Media Matters: More lives to lay at the feet of the tobacco industry Can anything stop them?
Think Progress: America's shame It is insane that people living in a developed country and the largest economy on the planet do not have health insurance or access to regular, affordable health care.
Yorker: John Cassidy provides a good post-mortem of the financial &
mortgage market meltdowns and a wonderful metaphor for behavioral
externalities. Excerpt: “Note the phrase “the efficiency
properties of market outcomes.” What does that refer to? Builders constructing
homes for which there is no demand? Mortgage lenders foisting costly subprime
loans on the cash-strapped elderly? Wall Street banks levering up their equity
capital by forty to one? The global economy entering its steepest downturn
since the nineteen-thirties? Of course not. Mankiw was referring to the
textbook economics that he and others have been teaching for decades: the economics
of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman. In the world of such utopian economics, the
latest crisis of capitalism is always a blip.”
Maxine isn’t convinced that we’ve been teaching “the economics of Adam Smith” for decades. Milton Friedman, for sure, and MF’s take on Adam Smith, but Adam Smith? I don't think so.
The Economist: Maxine ordered this book and can't wait to read it. “Mr Sandel illustrates the old classroom chestnut—is it ever right to kill one innocent person to save the lives of several others?—with a horrifying dilemma from Afghanistan in 2005. A four-man American unit on reconnaissance behind lines stumbled on a shepherd likely, if let go, to betray them to the Taliban. They could not hold him prisoner. Nor, on moral grounds, would the serviceman in charge kill him. Released, the shepherd alerted the Taliban, who surrounded the unit. Three were killed along with 16 Americans in a rescue helicopter. The soldier in command, who lived, called his decision “stupid, lamebrained and southern-fried”. Which was right, his earlier refusal or his later regret?”
I guess sometimes, no matter what you do, you’re going to regret it. What would be the “minimize regret” solution? I think it would be to kill the shepherd. Maxine hopes she’s never in a similar situation.