Complexity Essay Question from Megan Mcardle

Lynne Kiesling Megan McArdle offers an essay assignment: Pascal Emmanuel-Gobry has an essay question: Tainter’s story goes like this: a group of people, through a combination of social organization and environmental luck, finds itself with a surplus of resources. Managing this surplus makes society more complex–agriculture rewards mathematical skill, granaries require new forms of construction, … More Complexity Essay Question from Megan Mcardle

A Disgusting Display of Bureaucratic Force from the Chicago Department of Public Health

Lynne Kiesling This is so vile, so disgusting that I am literally nauseated at my desk as I write. One of the ways that independent chefs, caterers and confectioners economize on their substantial fixed costs is by sharing kitchens. In Chicago, the business license treatment of such kitchens from the Chicago Department of Public Health … More A Disgusting Display of Bureaucratic Force from the Chicago Department of Public Health

Left-right Political Model “Obscures More Than It Reveals”

Lynne Kiesling I don’t really have an opinion about Tucker Carlson’s new online journalism enterprise The Daily Caller. I do, though, really like what Arianna Huffington said in her guest column there today about the uselessness of the left-right political model, and how the media do themselves and us a disservice by leaving on those … More Left-right Political Model “Obscures More Than It Reveals”

Eternal Truths About Those Who Are Attracted to Politics

Lynne Kiesling Over the past week there’s been an interesting online conversation with the participants discussing one of the eternal tautological conundrums: why does politics attract power-hungry narcissists? Matt Yglesias kicked it off with what I think is a pretty naive query about the degree of cynicism and immorality in politics. Such cynicism and immorality … More Eternal Truths About Those Who Are Attracted to Politics

Transparency and Representation in the Waxman-Markey Vote

Lynne Kiesling In his usual trenchant way, Jonathan Adler has hit upon the two things to which I object the most in the Waxman-Markey bill and vote. The first is the one about which I wrote in May: despite all of the tooth-gnashing and knicker-twisting about the cap-and-trade portions of the bill, the really egregious … More Transparency and Representation in the Waxman-Markey Vote

Cap-And-Trade and Politics

Michael Giberson From Environmental Capital, reports that selling all greenhouse gas emission permits under a cap-and-trade scheme may not be politically attractive: Europe already saw what happened when it gave away emissions permits—utilities gobbled up more than 100 billion euros in windfall profits. The pain for the consumer—i.e., the voter–will be the same whether the … More Cap-And-Trade and Politics

The Continuing Relevance of the Bootlegger-And-Baptist Model

Lynne Kiesling In 1983 Bruce Yandle wrote an influential article in Regulation, “Bootleggers and Baptists: The Education of a Regulatory Economist”. His model explains how two parties with seemingly incongruent values can come together to get a regulation passed that meets the objectives of both parties. In the bootlegger and Baptist case, both parties benefit … More The Continuing Relevance of the Bootlegger-And-Baptist Model