Pursuit of Truthiness

my gut tells me I know economics

Archive for November 2007

Growing up Guiliani

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Newsweek paints a portrait of Guiliani from childhood to the present day.

It is a deeply unflattering one, but more disturbing to me than the unsavory parts of Guiliani’s past is just how deeply reporters have been able to look into it- finding out things about his father that Guiliani himself never knew.

Written by James Bailey

November 26, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Politics

The Real Story of Thanksgiving

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How the pilgrims stopped being communists and embraced the power of private property and markets.

I’ve heard this story before, in Rush Limbaugh’s book. It makes for a great tale, especially since in some ways we look to the pilgrims as models for how our nation should behave. But as I have never heard the story told except by people with an ideological point to prove, I’m curious as to how well it really squares with the available historical evidence.

Update: I decided to actually to the research and pretty quickly found a link to Governor William Bradford’s Diary on the website of a respected university.  If anything, Bradford’s condemnation of collectivism is even stronger than Limbaugh and Stossel describe it as.  But this does not mean it is resoundingly capitalist; because the end result was that the land was divided up evenly to families based on their size.  Today we would call this land redistribution; during the Cold War I believe we treated the advocates of land redistribution in, say, Latin America as proto-communists to which strongman dictators were preferred.  The Puritans, it appears, proved the follies of communist-style collectivism; but they remained radical egalitarians, and in fact demonstrated a real example of an oft-discussed “third way”.

Written by James Bailey

November 22, 2007 at 9:09 am

Chuck Norris Approved

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I’m glad that Chuck has decided to turn his newfound popularity to constructive purposes.

Written by James Bailey

November 20, 2007 at 5:48 pm

Posted in martial arts, Politics

Romney in France

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Before he was a Governor or a Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney was a young Mormon.

He did what most young Mormons do, and went on a mission; but he was more unusual in where his mission brought him.

Like yours truly, he was 20 and living in France.

Luckily for me, the French have become both more polite generally and more friendly to  Americans since 1968.  But I am curious why the Mormons at the time tied their mission so strongly to their home country.  I imagine that a Christian missionary abroad should be a Christian first and an American second; and so they should embrace their American identity insofar as it helps their true cause of spreading the Word, but reject it when it gets in the way, as it did in 1960’s France.  I wonder if the Mormons of today have changed on this matter.

Putting America first is a bad strategy for a missionary; it would probably make a much better one for a President.

Most of all though, I was struck by the attempt to look so far back into his past to find a formative experience.  It makes me wonder if people will look back on my time in France when I’m running for President.

Written by James Bailey

November 15, 2007 at 3:51 pm

The Economics of Relationships

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 Women care more about intelligence and ambition in a man.  A man likes to see these in a woman only if he perceives hers as less than or equal to his own.

Men care more about looks.

Women usually prefer to date within their own race; men, when it comes to dating at least, don’t have a racist bone in their body (insert pun here).

A topic eminently worthy of thought.

People at Columbia did an experiment and came up with these results that are, I think, fairly predictable yet nonetheless interesting for having been determined scientifically.

Their acknowledged flaw was looking only at extremely short-term relationships (speed dating).  One significant unacknowledged flaw is that their sample group may be very nonrepresentative; there are a lot of ways that Columbia grad students differ from the average person, and dating preferences might just be one of them.

Written by James Bailey

November 12, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Economics

Baghdad vs. College

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War? What war?

I imagine I  think about it more than most of my fellow college students.

But I’m guilty as charged: Facebook is a bigger part of my life than the war. 

Written by James Bailey

November 12, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Professional World Savers

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The Washington Post details their travails in trying to be normal middle class adults.

I think we got the point after watching the Incredibles, the Spiderman movies… really the whole World-Saving genre is one long way of saying, as Five for Fighting’s Superman did, “It’s not easy to be me.”

Get rich first, save the world later seems to be the most effective may to make a difference- if you don’t forget what you’re about.  Although some economists would say that getting rich indicates you are doing something good/useful for the world, and it is a tragedy that Bill Gates has quit making Microsoft better (something he’s good at) to building a charity (not so much).

If I do choose the save-the-world-first strategy, please, give me a good slap on the nose if I complain about it.

Written by James Bailey

November 7, 2007 at 2:17 pm

Posted in cash, idealism