Archive | July, 2007

The Room of Requirement

Edinburgh Castle armory I just saw J. K. Rowling interviewed on Olbermann. I recognised the room in which the interview took place, because I was in it last year! Although they didn’t say it, it was obviously the armory room in Edinburgh Castle. When I was there a docent in historical garb was playing the role of military recruiter.

You Can’t Get There From Here

If you’ve ever been to the Mises Institute in person, you know that there’s no entrance from the main street; you have to turn onto a narrow one-way side street and then turn in to the entrance. And then when you leave, you have to continue down that one-way street and then turn on to another narrow side street that finally exits on to an entirely different street.

This way to the Mises Institute! Now imagine what trying to get to the Mises Institute would be like if that one-way street were suddenly to become one-way in the other direction. If you were one of the thousands of people who visit the Institute every year, you’d be able to drive past the Institute, but there’d be no way to get in from the point where the Institute is actually visible. The only way to get to the Institute would be via a tiny side street on the other side of the block where nobody would ever think to look.

But don’t worry; only malice or blithering stupidity would lead city planners to do such a thing, right?

Believe It Or Not

Dragon School Christopher Tolkien (son of J.R.R.) and Emma Watson (who plays Hermione in the Harry Potter films) are both graduates of the Dragon School.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Make Business As Honest As Politics!

In 1891, Edward Bellamy suggested that the American people should “assume through their salaried agents the conduct of industry as they have already (in this country) assumed the conduct of political affairs.” He explained:

The president, governor, and mayor do not make a profit on the business of the nation, State, or city, as employers do upon the industries which they manage. These and all other public officials receive salaries only, as agents, the business being conducted for the benefit of the people as the principals. … There is no more sense in permitting the industrial affairs of this country to be run for private profit than there would be in allowing their political affairs to be so exploited. (Quoted in Benjamin Tucker’s Instead of a Book, pp. 473-474.)

Okay, so they didn’t have the term “rent-seeking” back then. But surely they had the concept?

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