Thursday, December 31

Bryan Caplan quotes from a Bill Easterly interview on the limits of state planning vs. business hierarchy:

But what was missing - what Lenin did not get, and what all the subsequent planners who have been inspired by what appears to be corporate planning did not get - was that what corporations are really doing is searching for something that works. And when they find something that works, they try to reproduce it on a very large scale.

…what the planning mentality, as a whole, always misses is that you can't use planning to find what works. So if you build a whole system like foreign aid around planning, you're never going to find things that work. Because the planning is only a method for scaling up something that you have already found to work.

Tuesday, December 29

Businessman isn't happy with his search results in Google. So what does he do? Increase his visibility? Promote his service? Innovate and compete for customers? Nope! He calls for "search neutrality" in a NY Times Op-ed which I will not link to out of principle.
Do I need to point out how obvious an example this is of a business that can't compete seeking to tilt the playing field to its liking?
Do I need to point out that if search neutrality, however he defines it, was a valuable service, he could try offering it to people himself?
The fear that the internet - or any industry - will be dominated long term by one company is refuted by history, as recently blogged here.
To be explicit, proposals like the one made by the parasite in the Times are anti-market, pro-business, anti-competitive, slow innovation and make the industry they inhibit, in technical terms, "crappier."

Monday, December 28

A few years ago, my husband named this excrescence of a decade the “ought naughts”. As in, the naught years ought not to have happened. Here is the decade as I see it:
  • Ralph Nader and George Bush convinced gullible Americans that Bush and Al Gore were, for all intents and purposes, the same person.
  • From day one the Bush administration rolled back as many environmental regulations as it could.
  • September 11, 2001.
  • The Bush/Cheney response to 9/11. As much as I couldn’t stand him, I fully supported the President in the wake of 9/11. Until he took the good will of the entire country and most of the world and threw it out the window. What a fool.
  • Iraq. Even if you still believe all of the lies (and lies, and lies, and more lies) that got us into Iraq, couldn’t we have at least depended on the Bush administration to carry out the war in the most efficient, effective way possible? Apparently not.
  • Hurricane Katrina.
  • Gays. Apparently gays are the worst thing that has happened to America. Bush and company used gay marriage as the wedge issue of the decade. In the 2004 Presidential election gay marriage was on the ballot in 11 states, for no other reason than to bring out the religious right in droves to give Bush a second term, um I mean to save our country from the scourge of gay marriage.
  • Tax cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts while we were fighting two wars.
  • Worldcom, Enron, AIG, Bernie Madoff, etc. Greedy bastards need sound regulation. I’m talking to you Goldman, Citi and B of A. Too big to fail eventually will. Plenty of bipartisan blame for the malfeasance of corporate America. The only difference between lobbying and a bribe is that one is legal.
  • Ten years of almost no action in the US to reduce carbon emissions.
  • And special thanks to Fox News, Karl Rove, and Sarah Palin and others for reducing political discourse to a largely disingenuous binary choice between what they think is right and everything else. Facts? Who needs ‘em. There are plenty of political hacks on the left as well but they don’t even come close to having as nefarious and far reaching impact as these bozos.
Is President Obama doing everything right? Not by a long shot. Is he doing his best to undo 10 years of ridiculous policy? IMHO, yes.

"I don't know what annoys me more: Janet Napolitano saying "the system worked" when what she means is "the system failed, but smart passengers proved that the system is unnecessary", or the moronic new rules the TSA is apparently putting into place in order to "prevent" future such occurances. The TSA's obsession with fighting the last war is so strong that I expect any day to see them building wooden forts at our nation's airports in order to keep the redcoats at bay."

Wednesday, December 23

Do not fear your corporate overlords!
Of the top 25 richest companies of 1999 globally, only 8 retain such status. Turnover happens. Goliaths get out maneuvered. The old corporate masters fade away, when we let them.

Thursday, December 3 explains why the billions handed out by the DOE to support clean-tech stifle innovation and hinder competition “by reducing the flow of private capital into ventures that are not anointed by the DOE.”
It has also actually led to layoffs:
Aptera Motors has struggled this year to raise money to fund production of the Aptera 2e, its innovative aerodynamic electric 3-wheeler, recently laying off 25 percent of its staff to focus on pursuing a DOE loan. According to a source close to the company, “all of the engineers are working on documentation for the DOE loan. Not on the vehicle itself.”

Personally I would rather that the winners of the clean tech development races win by superior design and innovation rather than by political favor.
One night after a long day of campaigning, when the haters had made my spirits reach a nadir, I looked into Todd's eyes, which were as blue as the stripes on Old Glory, and too representing truth and loyalty, and he looked back at me with a twinkle of determination which I hadn't seen since I told him my goal of having another baby in my fifties and naming it Tron, then did I know for sure that I could carry on, like he, and we, have done together all of these years on this long, Iron Dog race of a marriage that is at once grueling and celestial, onerous and majestic.
--Sarah Palin, as channeled by Ann Sensenbrenner, in Slate's Write Like Sarah Palin Contest.