Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What your taxes are doing

This – Radio New Zealand National news, 1:00 19-06-12

“After a four year review of beekeeping the Ministry of Primary industries is hopeful that very shortly it will be able to determine what constitutes a beehive.”

My goodness we’ve got a grip here in this country.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

America’s Crippling Regulatory Habits

Prof Bruce Yandle – Clemson University

There is more to the U.S. problem than Europe or even the past recession. There is a bias toward redistribution woven deeply into the economy’s fabric, a bias that works against productivity gains, innovation, and wealth creation. And it did not begin with Mr Obama or with Mr Bush, though their administrations strengthened the bias mightily.

The redistribution disease seems to have begun in the very early 1970s, perhaps in 1970 when Richard Nixon severed the dollar from gold.. It was then that the U.S. went on an amazing deficit binge. This was accompanied by a regulatory rush that gradually yet systematically introduced endless rules and constraints on how we work, what we produce, where we can produce, how we market things, and how we hire, just to name a few of the major rule categories.

Funded with deficit dollars, the regulatory establishment was able to grow more rapidly than federal revenues. From 1970 to the present, 2.5 million pages of new and modified rules have been published.

New pages in the Federal Register form a proxy for regulation growth. And the number of annual new pages divided by real GDP is a proxy for the overall economic burden of those rules. . Can an economy, even a strong market economy, digest this much government regulation without choking or at least sputtering?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Completely the wrong way around

An AP report in the Herald this morning shows just how far the world still is from “getting it” about collapsing western economies and the causes of the problem – it states that:

Spain has agreed to accept a bailout of its banks.

How magnanimous of it…. how generous of them to “accept” 100 bn euro.  We can readily imagine the week’s activity at other Euro banks… getting ready to “accept” no doubt.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

So Much for “the People”… a motley crew to be sure

Cafe Hayek reminds us of:

the four ‘biases’ that Bryan Caplan finds among the general public unfamiliar with the economic way of thinking. These biases are (in no particular order) (1) the anti-foreign bias; (2) the make-work bias; (3) the anti-market bias; and (4) the pessimistic bias.

It is well to be versed in these and their anti enlightenment logic… the better to deal with them.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The world’s most exclusive social network

Let’s swap emoticons
SOUTH KOREANS take romance seriously. Lovers are expected to swap sweet nothings many times a day and woe betide the clod who forgets a “100-day anniversary”. Some pairs dress in “couple style”, in the same garish red sweater and blue jeans combo, for instance. Small wonder that a Korean firm has created a social network for couples.
VCNC’s app is called “Between”. It creates a private space for two people, in which they can share photographs and special memories, chat in real time and exchange any number of cute “emoticons”: smiley faces, winks, hearts and so on. Though revolting to singles, Between is a hit. Since its launch in November, more than 560,000 Koreans have fallen for it. This comes despite VCNC spending virtually nothing on marketing. Park Jae-uk, the firm’s boss, claims another 200,000 users abroad, divided between China, Japan and North America.
Between is part of a trend towards intimacy in social networking. Some Facebook users are fed up with the torrent of “friend” requests from people they barely know. Others resent being tagged in embarrassing photographs their boss can see. Hence the rise of services such as Path, an American network that limits members to 150 friends. Other networks, such as FamilyLeaf and Storytree, target families.
VCNC is betting that couples particularly value their privacy. A message on one’s Facebook “Wall” from an old flame can incinerate a new relationship. Cutting the ex (and everyone else) out removes the risk. Cynics may ask how a social network for two differs from simply sending text messages back and forth. Between’s users presumably think the cynics lack romance in their souls.
Revenue will come from advertising. The firm hopes that nice restaurants and sellers of romantic holidays will pay to pitch to loved-up couples. It also plans to offer premium services, such as the printing of photobooks documenting the progress of a relationship.
Swingers may be miffed to learn that Between allows only one partner per user. But some cheaters have beaten the system by using multiple identities, laughs Mr Park. He is unlikely to join them. Running VCNC keeps him too busy even for one girlfriend, he laments.

The Economist