Saturday, January 17, 2009


Thrift is No Paradox

Is Government Spending Too Easy an Answer?

If breast is best, why are women bottling their milk?;
Then, bizarrely, American women ran out of milk. “Every physician is becoming convinced that the number of mothers able to nurse their own children is decreasing,” one doctor wrote in 1887. Another reported that there was “something wrong with the mammary glands of the mothers in this country.” It is no mere coincidence that this happened just when the first artificial infant foods were becoming commercially available. Cows were proclaimed the new “wet nurse for the human race,” as the historian Adrienne Berney has pointed out in a study of the “maternal breast.” Tragically, many babies fed on modified cow’s milk died. But blaming those deaths on a nefarious alliance of doctors and infant-food manufacturers, as has become commonplace, seems both unfair and unduly influenced by later twentieth-century scandals (most infamously, Nestlé’s deadly peddling of infant formula in Africa and elsewhere, which led, in 1981, to the landmark International Code for Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes). In the United States, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century physicians, far from pressing formula on their patients, told women that they ought to breast-feed. Many women, however, refused. They insisted that they lacked for milk, mammals no more.

Is Australia the Freest Country on Earth?

How not to close the Gaza tunnels;
What ever happened to basic economics? If people want stuff, and people are willing to supply it at the demanded price -- whether it's illegal drugs, weapons, or televisions -- they will find a way to supply it, and they will take extreme risks if the expected payoff exceeds their expected costs. Full stop. (There's even a book about this phenomenon.)

The super-smart Michael Slackman looked into the smuggling issue in 2007, and he concluded (after actual reporting!) that "to stanch the flow of weapons, Egypt will ultimately have to address the economic and social concerns of the region, and not rely solely on its security forces":

Some thoughts on fiscal policy and government debt

Recession hysteria

Where Sweatshops Are a Dream

Psychological Tricks to Demoralize the Enemy;
It was three years ago that Israel's army launched its department of psychological warfare. But its debut was less than stunning. During the Lebanon war in 2006, Israelis dropped poorly-made leaflets down on Shiite civilians in southern Lebanon. The pamphlets included a simplistic drawing of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah cowering behind a cedar tree, Lebanon's national symbol. The clumsily-delivered message was apparently that Lebanon's Schiite militia was hiding behind the country's civilians.

These flyers did not have the desired effect. Instead, the Lebanese showed them to visitors for months on end to show the Israeli army's naiveté. Many wondered whether Israel had honestly thought their pamphlets would change Lebanese minds.

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