Thursday, March 30, 2006

End of Year

Since we are coming up on the end of the year, the discussion tends to change. We go from simple to complex as exams approach. So why not discuss more serious and difficult topics:

What is the meaning of life (beyond this of course)?

Really...why are we here, what's life all about?

It's just about enough to get anybody depressed. Maybe this will cheer you up!

Now for something completely different:

Markets for everything: here and here

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Debate III

Since I am just looking to post something. Let's talk about the recent surge in smoking bans. Or we could talk about drug legalizations. Any other ideas. I think these two would be hot topics with lots of people of each side (drugs more than smoking) and would bring in a good size crowd. As mentioned before a "living wage vs. minimum wage" or "the effects of pollution controls" would also bring in a good size crowd. Gotta love them hippies....

Thursday, March 16, 2006


For our next SPEL event,we're screening the movie "Busted: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters," created by the Flex Your Rights Foundation.

The film is narrated by Ira Glasser, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1978 until 2001. It's about 45 minutes long and it features three different scenarios: a traffic stop, a random walking-down-the-street encounter, and a house party. There are six short video clips available if you follow the link in the title above.

Following the screening, we will have someone from the NCSU Student Legal Services office available to field any questions or contribute to comments.

We're also going to provide free pizza and drinks. Free pizza and civil liberties... ain't life grand?

All this is happening this Monday, March 20th at 5:00pm in Winston 29 (NCSU campus).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wake Co. Schools

My daughter had a letter in her bag when she came home from school today. It was from Wake Co. explaining that they want to issue bonds to pay for new schools. While government education is not the best we can do for our children (I'm such a hypocrite!) The question arises as to whether bonds are a reasonable method of paying for new schools. Discuss:

Monday, March 13, 2006

Debate II

Is there anyone that would like to discuss the minimum wage? First off, I would like someone to actually explain to me the purpose of increasing the minimum wage. I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer beyond the knee jerk comments of those whole heartedly supporting it. Since most of the empirical evidence is mixed, I think it is a good topic of discussion for economics, politics, and the law.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Black Rednecks and White Liberals

There is a book by this name by Thomas Sowell, and I found this evidence, whether real or contrived, on the web. I think this photo relates well to the discussion on Chris' blog.


Of interest

Who would like to bring up the next new topic of interest. Since it is generally the same folks always commenting and posting, what will it take to get the other folks involved?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Law, Economics, and Engagement Rings

I stumbled upon a really interesting idea today: that diamond engagement rings evolved as "performance bonds" for pre-married couples. Basically, if women are going to lower their prospects for future marriage by being physically intimate with their fiancee, they want some compensation if the guy leaves before they actually get hitched. So engagment rings are just that compensation. If the guy decides he doesn't want to get married for whatever reason, at least the girl can keep the ring.

I found it on David Friedman's Law & Econ website, and it was in a 1990 paper by Margaret Brinig. I'm not sure if I buy the argument 100%, especially since it doesn't explain why we continue to buy these things despite changing social norms (I'm guessing fewer people wait for marriage or engagement than used to), but I still think the idea is fascinating.