Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Danger of Overcapacity

“No Soul to Damn: No Body to Kick”: An Unscandalized Inquiry into the Problem of Corporate Punishment

While the US frittered away much of the stimulus on throwing money at banks, the Chinese actually created much more capacity.  Business Week used to do a good job of understanding real issues.  Here the new Bloomberg magazine notes that the extra capacity poses a risk to the West because China will now have to export more, creating a different sort of imbalance.

Roberts, Dexter. 2009. “China’s ‘Made in China’ Problem: The Downside to Beijing’s Huge Stimulus is a Glut of Factories and Output That May Spur Trade Frictions.” Business Week (21 December): pp. 20-21.

“While Beijing’s $586 billion stimulus package has helped the mainland navigate the global financial crisis, there’s a downside. Fixed asset investment — money spent on factories, highways, and other big-ticket projects — soared 40% in the first half and accounted for nearly all of the country’s growth.”

A Primitive Answer to High Tuition

Given the anti-intellectualism of today, maybe this is the answer for high tuition.

Mill, John Stuart. 1848. Principles of Political Economy with some of their Applications to Social Philosophy, John Robson, ed., Vols. 2 and 3 of  The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill  (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965- ).

391: “Before the invention of the art of printing, a scholar and a beggar seem to have been terms very nearly synonymous.  The different governors of the universities before that time appear to have often granted licences to their scholars to beg.”

Copenhagen: Wall Street Journal vs New York Times

WSJ: “The two-week Copenhagen conference appeared set to end with no agreement at all, until last-minute bargaining among leaders from the U.S., China, Brazil, India and South Africa produced a final statement. A handful of countries, including Sudan, Venezuela and Bolivia, declined to endorse the 11th-hour deal.”

NY Times: Andreas Carlgren, the environment minister of Sweden, the country holding the rotating E.U. presidency, said that the summit meeting had been a “great failure” partly because other nations had rejected targets and a timetable for the rest of the world to sign on to binding emissions reductions …. It was obvious that the United States and China didn’t want more than we achieved at Copenhagen,” Mr. Carlgren said at a news conference in Brussels. The obstacles created by those countries were “part of what we regretted,” he said.”

Video of My Colloquium Lecture

I have uploaded a video of my colloquium lecture, which is now at

Hillary and Me

Hillary Clinton seemed to make a very generous offer in Copenhagen.  She promised the poor nations of the world that if they agreed to a compromised climate change program the US would be willing to contribute to $100 billion program to help them by 2020.  Maybe I have this wrong, but I could do one better in the same sort of flim-flam.  I would be willing to contribute to a $200 billion program that would help these countries if they would agree to accept a compromised program.  I even would be to contribute to $1 trillion program — of course, neither I nor Hillary have made any commitment as to whether we would put up a nickel or serious money.

Two Important Iranian Blogs

Socialist Inside Iran Differ on the Green Movement:

Feminist Political Scientist Analyzes Transformations in Iranian Society Today:

Destruction in Higher Education vs. Destruction of Higher Education

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword.

On Friday, protesters destroyed property at the home of Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.  This action violated the law.

At the same time, the law condoned a far deeper destruction of education throughout the state.  The governor and the legislature decimated public education, all the way from the primary schools to the state’s university system. Continue reading


I have heard very interesting things about project-cybersyn.

Alex Tabarrok claims it was a fraud.  Does anyone have any further information?

Growing Support for Public University Employees

Fears of cutting back on the salaries of employees in higher education may be overblown.

A Rationalization for Educational Downsizing

High tuition might serve a useful purpose.

Moskowitz, Ron. 1970. “Professor Sees Peril in Education.” San Francisco Chronicle (30 October).

Governor Reagan’s aide Roger Freeman, who later served as President Nixon’s educational policy advisor, while he was working at the time for California Governor Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign, commented on Reagan’s education policy:  “We are in danger of producing an educated proletariat.  That’s dynamite!  We have to be selective about who we allow to through higher education. If not, we will have a large number of highly trained and unemployed people.”

Jedell, Hugh. 1931. “Warns Germany on Overeducation: Sees Economic Waste.” New York Times (1 November): p. 56.

New York Times article from the 1930s captures the sentiment: “The steadily rising tide of engineering students in German universities, with consequent overcrowding in the engineering profession, has moved the General Federation of German, the Association of Industrial Technologists and several other organizations to issue a public warning that a sterile, educated proletariat is being produced without a chance of gainful occupation while millions are wasted on its training.”