Monthly Archives: July 2010

Bottom-up Systems and Network Effects

As the 1990s began, the Internet had a few hundred thousand hosts and was used by a narrow community of academics and computer nerds. By the end of the decade, there were tens of millions of hosts, and in 2005 … Continue reading

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Ending the Toxic Cycle of Misinformation

Matt Yglesias points to this excellent Dana Milbank column pointing out that Arizona governor Jan Brewer has been running around telling whoppers about immigrants in her state, including rumors that undocumented immigrants have been beheading people in Arizona’s border towns. … Continue reading

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Ludwig von Mises and the Magic of Financial Reports

One of the reasons I’ve been belaboring the limitations of top-down management is that I’ve found this is a subject on which some libertarians get confused. Because political debates often pit governments against businesses, there’s a tendency for those of … Continue reading

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Seduced by Data in the Financial Industry

A while back I wrote about the trouble that can occur when the managers of large organizations overestimate the utility of large data sets and sophisticated statistical tools, with Robert McNamara’s problems in Vietnam as a poster child. In 2010 … Continue reading

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The Case against the Case against Birthright Citizenship

Will Wilkinson has had a big influence on my thinking about migration, nationalism, and related subjects, so I read his pro-immigrant case for ending birthright citizenship with interest. At the heart of his argument is a kind of “grand bargain”: … Continue reading

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The High Road and the Low Road

Jim Henley makes a good observation: Across a whole range of problems there’s a class of responses I’ll dub the “low road” and another class I’ll call the “high road.” Examples of the former include war, torture, sanctions and blockades, … Continue reading

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