Friday, 18 September 2015

Friday Morning Ramble–11.09.15

Eric Crampton explains the EQC: “Suppose that your wife tells you that you could save a lot on house insurance if you just paid her the premiums every month and she'd pay you if the house burned down. Seems like a good idea - keep the money in the family. She invests the premiums you pay her in getting the kitchen redone. Yup, the insurer's asset base looks good now. But come the fire...”
Correlated risks re-re-revisited: worse than I'd thought – Eric Crampton, OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR

“In an attempt to convince Aucklanders that Len Brown should be re-elected for a third term and that Auckland Council knows what it is doing the Council has developed an online ‘Pravda’ style Ministry of Propaganda at ratepayers’ expense.”
Len Brown's Ministry of Propaganda – JO HOLMES

“From next year, every student who enrols at Canterbury University will be required to become “biculturally competent” by the time they graduate. Essentially, this means that students will be force-fed separatist dogma on a compulsory basis. The initiative is the brainchild of Ngai Tahu….”
Divided Agenda – Muriel Newman, NZCPR

“We’re almost there – rugby fans who’ve not put a boot through the 40″ in frustration at a build up more dreary than a family holiday to Stationery Warehouse will have actual rugby to digest in less that 24 hours time. Fans of ‘stats’ and ‘facts’ have had plenty of chances to scratch that itch elsewhere. presents a RWC 15 guide to the All Blacks’ opposition, and a pointer to the pain the nation’s about to experience together.”
Cupping the cup – RWC 15 preview – SPORT REVIEW.NET.NZ

Reminder: “Climate scientists have expressed surprise at findings that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking.
    “Islands in Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia are among those which have grown, largely due to coral debris, land reclamation and sediment.
    The findings, published in the magazine New Scientist, were gathered by comparing changes to 27 Pacific islands over the last 20 to 60 years using historical aerial photos and satellite images.”
Deportation on the cards for climate change refugee – 3 NEWS
Pacific islands growing, not sinking – ABC NEWS (2010)
World’s first “climate refugee” refused entry to NZ – NOT PC (2013)

Because it can’t be said too often …


“Economists, bankers, fund managers, and investors around the world are absolutely fixated on the Federal Reserve’s anticipated announcement this week, with many fearing that a rate hike could trigger more shocks like the recent Black Monday selloff.
    “In a world of social media and 24-hour news cycles, it’s fair to say Wednesday’s FOMC meeting in the Eccles Building has been the most widely reported and discussed central bank action in history.
    “But missing from the coverage is one fundamental point: “monetary policy” and bureaucratic control over interest rates is not capitalism, it is outright centralised planning.”
The FOMC Star Chamber – Jeff Deist, MISES DAILY

“Left-wing thought has shifted towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic. It is insupportable.”
Why I’ve finally given up on the left – Nick Cohen, SPECTATOR

“Will the real economic liberals please stand up? "Liberals are slowly discovering that the regulatory state they helped create undermines job creation and income growth, in particular for the least skilled and educated workers. This epiphany is overdue, but progress is progress if a left-right reform coalition emerges for more open labour markets."
Licenses to Kill: How the American Left is Waking Up to the Horrors of Occupational Licensing – WSJ

“In the early 1960s, Joan Robinson argued with a colleague about the great economic success of Korea. It was a confusing debate until a listener realised Robinson was talking about North Korea and the other about the South.”
Natural experiments and how South Korea became rich – Jim Rose, UTOPIA—YOU ARE STANDING IN IT

“Henry Hazlitt on Human Action: I know of no other work, in fact, which conveys to the reader so clear an insight into the intimate interconnectedness of all economic phenomena. It makes us recognize why it is impossible to study or understand "collective bargaining" or "labour problems" in isolation; or to understand wages apart from prices or from interest rates or from profits and losses, or to understand any of these apart from all the rest, or the price of any one thing apart from the prices of other things.
    “It makes us see why those who specialise merely in "monetary economics" or "agricultural economics" or "labour economics" or "business forecasting" so often go astray.
    So far is Mises's approach from that of the specialist that he treats economics itself as merely part (though the hitherto best-elaborated part) of a more universal science, "praxeology," or "the science of every kind of human action." This is the key to his title and to his 889 comprehensive pages.”
Hazlitt: Human Action, Mises's Masterpiece – Henry Hazlitt, MISES WIRE

“…the overwhelming evidence that individual property rights are essential to economic prosperity. It might seem just common sense that people won’t collect productive assets into businesses if they fear those assets will be stolen. But this point is hotly denied …”
What Really Keeps Us Poor? – Hunter Lewis, AGAINSTCRONYCAPITALISM.ORG

“Was the Soviet Union's problem that Communism can never work? Or did the Soviets just need a lot more MacBook Airs?...As we pull back to look at society, or the globe, we see that [prices] are in fact an incredibly elegant way to allocate scarce resources."
Yes, Computers Have Improved. No, Communism Hasn't. – Megan McArdle, BLOOMBERG

“Don't rule him out completely, but then I fully expect the Conservative Party to not take advantage of this move to the far left, but rather engage in a sopping wet contest for the middle muddle ground of mediocrity.”
Jeremy Corbyn the new communist Leader of the UK Opposition – LIBERTY SCOTT 
How Corbyn might encourage the Conservatives to make a case for capitalism – NOT PC

“To regard the fourth estate as a coherent and malicious political entity is conspiratorial madness.”
The problem with Jeremy Corbyn’s populist media-loathing – Hugo Rifkind, SPECTATOR
To see why he won, look at the clueless Corbyn-bashing – Mick Hume, SPIKED

“Now here's a winner for you. The British Labour Party's new shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell: life-long union agitator who has yet to create a single job or run a business but favours stealing businesses without compensation; says he wishes he could go back and assassinate Margaret Thatcher; etc., etc. This is what the unfettered Loony Left looks like in suits.”
Labour's new shadow chancellor John McDonnell: His top six political blunders – TELEGRAPH

“The most singular part about Malcolm Turnbull leadership is that he has no desire to lead anywhere except where others also on the left already want to go.”
It’s not leadership, it’s followership – Steve Kates, LAW OF MARKETS
Turnbull and Conservatism’s Rekindling – Merve Bendle, QUADRANT
The Two Conservatisms – John O’Sullivan,QUADRANT
Australia’s Pantomime Democracy – Gareth Evans, PROJECT SYNDICATE

“Well, we're getting through the honeymoon period fairly briskly.”
Malcolm Turnbull Backflips On Marriage Equality; Confirms He Won’t Allow A Free Vote In Parliament – JUNKEE.COM

“A good politician is quite as
unthinkable as an honest burglar.”
- H. L. Mencken

Australian Women Left Directionless After Minister For Women Loses Job – THE SHOVEL

“Coincidentally, while my house was shaking last night, hopefuls for the US presidency debated last night about how to make America great again.
    “They spent three hours bickering and quibbling while nary a word was spoken about the real challenges.
    “Right now nearly every Western government is completely bankrupt.
    “This is not hyperbole– these are facts ripped from the pages of their own financial reports.”
After last night’s powerful earthquake – Simon Black (writing from Chile), SOVEREIGN MAN

“Donald Trump is not the only obstacle to finding leaders of character. The ultimate danger lies in the voting public themselves.”
Why Have Elections? Thomas Sowell, CAPITALISM MAGAZINE

“Republicans keep promising us “Constitutional conservatism.” At last night’s debate, sadly, neither the Constitution — nor the Declaration of Independence giving rise to it — were much in evidence.”
Republican Debate – DR HURD.COM

“I think the answer is that for a majority of GOP voters this is probably true.”
Do GOP voters just actually want big government? – Nick Sorrentino, AGAINST CRONY CAPITALISM

“Bobby Jindal, who wants to stop so-called anchor babies, was born four months after his parents arrived in the U.S. on temporary student visas.
    “Donald Trump, who has made actually deporting so-called anchor babies a centerpiece of his campaign, is the son of a woman from Scotland who was naturalized four years before he was born.
    “Bernie Sanders, who says allowing more immigrants is a Koch brothers plot to reduce wages, is the son of a Polish immigrant who arrived penniless in the United States to escape the Holocaust…”
Refugees and the 2016 US presidential candidates – John Lee, OPEN BORDERS


“Beyond the financial arguments, let’s not forget that immigrants bring us new ideas. They invent more things than the native-born. Immigrants gave us Google, YouTube, blenders, ATMs, basketball, shopping malls, blue jeans, hot dogs and more… Libertarian support for immigration is not about “elites” or “guilt.” The facts show that immigration is mostly good.”
Immigration Is Great: A Big Win for America – John Stossel, CAPITALISM MAGAZINE
The US Should Be a Home for Refugees – Alex Nowsareth, CATO
Immigration For Republicans – KEITH WEINER ECONOMICS
Why Open Borders? What if we just let people move? – Jeffrey Tucker, ANYTHING PEACEFUL
The Real Threat to America Is Not Immigrants, but Ourselves – Marian Tupy & Alex Nowsareth, THE FEDERALIST
A debate between Leonard Peikoff and Yaron Brook on the question: Who should, or should not, be allowed to immigrate into the US? – LEONARD PEIKOFF

“3 Quarks Daily asked a number of writers, artists, scientists, scholars, and public intellectuals to give us brief personal reflections on the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe and other places. The following have sent their thoughts and their responses are below in the order in which we received them…”
Thoughts on the Syrian Refugee Crisis – 3 QUARKS DAILY

“Jihadi fighters in Iraq and Syria reveal the apocalyptic motivations of the militant movement that has hijacked the Syrian uprising – and transformed the Middle East.”
Why Isis fights – Martin Chulov, GUARDIAN

“The Koran has many bloodthirsty passages as well as many suggesting qualified live-and-let-live policies. So we take up the question of whether Islam is essentially a religion of violence or peace.”
Seyyid Qutb and Islamism this week – STEPHEN HICKS

“Omar Ghabra won Twitter with these photos, and this quip: ‘An Arab-looking man of Syrian descent in a garage w/his accomplice building what appears to be a bomb …”
Arab-looking man of Syrian descent found in garage building what looks like a bomb – BOING BOING

“On this episode of Power Hour Alex Epstein is joined by Brendan O’Neill, editor of and author of A Duty to Offend, to discuss the difference between the humanist view of nature and the anti-humanist view of nature.”
Power Hour: Brendan O’Neill on Humanism vs. Anti-Humanism – CENTER FOR INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS

Please share and make no difference:


“In fact, all of the explanations theorists can think of so far for the observations leave something to be desired—and do not do much to solve any of the larger outstanding problems of physics, such as the question of what makes dark matter or dark energy. ‘There’s nothing nice about these models—they’re just sort of cooked up to explain this fact, not to get at the trouble with other facts,’ Wise says. ‘But just because the theorists are not comfortable with it, nature will do what nature does’.”
Two Accelerators Find Particles that May Break Known Laws of Physics – RICHARD DAWKINS.NET

“Many social sciences and humanities faculties in Japan are to close after universities were ordered to ‘serve areas that better meet society’s needs’.”
Social sciences and humanities faculties to close in Japan after ministerial decree – TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT

“A glimpse inside the Melbourne Montessori School Adolescent Program. An evidence-based method of teaching…”

“Allowing a young child to use a knife in the kitchen may sound like a recipe for disaster. Yet researchers and educators say it can help foster independence and curiosity toward food.”
Go Ahead, Give Your Toddler A Kitchen Knife - NPR.ORG

“Schools could well be wasting their money on laptops and iPads for students.”
Australian students are world leaders ... at wasting class time on the internet – THE AGE

“When kids don’t get a chance to play on their own, they grow fearful and depressed because only in play do they get to be the adults.”
Are Helicoptered Kids More Depressed at College? – Lenore Skenazy, FREE-RANGE KIDS
From Baby Knee Pads to Trigger Warnings: How Helicoptered Kids become Hypersensitive College Students – Lenore Skenazy, FREE-RANGE KIDS
Kids Allowed to Engage in Unsupervised “Risky Play” Develop Skills that Help Later in Making Smart Decisions about Sex and Drugs  – Lenore Skenazy, FREE-RANGE KIDS

“After a decade in front of the classroom and an equal number of years as a mother, Jessica Lahey, educator, mum and author of 'The Gift of Failure', had a parenting epiphany. She came to see that, with the best will in the world and only good intentions, we parents have taught a generation of [children] to fear and avoid failure."
Giving Our Children The Gift Of Failure – Lisa Heffernan, SCARY MOMMY

“’Good job!’ ‘What a wonderful story!’ ‘Your painting is beautiful!’ Sound familiar? It is not our approval, evaluation or critique of a child’s work that matters. Children need to make their own conclusions and our comments should merely help inform that self-assessment.”
Praising Children: Evaluative vs. Descriptive – PLAYFUL LEARNING.NET

“We are all familiar with situation when parents and teachers lost their patience, they will grab over whatever the children is doing and start to do by themselves, especially towards young children. Letitia thinks even young children have the ability to become independent if given right time, right environment and right education. You will see a 3-year-old cleaning window (literally) in her talk and she will tell us how to build these important personalities including independence, empathy, etc.”:

Humour from Roger’s Profanisaurus:

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.44.48

[Hat tips quips and jokes from Jim Rose, Montessori Australia, , Maria Montessori Education Foundation, Mother of Exiles, Fabia Claridge-Chang, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Laissez Faire Capitalism, I Love Fossil Fuels, Hayden Wood, James Jenkins, Lawrence Reed, Bastiat Institute, Taliesin Fellows, Robert Tracinski, Marvin Adams, Monica Beth, Tom Burroughes, Australian Libertarian Society (ALS), Steve Case]

Finally, the highlight of his weekend for me is not going to be rugby …
Tosca – NZ OPERA
Italian Idol – Peter Cresswell, SOLO

And really and truly finally, advice to friends (you know who you are): Avoid Mt Stupid:

Embedded image permalink


  1. Re #1: That's the problem with the National Disaster Fund, yup. The organisation as a whole has a pile of reinsurance so that part doesn't fit that description. Omnishambles could be accurate for the broader organisation, or less polite terms.

    But all of it helps explain why things went as they did. Every dollar beyond what came from reinsurance effectively came out of the government's budget and so there was pressure to keep costs down. That dictated repair strategies rather than the terms of the client's insurance policy. Notched bearers came to be deemed consistent with "as new" because that could save the government money on the overruns beyond the reinsurance coverage.

    I really really really want to pay somebody, say, $10k per year for a policy that would give me a cheque for a million dollars if there's a massive Wellington earthquake on par with Christchurch's. Then I can just leave and sell the house as-is, along with the insurance nightmares to follow.

  2. Streuth, is this a 1st? ~the green party release makes sense! In your twitter listing, Idiot Savant, on genius negotiation of S Joyce Rightly condemning the [expletives] Joyce and his Sky convention centre deal. With supposed friends of capitalism like Joyce, who needs enemies?

    1. Yeah, a Green PR being dead-on. Who'd a' thunk it. For their own reasons they can frequently be good critics of cronyism. And Idiot/Savant is quite right too: although it's hardly Teapot Dome, the deal does seems to reveal that S. Joyce has been either incompetent or corrupt.

  3. Your first picture is ironic, given your later nonsense about what gets people to put children in boats.

    1. "Nonsense"? Oh, you mean you disagree with it.

  4. Scientific American Dawkins link

    "The known Higgs boson" gets stranger by the millisecond.


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