Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Can a cap and trade scheme actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Caveats abound but the example of Europe appears non-negative. Some of those caveats would be addressed if more markets signed on to such a scheme ...

The state of immortality research. Death sounds pretty boring, so I'm a big damn fan of these efforts. I wonder if you could get people on board for raising the age of retirement/pension drawing if the life expectancy increases to 120 or so ...

The Economist suggests the war on drugs may be fizzling out, internationally at least.

Also from the Economist, this week's Charlemagne included this bit:
If you play word association, it turns out that for many in a Parisian classroom, the polar opposite of “competition” is “solidarity”: ie, the useful rigour imposed by competition is overshadowed by the pain caused as society divides into winners and losers. For Anglo-Saxon liberals, the instinctive opposite of “competition” is “monopoly”: ie, the pain of competition is justified by a quest for fairness, even before getting to arguments about efficiency and companies’ long-term fitness.

In Paris the idea that a free-market liberal may believe he is defending a moral position (rather than a necessary evil) often causes surprise.
Sensible thoughts on the outing of Belle de Jour.


  1. I liked the prostitution piece ... I pretty much agree with the point of view the prostitution has no drawbacks when it is the *chosen* profession of a woman from a position of empowerment. This woman clearly has other avenues available, but she chose prostitution over options like computer progamming, because it was more pleasurable and interesting to her. She should be lauded simply for her ability to be honest with herself.

    That said, I expect that she and her ilk are rather strongly in the minority, and that prostitution is broadly an ugly profession which women are forced into, either literally or de facto by economic realities. Of course, that is because it is, with few exceptions, an illicit profession, controlled by shady characters like pimps (small scale) and organized crime (large scale).

    Legalization of prostituion would likely serve to mitigate it's criminal associations, and thus reduce the victimization of women in that context.

  2. Interesting piece about how prostitution as a choice rather than the sole option. I agree with the previous poster, but I want to add a few things.

    I'm wary when people advocate "legalization will solve everything!". I agree with the previous poster than legalization would mitigate the violent criminal aspects, but it still doesn't address why (poor) women still enter the industry: lack of job options, affordable training and affordable care for their children.* If a legislative body were to pass a legalization bill, I would like to see it accompanied with some social services to address those issues.

    *I read parts of some book during my "Women and Violence" class when I was an undergrad (which was a horrible class, but I did learn some things before I dropped it). The book was historical fiction, set in 1800's England. The prostitutes had an easier time finding a relative they could trust to watch the kids if they worked at night since most people work during the day. I never did much research into whether this is true nowadays, but it seems reasonable...