Nuclear Power Looking “Increasingly Attractive”


(p. A2) Nuclear power has looked increasingly attractive in many nations amid advancing energy prices and concerns about rising emissions believed to cause global warming. Costs for energy sources such as coal have risen amid global expansion and China’s increasing need for raw materials. China and India, especially, are looking to nuclear power as their consumption expands.
Meanwhile, emissions of the gases believed to cause global warming have risen despite efforts in many nations to adhere to the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol.
At the same time, improved reactor design has led to increased interest in the long-dormant U.S. market, which dried up in the early 1980s amid public outcry about safety and investors’ dismay over high costs. Since then, manufacturers have continued to build reactors overseas in Asia and Europe, while the U.S. remains the most coveted market because of its economic might and hunger for new energy sources.



For the full article, see:
DENNIS K. BERMAN. “Toshiba to Buy Nuclear-Power Firm.” The Wall Street Journal (Tues., January 24, 2006): A2.
(Note: A somewhat different version of the article appeared in the online version of the WSJ, under the title: “Japan’s Toshiba Wins Nuclear-Power Assets; Purchase of Westinghouse May Open Door to Markets Like U.S., China and India.”)

‘Is he not a manly man?’

Twenty-five years ago today, President Ronald Reagan was shot.  Sometimes they say that you only know a person’s character when they are sorely tested.   Well, when Ronald Reagan was sorely tested, he engaged in his usual optimistic, self-deprecating banter with those around him.   ‘Sorry, honey, I forgot to duck’ he said to Nancy; and ‘I sure hope you’re a Republican’ to the surgeon.

By his manner, the great communicator communicated that random acts of violence are not what is important in life.

What I remember most from the first couple of days after the shooting was a
packed news conference with Reagan’s doctors at the hospital.   I remember
an Hispanic reporter, in broken English, praising Reagan’s joking and then
asking Reagan’s doctor, ‘Is he not a manly man?’   The doctor looked
puzzled, and without commenting on the question, moved on.   But I thought
it was a good question—with an obvious answer.

Contrasting Planners with Searchers in Economic Development



Source of book image: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594200378/sr=8-1/qid=1143511279/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-0403843-7507349?%5Fencoding=UTF8

A professor at New York University and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, Easterly spent most of his career as an economist at the World Bank. He had to leave that job after publishing his iconoclastic 2001 book, “The Elusive Quest for Growth,” which skillfully combined a history of economists’ growth theories with a devastating empirical analysis of the failure of international efforts to spur third world development. The book’s theme was “incentives matter.”
In “The White Man’s Burden,” Easterly turns from incentives to the subtler problems of knowledge. If we truly want to help the poor, rather than just congratulate ourselves for generosity, he argues, we rich Westerners have to give up our grand ambitions. Piecemeal problem-solving has the best chance of success.
He contrasts the traditional “Planner” approach of most aid projects with the “Searcher” approach that works so well in the markets and democracies of the West. Searchers treat problem-solving as an incremental discovery process, relying on competition and feedback to figure out what works.
. . .
“The White Man’s Burden” does not match “The Elusive Quest for Growth” as a tour de force. Easterly is doing something harder here: not merely cataloging past failures but trying to suggest a more promising approach. Unfortunately, his alternative is still underdeveloped, devolving at times into slogans.
After all, Searchers plan, too. The question is not whether to plan, but who makes the plans, how they are changed and where feedback comes from. “The White Man’s Burden” underplays the essential role of competition, not only in markets but between political jurisdictions.

For the full review, see:
VIRGINIA POSTREL. “The Poverty Puzzle.” The New York Times, Section 7 (Sun., March 19, 2006): 12.
For Easterly’s latest book, see:
Easterly, William. The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. The Penguin Press, 2006. 436 pp. $27.95.

Justice Souter’s Home to Become “Lost Liberty Hotel”

LostLIbertyHotel.jpg
Source of image: http://www.cafepress.com/freestarmedia.24473311

WEARE, N.H. – When we reached Justice David Souter’s home, a ramshackle old farmhouse along a dirt road, Keith Lacasse explained his plans for it if he’s voted onto the town’s Board of Selectmen in the election today.
The first plan, which Lacasse and his friends drew up right after hearing of Souter’s vote in the Kelo eminent-domain case last year, was for the town to seize Souter’s property and turn it into a park with a monument to the Constitution. But then Lacasse, a local architect, switched to an idea proposed by an activist from California: turning it into the Lost Liberty Hotel.
”Actually, it would be more like a bed and breakfast,” Lacasse said. ”We’d use the front of the house for a cafe and a little museum. There’d be nine suites, with a black robe in each of the closets.”
. . .
Most Americans have the traditional idea that property can be taken for ”public use” if it is actually going to be used by the public as, for example, a road or a park. But that definition gradually expanded over the last half-century as the Supreme Court ruled that property could be seized and turned over to private parties if there were special circumstances and an overriding public benefit, like eliminating ”blight” in a poor Washington neighborhood or breaking up a land oligopoly in Hawaii.
The Kelo case, however, went way beyond those decisions, allowing the town of New London to seize property that wasn’t blighted simply because it thought it could find a developer to make a more profitable use of the property. It was a new version of the field of dreams theory: if you tear it down, they will come.
”The Kelo decision wasn’t compelled by legal precedents,” says Richard Epstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago. ”It wasn’t a case of eliminating blight or breaking up an oligopoly. There was no precedent for kicking people out of their private homes just to warehouse the land for future development.”
The Kelo case was an opportunity for the justices to put limits on the use of eminent domain — and to look at how the power had been abused since cities had begun using expanded powers of eminent domain half a century ago. As Clarence Thomas pointed out in his dissenting opinion in Kelo, ”In cities across the country, urban renewal came to be known as ‘Negro removal.’ ”

For the full commentary, see:
JOHN TIERNEY. “Supreme Home Makeover.” New York Times (Tues., March 14, 2006): A31.
A related observation:

Supreme Court Justice David Souter, Writing for the Majority in a Warrantless Search Case Decided by The Court This Week, Possibly Forgetting his Previous Vote in Kelo, to Allow Government to Seize Private Property Under Eminent Domain to Give to Developers:
“We have, after all, lived our whole national history with an understanding of the ancient adage that a man’s home is his castle.”

Source of the observation:
Center for Individual Freedom, Lunchtime Liberty Update, emailed 3/24/06.

The Case Against Privatizing the Post Office

 

The free market can be defended with a variety of plausible philosophical arguments. But most people care more about what "works" than what is "right." So in the constant struggle between free markets and the government, it may be useful to maintain the government’s monopoly in delivering first class mail. That way when someone suggests a new intervention by the government, the free marketer can refute them with two persuasive words: "post office."

 

When it comes to first-class mail, the U.S. still does things the old-fashioned way, with one Postal Service. Not so in places like New Zealand and Sweden, which have opened their mail systems to private companies. The latest is Britain, where the Royal Mail lost its 350-year monopoly on delivery. At least 14 companies are now competing to sort and transport mail. British regulators believe competition will be good for the mail system. Japan is soon to follow. With the recent rise in U.S. stamp prices, expect more calls for privatization here too.

 

Source:

Lyric Wallwork Winik. "Intelligence Report; Is the Mailman Endangered?" Parade (Sun., March 19, 2006): 25.

 

“The world we have lost was ripe for rejection”

   The source for the image of the book cover is: http://img.textbookx.com/images/large/91/0521633591.jpg

 

Roche delineates minimal light and exiguous fires, chilblains and miasmas, the distinction of white linen, the rare treat of sweetness, the still rarer taste of coffee that made its drinkers sparkle, and the hankerings they inspired. Limited access to water affected drinking habits, cooking, hygiene, and sartorial practices. Housewives and laundresses coped with mountains of dirty linen by river or by pond; the great sent their laundry to the American islands for a whiter wash; the poor rioted for soap as well as bread. Society moved from an economy of scarcity and salvation to one of plenty and prodigality. But the move was slow and spotty. The world we have lost was ripe for rejection.

 

For the full review, see:

Weber, Eugen. "Recommended Reading." The Key Reporter 67, no. 2 (Winter 2002): 12.

 

The reviewed book is:

Roche, Daniel. A History of Everyday Things: The Birth of Consumption in France, 1600-1800. Cambridge University Press, 2000.

 

Villepin Attacked for Trying to Make French Economy More Open to Creative Destruction

VillepinProtesters.jpg
French students in Lyon protest Villepin with a sign that says “Villepin branche ton sonotone” which I think translates into “Villepin, plug in your hearing aide.’ Source of image: http://www.larazon.es/noticias/noti_int18071.htm
There is much to dislike about French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin; for example his performance on Iraq, and his restrictions on foreign companies buying French companies. But, so far, he has acted heroically in trying to add flexibility to French labor laws. French students have marched and rioted, French unions will not speak to him, and French politicians have ridiculed him. Now he is under attack, even within his own party.

“. . . one day we are alone on the front line,” he said in defending his youth jobs plan last month. “In this solitude we must find the force to advance.”
But Mr. de Villepin’s problem of late is that his enemies have been multiplying, even in his own camp.
On Wednesday, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who, like Mr. de Villepin, wants to run for president next year, for the first time distanced himself from his boss over the new labor law, which would allow employers to fire workers under the age of 26 without cause during their first two years on the job.

For the full story, see:
ELAINE SCIOLINO. “Labor Protests Put French Premier in a Bind.” The New York Times (Thurs., March 23, 2006): A10.
VillepinSalute.jpg A salute to Villepin may be in order. Source of image: http://www.lesoir.be/rubriques/monde/page_5715_419028.shtml