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Category Archives: Academia

The good people syndrome

I doubt that there is any more corrupting element in contemporary public debate than the good people syndrome: talking heads who say things, not because they have any knowledge or understanding, but because it is what good people say. There are forms of it on a wide range of issues, and on all sides of politics, but it seems unlikely […]

Ahistorical pomposity and gnostic sneering: why academics write deep crap about “neoliberalism”

Humanities and social science academics write a remarkable amount of nonsense about “neoliberalism”, typically understanding neither the reasons for the general shift in public policy nor the motivations and ideas behind it. A nice example of such nonsense is provided in a post by philosopher Robin James: neoliberals think everything in the universe works like a […]

Unhelpful dichotomies

I recently finished The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire by Kent Flannery & Joyce Marcus, a very accessible rendering for the lay audience of a huge amount of anthropological and archaeological data about the development of state societies. At the end of Chapter Twenty-Two (“Graft and Imperialism”), there is […]

The vicious logic of equality

The Left likes to view itself as the champions of equality, compassion, tolerance and support for the oppressed. As with many people, my most dramatic experiences of the Left are of people who are entitled, self-righteous, vicious and nasty. Some of the latter has been on display in the recent round of commencement addresses in […]

The curse of managerialism

The ideology of managerialism (that societies are equivalent to the sum of the transactions made by the managements of organisations) must be just about the only case of an ideology whose key figure was an Australian. As Prof. James Hoopes tells it: But the main genesis of managerialism lay in the human relations movement that took root at […]

What if ‘net-neutrality’ was a really bad idea? Guest post by Brian Hanley

[SL: Despite long-term engagement with technology, I remain something of a tech sceptic. I'm not the only lawyer who's noticed that modern computer software often impedes the completion of important, time-critical tasks, or who has witnessed the property department at three different law firms refuse to part up with their IBM Selectrics. This article, however, […]

Ronald Coase (1910-2013)

I was intending to make this my Wednesday post for last week, but my iPad ate my draft in Pages (it will not open or email the document: any suggestions for getting to the document would be welcome). But delaying for a week allowed me to provide a more complete post.   Ronald Coase, the […]

States as coordination problems

Economist David Friedman’s theory about the size and shape of nations leads him to postulate that the increased importance of labour income–a result of the Industrial Revolution: one of the ironies of history is that greatly increased propensity to produce capital increases both the scale (through increased demand) and then the average income (through increased relative scarcity) […]

Melbourne Law School High Court Blog

Melbourne Law School has just set up a new High Court Blog (Opinions on High) with yours truly as one of the editors. I won’t be writing regular detailed posts in the way that I have traditionally done for Skepticlawyer, although I did write this one on malicious prosecution for the new blog. The other […]