Monday, February 25, 2008

For the love of God, take away her uppers

Megan discovered ritalin last week. Or dex. Some kind of speed. Maybe the upshot is an eventual leave of absence for a trip to Betty Ford's, and/or amusing paranoid posts about people trying to sneak Slim Jims into her almond milk. But in the meantime, she's trying to smother us with shit.
Dear Megan, you get paid either way, go back to shitty and lazy. Shitty and verbose isn't working.

Much obliged: Megan is in lecture mode. Wonderful.

One of the many interesting thing about the debate on collective action problems is that while liberals usually claim (with some justification) that it is the libertarians advancing simplistic models that bear no resemblance to the real world, in this case a lot of liberals were making arguments that rest, I think, on a fundamental mischaracterization of how the American government actually works.
"I'm not a poopypants, you are!"
The collective action problem is a very elegant idea, and easy to state simply, which is why it has become sort of the liberal equivalent of the tragedy of the commons. The basic idea is that there are certain equilibria which are better for everyone, but because every individual can make himself better off by cheating, the group can't get there. The solution usually proposed is a tax or regulation, but it doesn't have to be; you can, for example, sign an agreement that only kicks in if a sufficient number of people comply--much like what was done with Kyoto.
I can actually hear Spencer crying from here.
She goes on quite a bit, but I'll leave it to Crooked Timber to show why it's just a bunch of jargon and buzzwords, signifying nothing.

Mahalanobis: When lefties say Pinochet, I say Castro. Sure, what Pinochet did was largely dictated to him by students of my heroes Hayek and Friedman, and I think the only bad parts were the killing and dictatorship and reign of terror, but Castro provided universal health care. What a monster.

Is poverty in the eye of the beholder?: Dear readers,
Your anecdotal experiences of the world are immaterial. Only my own bear sufficient weight to contradict carefully conducted studies of reality.
Also, read this
Deep poverty is much more picturesque than moderate poverty. Poor countries have their old colonial buildings still standing, because no one had the money (or the reason) to tear them down and put up something bigger. The countryside is dotted with adorable houses made out of natural materials and natives wearing colorful traditional garb. Animals graze in verdant fields, besides teams of sowers and reapers. Middle income countries are smoggy, and almost everything looks like a cheaper, shabbier version of what you get in the US. Scenic landscapes are despoiled by cinderblock buildings with hideous tin roofs, or trailers; cities are choked with boxy modern buildings that look something like our housing projects. The genteel decay that looks gothic and intriguing on an old Victorian mansion just looks seedy when it's eating away at badly poured concrete. Affluent Americans underestimate the utility value of things like having personal space, or an automobile.
If that's not a sales pitch for bringing in the sweatshops, I don't know what is. Why have indigenous local traditions when you can have smog and tin shacks?

Greener-than-thou: I really don't trust the work of licensed professionals. My own unsourced assertions are much more convincing.

Forgotten, but not gone: Fuck Nader, he's the concern troll of presidential elections. Still, Megan shows yet again that her political development ended sometime during the first Clinton Admin, presumably before the Gingrich revolution.
That's not to say that you should have a preference between Democrats and Republicans--frankly, these days, it feels a lot like "So, by which of the plagues of Egypt would you like to be consumed?" But if you do, you should vote for that candidate, rather than making an expressive vote which could put your last choice into office.
So, yeah, don't vote for Nader, but he was right about that whole no difference between Bush n Gore thing. Haven't the last 7 years proven that? Urgh.

I'm leaving!: M. covered this post down below, but I have to add a mention that Megan must've been too busy trying to sell her work to the various militias in Montana and neighboring states to have noticed their rhetoric. She really would benefit from reading Orcinus, but you know how them fellow travelers are. Selectively deaf.

It's action--but is it collective?: I can play with jargon, too, look. I'm not saying the terflufflewitty is gimmelfarb, but rather huchietwang. If you flimble the shamkoia, you just end up wadkinablizing the brugok.

The logic of collective action: If the voldans quarkles the lilinty, then the ewotion buagles the crontotonk. QED, bitches.

Kaphtor on Cuba:
"I might add that the US tends to get blamed for both dictators, which just goes to show, in the minds of some people, it doesn't matter whether we support third rate leaders like Batista, or oppose third rate leaders like Allende, when they fall to a coup within their own country, it's America's fault. It also doesn't matter whether we embargo them or trade like crazy with the subsequent junta, the policy it to blame for the continuing plight of the people. And it doesn't matter whether we gently show the dictator the door, or shake our fist at him in his dotage, we don't get much credit."
To be clear, the whole post is a quote, Megan isn't saying it herself. She's merely putting it up in a place where the idea of lefties being objectively anti-American will resonate. I have to note that this was not crossposted, but went up only at Instapundit. Heh, indeed.

My post on pharma:
triggered some emails complaining that drug companies spend more money on advertising than R&D. I blogged about this a while ago:
People who think that there is a gigantic pool of capital that could be sucked out of the pharmaceutical advertising budget are being misled by accounting terminology. People who rail against the pharmaceutical industry are fond of noting that about 20% of industry revenues go to marketing, with the implication that this is all wasted on advertising baldness cures during Golden Girls reruns. But just the top ten firms in the pharmaceutical industry took in about $350 billion in revenue in 2007, 20% of which is $70 billion. The entire US expenditure on advertising by all companies in all media forms totaled something like $150 billion in 2007. I know it seems like every other commercial you see is for Botox, but most advertising is not done by pharmaceutical firms.

In fact, advertising is only a small fraction of that marketing expense. Over half of it expense consists of free samples, the offering of which seems to me like an unalloyed public good.
I blogged about this back then, too.

A letter from a reader:
I have a friend who is a public-sector psychiatrist. She tells me that the free samples are the only thing that keeps her patients going. Yes, there are government programs BUT they refuse to pay for the latest medication, because the older stuff (which is less effective and has more side effects) is cheaper. The bean counters for drug costs are different from the bean counters for costs of mental committments, hence the first don't care that they're shooting up the costs of the second. Overall it winds up costing more, since a committment is lot more expensive that pills, but welcome to Michael Moore's idea of a medical system.
Don't see that the failure of programs set up by an Administration ideologically opposed to helping people to work well shows that any attempt to help people will fail?

Jesus, that was long. Megan, please, seek treatment. Speed kills.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Because it's all about the nitpick: she mispelled "Guatemalan" in that "greener" post.