-Network Theory: The Market Test.” In J. Law and J. Hassard (Eds.) Actor Network and After. Oxford and Keele, Blackwell and the Sociological Review: pp. 181-195.

190: Marie-France Garcia on the transformation of the table strawberry market in the Sologne region of France in the early 1980s. Continue reading

Irrational Health Care Prices

Conservatives want health care to be controlled by the market because markets are efficient. Even if you grant market efficiency as a general proposition, the economic theory to which they refer presumes that consumers are knowledgeable about their purchases.  That assumption may possibly make sense for some commodities, but in the case health care consumers have no way to evaluate the quality of medical services.  Here are some notes from a New York Times on prices and quality in hosptial treatment. Continue reading

Human Capital, Productivity, Terrorism

No comment on what follows:

“Attack Assignments in Terror Organizations and the Productivity¬† of Suicide Bombers” NBER Working Paper No. W12910 Continue reading

Corporate Jet Scandal

I have a couple of posts here regarding the scandalous abuses of corporate jets.

Here is another example of how corporate jets create undeserved subsidies. The article comes from David Cay Johnston, who has done marvelous work over the years on the tax beat for the New York Times. Continue reading

Greenspan & What’s Wrong with Capitalism

Edward Gramlich, a former governor of the Federal Reserve, accuses Greenspan of rejecting the idea of attempting to regulate predatory lending, perhaps preventing the subprime meltdown affecting the economy today.

Greenspan responds by saying it would take a lot of effort and probably be futile.

Both sides have a grain of truth. No doubt regulation might have prevented a number of tragic outcomes, but capitalism creates incredible innovations — not so much in the product side (read General Motors, Ford, ….) but in the financial side — avoiding taxes, regulation, and the like. Continue reading

Frontiers of Tort Reform

One of the favorite projects of the right wing is tort reform — limiting the right of ordinary people to sue the righ and powerful.  You probably remember Tom DeLay suing when his father had an accident.

So here is Robert Bork joining the fray.  Have fun reading it.

Feuer, Alan. 2007. “Bork v. Yale Club: Jurist Seeks Redress Over a Fall.” New York Times (8 June).

After a tumble at the Yale Club in Manhattan last year while ascending to the dais to deliver a speech, he filed a common everyday trip-and-fall lawsuit against the club.

The tale of the suit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, begins on what his court papers innocently refer to as the evening of June 6, 2006, when The New Criterion magazine held an event at the Yale Club in honor of Hilton Kramer, the magazines co-founder. Mr. Bork, a contributor to the magazine, was among those invited to deliver remarks.

The event was held in a banquet room, the suit explains, where the clubs staff had erected a dais atop which a lectern had been placed for the speakers. It is the Yale Clubs normal practice, the suit contends, to provide a set of stairs so that the speakers may ascend easily to their appointed perch.

At the New Criterion event, however, the Yale Club failed to provide any steps between the floor and dais, the suit claims. Nor did the Yale Club provide a handrail or any other reasonable feature to assist guests attempting to climb to the dais.

Cricket Farnsworth, the office manager of The New Criterion, said Mr. Bork managed to reach the dais after his spill, and delivered his speech.

Chinese Environmental Sensitivity

The Chinese government may be far ahead of the US in recognizing the cost of environmental destruction, even though it is vicious toward environmental activists.

Chinese State Environmental Protection Administration. 2006. China Green National Accounting Study Report 2004.” 2006-09-08


The Chinese State Environmental Protection Administration reported on an “environmentally-adjusted GDP accounting in China and marks that the initial progress had been achieved on Chinese green GDP accounting. The preliminary result shows that economic loss caused by environmental pollution reaches 511.8 billion yuan accounting for 3.05% of national GDP in 2004 while imputed treatment cost is 287.4 billion yuan accounting for 1.80% of that.” Continue reading