Feeding America is a network of food banks that feeds more than 46 million people. In 2005, four professors at the University of Chicago helped replace their centralized distribution system with an auction-based one, allocating "shares" to each bank to bid on donated food. The Week reports on a more detailed paper describing the transition to the new system and its overall success. [via] [more inside]
Paralyzed Again - We have the technology to dramatically increase the independence of people with spinal-cord injuries. The problem is bringing it to market and keeping it there. Mumford’s voice rises in astonishment as he tells the tale. “I have a device implanted in my body that was considered to be one of the best innovations or inventions of that century,” he says. “The last thing you think is that the company is going to go out of business, and not only is it going to go out of business, but you’re not even going to be able to buy parts for that. That seems insane!”
Monopoly is back: Barry Lynn on the concentration of American economic power — and how we can restore fairness. Highlights: [more inside]
In the spirit of the Nobel season, Yasha Levine discusses the history of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel as a PR gimmick for laissez-faire economics, and how its existence is an affront to the Nobel legacy.
One thing the historical record makes abundantly clear is that Adam Smith and his laissez-faire buddies were a bunch of closet-case statists who needed brutal government policies to whip the English peasantry into a good capitalistic workforce willing to accept wage slavery.Yasha Levine's detailed review of historian Michael Perelman's The Invention of Capitalism.
This is why I don't give you a job. Hungarian blogger Jakab Andor breaks down the numbers and explains why taxes and regulations make it highly unappealing for him to start a small business employing people in Hungary. He also argues that these same factors make women and older people particularly unappealing prospects. His comments generated quite a bit of controversy (warning: most comments in Hungarian), to which he responded with an offer.
"Adbusters invites economics students around the world... to join the fight to revamp Econ 101 curriculums and challenge the endemic myopia of their tenured neoclassical profs." The gist of the Kick It Over Manifesto is largely environmental.
"The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." [more inside]
Not ones for subtlety, the Death of Environmentalism guys (previously) are at it again with a Manifesto for a New Environmentalism. Their Apollo Alliance is getting early support from both Clinton and Obama. But it's not the only "new environmentalism" out there. There's this New Environmentalism, while others would include both market-based approaches among the the idols of old environmentalism.
A nation of outlaws. A century and a half ago, another fast-growing nation had a reputation for sacrificing standards to its pursuit of profit, and it was the United States.
Frederic Bastiat, described by Joseph Schumpeter nearly a century after Bastiat's death as, "the most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived." A great proponent of free markets, his works show a fastidious devotion to the Vienna School of economic thought. His Petition to Candlemakers demonstrates both his satirical wit and an understanding of the failings of isolationist economic policies (cf Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act). Lorenza Garreau writes, "Every day he crushed a fallacy -- killed it by ridicule and by turning on it the bright light of logic."
Orion Magazine hosts a two-part essay on the environmentalism movement's attempts to fit within free market capitalism, and the problems therein. Part one, The Idols of Environmentalism, focuses on the cross purposes of capitalism and environmentalism, and the apparent impossibility of the two working together. In part two, The Ecology of Work, the focus is on the human impact of the work and consumption culture.
INTERNET AS HYPER-LIBERALISM: By the limitations of common sense and consensus. Sometime wacky ideas can help us look at things much clearer than a technical manual description of them by rational and well argued people. Paul Treanor is a one-of-a-kind writer. don't try to argue with him about being wrong. he does not believe in communication and therefore there is no CONTACT link anywhere on his site. He writes and lives in Amsterdam, Holland.
Newsfilter: Russian Government (by market control of Gazprom company) reduces flow of natural gas to Ukraine. According to a NYT article "Russia is now asking for $220 to $230 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas, up from $50 now" ending soviet-era years of subsidized price. Yet Russia is still subsidizing other countries (selectively applying free market ?) while Pravda blames Ukraine politicians rhetoric. Pay or not paying, Gazprom accuses Ukraine of tapping into some of the gaslines (apparently 80% of Russian gas export pass trough pipes in Ukraine). Europe doesn't like not having is gas shipped as Ukraine agreed to the Energy Charter Treaty. Why should we care ? Shock waves in free market have global effects, meaning you'remore likely to pay energy more...and it's winter.
Out of the desert, out of Africa: In war-torn Eritrea, former atomic physicist demonstrates radical new vision of Free-Market environmentalism. "...Imagine a farm where water is never in short supply and each crop leaves the soil more fertile. Now imagine that farm offering a solution to....global warming, declining water tables, loss of arable land, collapsing fisheries, and shrinking biodiversity. Finally, imagine that farm making money....Carl Hodges, an atmospheric physicist from the University of Arizona, no longer imagines such a farm. He's built one....Seawater Farms, a joint venture with the government of Eritrea on the Red Sea, is the first commercial-sized saltwater farm in the world....."
The New Gilded Age and its Discontents. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz began explaining why markets fail long before Enron and WorldCom rose, exploded and crashed. But not many people wanted to listen during the boom-boom '90s; Stiglitz was even fired from his position as chief economist at the World Bank after he repeatedly criticized the organization's free-market obsessions.