Monday, March 7, 2011

Sleep More Important than Food

Tony Schwartz via the terrific blog site Farnum Street. If learning is the key to improving--along with mindful practice--and since sleep is key to learning, this all makes sense. Now quite reading this & go to sleep!

Chirs Coyne & the Middle East & U.S. Foreign Policy

Coyne, another from those blog-crazy folks @ GMU, makes some good points:
1. We didn't predict what would happen in the Middle East, this outbreak of popular dissatisfaction. How good can anyone be at this, or is just the government poor at it? (I think most everyone. Societies and history are complex.)
2. Why do we say we're all about democracy and then give big dollars to dictators? Maybe we should just tell the truth: we want them for strategic allies, or their better than a feared alternative. Look how well that worked in Iran.

Geoge Will on Republican Craziness

I used the think that George Will had some independence of thought, and then I came to think that he'd simply turned into an crank, so for some time now I haven't read him. However, with this article I have to give him a shout-out. He calls on the carpet Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich for their false and deceitful statements about Obama and his upbringing. How sad that person considered (by some) to be viable candidates for the presidency in the Republican Party would be either so duplicitous or so stupid as to say these things. Neither alternative is attractive. Thanks, Will, for speaking some truth the power. I hope that the other candidates that he mentions have some character and integrity. Heaven knows that candidates for high office don't increase in integrity along the way, so they'd better start with a huge supply before then begin their journey.

Tyler Cowen on Fiscal Irresponsibility

Speaking of Tyler Cowen, his article in the NYT today is interesting. First, I agree with him. Two, he cites James Buchanan, someone I vaguely remember hearing about in an undergraduate course on taxation and government finance (and in which I got a B grade and I'm not sure at all what I learned). Anyway, since then Buchanan won a Nobel in economics, and his work on "public choice" seems very interesting. But back to the point: do democracies spend too much--almost always? I does seem that Keynes's insight has been badly abused. We should only run deficits in times of real need, not endemically, as we have mostly since WWII. However, to cut now is perhaps to risk jolting a delicate economy with a shock that it can't very well withstand. In fact, to hell with "the economy". Remember, we should really be concerned about people, living human beings will families to feed and bills to pay. I think that we have to make some very tough choices indeed.

Cowen expands on his argument & brings in some comment from his spot @ Marginal Revolution.

Seth Roberts on Tyler Cowen's The Great Stagnation

Seth Roberts has posted (and will post) some comments on Tyler Cowen's The Great Stagnation, which I read recently. Both the original by Cowen & Roberts comments to date are very worthwhile. Cowen argues that we've picked the "low hanging fruit" and therefore we may see some degree of economic stagnation in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. Roberts follows up with the pertinent comments, including citing one of his favorites, Jane Jacobs. Interesting and thought-provoking stuff.
I posted a comment on down the line, citing one of my favorites, Thomas Homer-Dixon, who covers similar territory.