Archive for February, 2007

Economist George Selgin on

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/27/2007

“My Father, The Socialist.”

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Sunstein on Hayek & Wikipedia

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/27/2007


In the past year, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit,” has been cited four times as often as the Encyclopedia Britannica in judicial opinions, and the number is rapidly growing. In just two years, YouTube has become a household word and one of the world’s most successful Web sites. Such astounding growth and success demonstrate society’s unstoppable movement toward shared production of information, as diverse groups of people in multiple fields pool their knowledge and draw from each other’s resources.

Developing one of the most important ideas of the 20th century, Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek attacked socialist planning on the grounds that no planner could possibly obtain the “dispersed bits” of information held by individual members of society. Hayek insisted that the knowledge of individuals, taken as a whole, is far greater than that of any commission or board, however diligent and expert. he magic of the system of prices and of economic markets is that they incorporate a great deal of diffuse knowledge.

Wikipedia’s entries are not exactly prices, but they do aggregate the widely dispersed information of countless volunteer writers and editors. In this respect, Wikipedia is merely one of many experiments in aggregating knowledge and creativity, that have been made possible by new technologies.

Hayek / Wiki flashback:

I just wanted to say that Hayek’s work on price theory is central to my own thinking about how to manage the Wikipedia project. Possibly one can understand Wikipedia without understanding Hayek, since perhaps my own theories of how Wikipedia works are false. 🙂

But one can’t understand my ideas about Wikipedia without understanding Hayek.

—Jimbo (founder of Wikipedia)

» posted by Jimbo Wales on Jul 17 05

Jimmy Wales’ blog can be found here.

And this is his Wiki page.

Posted in Economics, Hayek | Comments Off on Sunstein on Hayek & Wikipedia

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/23/2007


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Chimp Makes Spear, Kills Prey

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/23/2007

Scientists have now observed chimps in the wild making spears and then using them to hunt and kill bush babies.

The better we know them the more the hairy apes feel like the living fossils of our pre-human ancestors.

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Thomas Sowell on Obama

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/22/2007

Obama offers up nothing but a slew of dated and obvious economic fallacies, says Thomas Sowell. Indeed, according to Sowell the Senator has somehow managed to learn nothing of the economic lessons taught since the time of his Camelot birth.

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This Was Milton Friedman

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/22/2007

Brian Doherty recounts the life and thought of Milton Friedman.

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Think George Bush Knows Anything about

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/19/2007

parallel cousin marriage among the Arabs? It’s very likely one of the reasons that Democracy hasn’t made much headway in the Middle East. Quotable:

on a world scale, the radical form of in-marriage represented by the union of parallel cousins is highly unusual. Parallel-cousin marriage is confined almost exclusively to the region once ruled by the original eighth-century Islamic empire, and this involuted form of marriage stands in sharp contrast to the relative value placed on out-marriage, inter-group alliance, and interchange favored by almost every other culture in the world ..

Once your subject is the social meaning and function of kinship, the Muslim world stands in stark contrast to every other society in the world — traditional or modern. This contrast, I argue, has everything to do with why Muslim societies have difficulty accommodating modernity, why Muslim immigrants resist assimilation, and why some Muslims are attacking us ..

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After Decades of the Nanny State

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/14/2007

British children are today the most unhappy and unhealthy children in the Western world. So says a UN study. Recommendation? The elimination of economic inequality and a further expansion of the Nanny State.

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The Scientists Taking a Stand Against the CO2 / Global Warming Hysteria

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/13/2007

A series in the National Post.

On the global warming thing I might also recommend this.

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What’s Wrong With the European Economy?

Posted by PrestoPundit on 02/12/2007

Edmund Phelps explains Europe’s lackluster economic performance. Quotable:

The most basic point to carry away is that the empirical results related here lend support to the Enlightenment theme that a nations culture ultimately makes a difference for the nations economic performance in all its aspects — productivity, prosperity and personal growth.

It was a mistake of the Continental Europeans to think that they expressed the right values–right for them. These values led them to evolve economic models bringing in train a level of economic performance with which most working-age people are now discontented. Perhaps the way out — to go from unsatisfactory performance to high performance — will require not only reform of institutions but also a cultural shift that returns Europe to the philosophical roots that put it on the map to begin with.

Posted in Economics | Comments Off on What’s Wrong With the European Economy?