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September 19, 2013

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breviosity

"All (preferences) are endogenous in the sense of being a product of our culture and history"

No, preferences are also a product of our biology.

Please start paying some attention to Darwinian economics!!!

Adrien Vogt-Schilb Hoyos

"If so, then justice trumps democracy"

I object.
Democracy should be defined as its objective: the power for the people (this contrasts with autocracies, the power for that guy's glory, and theocracies, the power for That Guy's glory).

The fact that democracy is also the power BY the people is just a mean to reach the objective (again, people being better off with the democratic institution than without)

We could use other means: We have had illuminated autocrats claiming they were interested by the wellbeing of the people. They may or may not be effective to actually reach that goal. Frequently they really really fail. The power by the people seems to be a more robust tool.

An other example: in a democracy, asking a referendum for each single decision that any public agency has to take would not be an efficient way of making everybody better off. The ability to reach the objective is what defines effectiveness of a policy, the objective being to make people better off is what defines the democracy.

The means used to achieve the objective should always be opened to discussion, notably when there is new evidence, when a given mean turns out to be effective or not.

You are just pointing that polling people with poorly designed question is not the best way of knowing what would make them happy.

I know I'm not answering any question, just raising some: what indicators should we use for "the people are better off"?

I love your blog by the way

Ralph Musgrave

The idea in the last paragraph above that if politicians decided to be technocrats they’d get anything right is a joke. The technical grasp that political parties, and the IMF and OECD have of national debts, deficits, and escaping recessions is non existent. Advocates of Modern Monetary Theory (of which I am one) keep pointing to the above deplorable ignorance, but to little avail.

As for the Eurozone shambles, which of the politicians that set up the Euro had a “technical” grasp of what they were doing? Please tell me.

Six8Fifty

@Ralph Musgrave - while their is evidence the politicians are not fluent in economics, etc, you can sure bet your money that they know just how far they can push the lower strata with the back to the wall. It's the frog and the boiling water all over, ad nauseam.

rogerh

Well, oppression is good - for the oppressors. The Muslim veil may or may not be oppressive, probably different for different people at different times. But deprived people generally have to poke up with their oppression or get a clout around the head one way or the other. One would expect them to develop a cheery resignation, group solidarity in the face of a hopeless situation. No point in delivering oppression unless you can make resistance appear hopeless.

Putting to one side oppression in brutal regimes, how is oppression and hopelessness delivered in an allegedly democratic society? Many ways, and our political system certainly delivers hopelessness - 'write to your MP' is the mantra, but as if! The reality is not your or my preferences but those of the lobbyists and a desperate need to get (re)elected - little else matters. Possibly Mr Farage will benefit from the hopelessness delivered by the mainstream parties.

Anonymous

Muslim women are "brainwashed" to use veils in the same way as non-muslim women are "brainwashed" to not walk around topless or all people are "brainwashed" to wear pants even if it's warm outside. These are arbitrary social social rules that all societies have. Muslim women wearing one piece of clothing more than western people typically wear is just one more arbitrary social convention on top of all other arbitrary social conventions - some of which we also follow.

Chris

"Yasmin Alibhai Brown's claim that many Muslim women are "brainwashed" into wearing the veil."

Well, that's the last time I take her seriously. Nasty piece of work.

Doug

"Yasmin Alibhai Brown's claim that many Muslim women are "brainwashed" into wearing the veil."

It's just another variant on Obama's slagging off some black people/families and Jamie Oliver's opinions on the dietary habits of the riff-raff. Good old fashioned class contempt from the 'enlightened' middle classes.

Ksenofontdzym

тут на официальном интернет-сайте представлен большой список услуг по бухгалтерское сопровождение

anaeboura

у нас на официальном интернет-сайте можно заказать мешки упаковочные

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