venerdì 23 giugno 2017

10 buoni motivi

10 buoni motivi per essere cattolici (Italian Edition) di Mozzi Giulio e Binaghi Valter
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1. Perché questo mondo è stato creato
Un primo buon motivo per essere cristiani cattolici è che è bello immaginare che questo mondo sia stato creato, e creato da un qualcuno che posso immaginare come una persona; un qualcuno al quale io, che sono una persona, posso immaginare di somigliare; con il quale posso immaginare di parlare; con il quale posso immaginare di avere una storia… mi pare bella l’immaginazione di un creatore che tutt’a un tratto o da sempre sente la voglia di averci qualcuno che non sia lui stesso, di un qualcuno che gli somigli ma che insieme sia abbastanza distinto da lui stesso da poterci parlare, da poterci passare del tempo, da poterci, ecco, avere una storia. Una storia d’amore, magari….
Note:È BELLO IMMAGINARE UNA RELAZIONE PERSONALE CON UN CREATORE
Questo, alla fin fine, m’immagino: che il creatore si sia fatto una sorpresa; che abbia fatto qualcosa che non s’immaginava, o che almeno gli è venuto del tutto diverso da quello che s’immaginava; che abbia fatto qualcosa che, essendo venuto com’è venuto, ha svelato allo stesso creatore qual era la segreta voglia, la voglia di un tutt’a un tratto, che da sempre egli coltivava: ma segretamente, nascostamente da se stesso.
Note:SORPRESA!
2. Perché questa storia è una storia d’amore
Un secondo buon motivo per essere cristiani cattolici è che è bello leggere e rileggere, raccontare e riraccontare, la storia d’amore tra il creatore e il popolo che egli si è scelto.
Note:UNA BELLA STORIA D'AMORE
a fondamento di tutte le storie che si rispettino – succede che i personaggi cambiano. Si trasformano.
Note:CAMBIAMENTO
È andato avanti ancora un po’, il creatore, a progettare e saltuariamente realizzare distruzioni parziali o quasi totali delle creature; ha continuato ancora per un po’ a bruciacchiare questa o quella città, a sparpagliare questa o quella epidemia per punire questa o quella marachella; ma alla fine ha mollato la pezza. Ha capito che, ad accoppare il proprio innamorato per ogni qualsiasi marachella, non lo si fa reinnamorare più che tanto.
Note:IL METODO PUNITIVO NON FUNZIONA
Ora, guardate il bimbo nella mangiatoia. Ora, guardate quello stesso bimbo, poco più che trentenne, appeso agonizzante a una croce. È sempre lui. È sempre quello che finora abbiamo chiamato “il creatore”. C’è stato un bel cambiamento.
Note:IL METODO DELL' AMORE FUNZIONA
3. Perché abbiamo identificato il nemico
Un terzo buon motivo per essere cristiani cattolici è che si sa quasi tutto sul nemico. Il nemico compare presto nella storia delle creature: è già lì, nel giardino che il creatore aveva piantato in Eden
Note:IL NEMICO COMPARE SUBITO
Lo vediamo nel giardino piantato in Eden dal creatore, e ci domandiamo: “Ma ce l’ha messo il creatore? E se il creatore è buono – poiché si dice che il creatore sia buono –, perché ce l’ha messo? E se il creatore è buono, perché l’ha creato?”, oppure ci domandiamo: “Non sarà che il nemico esiste indipendentemente dal creatore?
Note:ORIGINE DEL NEMICO
E viene, terribile, il sospetto che quei due siano complementari. Che siano un creatore e uno screatore; che siano, come coppia, i motori dell’universo, un principio di produzione e uno di distruzione, un principio di sistema e uno di entropia.
Note:DUBBIO GNOSTICO
Poi – facciamo un volo di secoli – troviamo di nuovo il creatore a confronto con il nemico: il creatore, fattosi creatura, sta sul monte a meditare in solitudine, e il nemico appare; appare, e fa un’offerta. Ti do tutto, dice. Metto nelle tue mani – come tu un tempo mettesti nelle mie mani Giobbe: non lo dice lì per lì, ma è sottinteso – tutte le creature. Regnerai su di esse. Potrai dare loro pace, salute, letizia, felicità perpetue. Ti riconosceranno – queste creature dalla zucca dura, così indocili e stravaganti – e ti adoreranno: per sempre. Il creatore fattosi creatura dice: no. E noi, che nel buio della sala osserviamo col fiato sospeso questa scena madre, urliamo di dolore. Ma digli di sì, cribbio! Ma che cosa ti costa! Ma se è quello che hai sempre desiderato! Pezzo d’idiota, per quanti secoli ancora vuoi che viviamo senza pace, senza salute, senza letizia, senza felicità? Ti basterebbe muovere appena la testa, fare un cenno, sussurrare un sì, posare su questo preteso nemico uno sguardo appena appena un pochettino benevolo, e sarebbe tutto risolto! Sarebbe tutto risolto, sì: come solvet saeclum in favilla, come tutto, alla fine, si scioglierà in un gran calore, in un punto rosso di fuoco. Ma non è ancora giunto il tempo della fine – infatti, siamo qui. Il nemico è quindi, prima di tutto, un nemico della storia…. Il nemico è quindi un sofista. Non vuole una cosa precisa; se la storia è lenta lui tenta di affrettarla; se va spedita lui tenta di fermarla….
Note:IL NEMICO DELLA STORIA
4. Perché questa storia è la storia di tutti
Un quarto buon motivo per essere cristiani, e cristiani cattolici, è che il messianismo universale (perché questo significano le parole: l’antico greco “christòs” traduce l’ebraico “messia”, ovvero “salvatore”; e “katholikòs” significa “universale”, più nel senso di “per tutti quanti” che in quello di “per ciascuno”) è per l’appunto un messianismo universale.
Note:CATTOLICO = UNIVERSALE
5. Perché non si è mai visto un Dio che si faccia carne
Un quinto buon motivo per essere cristiani cattolici è che il creatore, circa duemill’anni fa, prese tutti in contropiede e si fece creatura di carne… La cosa è ovviamente incredibile: e le autorità di quel tempo – le autorità religiose e le autorità civili, di comune accordo o per convenienza reciproca – non ci credettero. La storia finì con un corpo appeso a una croce e una comunità di seguaci allo sbando:
Note:SI È FATTO CARNE
possiamo prendere i Vangeli per quello che sono: Marco e Matteo, poco più che raccolte o promemoria, frutto di diversi e successivi assemblaggi, di detti, episodi, brevi discorsi di Gesù di Nazareth, passati per decenni di bocca in bocca, utili come sostegno alla predicazione orale, di facile comprensione per chiunque; Luca, un tentativo di fare un “libro scritto” a partire da quei materiali, aggiungendone altri, e mettendo tutto in bello stile greco, con un occhio di riguardo per un pubblico pagano e colto; Giovanni, più un libro di teologia in forma narrativa, rivolto a un pubblico di già credenti – o, sostengono alcuni, a un pubblico di affiliati a una di quelle religioni o spiritualità diffuse all’epoca, d’origine orientale, chiamate “misteri” –, che una narrazione “di annuncio” rivolta a tutti.
Note:I VANGELI
6. Perché questo Dio si fa riconoscere
Un sesto buon motivo per essere cristiani cattolici è che Fëdor Dostoevskij, in quel bizzarro testo inesistente che è La leggenda del grande inquisitore – un testo che esiste, per modo di dire, così: è un poema scritto da Ivan Karamazov, personaggio del romanzo I fratelli Karamazov, ma nel romanzo il poema non c’è; c’è invece il racconto del poema che Ivan fa a suo fratello Alëša – s’immagina quanto segue: che il creatore, in un tempo e in un luogo più o meno corrispondenti alla Spagna del Cinquecento, torni a visitare le creature nell’aspetto di Gesù di Nazareth; che entri nel mondo con discrezione, in silenzio; che peraltro tutti lo riconoscano; che lo riconoscano, ovviamente, anche gli uomini dell’allora attivissima e potentissima Inquisizione cattolica; e che questi lo prendano e lo gettino in carcere. Nella cella scende a parlargli il capo dell’Inquisizione, il grande inquisitore: che lo guarda, lo osserva, e senz’altro – anche lui – lo riconosce. Dapprima il grande inquisitore lo interroga: “Sei tu? Sei tu?”; ma subito cambia idea: “Non rispondere, taci. E che potresti dire? So troppo bene quel che puoi dire. Del resto, non hai il diritto di aggiungere nulla a quello che Tu già dicesti una volta. Perché sei venuto a disturbarci?… l’Inquisizione, ammazzandolo, intende fare nient’altro che ristabilire l’ordine. Perché il creatore che si fa creatura, il creatore che abbandona la propria infantile onnipotenza narcisista e paranoide e viene tra le creature come un fratello, con affetto e mitezza, in un corpo esposto ai rischi e alle malattie e alla morte, è intollerabile: intollerabile all’epoca di Anna e Caifa, intollerabile per l’Inquisizione spagnola del Cinquecento, intollerabile nella Russia dei tempi di Dostoevskij – e intollerabile oggi, probabilmente. D’altra parte il grande inquisitore parla chiaro: “Non hai il diritto di aggiungere nulla a quello che Tu già dicesti una volta”, dice….
Note:LA LEGGENDA DEL SANTO INQUISITORE
7. Perché Dio ha avuto bisogno di una donna
Un settimo buon motivo per essere cristiani cattolici è che il creatore, per farsi creatura, ha avuto bisogno del coraggio di una donna e di un uomo. Nella favola bella raccontata da Luca nel suo Vangelo, un messaggero si presenta all’improvviso a Maria, una giovane donna – probabilmente una ragazzina, considerati gli usi del tempo – promessa sposa al falegname – o carpentiere, come secondo alcuni è meglio tradurre – Giuseppe. “Rallégrati, piena di grazia”, le dice, “il Signore è con te”… “Ecco, concepirai un figlio, lo darai alla luce e lo chiamerai Gesù. Sarà grande e verrà chiamato Figlio dell’Altissimo; il Signore Dio gli darà il trono di Davide suo padre e regnerà per sempre sulla casa di Giacobbe e il suo regno non avrà fine”….
Note:IL SÌ DELLA DONNA
Doveva essere, Maria, una ragazza tosta. E domandò al messaggero: “Come avverrà questo, poiché non conosco uomo?” Un modo abbastanza indiretto e prudente di fare la domanda chiave.
Note:TOSTA
8. Perché la Chiesa custodisce la Sapienza
Un ottavo buon motivo per essere cristiani cattolici è che la scena primaria della chiesa non è tanto l’indicazione di Pietro come pietra di fondazione (“Tu sei Pietro, e su questa pietra…”), quanto ciò che accadde in Gerusalemme – secondo il racconto di Luca negli Atti degli apostoli – cinquanta giorni dopo la Pasqua nella quale Gesù di Nazareth fu appeso alla croce, morì, e fu poi visto vivo.
Note:FONDAZIONE DELLA CHIESA
“Venne all’improvviso dal cielo un fragore, quasi un vento che si abbatte impetuoso, e riempì tutta la casa. Apparvero loro lingue come di fuoco, che si dividevano, e si posarono su ciascuno di loro, e tutti furono colmati di Spirito Santo e cominciarono a parlare in altre lingue, nel modo in cui lo Spirito dava loro il potere di esprimersi”… Ecco: questo evento affascinante per alcuni, ridicolo per altri, è la nascita della chiesa cattolica. Quella che, nella parabola dei vignaioli omicidi – quasi un titolo da film dell’orrore – raccontata da Matteo era sembrata una minaccia (“A voi sarà tolto il regno di Dio e sarà dato a un popolo che ne produca i frutti”) si realizza come dono universale: la predilezione del creatore per un popolo è tolta a quel popolo per essere data a tutti i popoli (quindi anche restituita a lui, si spera)….
Note:PENTECOSTE
9. Perché la profezia dà vita alla Chiesa
Un nono buon motivo per essere cristiani cattolici è che il dono della profezia è sparso ovunque. Profeta non è – sia chiaro – chi è capace di prevedere il futuro: altrimenti tutti i profeti si arricchirebbero con il lotto… La profezia si occupa, in via esclusiva direi, del presente: del presente inteso come occasione di discontinuità tra passato e futuro…. il profeta è capace di vivere heideggerianamente all’aperto, in quell’aperto dove l’essere appare qual è…. Qui, nella percezione che un atto di libertà e un atto di speranza sono possibili, nascono i gesti di grande coraggio. Nascono i grandi amori. Nascono le grandi intuizioni cognitive. Nascono le idee che guidano i popoli. Nascono le accettazioni estreme, come quella di Maria. Nascono i rifiuti estremi, come quelli dei martiri (da Stefano a Jan Palach)….
Note:CHI E’ IL PROFETA
10. Perché tutto questo finirà in Gloria
Un decimo buon motivo per essere cristiani cattolici è che questo nostro mondo, questo mondo dei prima e dei dopo, sta viaggiando allegramente verso la propria fine, e noi con lui. Che cosa sarà precisamente questa fine, non è dato di saperlo… Sembra assodato – per quel che si può assodare circa ciò di cui non si sa nulla – che vi sarà un giudizio: saranno giudicati i vivi e i morti. Sorge il problema, tuttavia, di immaginare se ogniqualvolta una creatura muore essa venga subito giudicata, o se le creature morte siano state e saranno stipate da qualche parte, in attesa di essere giudicate insieme a tutte le altre…
Note:LA FINE
“C’erano sette fratelli: il primo, dopo aver preso moglie, morì senza figli. Allora la prese il secondo e poi il terzo e così tutti e sette; e morirono tutti senza lasciare figli. Da ultimo anche la donna morì. Questa donna dunque, nella risurrezione, di chi sarà moglie?”; la risposta di Gesù di Nazareth fu insieme chiara e oscurissima: “I figli di questo mondo prendono moglie e prendono marito; ma quelli che sono giudicati degni dell’altro mondo e della risurrezione dai morti, non prendono moglie né marito”.
Note:IL DILEMMA DEI SADDUCEI
Agostino d’Ippona, che è considerato santo, parlava di una innumerevole “massa dannata” che sarebbe finita all’inferno; Hans Urs von Balthasar, uno dei maggiori teologi del Novecento, dice che possiamo sperare che l’inferno sia vuoto: chi ce la conta giusta?
Note:L' INFERNO È VUOTO?
È un mistero bello e buono. Non vedo l’ora di vedere com’è.
E’ COMUNQUE UNA BELLA STORIA E SE SULLA FINE C’E’ QUALCHE DUBBIO, NON VEDO L'ORA DI APPURARLO
COMMENTO PERSONALE

giovedì 22 giugno 2017

Tre proposte indecenti

Considerations On Cost Disease by Scott Alexander
I would make the case for the cost disease in the sectors Tyler mentions– health care and education– plus a couple more.
EDUCAZIONE, SANITÀ... E NON SOLO. PERCHÈ I COSTI ESPLODONO?
Per student spending has increased about 2.5x in the past forty years even after adjusting for inflation. At the same time, test scores have stayed relatively stagnant… reading scores went from 285 in 1971 to 287 today– a difference of 0.7%….
SCUOLA PRIMARIA
I discuss this phenomenon more here and here, but the summary is: no, it’s not just because of special ed; no, it’s not just a factor of how you measure test scores; no, there’s not a “ceiling effect”. Costs really did more-or-less double without any concomitant increase in measurable quality.
SPIEGAZIONI CHE NON REGGONO
So, imagine you’re a poor person. White, minority, whatever. Which would you prefer? Sending your child to a 2016 school? Or sending your child to a 1975 school, and getting a check for $ 5,000 every year?
PRIMA PROPOSTA INDECENTE
college is even worse… Do you think that modern colleges provide $ 18,000/ year greater value than colleges did in your parents’ day? Would you rather graduate from a modern college, or graduate from a college more like the one your parents went to, plus get a check for $ 72,000?
UNIVERSITÀ... ANCORA PEGGIO
The cost of health care has about quintupled since 1970… an increase of about 800% in those fifty years….
SANITÀ
The average 1960 worker spent ten days’ worth of their yearly paycheck on health insurance; the average modern worker spends sixty days’ worth of it, a sixth of their entire earnings.
COSTO REALE DELLA SANITÀ
a lot of people think that life expectancy depends on other things a lot more than healthcare spending. Sanitation, nutrition, quitting smoking, plus advances in health technology that don’t involve spending more money.
L' AUMENTO DELLA VITA MEDIA È SPIEGATO DA ALTRI FATTORI
ACE inhibitors (invented in 1975) are great and probably increased lifespan a lot, but they cost $ 20 for a year’s supply and replaced older drugs that cost about the same amount.
SPESSO I MIGLIORAMENTI REALI SONO POCO COSTOSI
Countries like South Korea and Israel have about the same life expectancy as the US but pay about 25% of what we do…. Applying the estimates form published studies to the observed increase in health care spending in the Netherlands between 2000 and 2010 [of 40%] would imply that 0.3% to almost
CFR INTERNAZIONALI. CONFERMATA LA SPESA INUTILE
If these numbers seem absurdly low, remember all of those controlled experiments where giving people insurance doesn’t seem to make them much healthier in any meaningful way.
RINFORZINO: L'ASSICURAZIONE SANITARIA NON MIGLIORA LA NOSTRA SALUTE.
a) Get modern health care b) Get the same amount of health care as their parents’ generation, but with modern technology like ACE inhibitors, and also earn $ 8000 extra a year
SECONDA PROPOSTA INDECENTE
we se similar effects in infrastructure. The first New York City subway opened around 1900. Various sources list lengths from 10 to 20 miles and costs from $ 30 million to $ 60 million dollars– I think my sources are capturing it at different stages of construction with different numbers of extensions. In any case, it suggests costs of between $ 1.5 million to $ 6 million dollars/ mile = $ 1-4 million per kilometer… Vox notes that a new New York subway line being opened this year costs about $ 2.2 billion per kilometer, suggesting a cost increase of twenty times– although I’m very uncertain about this estimate….
INFRASTRUTTURE. METRO DI NY
The same Vox article notes that Paris, Berlin, and Copenhagen subways cost about $ 250 million per kilometer, almost 90% less. Yet even those European subways are overpriced compared to Korea, where a kilometer of subway in Seoul costs $ 40 million/ km (another Korean subway project cost $ 80 million/ km)… It suggests that the 1900s New York estimate above may have been roughly accurate if their efficiency was roughly in line with that of modern Europe and Korea….
CFR TRA PAESI
just ask yourself: do you think most poor and middle class people would rather: 1. Rent a modern house/ apartment 2. Rent the sort of house/ apartment their parents had, for half the cost
CASE: TERZA PROPOSTA INDECENTE
in the past fifty years, education costs have doubled, college costs have dectupled, health insurance costs have dectupled, subway costs have at least dectupled, and housing costs have increased by about fifty percent.
RIASSUNTINO
I worry that people don’t appreciate how weird this is. I didn’t appreciate it for a long time. I guess I just figured that Grandpa used to talk about how back in his day movie tickets only cost a nickel; that was just the way of the world. But all of the numbers above are inflation-adjusted.
COME MAI LA GENTE NON SI CHIEDE PERCHÈ?
And this is especially strange because we expect that improving technology and globalization ought to cut costs. In 1983, the first mobile phone cost $ 4,000– about $ 10,000 in today’s dollars. It was also a gigantic piece of crap. Today you can get a much better phone for $ 100.
LA TECNOLOGIA NON DOVEVA ABBASSATE I COSTI?
Patients can now schedule their appointments online; doctors can send prescriptions through the fax, pharmacies can keep track of medication histories on centralized computer systems that interface with the cloud, nurses get automatic reminders when they’re giving two drugs with a potential interaction, insurance companies accept payment through credit cards– and all of this costs ten times as much as it did in the days of punch cards and secretaries who did calculations by hand.
TUTTO PIÙ EFFICIENTE... EPPURE PIU’ COSTOSO
It’s actually even worse than this, because we take so many opportunities to save money that were unavailable in past generations. Underpaid foreign nurses immigrate to America and work for a song.
E IN PIÙ ABBIAMO UN ESERCITO DI BADANTI A BUON MERCATO CHE CI FANNO RISPARMIARE
Doctors used to make house calls; even when I was young in the ’80s my father would still go to the houses of difficult patients who were too sick to come to his office. This study notes that for women who give birth in the hospital, “the standard length of stay was 8 to 14 days in the 1950s but declined to less than 2 days in the mid-1990s”. The doctors I talk to say this isn’t because modern women are healthier, it’s because they kick them out as soon as it’s safe to free up beds for the next person.
IL PASSATO CI SEMBRA UN LUSSO: NELL’ERA DEL BABY BOOM IL MEDICO DI FAMIGLIA PASSAVA A VISITARTI… I GIORNI DI RICOVERO DELLA PARFTORIENTE ERANO RADDOPPIATI
III.
Suppose in some underdeveloped economy, people can choose either to work in a factory or join an orchestra, and the salaries of factory workers and orchestra musicians reflect relative supply and demand and profit in those industries. Then the economy undergoes a technological revolution, and factories can produce ten times as many goods. Some of the increased productivity trickles down to factory workers, and they earn more money. Would-be musicians leave the orchestras behind to go work in the higher-paying factories, and the orchestras have to raise their prices if they want to be assured enough musicians.
L'EFFETTO BAUMOL
If technology increases productivity for skilled laborers in other industries, then less susceptible industries might end up footing the bill since they have to pay their workers more. There’s only one problem: health care and education aren’t paying their workers more; in fact, quite the opposite… teacher salaries relative to other occupations’ salaries are actually declining….
BAUMOL NON SPIEGA NIENTE
This seems to me a lot like the case of the hospitals cutting care for new mothers. The price of the service dectuples, yet at the same time the service has to sacrifice quality in order to control costs.
IL COSTO ESPLODE E GLI STIPENDI STAGNANO
The overall pictures is that health care and education costs have managed to increase by ten times without a single cent of the gains going to teachers, doctors, or nurses. Indeed these professions seem to have lost ground salary-wise relative to others.
DOTTORI E INSEGNANTI NON BECCANO
Wall Street Journal: Why Doctors Are Sick Of Their Profession… The Daily Beast: How Being A Doctor Became The Most Miserable ProfessionForbes: Why Are Doctors So Unhappy?–Vox: Only Six Percent Of Doctors Are Happy With Their Jobs. Al Jazeera America: Here’s Why Nine Out Of Ten Doctors Wouldn’t Recommend Medicine As A Profession….
POVERI DOTTORI
Meanwhile, I also see articles like this piece from NPR saying teachers are experiencing historic stress levels and up to 50% say their job “isn’t worth it”. Teacher job satisfaction is at historic lows.
LO STRESS DELL' INSEGNANTE
IV.
can we dismiss all of this as an illusion? Maybe adjusting for inflation is harder than I think.
POSSIBILI SPIEGAZIONI. È SOLO UN' ILLUSIONE
Second, might markets just not work? I know this is kind of an extreme question to ask in a post on economics, but maybe nobody knows what they’re doing in a lot of these fields and people can just increase costs and not suffer any decreased demand because of it.
ALTRA RISPOSTA: SCARSA INFO
Suppose that people proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Khan Academy could teach you just as much as a normal college education, but for free. People would still ask questions like– will employers accept my Khan Academy degree? Will it look good on a resume? Will people make fun of me for it?
KAHN ACADEMY
This can’t be pure price-gouging, since corporate profits haven’t increased nearly enough to be where all the money is going.
I PROFITTI NON GIUSTIFICANO QUESTA SPIEGAZIONE
Some of it is the administrative bloat that you would expect. But a lot of it is fun “student life” types of activities like clubs, festivals, and paying Milo Yiannopoulos to speak and then cleaning up after the ensuing riots.
LA QUOTA DI RETTA UNIVERSITARIA CHE PIÙ È AUMENTA
This kind of suggests a picture where colleges expect people will pay whatever price they set, so they set a very high price and then use the money for cool things and increasing their own prestige.
A QUALSIASI PREZZO
Or maybe clubs/ festivals/ Milo become such a signal of prestige that students avoid colleges that don’t comply since they worry their degrees won’t be respected?
SEGNALI
Third, can we attribute this to the inefficiency of government relative to private industry? I don’t think so. The government handles most primary education and subways, and has its hand in health care. But we know that for-profit hospitals aren’t much cheaper than government hospitals, and that private schools usually aren’t much cheaper (and are sometimes more expensive) than government schools.
IL PUBBLICO È INEFFICIENTE?
Fourth, can we attribute it to indirect government intervention through regulation, which public and private companies alike must deal with?
PESANO LE REGOLE?
This seems to be at least part of the story in health care, given how much money you can save by grey-market practices that avoid the FDA.
AL MERCATO NERO PREZZI DIMEZZATI
One factor that seems to speak out against this is that starting with Reagan in 1980, and picking up steam with Gingrich in 1994, we got an increasing presence of Republicans in government who declared war on overregulation– but the cost disease proceeded unabated.
CONTRO LA SPIEGAZIONE DELLE REGOLE
what about pet health care? Veterinary care is much less regulated than human health care, yet its cost is rising as fast (or faster) than that of the human medical system (popular article, study).
COSTI DI VETERINARIA
Fifth, might the increased regulatory complexity happen not through literal regulations, but through fear of lawsuits? That is, might institutions add extra layers of administration and expense not because they’re forced to, but because they fear being sued if they don’t and then something goes wrong?
PROCESSI FACILI. PARARSI LE SPALLE. EFFETTI COLLATERALI DELLA MARGINALIZZAZIONE DEL CAVEAT EMPTOR
A patient goes to the hospital with a heart attack. While he’s recovering, he tells his doctor that he’s really upset about all of this. Any normal person would say “You had a heart attack, of course you’re upset, get over it.” But if his doctor says this, and then a year later he commits suicide for some unrelated reason, his family can sue the doctor for “not picking up the warning signs” and win several million dollars. So now the doctor consults a psychiatrist, who does an hour-long evaluation, charges the insurance company $ 500, and determines using her immense clinical expertise that the patient is upset because he just had a heart attack. Those outside the field have no idea how much of medicine is built on this principle.
STORIELLA PER CAPIRE
Sixth, might we have changed our level of risk tolerance? That is, might increased caution be due not purely to lawsuitphobia, but to really caring more about whether or not people are protected?
SIAMO DIVENTATI DEI FIFONI
I read stuff every so often about how playgrounds are becoming obsolete because nobody wants to let kids run around unsupervised on something with sharp edges. Suppose that one in 10,000 kids get a horrible playground-related injury. Is it worth making playgrounds cost twice as much and be half as fun in order to decrease that number to one in 100,000?
CON I BIMBI LA COSA È CHIARA
To bring back the lawsuit point, some of this probably relates to a difference between personal versus institutional risk tolerance. Every so often, an elderly person getting up to walk to the bathroom will fall and break their hip. This is a fact of life, and elderly people deal with it every day. Most elderly people I know don’t spend thousands of dollars fall-proofing the route from their bed to their bathroom, or hiring people to watch them at every moment to make sure they don’t fall, or buy a bedside commode to make bathroom-related falls impossible. This suggests a revealed preference that elderly people are willing to tolerate a certain fall probability in order to save money and convenience. Hospitals, which face huge lawsuits if any elderly person falls on the premises, are not willing to tolerate that probability. They put rails on elderly people’s beds, place alarms on them that will go off if the elderly person tries to leave the bed without permission,
RISCHIO PERSONALE E RISCHIO STITUZIONALE
Eighth, might total compensation be increasing even though wages aren’t? There definitely seems to be a pensions crisis, especially in a lot of government work, and it’s possible that some of this is going to pay the pensions of teachers, etc. My understanding is that in general pensions aren’t really increasing much faster than wages, but this might not be true in those specific industries.
EXTRA COSTO E EXTRA COMPENSI
IV.
“LOOK, REALLY OUR MAIN PROBLEM IS THAT ALL THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS COST TEN TIMES AS MUCH AS THEY USED TO FOR NO REASON, PLUS THEY SEEM TO BE GOING DOWN IN QUALITY, AND NOBODY KNOWS WHY, AND WE’RE MOSTLY JUST DESPERATELY FLAILING AROUND LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS HERE.”
INGIUNZIONE
My uncle paid for his tuition at a really good college just by working a pretty easy summer job– not so hard when college cost a tenth of what it did now.
PAGARSI L' UNIVERSITÀ COL LAVORETTO ESTIVO
some people get upset about teachers’ unions, saying they must be sucking the “dynamism” out of education because of increasing costs. Others people fiercely defend them, saying teachers are underpaid and overworked. Once again, in the context of cost disease, both are obviously true.
TUTTI HANNO RAGIONE SE I COSTI SONO MALATI: SIA CHI INVITA A NON REGALARE SIA CHI INVITA AD AIUTARE
Imagine if tomorrow, the price of water dectupled. Suddenly people have to choose between drinking and washing dishes. Activists argue that taking a shower is a basic human right, and grumpy talk show hosts point out that in their day, parents taught their children not to waste water. A coalition promotes laws ensuring government-subsidized free water for poor families; a Fox News investigative report shows that some people receiving water on the government dime are taking long luxurious showers. Everyone gets really angry and there’s lots of talk about basic compassion and personal responsibility and whatever but all of this is secondary to why does water costs ten times what it used to?
ANALOGIA DELL' ACQUA
V.
In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that his grandchildrens’ generation would have a 15 hour work week. At the time, it made sense. GDP was rising so quickly that anyone who could draw a line on a graph could tell that our generation would be four or five times richer than his. And the average middle-class person in his generation felt like they were doing pretty well and had most of what they needed. Why wouldn’t they decide to take some time off and settle for a lifestyle merely twice as luxurious as Keynes’ own?… Even if you’re making twice as much money, if your health care and education and so on cost ten times as much, you’re going to start falling behind. Right now the standard of living isn’t just stagnant, it’s at risk of declining, and a lot of that is student loans and health insurance costs and so on. What’s happening? I don’t know and I find it really scary….
IL SOGNO DI KEYNES SI INFRANGE SUL COST DISEASE

COMMENTO PERSONALE

Probabilmente parte del problema è dovuto al fatto che diversi fattori si intersecano e che quello preponderante è diverso a seconda dei settori analizzati. La mia intuizione è che il "signalling" domini nell'istruzione superiore mentre lo "show I care" domina nella sanità e nell'istruzione inferiore. Quanto alla casa, è sempre stata un indiscusso fattore di prestigio sociale, senza dire che nel settore immobiliare le regole hanno pesato eccome.

Come lucertole che pulsano sulla ghiaia

eamus Heaney. Terra di palude. Poesie. (Italian Edition)
***
le cose che potevano sommarsi o venir meno.
Note:OGGETTI SENZA MATERIA
la curva solitaria e astratta di treni distanti
Note:PENSIERI INVOLONTARI
adatti alla scomodità.
Note:RESOCONTO DI UNA GIOVENTÙ
… che fa girare il mondo senza far fiorire nessuno…
L’INAPPAGANTE CIVILTA’ DEL CONTRATTO
Peso squadrato dall’aspetto innocuo, finché non provi a sollevarla… Nera scatola di gravità,
Note:L’ OSTINATA REALTA’ DELLE VALIGIE
La sofferenza passiva fa andare in tondo il mondo.
Note:UNA PASSIVITA’ DINAMICA
Rifiutare l’altra guancia. Lanciare la pietra.
Note:ODIO
il potere del potere non esercitato
Note:POTENZA DELL ASTENSIONE
Due aspetti in ogni questione, certo, certo.... ma ogni tanto, schierarsi è la sola cosa a cui si può ricorrere e senza discolparsi o compatirsi.
Note:MILITANZA SCUSATA
Il suonatore di cornamusa che arriva da lontano sei tu
Note:AGNIZIONI
che svolgi senza fine il tuo bordone
PRATO DI SERA
ti tiri su tra due mucche finché non passa il tuo turno, e ti riscuoti al tanfo dello sterco, chiedendoti: “Questo é tutto? Come era all’origine, ora e per sempre?”
CICLO
il restare a casa di chi s’ appoggiava allo stipite
BAMBOCCIONE
ebrezza del duty-free
GIOIE DEL VIAGGIATORE INESPERTO
una lucertola che pulsa sulla ghiaia
ESTATE
Nessuno di noi parlava. Le pozzanghere attendevano.
BUCO
Amava gli errori ispirati
BOBBY SANDS
lo scintillio dell’acqua frettolosa e bassa,
RUSCELLETTO
La sua canzone semplice, crepitante contro la pala… Le tue canzoni, quando le canti ad occhi chiusi come fai sempre, sono come una strada familiare di cui sapevamo in passato ogni curva
CANZONETTA
la sua compagnia era intima e confortante come una medicina che non sentivi agire.
LA SEDIA DEL POETA
Leonardo disse: il sole giammai vide un’ombra.
LEONARDO
Sangue viscoso e opaco sulle nocche del muratore, come marmellata di prugne
EDILIZIA
E i mattoni traballavano, assestandosi, battuti e allineati.
MURO
Era tutto un gettare, spalmare, spianare, scintillare finché non la lavava e la riponeva via nel fodero
Note:CAZZUOLA
“Negli anni quaranta, quando ero il primo figlio di una famiglia in perenne aumento, nella contea rurale di Derry
DEMOGRAFIA
i suoni notturni del cavallo che scalpitava nella stalla sotto il muro della stanza da letto si mescolavano ai suoni delle conversazioni degli adulti provenienti dalla cucina.”
CAMERETTA SONORA

La cabrata del chiurlo

Fuori per l'inverno (Italian Edition) di Febbraro Paolo
***
«La pazzia: che immensa calma. Vedi mostri che parlano del tempo, virus che salgono a te dalla maniglia che afferri ogni giorno,
Note:PAZZIA
Poche metafore, rime da incudine.
Note:POETICA
Finì coi piedi ad una scrivania, vent’anni dopo, a negoziare la rima difficile orario e salario, non so se appeso a una grossa lana di cravatta o dirimpetto piuttosto a uno sguardo di noncuranza e calcolo: il gancio del capitale.
Note:L’ ANTAGONISTA IN CARRIERA
Traccia la croce e un brivido spinale diffida ancora che non sia cattolica o uncinata: ma è sulla scheda elettorale… L’eretico sorride, va a votare: piega la scheda con cura, non si veda quanto ormai è diventato normale. Nell’aria del mattino scende in strada, lo mimetizza il ruolo di statale…
Note:CROCI
Fischietto qualche idea da manuale e se qualcuno chiede con lo sguardo rispondo “è una canzone, tipo balneare”. Il bello è che la so davvero, la canto bene anche a sentirla male.
Note:TORMENTONE
Quando un milite ti accorcia la fine rompendo l’ostia dei tuoi ginocchi schierati si voltano per non vedere…
Note:PIETÀ
strappai dal volume la riga più mia.
Note:EVIDENZIATORE
“il qui presente, nella fattispecie, fra intentio, voluntas, coercizione, et ergo, per le suesposte condizioni proprie loquendo il convenuto…”
Note:PIETRE LEVIGATE DEL FORO
«Non tentare con me» dice l’oceano alla vena d’acqua che per la spiaggia si dissimula e gli s’infligge. «Rossa di torba e minerale, non concepisci l’immensità del sale.
Note:FOCE
dentro un’estate da sedici gradi… Il sole si annida dopo un minuto d’oro, l’onda registra un friabile primato…
Note:BRITTAS BAY
Le rondini e i pettirossi che inseguono l’oro dei becchi nel peso leggero dell’aria
Note:PRIMAVERA
le piume arruffate, bianco su bianco, teste mature, caparbie e svettanti o curve, invece, e in cerca sott’acqua.
Note:ARRIVANO I CIGNI
ed ecco l’osso alla spiaggia: conchiglie, chele, teschi e carapaci, questa è l’impresa del mare.
Note:L' OSSO DELLA SPIAGGIA
la bassa marea li denuncia all’occhio inesauribile dei gabbiani.
Note:GRANCHI
Le alghe attorno mimano la sete con fare di serpente semivivo.
Note:FONDALI
Picchiate, volute e freni d’ala sono ispezione, radiogoniometro,   bianca manovra di puntamento.
Note:CABRATA DEL CHIURLO
Quella corrente spossa gli argini, sorda e sfiancante li slaccia.
Note:TRACIMA
Ti prego, luccio, non abboccare. Scansa la mia esca con degnazione… manda un segnale di evoluzione….
Note:SEGNALI DI EVOLUZIONE
L’amo conferma amore interessato, la lenza è occulta pubblicità:
Note:LA FRODE DELLA PESCA
La trama dei nèi
Note:COSTELLAZIONI
E si ritroveranno nell’Ade a sbiadire con l’ombra di Achille coloro che in terra impararono il greco vivendo l’affronto impareggiabile di Omero alle fedi moderne.
Note:GRECISTI
ipnotizzati dai sei battiti del verso di Virgilio.
LATINISTI

Razionale a sua insaputa

Se oggi cessassi di fare cio’ che non riesco a giustificare con la ragione, domani sarei morto
On Two Forms of Rationality - Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms by Vernon Smith
***
Introduction
The organizing principle throughout this work is the simultaneous existence of the two rational orders: constructivist and ecological. These two orders interact daily in ordinary human interaction,
Note:DUE ORDINI RAZINALI
Roughly, we associate constructivism with attempts to model, formally or informally, rational individual action and to invent or design social systems, and link ecological rationality with adaptive human decision and with group processes of discovery in natural social systems.
Note:MODELLO E ADATTAMENTO
Ecological rationality, however, always has an empirical, evolutionary, and/or historical basis; constructivist rationality need have little, and where its specific abstract propositions lead to some form of implementation, it must survive tests of acceptability, fitness, and/or modification.
Note:EMPIRISMO E RAZIONALISMO
I would conjecture that a critical element in understanding this proposition is to be found in human self-perception. We naturally recognize only one rational order because it is so firmly a part of the humanness of our reason and our mind’s anthropocentric need to think it is in control.
Note:PERCHÈ LA RAZIONALITÀ ECOLOGOCA NON È ACCETTATA? IL BISOGNO DI CREDERSI DOMINANTI
Constructivist Rationality
stems particularly from René Descartes (also Sir Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes), who believed and argued that all worthwhile social institutions were and should be created by conscious deductive processes of human reason… In the nineteenth century, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill were among the leading constructivists….
Note:I PADRI DEL COSTRUTTIVISMO
Mill introduced the much-abused constructivist concept (but not the name) of “natural monopoly.” To Mill it was transparently wasteful and duplicative to have two or more mail carriers operating on the same route.
Note:ESEMPIO: IL CONCETTO DI MONOPOLIO NATURALE
Mill also could not imagine that it would be efficient for two cities to be connected by two parallel railroad tracks (Mill, 1848/1900, Vol. 1, pp. 131, 141–2, Vol. 2, p. 463).
Note:LO SPRECO DELLE STRADE PARALLELE
Many economists are either baffled that equilibrium theory works in these private information environments, or continue to think, speak, and write as if nothing had changed, that equilibrium theory requires complete or perfect information; others avoid confronting the question of what assumptions underlie the operational content of equilibrium theory.
Note:RATIO ECOLOGICA: UNA RIVOLUZIONE NELLA TEORIA GENERALE DELL' EQUILIBRIO
In economic analysis, the resulting exercises are believed to sharpen economic thinking, as “if-then” parables. Yet, these assumptions about the economic environment are unlikely to approximate the level of ignorance that has conditioned either individual behavior or our evolved institutions as abstract norms or rules independent of particular parameters that have survived as part of the world of experience.
Note:COME MODIFICARE IL MODELLO ORIGINALE
The temptation is to ignore this reality because it is poorly understood and does not yield to our familiar but grossly inadequate static modeling tools, and to proceed in the implicit belief that our parables capture what is most essential about what we observe.
Note:PERCHÈ SI FA FINTA DI NIENTE
Limitations and Distractions of Constructivist Rationality
it is necessary to remind ourselves constantly that human activity is diffused and dominated by unconscious, autonomic, neuropsychological systems that enable people to function effectively without always calling upon the brain’s scarcest resource: attention and self-aware reasoning circuitry.
Note:QUEL CHE TRASCURA IL COSTRUTTIVISMO
This is an important economizing property of how the brain works. If it were otherwise, no one could get through the day under the burden of the self-conscious monitoring and planning of every trivial action in detail.
Note:FARE TUTTO SOLO COL CERVELLO È TROPPO ONEROSO
“If we stopped doing everything for which we do not know the reason, or for which we cannot provide a justification . . . we would probably soon be dead” (Hayek, 1988, p. 68).
Note:HAYEK
Imagine the strain on the brain’s resources if at the supermarket a shopper were required to evaluate his or her preferences explicitly for every combination of the tens of thousands of grocery items that are feasible for a given budget.
Note:LA PROVA DEL SUPERMERCATO
The genes but also the cultural characteristics and institutions that survive are the ones that have created biological or cultural descendants who become “ancestors” who live and transmit this information (see Pinker, 1994, 2002).
Note:I SOPRAVVISSUTI
We fail utterly to possess natural mechanisms for reminding ourselves of the brain’s offline activities and accomplishments. This important proposition has led Gazzaniga (1998) to ask why the brain fools the mind into believing it is in control: By the time we think we know something – it is part of our conscious experience – the brain has already done its work.
Note:CREDERE DI SAPERE
And to Hayek, who had a thorough grasp of these propositions, but without the advantage afforded by recent neuroscience understanding, what was the “fatal conceit”? “The idea that the ability to acquire skills stems from reason.”
Note:L'ERRORE FATALE
That the brain is capable of off-line subconscious learning is shown by experiments with amnesiacs who are taught a new task. They learn to perform well, but memory of having learned the task escapes them (Knowlton et al., 1996).
Note:MIRACOLI DELL'AMNESIA
Also, there are numerous anecdotal reports of people seeking a solution to a problem who abandon it unsolved, but awaken in the morning with a solution… For example, Dmitri Mendeleyev reported that the critical rule underlying his periodic table of the elements came in a dream after unsuccessful efforts to gain insight while awake. Poincaré (1913) reports having given up on solving a particularly difficult mathematical problem only to have the solution suddenly appear to him on a trip to Lyon….
Note:SVEGLIARSI E RISOLVERE PROBLEMI
the other side of the phenomenon of subconscious problem solving is the brain’s ability to shut out all sense of self-awareness in the process of carrying out a difficult task
Note:QUANDO IL CERVELLO ORDINA ALLA MENTE
The current view is that, “Memories develop in several stages. After the initial encoding of new information during learning, memories are consolidated ‘off-line,’ seemingly while not being actively thought about through a cascade of events that is not well understood. In humans and other mammals, such an enhancement of recent memory may occur during sleep”… In a new study of navigation learning in rats, Foster and Wilson (2006) show evidence of memory consolidation during rest periods while awake….
Note:MEMORIA CONSOLIDATA OFF LINE
people are not aware of a great range of socioeconomic phenomena, such as the productivity of social exchange systems and the external order of markets that underlie the creation of social and economic wealth.
Note:INCONSCIO ED ECONOMIA
Ecological Rationality
an ecological system, designed by no one mind, that emerges out of cultural and biological evolutionary processes… Paraphrasing Gigerenzer et al. (“A heuristic is ecologically rational to the degree that it is adapted to the structure of an environment” [1999, p. 13]),
Note:ORDINE CHE EMERGE DALLA SELEZIONE
there are limitations to what we can deliberately bring about, and . . . that that orderliness of society which greatly increased the effectiveness of individual action was . . . largely due to a process . . . in which practices . . . were preserved because they enabled the group in which they had arisen to prevail over others” (pp. 8–9).
Note:VINCERE SENZA SAPERE PERCHÈ
People follow rules – morality, to David Hume – without being able to articulate them, but they may nevertheless be discoverable.
Note:LA RAGIONE RAZIONALIZZA... AL MASSIMO
This is the intellectual heritage of the Scottish philosophers and Hayek, who described and interpreted the social and economic order they observed and its ability to achieve desirable outcomes.
Note:ILLUMINISMO SCOZZESE
Hume, an eighteenth-century precursor of Herbert Simon, was concerned with the limits of reason and the bounds on human understanding, and with scaling back the exaggerated claims and pretensions of Cartesian constructivism.
Note:HUME VS CARTESIO
To Hume, rationality was phenomena that reason discovers in human institutions and practices. Thus, “the rules of morality . . . are not conclusions of our reason” (Hume, 1739/1985, p. 509). Smith developed the idea of emergent order for economics. Truth is discovered in the form of the intelligence embodied in rules
Note:LA RAGIONE OPERA A RITROSO
To paraphrase Smith, people in these experiments are led to promote group welfare, enhancing social ends that are not part of their intention. This principle is supported by hundreds of experiments whose environments and institutions (sealed bid, posted offer, and others besides CDA) may exceed the capacity of formal game-theoretic analysis to articulate predictive models.
Note:L'ECONOMIA SPERIMENTALE CONFERMA GLI SCOZZESI
What experimentalists have (quite unintentionally) brought to the table is a methodology for objectively testing the Scottish-Hayekian hypotheses under stronger controls than are otherwise available. This answers the question that Milton Friedman is said to have raised concerning the validity of Hayek’s theory/reasoning: “How would you know?”
Note:TESTARE L'IPOTESI HAYEK
Economic historian Douglass North (1990) and political economist Elinor Ostrom (1982, 1990) have long explored the intelligence and efficacy embodied in emergent socioeconomic institutions that solve, or fail to solve, problems of growth and resource management.
Note:OSTROM E NORTH
The distinction between ecological and constructivist rationality is in principle related to Simon’s distinction between subjective and objective rationality, procedural and substantive rationality, and between people making “good-enough” satisfactory decisions and making optimal decisions (Simon, 1955, 1956).
Note:HERBERT SIMON
procedural rationality and “satisficing” moves of subjects can converge over time to the substantively rational competitive outcome of equilibrium theory. (For a formal example, see Lucas, 1986.)
Note:LA CONVERGENZA DELLE RAZIONALITÀ
understanding decision making requires knowledge beyond the traditional bounds of economics,12 a challenge to which Hume and Smith were not strangers. Thus, “an economist who is only an economist cannot be a good economist” (Hayek, 1956).
Note:OLTRE L'ECONOMIA
Hume and Smith were part of a broader “Scottish enlightenment” centered in Edinburgh that blossomed in the period from 1745 to 1789. It embraced philosophy, political and social systems, economics, psychology and the mind, science, and poetry and literature (Robert Burns and others).
Note:ANCORA SULL'ILLUMINISMO SCOZZESE
China’s Great Leap Forward was a constructivist plan, blind to the accumulated intelligence and efficacy of ancient Chinese cultural traditions,
UN ESEMPIO DI COSTRUTTIVISMO

mercoledì 21 giugno 2017

Senso comune nell'economia

Hypocrites & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose of Sanity from Cafe Hayek by Donald Boudreaux
***
I DON’T WANT TO BE UNIFIED
Thomas Friedman wants “a president who can unify the country around meaningful action on energy and climate”… but I don’t want to be unified… I’m different…
Note:L’ABBRACCIO SOFFOCANTE DI THOMAS FRIEDMAN
OF COURSE, IN THE CASE OF TAX PENALTIES, THE AGENCY IS UNACCOUNTABLE AND THE CHARGES ARE UNCONSCIONABLE—YET THEY STILL DO ENCOURAGE FULL AND TIMELY PAYMENT OF TAXES.
You’re correct that the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 will discourage lenders from extending credit to households most in need of it by arbitrarily reducing the penalties that lenders may assess against dead-beat and delinquent debtors
Note:PIU’ MISURE PER FAVORIRE I DEBITORI, MENO CREDITO EROGATO
Ask Congress and the White House to regulate more strictly the penalties assessed by the IRS against dead-beat and delinquent taxpayers—for example, let’s reduce fees and interest charges for late payment of taxes, and eliminate jail time as a punishment for tax evasion. If Our Leaders’ faith is sound, there will be no increase in tax evasion and delinquencies.
Note:ANALOGIA
YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF A MEMBER OF THE PROFESSORIATE WHOSE IGNORANCE OF HISTORY IS UNPARDONABLE OR WHOSE DISTORTED ETHICS ARE APPALLING (OR BOTH).
John D. Rockefeller earned every cent of his wealth honestly and peacefully—mostly by creating unprecedented efficiencies in the production and distribution of kerosene, the chief product extracted from petroleum during the 19th century. Rockefeller’s efficiencies drove the price of kerosene down from 26 cents per gallon in 1870 (the year Rockefeller founded Standard Oil) to 5.9 cents per gallon in 1897 (the year Rockefeller retired from Standard)…. The only people ‘harmed’ by Rockefeller were his competitors (such as Franklin Tarbell, father of Ida) who failed to keep up with Standard’s innovations and cost-reducing techniques….
Note:IL TIPICO ROBBER BARON PERSEGUITATO DALL' ANTITRUST
COMMUNISM AND CAPITALISM.
Slavoj Zizek rightly complains—if with understatement bordering on the vulgar—of being “deceived” by communism (“20 Years of Collapse,” Nov. 9). But like many other pundits who feign wisdom by steering clear of what they mistakenly interpret to be an extreme position, he complains also of being “disillusioned” by capitalism.
Note:LA SIMMETRIA IMMAGINARIA DI ZIZEK
capitalism is not imposed; it is simply what arises when adults are free to engage in consensual commercial acts… Perhaps most importantly, unlike communism, capitalism promises neither to produce heaven on earth
L' ASIMMETRIA
HE SET THE STANDARD.
Stephen Stromberg is correct that the recent run-up in gasoline prices isn’t the fault of President Obama (“President Obama says that gas prices reflect supply and demand,” April 27). But Mr. Stromberg is wrong to pity Mr. Obama for nevertheless being blamed by the public for their pain at the pumps. Mr. Obama, like so many elected officials, won office by deluding voters with a grand image of a government that, in the right hands, can fix nearly every problem
Note:IL GOVERNO ILLUDE
GOVERNMENTS CAN BE BUILT; NATIONS MIGHT BE BUILT; CIVIL SOCIETIES, ALAS, CAN NEVER BE BUILT. THEY MUST EMERGE.
William Kristol argues that “American principles” require Uncle Sam to intervene more vigorously—with force, if necessary—in the revolutions now sweeping through the Middle East
Note:I NEOCONSERVATORI
The same government that Mr. Kristol so often, and rightly, criticizes for making a mess of matters here at home is unlikely to become a shining example of efficiency, rectitude, and Solomaic wisdom in foreign lands.
Note:MA...
FRIEDMAN AND KENNEDY.
“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”
Note:L'ODIOSA MASSIMA DI KENNEDY
“Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic ‘what your country can do for you’ implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man’s belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, ‘what you can do for your ‘country’ implies the government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary.”
Note:FRIEDMAM SPIEGA PERCHÈ
HYPOCRITES.
Paul Luce rightly notes that new legislation limiting the issuance of credit by retail stores is obnoxiously paternalistic: many customers who wish to buy on credit, and many retailers who wish to take the risk of extending credit, are now arbitrarily prevented from doing so (Letters, Jan. 8). This legislation is especially infuriating because the same politicians who voted for it—the very same officious intermeddlers who claim to care so deeply about protecting unsuspecting Americans from being burdened with excessive debt—wantonly and routinely foist huge debt burdens on each and every American (and our progeny) through Uncle Sam’s soaring budget deficits.
Note:IL COLMO: IL LEGISLATORE DI UNO STATO INDEBITATISSIMO CHE LIMITA PER LEGGE IL CREDITO AL CONSUMO. E ALZA ANCHE IL DITINO
IT’S A MAGIC SHOW IN WHICH THE RABBIT FAILS TO SPRING FROM THE HAT BUT IN WHICH SOME AUDIENCE MEMBERS REALLY DO GET SAWED IN HALF.
He writes that “Over the past 20 months, Democrats have done a lot—too much, the opposition says. But they don’t want to talk about the achievements. The stimulus bill is unpopular; they’re not getting credit for health-care legislation, financial reforms and many other accomplishments.” Enacting legislation is neither an “achievement” nor an “accomplishment”
Note:PER DANA MILBANK FARE LEGGI È QUALCOSA CHE VA RIVENDICATO
I’VE SAID IT BEFORE: TRYING TO LEARN ECONOMICS FROM THE POPULAR MEDIA IS LIKE TRYING TO LEARN PHYSICS BY WATCHING ROAD RUNNER CARTOONS.
Fox Morning News co-host Megyn Kelly naively worries that Pernod’s acquisition of Vin & Spirit AB (maker of Absolut vodka) will lead to higher prices paid by those of us who belly up to the bar (March 31). Ms. Kelly reasons that, because many analysts regard the $8 billion paid by Pernod for Vin & Spirit to be “too high,” Pernod will raise the prices it charges for its products in order to recover the losses it would otherwise suffer as a result of paying such a large sum for Vin & Spirit. If Ms. Kelly’s economics were correct, bankruptcies would be unknown. Any business finding its revenues to be inadequate would simply raise the prices
Note:UN MONDO SENZA BANCAROTTE
DOUX COMMERCE.
Rwanda’s post-genocide experience teaches a lesson that remains too-little appreciated: commerce crowds out evil. My wife, Karol Boudreaux, has done extensive research in Rwanda. She finds compelling evidence that Rwanda’s deregulation of its coffee market has played a major role in calming tribal hostilities… Hutus and Tutsis, who just a few years ago sought to slaughter each other, now mutually prosper by working side by side to grow and process coffee for the global market….
Note:MALE E BENE IN RWANDA
THE LOGIC, I SUPPOSE, IS THAT WE SHOULD BE FREE TO DO ONLY WHAT IS WISE AND GOOD AND APPROVED BY ELITE OPINION.
“Experience has shown that consumers do not always use their freedom to make healthy choices. So a regulation that is based on science and in the best interests of the consumer should not be interpreted as an unwarranted intrusion into personal lifestyle choices. Is the freedom to choose unhealthy food that difficult to forfeit?”
Note:TIPICO PENSIERO DELLO SCIENZIATO IDIOTA
Experience has shown that newspapers do not always use their freedom to report wisely. So a regulation that is based on science and in the best interest of the public should not be interpreted as an unwarranted intrusion into freedom of the press.
Note:APPLICHIAMO IL PRECETTO AI GIORNALI
HAT TIP TO WALTER WILLIAMS.
“Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect.… In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of ‘Eurosclerosis,’ the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries.”
Note:KRUGMAN SUI SUSSIDI ALLA DISOCCUPAZIONE
THIS KICKABLE HORSE WON’T DIE.
Usually sure-footed, Martin Feldstein stumbles when he argues that “America will need a trade surplus” in order to “repay” today’s trade deficit (“Thinking About the Dollar,” July 28). First, the only part of the trade deficit that must be repaid is the part that becomes debt, such as when foreigners buy Treasury notes. When foreigners buy dollar-denominated equity or real estate, or when they make greenfield investments in the U.S. or simply hold dollars, no debt is created.
Note:IL DEBITO ESTERO AMERICANO
Uncle Sam and many private Americans might well have financed excessive consumption with excessive debt, but, if so, the problem is the debt and not the nationalities of the creditors.
Note:IL PROBLEMA NON È LA NAZIONALITÀ DEI CREDITORI
MORE AND MORE MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS ARE DISAPPEARING—INTO THE UPPER CLASSES. (AND WITH APOLOGIES TO ARNOLD KLING.)
Judith Warner writes that “More and more people are being priced out of a middle class existence” (“The Clinton Surprise,” October 19). This statement is true, but only because more and more Americans are getting richer.
Note:LA CLASSE MEDIA DIVENTA RICCA
DISPOSING OF A MYTH.
Given that the total land area needed to hold all of America’s garbage for the next century would be only about 10 miles on a side, it is safe to conclude that far more rubbish than is worth considering will fit into far less area than is worth worrying about.”
Note:QUANTO SPAZIO SERVE PER LE DISCARICHE
SELF-DELUSION IS ONE THING; TRYING TO PERSUADE OTHERS THAT YOUR SELF-DELUSIONS ARE REALISTIC IS QUITE ANOTHER.
Jim Apgar claims that he and his colleagues were motivated only by their students’ needs and that “no amount of money would have improved my performance” (Letters, March 16). Wow! Taking Mr. Apgar at his word implies that no reduction in the amount of money he was paid would have worsened his performance. Indeed, his claim suggests that he would have continued to teach—and teach well—
Note:LA PAGA DEGLI INSEGNANTI
WINNING AN ARGUMENT IS EASY IF YOU ASSUME THAT THE RELEVANT CONCLUSION IN SUPPORT OF YOUR ARGUMENT IS TRUE.
Conservatives (or, more accurately here, skeptics of the welfare state) argue that government programs, because these rely upon taxation and force, are not the product of a people’s compassion. These are instead the product of force-backed greed masquerading as compassion (Ever reflect on why the Food Stamp program is run by the Department of Agriculture, or why labor unions oppose free trade?),
Note:IL WELFARE NON È BONTÀ
YOU WANT TO SEE THE OPPOSITE OF DIGNITY?
I write this letter from Tbilisi, Georgia, I report personally one such reason visible to anyone here. This city is crowded with hideously ugly, dilapidated, and spirit-devastating concrete buildings erected by the Soviets. Living and working in these overgrown hovels is anything but dignified. In vivid contrast to the impersonal communist-era structures are the buildings and homes built since the fall of the Soviet Union. These structures—products of powerful doses of capitalist creativity, enterprise, and consumer choice—are warm, unique, personal, attractive, and functional.
Note:IL CAPITALISMO DISTRUGGE LA DIGNITÀ DELL'UOMO? GIUDICHIAMO DA TIBILISI
ANSWER ME THIS.
People would pay property taxes. Government would spend these tax receipts on building and operating supermarkets. Each household would be assigned to a particular supermarket from which it would get its weekly allotment of groceries for “free.” (Department of Supermarket officials would determine the quantities and kinds of groceries that families are entitled to receive.) Each family would be allowed to patronize only that “public” supermarket to which it is assigned. Residents of wealthier counties would obviously have better-stocked supermarkets than would residents of poorer counties. Indeed, the quality of public supermarkets would play a major role in determining people’s choices of neighborhoods in which to live. When the quality of supermarkets becomes widely recognized to be dismal, calls for “supermarket choice” would arise, only to be ridiculed as a right-wing ploy to deny ordinary families the ability to eat. Such choice, it would be alleged, would drain resources from public supermarkets whose poor performance proves that these supermarkets are underfunded.
Note:PERCHÈ NON GESTIRE I SUPERMERCATI COME LA SCUOLA?
CONTROL YOUR PRESUMPTIONS.
Mr Wilkinson correctly challenges New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s claim that “the wealthiest plutocrats now actually control a greater share of the pie in the United States” than in several countries of Latin America. Rich Americans, Mr Wilkinson rightly points out, overwhelmingly are business people who serve the middle-classes and not political, military, or ecclesiastic predators who steal from peasants…. wealth is not “controlled.”
Note:I RICCHI DOMINANO SERVENDO IL PROSSIMO
Wealth is created only by serving consumers—that is, by making others wealthier—and it flees from those who stop serving consumers. Should Apple stop producing innovative products that consumers willingly buy, Steve Jobs’s fortune will disappear. Should Southwest Airlines start charging uncompetitive fares, its shareholders’ wealth will dissolve. Should a super-wealthy hedge-fund manager consistently fail to increase the value of his clients’ portfolio, he will become a not-so-super-wealthy ex-fund-manager.
Note:L' AZIONE DELLA RICCHEZZA
INTENTIONS ARE NOT RESULTS.
Mr. Lutz is incorrect to assert that it is a “deep contradiction” to claim to care about children while being against government programs such as “health insurance for children, … against unemployment benefits, against equal pay, against food safety, against money for teachers, against raising the minimum wage, against tobacco education, mine safety, alternative energy, pollution control, whistle-blower protection, science and technology research.” To oppose government provision of such things is not to be “against” such things.
Note:ESSERE CONTRO UN PROGRAMMA GOVERNATIVO NON SIGNIFICA ESSERE CONTRO CIÒ CHE VORREBBE REALIZZARE QUEL PROGRAMMA
THE CLOSING SENTENCE IN SOWELL’S 1980 BOOK, KNOWLEDGE & DECISIONS:
“FREEDOM IS NOT SIMPLY THE RIGHT OF INTELLECTUALS TO CIRCULATE THEIR MERCHANDISE. IT IS, ABOVE ALL, THE RIGHT OF ORDINARY PEOPLE TO FIND ELBOW ROOM FOR THEMSELVES AND A REFUGE FROM THE RAMPAGING PRESUMPTIONS OF THEIR ‘BETTERS.’”
Note:LA LIBERTÀ È LIBERTÀ DI SBAGLIARE
liberals,” in contrast to their mindless Cro-Magnon opposites, overflow with ideas (“The State of Liberalism,” Oct. 24). Indeed they do. But these ideas are almost exclusively about how other people should live their lives.
Note:IL MARCHIO DEL PROGRESSISTA
SHE IS TO ABSORB THE COSTS OF THIS LEGISLATION.
The anecdote she offers from her own restaurant is that, since the legislation went into effect, employees no longer report to work while sick and, hence, no longer infect fellow employees with their ailments.
Note:GLI EFFETTI DELLA LEGGE SUL CONGEDO PAGATO PER MALATTIA
why did she not offer paid sick-leave to her employees on her own?
PROBLEMA
SPIEGARE IL PROTEZIONISMO
My favorite teaching tool is a fable based on a tale told by Professor James Ingram of North Carolina State University. It’s the tale of a brilliant entrepreneur who invented a new technology for turning grain into cars. The entrepreneur built a factory by the sea, surrounded its inner workings with secrecy, and commenced production. Consumers were thrilled to learn that the new cars were better and cheaper than anything Detroit had to offer. Midwestern farmers were thrilled when the factory ordered vast amounts of grain to feed into its mysterious machinery. There was indeed dismay among those autoworkers who had been trained in the old methods, but there was also a general recognition that technological progress, even when accompanied by growing pains, is on balance a very good thing. One day an investigative reporter managed to locate a disgruntled employee who revealed the entrepreneur’s great secret. The vast factory was hollow. The back wall opened out onto a shipping dock. Grain came in the front door and went out the back, where it was sent to foreign countries in exchange for cars
LA FIABA DI INGRAM
PERCHE’ I POMPIERI SONO PAGATI MENO DELLE POP STAR?
Capisco che molti non sopportino bene il fatto che gente come Tom Brady o Jennifer Lawrence guadagnino molto di più di un pompiere o di un insegnante di scuola. Ma questo fastidio non riflette affatto l’incomprensione della gente per un sistema economico fallimentare bensì l’incapacità di capire come funziona un sistema economico di successo. E, purtroppo, riflette anche l’incapacità degli economisti di trasmettere al vasto pubblico i concetti base della loro disciplina.
Ci provo ancora facendoti una domanda retorica: preferisci vivere in un mondo in cui il numero di persone capaci di spegnere un incendio (o il numero di persone capaci di insegnare ad un bimbo della scuola) sia elevato e il numero di persone capace di esibirsi su un palco sia esiguo oppure in un mondo in cui i rapporti quantitativi siano invertiti? 
Sono sicuro che preferisci che abbondino le competenze su come di doma un incendio o su come si insegna ad un bambino piuttosto che le competenze su come si recita o su come si pratica una certa disciplina sportiva. E questo proprio perché salvare le vite domando un incendio o crescere un bambino nel modo migliore è molto più importante che intrattenere le persone nel loro tempo libero. Noi siamo estremamente fortunati di abitare in un posto in cui abbondano le persone in grado di salvare chi è minacciato da un incendio o di far crescere un bambino nel modo migliore, pazienza poi se chi sa recitare bene è solo una ristretta cerchia di persone.
Ebbene, la bassa paga di insegnanti e pompieri riflette solo questa felice realtà.
Ma non dobbiamo parlare solo di fortuna: sono le virtù del sistema stesso che realizzano questo miracolo convogliando più risorse laddove i bisogni sono più urgenti: The lower pay of fire fighters and school teachers simply reflects the happy reality…
IL MONDO MIGLIORE POSSIBILE