Updates and Tidbits

I’ve been neck-deep in some writing projects of late, but I wanted to post a couple of cool links and give a hint of what’s coming next:

  • Mark Lance, Daniel Levine, and I will be running a free course at the Baltimore Free School on Freedom.
  • Daniel Levine has been doing some pretty kick-ass work publishing the lectures from his Moral Dimensions of Public Policy course here.
  • Megan McArdle envisions a post-campus America. Sounds devastating, but where is she wrong?
  • In a recent post, Peter Levine points us to the work of Lisa Bingham, who has argued for a Collaborative Governance Act to involve more citizens in regulatory rule-making. This mostly involves dismantling public hearing rules, and I’m skeptical, but I like the underlying theory:

the idea is that we govern by shaping our common world. Law is one instrument for that, but law is not sharply different from norms and incentives. Law isn’t merely executed by government; without broad and active popular support, it becomes a dead letter. Besides, government is not unitary. It comes in layers and separate offices and agencies. No part of government monopolizes any kind of power. In the end, government is a bunch of people, and they are not sharply distinguishable from other people.

According to the data, 61 percent of all Disqus comments are made via pseudonyms, versus 35 percent anonymous and 4 percent using real names (i.e. Facebook). People with pseudonyms also comment 6.5 times more than those who comment anonymously and 4.7 times more than commenters who use real names… Disqus maintains that not only does allowing pseudonyms produce more comments, but the quality of the comments is also better, as measured by likes and replies.

  • I’ve hatched a plan to work through some of the classical political theory of the middle class, because some of the entailments in this post are troubling me and I’m not sure if I’m ready to give up on the middle class just yet. I’m thinking of doing posts on Aristotle, Montesquieu, Marx, and Stephen Elkin. Any requests?
  • I’ve also working on a paper on the fungibility of money and the difficulties this creates for the attribution of agency. It’s mushrooming out of control as I realize how many differing examples there are:
  1. Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood
  2. Health insurance plans and contraceptive
  3. Apple products and Chinese labor conditions
  4. Boycotting companies because of the politics of their CEO or campaign contributions
  5. Taxes and War, Welfare, Social Policy, etc.
  6. Ethical consumption and buy local campaigns v. marketing an ethical life and greenwashing

Thoughts? Consider this an open thread.






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