Little Lebowski Super-Achievers

Arnold Kling believes that the problem with leaders of bailed-out megabanks is that they are just too darn competent:

Super-achievers are too prevalent in banking in this country. Ordinary savers have only a limited appetite for risk. Super-achievers are too confident and too willing to overlook the downsides of risks.

[OK, actually his point here is not ridiculous, just expressed in ridiculous language. Someone who augers his company into the ground and requires massive Federal bailouts is not what I would call a “super-achiever”, but I’m funny that way.]


Another shitty day in paradise

How to create a libertardian paradise?

I think that the real key is leisure. You want the start-up state to be an attractive place for people who want to retire or do part-time work.

Another possibility would be encouraging people to hire low-wage workers to do household chores, without any minimum wage. If that takes off, then industries will spring up to serve low-income people, including low-cost housing and health care.

Interesting choice of words, it seems that libertardia will consist of both “people” enjoying leisure and “workers” laboring for sub-minimum wage. Both equally free of course!

There are already existing artificial states in inhospitable locations that combine great wealth, leisure, and untrammeled capitalism with crappy working conditions for the untermenschen. I’m not sure why we need another.


Apple users committing suicide over closed platform

The ever-reliable esr:

I’m less bothered … about the nasty conditions at Foxconn, because those workers can quit any time they choose (a lot of other manufacturing jobs in China are competing for their hours). I’m more concerned about the lock-in Jobs has inflicted on Apple users – subtler, but in its own way much more difficult to escape.

Some reality.

No future for you

Peter Thiel thinks scientific progress has stalled. This is a pretty dumb article on several counts, but for the purposes of this blog, this passage stands out:

Today a letter from Einstein would get lost in the White House mail room,

Hm, I believe this is the first administration with a Nobel-class physicist on board

 I am not aware of a single political leader in the U.S., either Democrat or Republican, who would cut health-care spending in order to free up money for biotechnology research — or, more generally, who would make serious cuts to the welfare state in order to free up serious money for major engineering projects.

False dichotomy alert. Left as an exercise for the reader.

Robert Moses, the great builder of New York City in the 1950s and 1960s, or Oscar Niemeyer, the great architect of Brasilia, belong to a past when people still had concrete ideas about the future.

Wait wait what?  Robert Moses and Brasilia, two exemplars of disastrous top-down urban planning fail, are what we are supposed to be mourning? This is a libertarian talking? 

And the “concrete ideas about the future” is a nice touch. Oddly I find myself more in agreement with the anti-modernist Theodore Dalrymple than the techie Thiel.

Yet another example to feed my growing conviction that libertarianism is really just a blind for the worst kind of authoritarianism.

Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a microblog? Will try to be briefer in the future.