Saturday, 15 August 2009

Saturday links go salmon fishing

A superb little piece from Steven Landsburg. I forget sometimes what a good writer - and what a good economist - he is. This one is about whether it's right to retrospectively punish bad, but legal, behaviour. The same argument could very well be applied to the payment of large bonuses by banks.
There are two competing principles here. The first principle is: Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation, a principle enshrined in our Bill of Rights...

But here's the countervailing principle: Bad behavior ---even legal bad behavior---should be punished eventually, because that precedent deters future bad behavior. If that principle were applied consistently and predictably, firms might not have overinvested in the wrong technologies [or overpaid their risk-seeking employees?] to begin with.
This speech by James Montier is a very nice, funny and persuasive argument against the EMH. Of course being funny and persuasive can hide many logical flaws and I don't think this speech is a knockout blow. But it opens up a bunch of good paths to a better theory. (unfortunately the site seems to be down for the moment but hopefully back up by the time you read this)

If you think you're good at playing economic games, try this one. It's not the same without Noel Edmonds, though.

And talking of Noel Edmonds, do you agree with Scott Locklin that Nassim Taleb is a clown?

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