"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
- Proudhon and Callahan both get it - as the former said, "property is theft". Gene discusses John Locke as a philosophical apologist for this "theft" here. Of course, just because property is "theft" does not mean that property is a bad idea. I happen to think it's a good idea. And indeed, much like "taxation is theft", the point of saying "property is theft" ought to be for insight rather than for taking literally (I take arguments that we shouldn't have taxation because "taxation is theft" about as seriously as I take arguments that we shouldn't have private property because "property is theft" - that is to say, I don't take it seriously at all). What's better to say (if we're taking things literally) is "property and taxation are both coercive", because clearly "theft" is a word we've reserved for quite different activities than simply owning property or raising tax revenue.
- Don Boudreaux links to the Selgin, Lastrapes, and White paper on the Fed. As I've noted here before, this paper is a great piece of economic history but it bothers me a great deal when it's tossed around as an evaluation of the performance of the Fed. It is nothing more than a pre-post test, and therefore entirely incapable of making such a claim. I strongly encourage any students looking for dissertation ideas to take the paper and perform a difference-in-differences or some other widely acknowledged non-experimental evaluation technique. I'd love to but I'm not sure I'd get around to it any time soon. As it stands, this is not a sufficient approach to evaluating the Fed.
- I have a short article on underemployment among engineers that's been sitting around waiting to be polished up and sent into a newspaper or magazine (hopefully this weekend). My point is that engineers have very low unemployment rates, but that can often conceal labor market troubles. Labor market problems for engineers often show up in underemployment indicators - particularly how hard it is for those with engineering skills to find a job working as an engineer. Anyway, medical students apparently have the same issue (which surprised me - I think of this as a high demand occupation). This Science Careers post indicates that more medical students are turning to prostitution to make ends meet. Say what you will about whether it's a legitimate line of work - but it's certainly an example of underemployment and low skill utilization.
- And speaking of the sale of sexual content: Playboy is thinking about the possibility of opening a club in space.