08 Jun 2020


Potpourri 17 Comments

==> Contra Krugman ep. 224 contains a major announcement, which some of you may not have heard yet…

==> Rob Bradley on “pandemic oil policy.”

==> As if things couldn’t get any worse: Americans are saving too much.

==> My high school classmate went on to become a medical doctor, and here is his screencast laying out some of the issues in home-testing for Covid-19. Bottom line: He thinks they are still too unreliable, though in a follow-up he says they are improving.

17 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. skylien says:

    Clearly americans need to be saved from saving. How can you save when you have no Job, everyone knows you have to spend more, then you create Jobs, then you get a Job. Pure Keynesian sense.

    Why would normal people save anyway, for capital
    formation? To increase productivity? This happens all by itself, jobless that is… The Fed creates all the savings needed for that ähm what was it, so-called “process”, and capital shmoo appears all over the place. Interest down = shmoo up.

  2. Harold says:

    I think Landsburg used the example in one of his books about a positive HIV test with a false positive of say 5%. You have a test, it is positive, what are the chances of you having HIV? It is reflexive to think you have a 95% chance of having it. However, we hove to add up the number of tests that would be positive in the population, assuming no false negatives.. If there were no real positive people and you give 1000 tests, 50 of them will be positive, but we know there are in fact no real positives. If we had a 1% prevalence, then in that 1000 there would be 10 real positives and 50 false positives, so your chances of having it are 1/6.

    The upshot is we need to have an idea about the prevalence before we can draw conclusions about our personal chances.

    If the testers know the false positive rate, they could test the 1000 people and accurately conclude that the prevalence was 1%, because the positive tests were that much higher than the expected false positives. They would have no idea which were real and which were false, but it would be very useful for policy making, if not much use to the individuals concerned.

    The numbers are off the top of my head, not those used by SL.

    Now I will listen to the audio to see if that is what he is talking about.

  3. Harold says:

    Pretty much the same idea. This is something I hope doctors are familiar with. he makes one error in his graphic. He does not change the label 950/100 when he changes from 5% to 20% prevalence. he does do the correct calculation, so it is only that label that is wrong, not the numbers he comes up with.

    This underlines that antibody testing is very useful for studying the prevalence (if the accuracy is known), but of very little use at the moment for a guide to individual action. There is a case for testing people but not telling them the results, but I suspect that would be considered unethical. If people are told, they must also be told the estimated chances that they really do have antibodies.

  4. Harold says:

    Not quite the topic, but a while ago Skylien requested your view on a Libertarian approach to pandemics.


    I would also appreciate this as I am not sure what the approach would be.

  5. Harold says:

    I as looking back for a discussion I had regarding libertarian approach to quarantine, and came across Tel’s link to Euromomo, recording mortality in Europe. The current graph is interesting.


    Click on Z scores for a standardized series allowing comparison of mortality patterns.

    Deaths for 0-14 years is actually lower than the normal range limit. Perhaps because they are no going out and getting in accidents?

    For all ages, the number is within normal range again, after a very pronounced spike.

    For interest, the discussion on libertarian approach starts here. I did not get very far.


  6. Craw says:

    Where are the posts about CHAZ? Your theories finally get a test drive.

    • Harold says:

      Just to be sure what you mean, are you saying that CHAZ communities are a real life version of libertarian philosophy?

      Trump called then anarchists, so suppose that is supportive evidence. However, I predict that some “strong man” will take over if it is left for any length of time. There is a long history of this sort of thing. There is also almost no chance they will be left alone with no outside interference, whether his comes from Police or Biker gangs.

      It is at least amusing that a lack of knowledge of Monty Python should lead some journalists into diffficulties. Anarcho syndicalist commune. We shoud take it in turnes to act as a sort of executive officer for the week. All decisions to be ratified by a bi-weekly meeting with a simple majority in the case of internal affairs….” You have to be certain age to recognize it, I suppose. Or is it life immitating art?

      From the U|K, we have an essentially un-armed police force and an essentially un-armed population. It seems to work OK most of the time. The USA could not now go to an un-armed polce force because the population is so well armed. I see that as an opportunity lost rather than a freedom gained., but that is just my perspective.

      However, I seriously doubt that Raz Simone shares the AnCap ideals that Bob would possibly espouse.

      • guest says:

        ” The USA could not now go to an un-armed polce force because the population is so well armed. I see that as an opportunity lost rather than a freedom gained …”

        10 Times Your History Teachers Lied To You in School
        by TheRichest

        (Not sure why they spun the Wild West as having *more* gun control, but it serves my purpose)

        Tom Woods on the Wild West:

        Applying Economics to American History | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

        “Historians are actually saying, ‘The Wild West actually turns out to have been a great big bore.'”

        The following link I haven’t listened to in a while, but, for reference, here it is:

        Ep. 43 The Not So Wild West

        • Harold says:

          The Wild West was not as depicted on the movies. They had a good idea back then, banning guns in town leads to less violence. Many towns required you to check in your gun when you entered town, so there was more gun control then than now in many places.

          I was still quite a violent place. the 5 largest towns in Knasas recorded 45 homicides in 15 yesrs to 1885. The totoal population was about 10,000, so that is 29 homicides per 100,000 people per year. That is fairly high by current standards, about the same as Mexico in 2018. The railroad and mining boom towns had less control than established towns. Bodie was known for this, with 31 homicides in 5 years for a population of 2,700. That is 230 per 100,000 per year, which is really very high. Medellin at its very worst had a rate of 110 per 100,000.

          So, an opportunity missed. had they continued with the gun control they had in the “wild” west, there may be far fewer gun related deaths in the USA today.

          Regarding things your teachers lied about, Paul Revere is not depicted in a good light in the book “The Fort” by Bernard Cornwell, about an engagement between American and British forces in summer 1779. The book is historical fiction, but the author seems to do decent historical research generally, and does cite sources.

          • guest says:

            For reference [WARNING: Some graphic images]:

            Innocents Betrayed – The History of Gun Control – FULL LENGTH

            As per Ted Cruz, in his debate with Alyssa Milano (who, apparently thought it was OK t bring a panel to a one on one debate), Chicago, with among the strictest gun control laws, regularly has among the highest gun murders.

            Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was, unfortunately, killed in a school shooting, blamed Chicago’s high gun murder rate on lax gun control laws in neighboring states.

            But if lax gun laws make higher gun deaths, then gun murder rates should be higher in those neighboring states. So that argument makes no sense.

            Here’s the video and timestamp where Ted Cruz brings up Chicago:

            Watch The Gun Debate Between Ted Cruz and Alyssa Milano

            One other thing, regarding that debate.

            Fred Guttenberg more or less starts the debate by showing Ted Cruz a picture of his murdered daughter (apparently with a black spot to cover overy gruesome parts).

            My issue is not with Ted Cruz being forced to look at what Fred no doubt considers to be the result of the policies Ted Cruz supports and “you need to see the horror you cause”.

            That’s a legitimate strategy, and I don’t fault Fred for it.

            What was wrong about that moment is that Ted Cruz was not prepared to counter that picture with the representative pictures took of the tens of millions of slaughtered and starved people that occured *under gun control*.

            Pictures that will be shown in the video above.

            As horrible as the murder of Fred’s daughter is, not only is gun control much worse, but it is actually policies that are held by the Left – like the existence of national-level public schools in the first place, which are unconstitutional, as well as outlawing guns in schools – that got his daughter murdered.

            So its his own Left-Wing ideals, and those of Alyssa Milano, his friend, that got his daughter murdered. Not those of Ted Cruz.

            Fred needed to be made to see the horror that *his* policies cause..

            • Harold says:

              Yes, the boat has possibly sailed for the US. As I said, an opportunity missed. The place is so awash with guns now that it may be impossible to retreat from a gun culture.

              The video is rubbish. It was not gun control that caused the Armenian genocide. You are mixing up cause an effect. Genocide is not a left wing ideal.

              • guest says:

                “The video is rubbish. It was not gun control that caused the Armenian genocide.”

                That’s not the claim.

                What it’s showing is that the Armenians were disarmed and therefore couldn’t defend themselves.

                *That’s* why the US was founded with the 2nd Amendment. So that citizens could fight the government when their rights were being violated.

                (Something Alyssa Milano doesn’t understand when she falsely claims she’s pro-2nd Amendment.)

                “Genocide is not a left wing ideal.”

                First, it’s not their first choice,but when push comes to shove yes it is a left wing ideal.

                You cannot oppose the logically neccessary price system (which includes prices for capital goods) without trying to change what will always be human nature – unique desires and unique arbitrage opportunities to satisfy them – and that requires increasingly violent methods of suppression, ultimately culminating in mass murder.

                What Lefties see as the heartless blight of the profit motive is really just the innocuous act of taking advantage of the arbitrage opportunities that are right in front of me – opportunities which can never logically be equal for everyone.

                To fight the reality of the profit motive that will always and logically be a condition of every individual, is to fight humanity itself.

                As C. Bradley Thompson explains:

                “Why Marxism?” An Evening at FEE with C. Bradley Thompson

                “Marxism is, by definition, totalitarian and genocidal by motive, design, practice and result …”

                “… By philosophical design, Marxism in power must always use force to achieve its ends.

                “Any government that expropriates and redistributes private property -; Any government that seeks to centrally control and regulate an entire economy -; Any government that violates the natural and civil rights of its citizens on a daily basis -; Any government that seeks to reconstitute human nature will and must use force as a matter of course.”

              • Harold says:

                “That’s not the claim.”

                It is the title of the video.

      • Craw says:

        Bob wants to defund the police and let entrepreneurs fill the gap. He never specified what philosophy those gap-fillers must espouse. Some of us, me and Gene at least, mocked the idea, suggesting that you would get warlords instead.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Did an episode this weekend, dropping as soon as the audio team assembles it.

Leave a Reply