- - Monday, August 30, 2010

Economic theory

“I have what I think is a new theory about why this situation persists. People who live and work primarily within the Catholic milieu are dealing mainly with goods of an infinite nature. These are goods like salvation, the intercession of saints, prayers of an infinitely replicable nature, texts, images, and songs that constitute non-scarce goods, the nature of which requires no rationing, allocation, and choices regarding their distribution.

“None of these goods take up physical space. One can make infinite numbers of copies of them. They can be used without displacing other instances of the good. They do not depreciate with time. Their integrity remains intact no matter how many times they are used. Thus they require no economization. For that reason, there need to be no property norms concerning their use. They need not be priced. There is no problem associated with their rational allocation. …

“If one exists, lives, and thinks primarily in the realm of the non-scarce good, the problems associated with scarcity — the realm that concerns economics — will always be elusive.”

Jeffrey Tucker, writing on “Why Catholics Don’t Understand Economics,” on Aug. 25 at Inside Catholic

Rallying revival

“As I say, I find Beck a tragi-comic figure. And as an atheist (I didn’t deny being godless) I do not thrill when a speaker says, ‘America today begins to turn back to God.’ Quite a claim, that: Beck’s signature modesty again.

“At the same time, though, this gathering — as it turned out, far more of a religious revival than a political rally — was completely unsinister. No anger, so far as one could see; no racism. Beck says his choice of date and venue was initially a coincidence, then an act of God; either way, he meant no disrespect to Martin Luther King. I had thought Beck did not believe in coincidences: arrows connect everything to everything else in his mental world.

“On the other hand, at the event, he praised King effusively as an American hero and sounded as though he meant it. Perhaps he was insincere; even so, an odd thing to say if you are addressing a quarter of a million bigots.”

Clive Crook, writing on “Glenn Beck’s Strange Appeal,” on Aug. 29 at the Atlantic

On the clock

“A number of people have been hiring ‘virtual’ assistants in lower-wage countries to do all the tasks in their life that dont require a personal presence. Such assistants are found starting at a few bucks an hour …

“Last weekend I was talking to an acquaintance about his use of such services. He has his assistant seducing women for him. His assistant, who is female and lives in India, logs onto his account on a popular dating site, browses profiles and (pretending to be him) makes connections with women on the site. She has e-mail conversations and arranges first dates. Then her employer reads the e-mail conversation and goes to the date. …

“I must admit this one surprised me. It seems very likely to backfire when the time eventually comes to reveal the truth. There may be women out there who would be impressed at the efficiency of it, and be more amused than offended, but I suspect they are a minority.”

Brad Templeton, writing on “My People Will Call Your People,” on Aug. 20 at his Brad Ideas blog

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