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Comment New York City - $81/month (Score 1) 1137 1137

I don't know what it is elsewhere, but there's no doubt that if you live and work within reach of the NYC subway system, $81 a month for transportation everywhere is way cheaper than it would be driving.

Of course, since a lot of public transport systems are taxpayer-funded, you could easily argue that real price is much higher.

Comment Re:Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith (Score 1) 451 451

That is because the modern economists have made it less scientific (or, they believe they've made it more scientific, but in reality they've made it a whole lot of garbled up bullshit where, like you said, it's impossible to draw meaningful conclusions). If you are interested, read that book I linked to. Definitely not every economist would tell you more spending would help - Misesians (or followers of the "Austrian" School of economics) will tell you that we need to spend less and save more, and definitely not spend more. Real investment must be fueled by savings, not paper.

Further, economics should deal with "people and their behaviors" as such, not just with "rational" economic behavior. One huge problem with modern, mainstream economics is that it doesn't deal with human action as such, but rather with "economic" behavior which doesn't actually exist. Real economics should deal with how humans actually act, and employ ends to obtain desired means. It shouldn't have anything to do with what the specific means aimed at are, since those vary between people and over time.

Comment Re:Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith (Score 1) 451 451

Economics is a social science and should be treated as such.

Maybe mainstream economic thinking is not good science in the sense that it wasn't tested enough and economists are more confident in their conclusions than they actually should be.

No, the problem with mainstream economic thinking is that they want to treat it like a natural science, e.g. where experiments are run and conclusions derived, when it should be treated as a deductive, logical social science. They want to come up with relationships by positivist experimentation, which is ridiculous in a system where there are trillions of inputs and trillions of outputs.

See Ludwig von Mises, Epistemlogical Problems of Economics, if you want to read further.

Comment Re:Climate, pollution and consequences. (Score 1) 1190 1190

I feel that those supporting doing nothing and ignoring any potential problem related to global warming and increased pollution are sticking their heads in the sand.

By "doing nothing," what do you mean? There is a huge difference between (1) global warming "believers" encouraging people to use resources more efficiently and to invest in finding the "cure" for the global warming problem, and (2) arguing for the State (whereever it may be) to violently oppress the people and organizations they feel "cause" this problem. I'm no client scientist, but from what I can gather it's far from certain that human production of greenhouse gases even causes global warming. In fact, it seems far from certain that the Earth will even continue to warm (considering 2008 was the coldest year of the decade, among other things). To argue for vast increases in State power to regulate and tax CO2 producers is to argue against the entire concept of "innocent until proven guilty."

Basically my point is that investing and researching more energy efficient ways is a good thing. Cutting down on consumption, and perhaps thinking a bit more about the stability and continuity of our ecosystem is a good thing.

I agree. But I'd disagree with someone who says the State should violently suppress consumption of resources or greenhouse gas production.

Comment Re:Bad economics (Score 1) 809 809

OK, not NEVER. But, as various planned economy experiments throughout history have demonstrated, the free market is, on the whole, a much better allocator of resources than the state (for example, East vs. West Germany...).

I should have said "...on average, the government is not as efficient at allocating capital..."

My underlying point is that unless the government is, on average, more efficient at capital allocation than the free market, the return on $1T borrowed (even though a large portion of it will be "borrowed" from the Fed, or created out of thin air) and spent by the government today will not offset the price of the loaned capital (interest rate), resulting in a net loss to the economy, over time.

Comment Re:Bad economics (Score 1) 809 809

This should NOT have been labeled flame bait.

CTalkobt, while your argument is accepted as basically the gospel of "modern economists," it's just not that simple. Taking your argument to its logical extreme, the bigger the deficit, the better. The government should just borrow as much as possible, since any wealth generated from government borrowing and spending now will always be easier to pay back in the future...(we may as well pay people to dig holes and fill them up again, since this "multiplier" will bring prosperity to us all regardless of the usefulness of the initial projects).

What you and all the Keynesian "Who's Henry Hazlitt?" economists forget is that the $100 is still just $100 (+ any return earned on it). The government pays Paul $100, he buys $100 in groceries, and the grocer pays $100 to the mob boss, etc...there is still only $100 floating around there. So, ignoring returns on the $100, someone in the future is going to be violently deprived of $100, meaning the net addition to and from the economy is, at most (assuming that the government is as efficient in allocating capital as the free market) nothing.

Further, considering that the government is NEVER as efficient at allocating capital as the private market is, we have shown there to be a net LOSS of jobs, over time. And we haven't even discussed the moral implications of violently stealing from future C and D in order to give present A and B "jobs."

Comment Re:Dear ACM, STOP. (Score 1) 474 474

First: Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and then Federalist papers 41-44 are very clear that the federal government has only those powers specifically granted to it in that section. And that the "general welfare" clause (the first clause of the section) does NOT mean that the feds can do anything they want.

Second: The Department of Education wasn't around for the first 200 years of this country. To think that states and local communities are incapable of running their own educational systems is ridiculous considering you only need to look back 30 years to see a United States without a Department of Education.

Third: These aren't "handouts." They are more "hand-backs," if you will. Perhaps if the federal government wasn't (again, blatantly unconstitutionally) so hellbent on stealing nearly half of my income year in and year out, states, communities, and people would have plenty of money to fund their own educational systems and schools.

And in response to those who think local schools shouldn't be allowed to set their own educational agendas because they are "inbred, God-fearing fools" (I paraphrase), why the hell not? What makes you so certain you are right? In a system where states and local communities were responsible for their own education, those states and communities producing the "smartest" people would naturally rise to the top (be the most desirable places to live, have the strongest economies, etc) while those with crappy systems would be forced to either change or fall behind (it would be their choice - if people in that community were happy falling behind, good for them. If they weren't, individuals and families could freely move to another community or state or the community/state could collectively change its policy...). The entire idea of the federal government mandating nationwide curricula is absurd, and only partly due to this lack of competition (as others have already stated, the federal government is SLOW...). It hasn't worked for the last 30 years and 4 presidents - I find it hard to believe it will work for Obama (then again, maybe he'll prove me wrong - I sure as hell hope so...).

Comment Re:Dear ACM, STOP. (Score 5, Interesting) 474 474

Thank you, thank you, thank you for tossing some common sense on this. The Department of Education is not only unconstitutional (and thus, illegal), it DOESN'T WORK. Schools should be accountable to local communities and parents, NOT federal government bureaucrats. Even better than state governments, the ACM should be petitioning city and county Boards of Education to possibly include a greater emphasis on computer science in K-12 education.

Submission + - Comcast actively interferes with file-sharing->

cdw38 writes: "The Associated Press claims to have confirmed, through nationwide tests, that Comcast uses company computers to discretely prevent full files to be downloaded via BitTorrent. According to the article, the technology used works by tricking the computers of those sharing the file and those downloading the file into disconnecting sometime during the download. Obviously, this method of preventing users from illegally sharing content also blocks (or greatly hinders the efficacy of) the sharing of legal files via peer-to-peer networks like Bittorrent. Comcast is denying these allegations, which means its virtually impossible for users to complain about this when there's really no hard proof Comcast is interfering and they refuse to admit this. What does Slashdot think?"
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Submission + - A New Deal for Globalization->

cdw38 writes: ""Globalization has brought huge overall benefits, but earnings for most U.S. workers — even those with college degrees — have been falling recently; inequality is greater now than at any other time in the last 70 years. Whatever the cause, the result has been a surge in protectionism. To save globalization, policymakers must spread its gains more widely. The best way to do that is by redistributing income."

Kenneth F. Scheve (Yale University) and Matthew J. Slaughter (Dartmouth Tuck School) present an interesting argument, blaming increasing protectionist sentiment in the U.S. on labor-market performance for all but the most skilled (professional degrees and doctorates) and "the recent absence of real income growth for many Americans" (over 96% of them, according to the article). After ultimately rejecting the adequacy of the current policy discussions to address this problem — those on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and on increasing investment in education — they propose that redistributing income, not by changing the income tax system but by altering the currently-regressive Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll tax, would allow the benefits of globalization to be more evenly shared in American society and to ultimately curtail protectionism in the U.S. What does Slashdot think?"

Link to Original Source

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"