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Tag Archives: china

Dead Duck Dynasty

A giant yellow rubber duck on display in a Taiwanese port has burst in unexplained circumstances. The 18 metre (50 foot) inflatable duck suddenly collapsed on Tuesday, only 11 days after it had been put on display in the port at Keelung. Organisers are unsure as to the cause of its demise, but one theory […]

Righteous Rage

In September, there were two horrific jihadi attacks in Africa against “soft targets”–the 21 September attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya and the 29 September massacre of students in the male dormitory of the College of Agriculture in Gujba, Yobe State, Nigeria.  The first attack killed at least 61 civilians (plus 6 […]

Legal systems very different from our own

Economist David Friedman talking on legal systems very different from our own, the title of a course he teaches and of a forthcoming book (the draft of which is up on his website for comment). He sets out how medieval Sharia worked, before the rise of the nation-state. Including observing that (in its dynamics): Sharia […]

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold … A post somewhat about China

Historically, taxing land (rents) and trade have been the dominant income sources of rulerships not reliant on labour service (not to be confused with taxes on labour income, which have a different dynamic).* Trade was a particularly attractive source of income because it often involved taxing outsiders. But trade was also mobile–too much tax for […]

Prawn Crackers

Foreign Minister Bob Carr says a report alleging Chinese hackers stole plans for Australia’s new intelligence hub will not hit ties with Beijing. On Monday the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported blueprints setting out the building’s cable layouts and security systems had been illegally accessed by a server in China. Mr Carr did not comment directly […]

Bubble trouble: not an easy money problem

The notion that “easy money” created asset booms is levelled (famously by Austrian school economists such as von Mises and Hayek) against the 1920s boom and by a range of commentators about the Great Moderation boom. In both cases, the Fed (dominated by Benjamin Strong as New York Fed Governor up to 1928 and by Alan Greenspan as Fed Chair 1987-2006) is held to be to […]

Norm failure

I have previously posted elsewhere about how similar the failures in indigenous policy and development (particularly foreign aid) policy have been. Remarkably similar, indeed. They also show some distinct similarities to the more unfortunate effects of welfare provision. (By ‘welfare provision’ I do not mean the aged pension or health or education services; I am talking […]

Government: the good, the bad and the appalling

Conservative humourist P J O’Rourke once observed, after flying over West and East Germany, that one should probably try to avoid public policy mistakes you can see from 20,000 feet up. Then there are public policy mistakes one can see from orbit. The two Germanys and the two Koreas constituted natural public policy experiments. Take […]