The Blanchard Danger

by Roger Koppl Oliver Blanchard tells us “Where Danger Lurks”  in the macro-finance world. The big theme is nonlinearity, which is a profoundly conservative move: DSGE modeling is just fine and we don’t need to rethink it at all. We just need to add in some nonlinearities. Blanchard does not tell how to calibrate a … Continue reading The Blanchard Danger

Congress Should Grow a Pair

by Roger Koppl I was thinking of the NSA scandal while jogging through Rome’s Park of the Aqueducts  this morning. I guess it was that setting that made me think of our new computer-geek overlords as a virtual Praetorian Guard.  Augustus created the original Praetorian Guard about 27 BCE to protect the emperor. It quickly … Continue reading Congress Should Grow a Pair

Income Inequality Matters

by Roger Koppl Income inequality matters. Let me say that again so you know I meant it: Income inequality matters. This statement may be surprising coming from a self-described “Austrian” economist and a “liberal” in the good old-fashioned pro-market sense. It shouldn’t be. It should be one of our issues. The surprise should be that we … Continue reading Income Inequality Matters

Top Young Economists Consider Their Future

by Roger Koppl Ali Wyne of the big think  blog “Power Games”  recently posted an interesting set of comments on the theme “Empirics and Psychology: Eight of the World’s Top Young Economists Discuss Where Their Field Is Going.”  George Mason’s own Peter Leeson  was among the eight “top young economists” sharing their views. Over at … Continue reading Top Young Economists Consider Their Future

Is Justice Roberts a Big Player?

by Roger Koppl The Supreme Court upheld “Obamacare” because Chief Justice Roberts changed his mind. (It seems that “Obamacare” is no longer a pejorative.)  In this curious situation, a stalwart of the Federalist Society  has become a Big Player in healthcare markets. A Big Player is a powerful actor who uses discretion to influence a … Continue reading Is Justice Roberts a Big Player?

The Passions and the Interests in Forensic Science

by Roger Koppl A front-page article  in yesterday’s Washington Post underlines the importance of establishing a substantive defense right to expertise in the US. The article says, “Justice Department officials have known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people, but prosecutors failed to notify defendants or … Continue reading The Passions and the Interests in Forensic Science

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Sit Down To Talk

by Roger Koppl Right in the middle of the book, Thing 1 and Thing 2 sat down to talk about a controversial topic.  It might have been politics or religion.  It might have been economics or, perhaps, global warming.  I don’t know.  Anyway, it was a Very Important Topic.   Just like you and me, Thing … Continue reading Thing 1 and Thing 2 Sit Down To Talk

The Targeted Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki

by Roger Koppl Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike today.  If you recognize the name Awlaki, then you know that he was bad guy.  He was a propagandist for Al Qaeda who seems to have inspired the Fort Hood shooting, in which Nidal Hassan killed 13 people.  He was also an American citizen, … Continue reading The Targeted Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki

Another step down the road to serfdom

by Roger Koppl Peter Orszag, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, has written an article for The New Republic entitled “Too Much of a Good Thing: Why we need less democracy.”  “To solve the serious problems facing our country,” he says, “we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying … Continue reading Another step down the road to serfdom

Them is Us: More Thoughts on Oslo and Multiculturalism

by Roger Koppl An editorial in yesterday’s New York Times rightly notes, “A disturbing, and growing, intolerance across Europe for Muslims and other immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.  Inflammatory political rhetoric is increasingly tolerated. And anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic parties are getting stronger notably in northern European countries that have long had liberal immigration … Continue reading Them is Us: More Thoughts on Oslo and Multiculturalism

Oslo and Multiculturalism

by Roger Koppl The terrible Oslo killings by Anders Breivik have appropriately prompted discussion of the political implications of his act and his manifesto.  Multiculturalism is an important theme in the discussion around Breivik's crimes and ideology.  A story in yesterday’s NYTimes links Breivik to the repudiation of multiculturalism by three European political leaders. “Yet some … Continue reading Oslo and Multiculturalism

We should pay more attention to Radley Balko

by Roger Koppl On June 14th, Radley Balko posted an article on Huffington Post entitled "Private Crime Labs Could Prevent Errors, Analyst Bias: Report."  He explains some of the problems of forensic science in the US.  He suggests that "rivalrous redundancy" could improve the system and links to my 2007 Reason Foundation Report explaining how rivalrous … Continue reading We should pay more attention to Radley Balko

Hayden’s Straw Man Argument on “Interrogation Deniers”

by Roger Koppl In a Wall Street Journal op ed of 2 June 2011, General Michael Hayden, director of the CIA from 2006 to 2009, compares “interrogation deniers” to “birthers” and “truthers.”  Hayden’s op ed mischaracterizes the basic claim of those who say torture is not effective, substitutes insult for argument, and includes a non sequitur … Continue reading Hayden’s Straw Man Argument on “Interrogation Deniers”

Toward a Libertarian-Progressive Alliance

by Roger Koppl Ralph Nader recently appeared on Judge Napolitano’s “Freedom Watch” to herald the rise of a coalition between “libertarian conservatives” and progressives.  Within Congress, he says, both groups put principle above party.  The first episode in this new alliance will be cooperation on the whistleblower bill. Let’s hope it happens! Libertarians and progressives have … Continue reading Toward a Libertarian-Progressive Alliance

Mark Potok’s Loony Logical Leap

by Roger Koppl The tragic shooting in Arizona has sparked a fight about whether today’s right-wing political rhetoric is somehow responsible for egging on Jared Loughner.  The evidence so far is against the claim. Mother Jones, hardly a right-wing rag, interviewed a friend of Loughner.  It seems that Loughner had a grudge against Giffords after … Continue reading Mark Potok’s Loony Logical Leap

Emergency Rooms Just Encourage Drunk Driving

by Roger Koppl I do not understand why so many pro-market commenters are opposed to extending unemployment relief.  The supposedly killer, knockdown, unanswerable argument is that unemployment relief encourages unemployment.  Hospital emergency rooms encourage drunk driving.   Should we therefore close hospital emergency rooms?  Those of us in the Austrian school of economics keep saying, and … Continue reading Emergency Rooms Just Encourage Drunk Driving

Further Thoughts on The Sensory Order

by Roger Koppl Over at Austrian Addiction, Dan D'Amico responds to my recent post on The Sensory Order.  Dan wants to know "what Hayek's theory of neuorscience is really adding here that a more basic understanding of subjective preferences does not already imply?"  Dan is not the only one with this question.  I think enthusiasts … Continue reading Further Thoughts on The Sensory Order

The Sensory Order

by Roger Koppl Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen recently said The Sensory Order is “Hayek's most overrated book.”  In part he was complaining that “many call it his most underrated book.”  Unfortunately, he does not name names.  In any event, Tyler has other gripes including the mistaken suggestion that the science in it was not … Continue reading The Sensory Order

Why Rand Paul is wrong about Title II

by Roger Koppl Rand Paul won the Republican primary in the Kentucky Senate race and almost immediately stepped into a big pile of steaming controversy by telling Rachel Maddow that he did not support Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Since then few voices have defended his statements on Maddow’s show, with John … Continue reading Why Rand Paul is wrong about Title II

Arizona law a blow to liberty

by Roger Koppl Kris Kobach defends Arizona's new immigration law, SB 1070, in today's New York Times.  He says, "Presumably, the government lawyers . . . will actually read the law, something its critics don’t seem to have done."  Well, I read the law and I do not like it. Whenever a  law enforcement officer makes … Continue reading Arizona law a blow to liberty

Time for a Truth Commission

by Roger Koppl London’s The Times reports on evidence suggesting “George W. Bush 'knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent.'”  (HT: Radley Balko)  Supposedly, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were all in on it.  “The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to … Continue reading Time for a Truth Commission

Why do we trade with strangers?

by Roger Koppl Bill Butos edited the latest volume of Advances in Austrian Economics, which is devoted to “The Social Science of Hayek’s The Sensory Order.”  It is a terrific volume demonstrating that Hayek’s classic 1952 book in psychology matters for the social sciences, including economics. Contributors include G. R. Steele, Leslie Marsh, Lorenzo Infantino, Francesco Di … Continue reading Why do we trade with strangers?

Mysterious Moody’s Move

by Roger Koppl The Christian Science Monitor reports that Moody’s is considering downgrading US government debt.  (HT: Mario Rizzo)   Is that a credible threat?  Moody’s is one of ten “Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations” (NRSRO) officially recognized by the SEC.  Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch are the big three and do most of the rating.  Would … Continue reading Mysterious Moody’s Move

Liberty by Design

by Roger Koppl Those of us who love liberty and fear the state support “deregulation.”  We want to unwind the bramble of regulations constraining the dynamic entrepreneurial economy.  But we have not thought enough about how to unwind the unwieldy regulatory apparatus of the current system.  It is one thing to show how a “truly … Continue reading Liberty by Design

Epistemic monopoly is still a bad thing

by Roger Koppl McClatchy-Tribune Information Services has been distributing my op ed with Dan Krane on "Science rules the FBI should obey."  We discuss an example of epistemic monopoly in action, namely, the FBI's failure so far to release anonymized data from its vast NDIS (National DNA Index System) data set.  The NDIS data set contains … Continue reading Epistemic monopoly is still a bad thing