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    A Twist On The Tragedy Of The Commons

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 8th November 2012 (All posts by )

    The tragedy of the commons is where there is a resource of some kind which is essentially free for all. This means that each individual who is in a position to profit from that resource brutally exploits it, until there is nothing left but a big mess. The fact that everyone will be worse off after the resource is gone doesn’t stop people from getting as much as they can, scrambling to haul away anything not nailed down, before the next guy comes along to grab what is left.

    The solution is to avoid unowned or collective resources.

    If an individual owns the resource in question, a resource that is worth money, then they have an extremely keen interest in making sure that the resource isn’t brutally exploited to the point where problems arise. This is not only because the resource will generate income over time, but also because the owner will be obligated to spend money in order to clean up the mess.

    But what if there is a privately owned commodity that isn’t generating income right this minute?

    There is a closed restaurant near my craphole apartment. Behind the shuttered building is an equipment shed.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Crime and Punishment, Economics & Finance, Human Behavior | 5 Comments »

    The Beer Index

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 3rd November 2012 (All posts by )

    Pity the UK government. Like most, they have had a great deal of trouble closing the gap between money spent and tax revenue. And, like most, they have scrambled to raise taxes in order to increase the amount of money coming in.

    One of the items hardest hit with rising tax rates in Great Britain is beer.

    The powers-that-be have enacted a “beer duty escalator“, which automatically raises the tax on beer by 2% over inflation every single year. According to the article behind the last link, the average beer drinker in the UK now pays £177 every year just in taxes alone. The average pub owner must shell out £66,000 per year in beer taxes, above and beyond the overhead costs that come from running any small business. And, thanks to the automatic increases, every year is going to be worse than the last.

    As any economist who hasn’t drunk deep of the Liberal kool-aide will tell you in a heartbeat, adding frivolous costs to any commodity will result in limiting demand. Beer sales in the UK have plummeted, while close to a score of pubs across the island nation have been going out of business every week.

    Just think of all those people who were dependent on the family business, now out of work and on the dole. I don’t have the numbers to tell for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find out that any jump in revenues realized by the beer duty have been more than offset by the increased number of people who now rely on public assistance.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Economics & Finance, Energy & Power Generation, Taxes | 9 Comments »

    Horrific Act Of Violence

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 21st July 2012 (All posts by )

    The media has been buzzing the last few days with news reports about a terrible mass shooting at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie. Those of us who are not directly involved, who were not in the theater or do not know anyone who was, can have no idea of the pain and anguish that such an act leaves behind. Hundreds of people will never be the same again.

    That aside, the question that will inevitably be asked is if there was any way to prevent such a crime.

    My very strong impression is that the suspect, who was arrested outside the theater just moments after allegedly committing mass murder, was obviously a deranged individual who can never be trusted to be set loose amongst the innocent public again. But he was also an extremely methodical, clearly intelligent, and very resourceful individual who spent months planning his big day.

    Case in point are the reports of his earlier life, which are filled with tales of his academic prowess. You don’t get accepted to a reputable PhD science program unless you have some brains.

    The second indication of his drive is how he spent months assembling his arsenal. Not only guns and ammunition, but also body armor, tear gas grenades, a gas mask, and ingredients for the improvised explosive devices he used to booby trap his apartment. All of that gear would have cost thousands of dollars, and the fact that he didn’t blow himself up when preparing to rig his home with explosives and incendiaries shows that he must have spent some time carefully researching the correct way to assemble his bombs.

    It is inevitable that the Left will take up the call for increased gun control, but I think it is very clear that such laws would have done nothing except slow down the timetable a bit.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Crime and Punishment | 46 Comments »

    Getting It Backwards

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 17th July 2012 (All posts by )

    Our esteemed President sticks his foot in it once again

    “… -look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own.”


    “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. “

    The idea President Obama is clearly trying to communicate is that success in the private sector is only possible because of the infrastructure built by the government. How he got it wrong is that the only way all that infrastructure could get built was if there were successful businesses already established to provide the tax money needed to fund the government projects!
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Entrepreneurship, Obama, Politics | 17 Comments »

    Relatively Expensive

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 16th February 2012 (All posts by )

    In this post, I link to a brief news item that discusses the most expensive cities in the world to live. knirirr was kind enough to leave a comment.

    Interesting – I was surprised to see London so low down the list.

    knirirr makes his living as an academic. He works at a prestigious college in the United Kingdom. Even adjusted for different currencies, his pay lags about 25% behind what a comparable American prole slaving in the Ivory Tower would earn. And professor salaries in the UK are considered to be pretty posh compared to most of the world.

    If anyone is wondering as to the reason for this disparity, it is because the US government has guaranteed loans that college students take out to finance their educations. With all that money coming in, centers of higher learning have applied themselves to spending the wealth. Hence, academics in America earn significantly more than their foreign cousins.

    There is a lot more to the issue, enough to warrant a few other posts on the subject. But the main reason I mention it here is that knirirr’s comment got me to thinking about disparity of income.

    How would those cities on the list fare if one factored in the per capita GDP of the countries where they are located? According to this list, a few revisions would have to be made.

    Perhaps surprisingly, cities in the top spots would still be even more expensive places to live if one considers average per capita income.

    According to the article, the cost of living in Zurich is 176% compared to New York City. This means Zurich is the most expensive city to call home in terms of money spent to live there. But since the average wage of the Swiss people is five to ten percent less than citizens of the United States, the cash shelled out for rent and food would take a greater percentage of their pay checks.

    The same goes for the number two city. It might cost 166% to live in Tokyo, Japan than it would to dwell in New York, but the average Japanese citizen earns about 72% of the wage that the average American takes home. If GDP was included in the calculations, then Tokyo would climb above Zurich so far as relative expense was concerned.

    The real shakeup, of course, comes at the very bottom of the list. Karachi, Pakistan is supposed to be the least expensive place to live as one could make a home for only 46% of the cost to live in New York. But considering that the average yearly wage in Pakistan is about 5% of the average wage earned in the US, and suddenly it is obvious that the vast majority of Pakistanis can only think of living there to be an impossible dream.

    (Cross posted at Hell in a Handbasket.)

    Posted in Economics & Finance | 9 Comments »

    At Least Someone Has Seen Their Career Flourish

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 29th January 2012 (All posts by )

    I have heard that President Obama never held a job in his life for longer than three years.

    Is this accurate? Dunno. Can’t seem to find anything about it online.

    But, if true, then the big guy just passed a milestone. It has been three years and one week since he was sworn in as POTUS.

    Posted in Politics | 4 Comments »

    The Most Dangerous Ground

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 16th December 2011 (All posts by )

    Neo Mammalian Studios, so far as I can tell, is a group of tech heads who are looking to strike it rich by designing smart phone apps and Internet infographics. I wish them the very best of luck, as I fully understand the desire to acquire wealth through honest work.

    An Email signed Andrea Smart, Communications Director to Neo Mammalian Studios, bring an infographic to our attention. The World According To MURDER!!!

    The United States ranks #10 in the number of dead bodies, but that is because we are a large country with plenty of people. Adjust for population, rank everybody by the murder rate, and we don’t rate much attention at all.

    Interestingly enough, the city with the third highest murder rate in all the world is New Orleans. Doesn’t surprise me, considering that it has always been a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

    (Cross posted at Hell in a Handbasket.)

    Posted in Crime and Punishment | 7 Comments »

    Two Faced About Face

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 1st October 2011 (All posts by )

    Pres. Obama has harsh words for Republican presidential candidates that failed to condemn a crowd that booed a gay soldier who asked a question via pre-recorded video.

    “You want to be commander in chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient,” Obama said during remarks at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights organization.

    That must be why his administration was so keen on defending the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ban on gays in the military.

    Posted in Military Affairs, Speeches | 1 Comment »

    Backing Up The Hard Drive Of Civilization

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 18th June 2011 (All posts by )

    This post at Technology Review muses about what happens if high tech crashes. Would our store of technical knowledge, which is increasingly found exclusively in digital form, survive? Or would we suffer a terrible backwards slide as people struggle to reinvent what was once taken for granted?

    Glenn takes this to its logical conclusion, saying that there should be efforts to build an Encyclopedia Galactica. A vast repository of knowledge, the sum total of everything known up to this time, could be printed in a durable form and cached in a remote area. If any of the myriad civilization-smashing dooms should come to pass, then there would be a base of knowledge that would allow the survivors to rebuild in a very short period of time.

    This dovetails neatly into the Social Cycle Theory of history, a discredited model that states flourishing civilizations are doomed to descend into periods of darkness and barbarism. Vast libraries might be constructed in cosmopolitan cities where culture and knowledge are revered, but those same books filling the libraries are going to be burned by illiterate savages when they sack the toppled empires.

    So, if it is impossible to avoid the total destruction of all you hold dear, wouldn’t it be neato-keen to squirrel enough knowledge away so that the contributions made by your culture to the human condition are not lost?

    There actually has been at least one effort to do this very thing that I am aware of. Known as the Georgia Guidestones, they are massive slabs of rock arranged in such a way that many are reminded of Stonehenge.

    (Picture source.)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Internet | 9 Comments »

    The End Of Mexico?

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 1st June 2011 (All posts by )

    The headline reads “If Monterey Falls, Mexico Falls“.

    I’m not exactly sure what they mean by “Falls“. If it means that the government can no longer contain violent drug cartels, hasn’t that point already been passed?

    (Cross posted at Hell in a Handbasket.)

    Posted in Crime and Punishment, Law Enforcement | 11 Comments »

    Hardly A Surprise

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 1st June 2011 (All posts by )

    TV and the movies push a Liberal agenda, with the creative minds behind popular entertainment deliberately maneuvering to influence public opinion. Blatant propaganda in the service of a bankrupt ideology.

    So what else is new?

    Author Ben Shapiro claims to have the smoking gun. Taped interviews of some of the most influential and prominent names in entertainment, all of whom openly admit their bias, bigotry, and hatred of any political philosophy which opposes their own.

    I know what you guys are doing right now. You are all shrugging your shoulders, blearily blinking at the screen, waiting for me to say something that you don’t already know. Or, at least, to say it in a clever and witty fashion.

    Sorry to disappoint.

    I would like to leave you with one final thought, though. This is yet again an example of Liberals babbling away about Soviet levels of groupthink without the whisper of unease. How could anyone with even half a brain believe that engaging in a massive mind control exercise is the least bit acceptable? And yet these movers and shakers in the entertainment industry are perfectly comfortable in discussing something that would literally have them advocating murder if anyone on the Right started to do it.

    I think the people with Leftist political convictions need to get out more.

    Posted in Diversions, Film, Leftism, Media, Political Philosophy, Politics | 20 Comments »

    As God Made Us

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 12th April 2011 (All posts by )

    Yet another spurious study which supposedly attributes the adoption of Conservative political beliefs to bad biology.

    The authors of the study insist that those inclined to adopt Liberal attitudes have brains more inclined to understand complexity, while the brains of Conservatives insist on feeling fear and anxiety.

    But that doesn’t explain why Liberals can’t seem to avoid getting it wrong all the time. Shouldn’t their atomic-powered intellects clue them in that their most cherished policies are unworkable?

    At least we have proof that brain damage is behind the reason why Liberals refuse to see reality.

    Posted in Leftism | 18 Comments »

    Good-Bye, Tokyo

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 17th March 2011 (All posts by )

    Minutes ago I received an Email. It seems that the US military has ordered a “voluntary evacuation of military dependents from the Tokyo/Yokosuka region.”

    As my source has a very young child, her husband and daughter will be leaving the country very soon. Details are sketchy at this time, but it appears that they will be flown to Korea before repatriation to the States.

    Posted in Announcements, Japan, Military Affairs | 7 Comments »

    Nanny State Running Amok

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 10th March 2011 (All posts by )

    Enraged over an argument, a young woman snatched up the family gerbil and crushed it to death. Now she faces criminal charges. A felony!

    The accused doesn’t seem like a very nice person. Anyone who would slaughter a harmless family pet in such a manner isn’t someone I would invite over for afternoon tea.

    But, even so, I can’t help but wonder if this is an appropriate use of scarce government resources.

    Read the news article, and please note that the author listed the causes of death for the rodent. Did the Medical Examiner perform an autopsy on the deceased? It would seem so.

    Do any of our readers have memories of dissecting a rodent for biology class? Maybe you had to kill the rat as part of the process. I wonder if you would land in jail if you tried it today.

    I see that this sorry little drama is taking place in New York, a bastion of Liberal groupthink. Even so, I would be surprised if the votyers there were happy to learn that this is what the tax dollars they pay for their criminal justice system is buying.

    Posted in Big Government, Crime and Punishment, Leftism | 30 Comments »

    Cutting To The Heart Of The Matter

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 10th March 2011 (All posts by )

    I really don’t have anything of substance to add to the current NPR scandal. The bigotry and naked verbal venom exhibited by Ron Schiller, it would appear, aligns with the views that most Liberals have of those who hold opposing views.

    What is a mystery to me, however, is why he voiced those opinions in the first place. It should have been common knowledge around the NPR water cooler that Conservative activists have been trying to get Liberals to say provocative things on camera now for years. James O’Keefe, the young man behind this latest effort, first gained fame with his devestating expose of ACORN. Why wasn’t it painfully clear that keeping such views quiet was the best policy possible?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Leftism, The Press, Video | 11 Comments »

    Going Dark

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 8th March 2011 (All posts by )

    I’ve mentioned the concept of water empires here before.

    The idea is that a central government has control over a vital life-sustaining resource, such as water. If a province rebels or otherwise acts up, then the supply is cut off. The problem takes care of itself in a year or two of savage starvation, since there will be no harvest if the fields are dry.

    Water empires invariably lead to both despotism and corruption. It is so easy to exert total control over life and death, why wouldn’t the people in charge work to consolidate their power? They’d be idiots if they didn’t, after all.

    And, since the aforementioned people in charge are in total control, the rules simply don’t apply to them. They can indulge their every whim, favor this person or industry over another, simply because they can. Who is going to stop them? Anyone who tries will be in big trouble when the water stops flowing, after all.

    So what happens if the vital resource is electricity instead of water? Why wouldn’t history repeat itself?

    (Hat tip to Glenn.)

    Posted in Big Government, Britain, Energy & Power Generation, History | 12 Comments »

    Waiting For The Cries Of Outrage

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 18th February 2011 (All posts by )

    A veteran firefighter with 28 years of service refused to go with his crew to aid the injured when Rep Giffords was shot in Arizona. He says that the reason why was due to “political bantering”, as most of his fellow firefighters did not share his own political views.

    But what were these political views which caused such division?

    The firefighter in question, Mark Ekstrum, started his career as a registered Democrat. He switched his affiliation to Independent 11 years before the shooting occurred, and insists that he voted for Rep. Giffords in the last election.

    Make of that what you will, but it doesn’t look like he was a Conservative.

    Posted in Politics | 6 Comments »

    Answer To Their Prayers

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 15th February 2011 (All posts by )

    There has been some activity on the news channels about how the head of an anti-illegal immigrant group was convicted of murder.

    It appears that a few of her followers dressed as police officers in order to kill and rob a family involved with drug dealing. The motive was money and drugs that might have been in the home, and these ill-gotten profits would then be used to fund “border operations”.

    Of course, the convicted was kicked out of a better established group before deciding to start her own. To all indications, she was oen of those strange and disturbed characters that one always finds on the fringes.

    I expect that advocates of “immigration reform” will find this incident to have a great deal of value to them. Anyone who suggests that border enforcement comes first will probably be tarred as a murderous vigilante.

    Posted in Crime and Punishment, Immigration | Comments Off on Answer To Their Prayers

    Winds Of Change

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 13th February 2011 (All posts by )

    The Canadian government spent a great deal of effort and money in touting their alternative energy initiatives, particularly electricity generating through wind turbines. Lots and lots of tax dollars have been spent on various projects. These weren’t depicted as public work projects, but as “investments”.

    The day before yesterday, they quietly reversed that policy.

    Gee, I wonder why!

    Looks like the “investments” didn’t pay off.

    —- UPDATE —-

    I was just informed that it was the Ontario government, controlled by the Liberals, who are the culprits behind funding for the wind power projects that are being dropped. Not the entire Canadian government!

    My bad about that, and a thanks to the reader who took the time to let me know that I was off base!

    Posted in Big Government, Energy & Power Generation, Tech | 4 Comments »

    Pining For The Good Old Days

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 5th February 2011 (All posts by )

    Reporters in Egypt were attacked last week by supporters of President Hosni Mubarak. CNN talking heads are running scared, coming back home with their tails between their legs.

    I bet they’re all nostalgic for Saddam Hussein. Now there was a dictator you could do business with!

    Posted in Media, Middle East | Comments Off on Pining For The Good Old Days

    The Light Dawns

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 5th February 2011 (All posts by )

    The current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, has something to say about state multiculturalism. It has failed.

    “Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism,” the prime minister said.

    Building a stronger sense of national and local identity holds “the key to achieving true cohesion” by allowing people to say “I am a Muslim, I am a Hindu, I am a Christian, but I am a Londoner… too”, he said.

    In other words, he wants Great Britain to become more like the United States.

    (Glenn gets a hat tip for the tip off.)

    Posted in Anglosphere, Civil Society | 4 Comments »

    There Is No Place Like Home

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 4th February 2011 (All posts by )

    Obama donor who brought in big money for the Presidential campaign is rewarded by being named Ambassador to Luxembourg.

    To the victor goes the spoils, and she acted like the perfect little dictator in her vitally important posting. She could do as she pleased, right? After all, The Pres had her back! Might as well use legation funds to live the high life, act like a raging crone to the staff, and otherwise make the lives of everyone around her a living hell.

    What blows my mind is that some of the diplomats assigned to her post actually requested reassignment to Afghanistan! Give up the cushy conditions in a modern European city, and trade it for the poverty and physical danger found in Kabul. Anything to get away from that harridan!

    The author of the news article linked to above says that such is the danger when amateurs meddle in a field that clearly calls for career diplomats. I think it shows the danger of passing out important positions to political supporters without first bothering to ask if they are suited for the job.

    But now she is going to retire to a quiet life with her family. Why is it that these people always claim to find a sudden burning desire for the home fires after their excesses are found out?

    Posted in Big Government, Elections, Europe, International Affairs, Obama, Politics | 10 Comments »


    Posted by James R. Rummel on 28th January 2011 (All posts by )

    Ford earned greater profits in 2010 than it had in a decade. But weren’t they the only major US automaker who refused to take government bailout money?

    Of course, Ford’s sales situation could have been much rosier than the others when the bailout was proposed. Their refusal then and profits now are hardly surprising if that is so.

    Posted in Big Government, Business, Markets and Trading | 3 Comments »

    Funding Corruption

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 25th January 2011 (All posts by )

    According to this news item, Republicans in the US House of Representatives are vowing to cut payments to the United Nations. Of greater interest to me is the promise of investigations into corruption.

    There was a great deal of drama over the UN soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Humanitarian programs were seen as chances for graft and bribes, and resolutions against Iraq certainly did nothing to convince Saddam to abide by the peace agreement that ended Gulf War I. Why does the American taxpayer pony up more than 20% of the United Nation’s budget if the organization is nothing but a toothless waste of time that is run by a collection of criminals?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Big Government, Crime and Punishment, History, International Affairs, United Nations | 9 Comments »

    Wave Of The Future

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 24th January 2011 (All posts by )

    One of the big topics of discussions in the right side of the blogosphere lately has been how the pay and benefits of public employees has contributed to the current fiscal emergency our nation now faces. Of particular interest is how unfunded pensions are causing a budget crises every fiscal year.

    The Buckeye Institute, which the local news media dubbed a “conservative think tank” here in Ohio, has a searchable database that lists the salary of every public school teacher in this state. They even go so far as to include the estimated pensions that the educators have coming.

    This will probably become something that every state will have, and it has been a long time coming.

    Posted in Big Government, Economics & Finance, Education | 3 Comments »