The son of one of the world’s most influential and talented economists is obviously a total geek. How wonderful. Oh, and get this blog comment and response. Update 16:58: Then, of course, you read this. Why don’t economists get any respect?
I’m kinda undecided on the BAA break-up. The FT thinks it should definitely go ahead. But as a fairly strict libertarian, and therefore keen on economic freedom, I’ve always had a problem with monopoly break-up except in the most extreme of cases (and I’m not sure this qualifies). Nevertheless, as my job now takes me onto an aeroplane more than I before, I’m curious and so I read the summary from the Competition Commission’s provisional report.
Anyone want any free energy efficient lightbulbs? I keep getting spammed with them by British Gas, Southern Electric, et. al., in a desperate attempt to prove their green credentials. Of course, it doesn’t work - I already have all I need and they are now piling up in the cupboard (here’s a hint: maybe that ain’t so green). The law of unintended consequences is a bitch.
A post on the Economist’s Free Exchange blog - about Adam Smith’s house in Edinburgh going on sale - reminded me of a childhood fantasy, and caused me to think how it could be brought up to date. Adam Smith (and many other free-marketers since) have had a lot to say about the ingenuity of the human spirit and the market’s ability to do a better job of enriching humans than central planning.
Every time I get sad about the illiberal attitudes of the public sector in the UK, at least I can reassure myself that I don’t live in France.
Amazon have obviously got just as sick of Royal Mail as I have. They now seem to be using the Home Delivery Network instead for large parcels. I’ve just had some network kit delivered - on a Sunday! What’s even more impressive, I picked the cheapest delivery option available. There’s also online tracking available. Roll on postal competition.
I’ve been interested in photography since I was small, progressing through a simple fixed-focal-length compact camera to a basic 35mm SLR, playing with many cameras, including SLRs and compacts, and now back just to a digital compact camera I quite like. I’ve found digital sufficiently liberating that it has re-invigorated my interest in photography: primarily because it makes everything easier and cheaper. (Maybe one day I’ll invest in a 35mm digital SLR but I still want something smaller).
It appears that Starbucks is finally coming to Winchester. No doubt many will lament over this further Americanisation and homogenisation of our high street, but I’m kinda curious. For a long time, Winchester’s most obvious and best option for coffee (in my humble opinion) has been the equally sterile and characterless Caffè Nero chain. There are a few other chains and independents around, but they’re all weaker for one reason or another (low ceilings, no air-conditioning, dirty tables, etc.
The political arguments around government and business are well understood. At one extreme are people who despise profit-making businesses, considering them a necessary evil at best, and who’d prefer to see governments take more action to protect their and society’s interests. At the other are those who’d prefer to see governments scaled down significantly and businesses given more freedom. People with my political opinions often make arguments for the latter based on either practical or moral arguments.
Today is Milton Friedman day. Friedman is a personal hero of mine, an economist who worked hard to publicise the concepts of freedom and liberty, and who sadly passed away last November. His clarity and forthrightness in explaining his beliefs to the layman won him praise, and deservedly so: The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit. Milton’s son David is also an economist, and continues to promote his ideas on this blog.