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"Five axiomatic propositions of Canadian Nationalism vis-a-vis the Americans:

1. Boy, we hate Americans.

2. We really do.

3. Really.

4. I'm not kidding. We really hate them.

5. So how come they never pay us any attention?"

--Will Ferguson, Why I Hate Canadians, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1997, p.105.


Friday, July 05, 2002

Whoa, let's not jump to any conclusions. RE: the LAX shooting, in which Hesham Mohamed Hadayet carried two pistols, extra ammunition, and a six-inch knife. FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Garcia has gone out on a limb, telling reporters:

"It appears that he went there with the intention of killing people," said Garcia.
Chips too smart for their own good?Today is Berkeley econ professor day, what with Carl Shapiro mentioned in the open letter below and with this op-ed piece by Hal Varian in yesterday's NYT. Varian provides an acute and accessible analysis of several concerns associated with the latest attempts to control after-purchase use of products through smart chips. The most likely downside? A stifling of innovation:

Manufacturers invest heavily in research and development to discover new uses for their products. But the users are often better innovators. After all, the users are closer to the problem: they rely on the products every day for a variety of tasks in a variety of environments, so it is not surprising that they come up with uses the manufacturer never thought of....

Such innovation may be sharply curtailed if manufacturers are able to control after-purchase use.

Varian and Shapiro are the co-authors of the recent book Information Rules.

Both Hal Varian and Marc Herold earned the PhD in Economics at UC Berkeley. Gee, which one do you think learned more while there?
When economists get mad. Many thanks to Jane Galt for linking to this open letter from Kenneth Rogoff to Joe Stiglitz, responding to Stiglitz's new book criticizing the World Bank and the IMF. It turns out that not only is Rogoff an awesome economist, he's also a master of elegant insult. [Memo to self: ask Carl Shapiro sometime about the purported three-way conversation cited in the letter.]

And it turns out Jane Galt's dad is an alum of U Toronto! Woo-hoo!
David Suzuki, meet your nemesis. If Pejman Yousefzadeh aspires to be the anti-Chomsky, then David Janes must be the anti-Suzuki. He has a marvelous deconstruction of the excitable environmentalist's most recent highly agitated article.

One quibble: David (Janes, that is) writes that corporations "do advance the public good (cf. Adam Smith)." Actually, Smith was pretty critical of large business enterprises, arguing that they wouldn't be any more efficient that small businesses, but but could use political power to squeeze out the smaller businesses and generally soften competition. He also didn't much like the idea of large companies with absentee owners and professional managers:

The directors of such companies, however, being the managers rather of other people's money than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private copartnery frequently watch over their own .... Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail, more or less in the management of the affairs of such a company? [Note: this quote from The Wealth of Nations appears on the Web site of an excitable economic historian.]
Just how fragile is Blogger? I've been trying to post today's posts since 9 this morning. What gives, Blogger?
Religion of peace update. Another bomb killed 30 civilians in an Algiers marketplace, bringing the number killed in Algeria since 1992 up to more than 120,000.
Maybe they can keep him? Bon vivant and gentleman about town Louis Farrakhan is in Lebanon as part of his "fight the Zionist lobby" campaign tour through the Middle East. He has recently met with Syrian President Bashir Assad. Wouldn't it be nice if he just stayed there; I'm sure he has a lot more in common with Assad than with 99.5% of Americans.

[UPDATE: Now he's in Iraq, hoping to meet Hussein! Maybe we can convince Saddam to keep him in Iraq as a valuable human hostage should war break out.]
LAX. So the LAX shooter is an Egyptian immigrant. If history is any guide, our allies the Egyptians will soon reject the U.S. report that he is to blame, and will instead blame "mechanical failures."

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