Waving Goodbye

Steven den Beste gives us a heads up to this op-ed in the International Herald Tribune. The author, a 20 year veteran of the United Nations, asks why the organization should keep their HQ in New York City. Why not move to Montreal?

I was shocked to find that I actually agreed with some of the author’s reasons for the move. The cost of building a new UN campus could be offset by selling the old HQ, land is cheaper in Montreal than New York, and Canada has enough high-tech infrastructures to accommodate the day-to-day business of the international body.

One thing the author stated that I certainly don’t agree with is that moving the UN to Canada would send a clear signal that rampant corruption will no longer be tolerated. Instead I see it as a way for the UN to become surrounded with people that have a common understanding.

The author also didn’t mention the greatest benefit that might be realized if the UN moves out of the United States. It might make it easier for the American people to accept the idea that we’d be better off without this group of crooked career bureaucrats.

Hey, I might just donate some money for the move myself!

Quote of the Day

…[S]o long as markets are free and human beings exhibit swings of euphoria and distress, the business cycle will continue to plague us. But even granting human imperfections, flexible economic institutions appear to significantly ameliorate the amplitude and duration of the business cycle. The benefits seem sufficiently large that special emphasis should be placed on searching for policies that will foster still greater economic flexibility while seeking opportunities to dismantle policies that contribute to unnecessary rigidity.

Alan Greenspan, Before the HM Treasury Enterprise Conference, London, England
January 26, 2004 (Via Albion’s Seedling’s)

Quote of the Day

One of the most fascinating studies I have read was conducted by a group of biologists who compared the randon mutations of rat mitochondria (the little fuel processing organelles in each of our cells that have their own, much simpler DNA) during episodes of widespread plague and during normal periods. They found that mitochondrial DNA mutations occurred 3 times faster in the presence of virulent pathogens (during plagues) that during normal times.

I think this is precisely the system property that makes the US economy more robust and adaptable than most other major economies. As American business owners and managers can tell you, in the US competitors try to kill your business every day, forcing adaptation, cost cutting, rationalizing, restructuring, soul-searching and, ultimately, growth. Without the relentless attacks of pathogens (your competitors) none of this would happen.

John Rutledge

UPDATE: Commander Cornflake provides helpful perspective in the comments.

Cato’s New Online Publication

Cato Unbound is an online periodical intended to combine the better features of blogs and magazines. The first issue’s lead essay by James Buchanan proposes three new Constitutional amendments from a classical-liberal perspective. Response essays from other scholars will be published on a blog-like schedule (i.e., every few days), article submissions are accepted, and trackbacks are enabled to encourage discussion on and linking by other blogs. Cato Unbound appears to be well thought out and I hope that it will be read widely.

Howard Dean’s Selective Memory

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wants the USA to withdraw from Iraq:

“I’ve seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, ‘just another year, just stay the course, we’ll have a victory.’ Well, we didn’t have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening.”

In 1975 the US Congress cut off military aid to South Vietnam, which was soon overwhelmed and conquered by the North Vietnamese army. Communist forces rolled through Cambodia and Laos. The communists killed millions of people. Is this scenario — our abandonment of an ally followed by mass-murder and tyranny — also one that Dean wishes to avoid? It would be nice if someone asked him.