Thursday, September 3, 2009



* John David Fernandez explains the joy that is Mises University. An excerpt: "There is no intellectual arrogance displayed by any of the professors. All of them have a great sense of humor, and always willing to chat or autograph a book. You can talk to them about anything, including the nitty-gritty details of anarchism or classical-liberal theory. You can ask them to read a paper you're working on, or to comment on what they would do if they were made president for a year and asked to solve the country's economic woes. Some of them can even sing a mean Neil Diamond — oh, sweet Caroline!"

* Steve Horwitz gives a lot more evidence on that paragon of laissez-faire, Herbert Hoover.

* Lilburne gives an amazing account of the battle of wits between Nicholas Biddle and Andrew Jackson over the Second Bank of the United States. Really, the second half of this essay is dynamite; Lilburne isn't just good for Krugman-bashing. If the quotes are legit, then Biddle tried to wreck the economy in an attempt to maintain his power. Not saying there's any relevance to today, of course...

* The New Yorker reviews Pete Leeson's book on pirates.

* A popular Berkeley (!) physics professor takes on some of the myths in the global warming debate. (HT Rob Bradley)

* "Why Obama Should Learn to Love the Bomb." I was hoping this was a White Paper on Iran from Bill Kristol, but it's much less interesting.

* Chip Knappenberger explains the significance (and remaining holes to be plugged) in the recent Lindzen-Choi paper that's got talk radio in such a tizzy. The opening sentence: "MIT climate scientists Richard Lindzen and collaborator Yong-Sang Choi soon-to-be published paper (Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union) pegs the earth’s “climate sensitivity”—the degree the earth’s temperature responds to various forces of change—at a value that is about six times less than the “best estimate” put forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." Technical quibble: I think "six times less" means "one-sixth of."

Gotta say I really like Leeson's book. I'm half way through it, and have been for some time now because of being bogged down with school work, but there is some great substance in there about anarchy and governance vs. government.
OK everyone, if anyone takes a shot at Leeson, it needs to be really clever. I don't want the GMU/Auburn war to open up a new front here.

(Jesse, I know you are being serious, but I'm sure a lot of the cynics who post at The Austrian Economists might be here as well.)

I am pretty sure Pete sent me a review copy but I am totally swamped right now. Even if he does nothing else, his publication in JPE can go on his tombstone.
Bob, I gotta say that your comments on climate science are both overly eager and predictable.

Re: the Berkeley physics professor, nothing in article indicates that he has any particular expertise regarding climate - which he does not say won`t be a probem, but one he simply thinks is overstated, and can`t be solved unless Chna and India agree (hardly a controversial view), his suggestions that the government ought to be spending money on clean coal technologies and nuclear power are of course wrong, and you fail to note that he is very concerned about ocean acidification ("I consider this to be potentially a bigger problem than global warming").

As for Lindzen, the paper hasn`t even been published yet and already guys like Bradley and Knappenberger are - as they are paid to do - blogging it around like it`s gospel. Do you share a similar need to rush these things?

Furthermore, where is your common, real-world sense on the climate "sensitivity" (amount of average temp inclrease w/ a CO2 doubling)? The average temp has risen only 0.6 C in the last half century, to a peak we have maintained for the past decade, and the Arctic and all of the world`s glaciers are visibly thawing, and a host of other changes that affect human activities and ecosystems are underway - based almost wholly on emissions that occurred decades ago.

Regardless of what the temperature "sensitivity" to a doubling turns out to be - and recent emissions and those looming over the next decades are very likely to have a price - it should be crystal clear that the climate is exquisitely sensitive to even small AVERAGE temperature changes (which are more pronounced up North).
If we really want to slow down global warming, we have to invest in, or invent, technology that's cheap enough to be deployed in China.
Oops, last sentence is an unnecessary quote from the Berekley physics prof.
The review of Leeson`s book is interesting, but doesn`t actually spend much time explaining what Leeson thinks. The reviewer also unfortunately sees a need to classify the pirates as either socialists or capitalists, rather than focussing on the nature of the environment in which they behaved so opportunistically.

FWIW, more on the Somali pirates and the role of the state here.
Bob, you mean you are not jumping on the Somalia Rocks! bandwagon?

Or, taking a ride down the Disney-inspired Pirates of the Caribbean good ship lollipop?

I may add that Leeson was horrific at seeing the signs of the current downturn as he argued on the AE blog that all things were just grand and glorious in September/October '08.

Not to mention the really smart idea of the two Pete's selling a 1232 page book consisting of Ludwig von Mises essays on for $565 in 2009!

What a bargain! What great entrepreneurs! What willing desire to share their knowledge with the world!
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