Monthly Archives: August 2012

Goals, rules and time-horizons

A perennial discussion in monetary policy is rules versus discretion. Should the central bank be constrained to follow a policy rule or should it have policy discretion? I find this debate generally muddled both in the means-versus-ends question and what is the proper underlying concern. Is the concern bad policy or unclear policy? With constraining […]

What can the price of beer tell us?

What can the price of beer tell us? Quite a lot according to this amusing piece (via). Here is a chart of beer prices in various Eurozone countries since 1996. Prices in Germany have remained pretty steady, with the price of beer rising about 1% a year. The price of beer in Greece has surged […]

Mendacks

Ecuador has granted asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange two months after he took refuge in its London embassy while fighting extradition from the UK. It cited fears that Mr Assange’s human rights might be violated. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK would not allow Mr Assange safe passage out of the country. But […]

'A Plea in Law for Equal Marriage'

As many of you know, I won the 2012 Law Society of Scotland Essay Award for a piece entitled ‘A Plea in Law for Equal Marriage’. The question to which my paper was a response was this: An MSP would like to bring forward a member’s bill in the Scottish Parliament. She would like it […]

‘A Plea in Law for Equal Marriage’

As many of you know, I won the 2012 Law Society of Scotland Essay Award for a piece entitled ‘A Plea in Law for Equal Marriage’. The question to which my paper was a response was this: An MSP would like to bring forward a member’s bill in the Scottish Parliament. She would like it […]

Yes, the law really does abhor a penalty

Sinclair Davidson at Catallaxy has written a post on excessive fees charged by banks, and said this: [The argument that the fees were designed purely to enrich the bank] is a bit hard to take. When you begin a banking relationship you normally sign a contract that includes the fees that you’ll pay for various […]

Power and purity

Taboos are a major part of religious practice, across a very wide range of religious traditions. Taboos about what people can eat, wear, act, associate with, believe; the entire range of human behaviour.  Religious taboos are nicely defined as: a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too […]

Going for Gold

Well, the Olympics are over. One of the primary news items here for the last two weeks has been Australia’s comparatively lacklustre performance in the gold medal stakes in the Olympics. Australia won 16 gold medals at the 2000 Olympics, 17 gold at the 2004 Olympics and 14 gold at the 2008 Olympics. In the […]

Networked zealotry

A feature of the internet has been the growth of networked zealotry; where intensely held attitudes are expressed in overheated rhetoric and ad hominem abuse, not as solitary aberrations (though that also happens), but in self-reinforcing internet coteries. This has fed off, and possibly intensified, the bitter “culture wars” of the US; the intensification of […]

Unintended consequences

Over the years, various reforms have been introduced in attempts to make American politics be more democratic. For example, primary voting was introduced during the Progressive Era as a way of broadening popular participation in the election process by registered voters selecting their Party’s candidate. The unintended effect was to increase the expense of running […]