Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chivalry

Power is at the core of male attractiveness.

Great men will willing perform Noblesse Obliege. Men will not willingly render tribute.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Arbitrarily Negative Interest Rates

One of the most common objects to a gold standard (or any deflationary currency scheme) is the Keynsian one - that prices (particularly wages) are sticky and that a deflationary currency is the cause of fundamental structural problems that will eventually be the downfall of said currency.

For the record, I don't actually think that the problems with wage stickiness are that pronounced. People simply don't have enough experience with a solid gold standard (as opposed to a slowly devalued one) to really say one way or another.

That being, said, it would be quite easy for a sovereign to neutralize this objection. For just how to do this, we have to travel back in time to the 1990's in Brazil. At the time Brazil was undergoing mild hyperinflation (1200%/year). The government was unable to stabilize its currency through traditional means, and turned to a number of academics who proposed a novel solution, which Brazil successfully implemented.

The first part of the solution was to create a virtual currency, pegged to the US Dollar. Prices had to be quoted in the virtual currency, but payment had to be made with the actual currency. After some time, the Brazilian government transitioned everyone to a new currency that had 1:1 parity with the virtual currency, ending the hyper-inflation.

In an economy with a fixed quantity of money, the general price level declines in rough proportion to the increase in productivity. In order to neutralize this, one could simply require everyone to quote all prices in a virtual currency which is then decreased in value in proportion to the increase in the general price level. Viola - constant value pricing.

One can go even further though. During the last couple economic crises, the press was filled with stories of liquidity traps - a situation wherein the interest rate could not be lowered sufficiently to stimulate economic activity. With a virtual currency, this is not a problem at all. The currency itself can be debased to an arbitrary extent. As long as all prices above some meaningful threshold have to be quoted in the virtual currency, there should be no problems.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Western Civiliaztion

The story of western civilization can be characterized as a religious war between two sides.  The side of hierarchy,  stability and faith has been continuously losing.  The side of equality, change and reason has been continuously winning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Random Thoughts on Intellectual Property

Copyright:

1. All works are automatically copyrighted, but the initial period lasts for only a short period of time, say 5 years. After that works have to be registered, and a yearly fee assessed in order to maintain their copyright. The price per year should increase exponentially such that the first 5 years (amortized) essentially charge storage and processing fees. The next five to ten years should be easily affordable by anyone with modest distribution numbers. It should be economically infeasible for Disney to keep copyright on something for somewhere between 30-40 years.

2. Copyright should be changed such that it prohibits publishing (sending a copy to another person) and not copying. As the law stands today, doing things like operating a computer makes a person a criminal.

3. Update work-for-hire rules. Seriously - the whole contractors own their work by default thing is pretty silly. The legal default should be what people expect.

4. Vigorous enforcement. Some of the statutory damage numbers are ridiculous; they need to be changed. That being said, there are also an awful lot of laws on the books that conveniently make it nearly impossible to prosecute violators. In exchange for shorter copyright lengths, copyright holders should be able to expect vigorous enforcement - particularly since the early years tend to be where creators make the majority of their money (excepting a few wildly successful outliers).

Patent:

1. The proposed harmonization with European first-to-file is retarded. First-to-invent is the current (and obvious rule).

2. The point of patents is to encourage research and knowledge sharing by rewarding inventors with the exclusive use of an idea in exchange for a full description of how that idea works. If no one is benefiting from the descriptions on file, the case for patents in a particular vertical becomes quite weak. The case I am thinking of is software patents, but I'm sure there are other verticals where independent invention is much cheaper than looking through patent descriptions.

3. In tandem with point 2, patent length should be alterable for verticals that warrant such tuning.

4. Verticals that need patent-like mechanisms to exist, but who really shouldn't be using the patent system (I'm thinking primarily of the medical field) shouldn't be forced to torture the patent system with twisted case law; they should just have a separate (albeit probably similar) system.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Living with Lies

The Chief problem with living in a culture of lies is that you have to spend nearly all your time understanding and the lies around you in order to have a coherent picture of reality, leaving much less room for thinking about useful things.

Quote of the Day

The public doesn't want new ideas, they just want to be told that their old ideas are new ideas that have been discovered by brain scans. -- Steve Sailor

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quote of the Day

It's just that people have strangely bifurcated minds. They are unlikely to see the bad consequences of their good intentions. -- George Will