Coase Colored Glasses


Ye of little faith: rereading my blog posts reveals that I accurately fit this description when it comes to economics. While I feel I understood the major principles presented throughout the course, my posts were often skeptical of the claims of our class discussion, readings, and others blogs.

In many of my posts where I questioned our authors, a major premise I took was that rationality cannot account for the diverse, whimsical, and unknown actions of actors within the paradigm of law and economics. While true that even I cannot know that all of my decisions are efficient, (granted, sometimes I don’t even care if they are) I failed to understand that economics does not claim to say what individuals rationally pursue, only that they do in fact act in a rational manner. It took a thorough reading of Stearns and Zwyicki during my preparation for the final to finally understand that key axiom. Additionally, while the most boring, the Public Choice text was easily the most informative, grounded in law, and in-depth analysis of our texts. I feel conceitedly proud that I was finally able to understand the text that offers a rich amount of content; in fact, It was a primary resource for my answer to our 4th final question.

A second major difference between my posts early in the semester and those as of recently has been their length. Particularly in the final three weeks, many of my posts approached essay length. Part of that can be attributed to the fact I was writing them earlier in the night and part because I simply desired to offer a more complete argument. As other posts became more advanced and analytical, mine in turn became that way, perhaps because of my competitive nature.

A third aspect I enjoyed about the blogging experience was being able to combat argument I did not agree with, with my own arguments. If I were to engage in the blogging experience again, I would enjoy first knowing the names and faces associated with each blogger to help put a face to a post, and secondly, engaging in a little more classroom debate based on our blog. Doing so would have shown that although there are some economic principles extremely hard to refute, others as just as contentious, ideological, and diverse as my peers who support them.

Ultimately, my blogging experience has been good, yet I would not purposefully engage in writing biweekly blogs again (although I am still reading an occasional post from the “experts” blogs). I constantly find myself questioning the assumptions of the situations around me and ask where the incentives, efficiency, and value is. Economics has turned out to be something much different than I thought it would be at the onset of this course and its understanding in U.S. law can be used to possibly create a more efficient system, for the betterment of all—or should I say for the Kaldor-Hicks­ efficiency of all?

As much as I enjoyed this course, I feel that a “regular” economics course that did not have to factor into government may have more closely aligned with my personal views although probably perhaps less interesting because of it. Regardless, I have sincerely enjoyed this class; the readings were engaging, discussions interesting, and writing critical. I am eternally grateful for the advice I received to take Dr. Simmon’s course within the economics department over the same (number wise, not difficultly nor content) course offered in political science. It has truly effected my view of the world around me.

Thanks for the great course! Thanks to my fellow students! I hope to further my understanding of economics this summer by reading a few books. Any suggestions?

Final Post.

When I wrote my mid-term meta post, I said that I wanted to use these posts to make real world applications with the concepts we learn.  Reading through my posts, I felt satisfied that I had done so.  The first half of the semester it seems I was just trying to wrap my head around the concepts.  Reading through my posts I feel like I learned a lot about law and about economics.  Not to toot my own horn, but if a 6-month younger version of myself read my blog posts, I think I would be impressed.

There is a general theme, especially as of late, in my posts.  That theme is a sort of quiet contentment with government.  Government isn’t perfect, but it’s probably about as good as it’s going to get.

I sort of conclude and come to be content with the idea that the information we are learning is more explanatory and predictive.  “Rather than knowing how to fix anything, we can know how government currently operates, in practice not theory.”  Whether this is a good or bad conclusion could be the subject of another blog post, but it is the conclusion I seem to have reached, nonetheless.  It was said that government is static, not progressing, because there are no incentives or positive or negative feedback to lead to change.  But I have come to the conclusion that this might not be such a bad thing.

I have really appreciated this class.  There are so many important fundamental principles that I think are applicable to any academic subject, and apparently some not-so-academic subjects like marriage.  The knowledge from this class, provided I take it with me, is going to be a visible hand that influences my perspective of my day-to-day.  If I start to forget, I guess I can read these blog posts.


The main theme that I seemed to have pulled from each of my blog posts seems to be topics that I feel somewhat strongly about. For instance, I really struggle with labor unions. I discussed them in one of my recent posts and wondered if a union has the ability to monopolize the power of a the many to inefficiently walk over the employer. Another great example outside of the teacher’s union that I presented in my previous argument would be the sports unions that we see. Football and baseball players going on strike because they aren’t getting paid enough. Talk about a slap in the face. I don’t think that there is such a thing a professional athlete that gets doesn’t get paid enough. Why do we insist on paying a grown up to play a game all of his life? Moving from the side not there, I feel that a union allows employees to use the philosophy of “better compensation or no work”. I can see how there was a time when the employers used to say, “More work for less compensation.” If an employee didn’t comply they could lose their job and then they must come up with the resources to move to some other area with a similar line of work. This isn’t the case anymore. Mass transit has leveled the playing field and has made it so much easier for an employee who feels that he is not being paid fairly to move somewhere else and for an employer to find labor from farther distances. I think unions are horribly inefficient and they will continue to be as long as they are legal.

To be honest, this class has helped to define some criteria to base our laws off of. The largest indicator is efficiency. When I look around me anymore I can’t help but notice of a particular activity is efficient; are the costs outweighing to benefits.

I do like hearing the differing philosophies of those in the class. I have found myself trying to answer some of the questions that are asked. For instance, I do remember someone asking why everyone hates Walmart. That got me thinking. Then I came to remember and look up some of the reasons that I had been presented over the years, and then research those reasons to see if they are true. I question my own philosophies. It’s great!


I feel this half of the semester was much better in terms of my blog posts. I felt more comfortable with the material, and I hope it showed in my posts. I think it was much easier to write the blog posts and come up with a few of my own examples this half of the semester. These examples usually ended up corresponding to what I was working on or thinking of at the time, such as the arguments for and against plea bargaining (twice), Citizens United v FEC (once), using my time as a debater to springboard new ideas (which happened multiple times), and my need to send a birthday present to England (when discussing monopolies). I tended to talk about the readings from Stearns and Zywicki only when I had to. This does make some sense since I found that book the most difficult to read and understand out of the four. I often ended up reading the chapters from Stearns and Zywicki at least two or three times, whereas I could read any of the others once and mostly understand it.

In terms of writing style, I’ve noticed that I don’t use a lot of contractions anymore (though this post seems to be full of them). I took a “Writing for Public Relations class this semester, and standard Associated Press style guidelines state you are not supposed to use contractions. About two weeks ago I noticed the habit has started to leak into my writing for other classes, including this blog. While it looks and sounds really awkward, it is AP style and should serve me well in future jobs. My titles were a bit more creative this time around, and I thought some of my posts flowed really well.

I’m still not a huge fan of blogging in general, but I still believe it’s quite helpful, especially for this class. The blog is a way to be accountable for the readings during the whole semester, not just the first and last week. It can also help work out ideas that weren’t clear initially. Every once in a while I’d write a post while still a little confused about the material, and then I’d wake up the next morning and have it make much more sense.


It was really interesting to review my past posts and see the difference that I have in my views on matters of the class.  I noticed that I would rather look at someone’s post and either add to it or argue my point that is different, rather than post something on my own.   I noticed that my early blogs were somewhat myopic in nature being shortsighted, but it seems that I have a little better understanding and can look further into the future and be able to determine what will happen if I choose this option or what will happen if I choose another option. 

                I noticed that what I really like to blog about are the controversial topics that get a rise out of people.  Also I like to pick out ideas in the readings that I don’t agree with and build a case to argue my point.   But many times my arguments are week because I don’t have all the information that I need.  So I did notice that if I were to go back to some of my older blogs I would be able to make my arguments stronger with the knowledge that I now have or just throw the whole argument out because it is wrong.  Overall I can see a huge learning curve that I have gone thru in the last few months.

                I noticed that I really like the problem solving issues that come with property rights.  I like the idea of having a problem and being creative in finding not only a solution but the best solution.  And to me the best solution will be the one that makes the most sense economically and legally.  Conflict resolution is and will continue to be a big issue in everyone lives and I think understanding a few principals will about resolving issues whether they be property rights or personal problems this class has laid a good foundation in solving these issues.


            After reading through my second half of  blogs I have noticed that have improved on my argument that I’m trying to make.  I have better support backing up my ideas but  I still only talk about what I disagree about with the authors points.  I also tend to stick around talking about people’s rights and more over peoples morals.  When I went back over all of my previous blogs I did notice a lot of things not quite so clear as they probably did the first time.  I did have a lot of grammar and miss spelling in my blogs that is noticed.  But after really looking at my blogs and reminiscing of all the good discussions I realized that I have got a lot more out of this class than I realized.  This was by first econ class and the first class I have ever had.  I found the blogs very useful not just be summarize what I got out of the readings but what everyone’s else’s view were.  I might see it one way and someone else see it another and that would return make more sense to me.  .   I haven’t seen in any real change in my blogs but I did notice when we were talking about property rights and liability rules versus fines I found that is was much more of strong stance toward in my blogs.  After reading back through my  blogs I still feel the same about them on the stance I was taking.  Now I still feel the same as I did for the other meta-post, with my blogs they are very board and not so clear as I thought, I need to support my ideas more with examples.   After reading them it’s more like ideas just jumping in my head and not a real clear direction on where it is going.   It sounds more like a conversation with myself.  I also noticed that I’m completely off on most topic on what I think it is going.  When we talk about in class it all makes since.  I think this goes back to ideas just popping in my head and not really focusing on the point that I’m trying to make.  Now I do see that I improved with staying on topic and making clearer statements but just looking back I had to take second glances at it to see what I was trying to say.

The final blog post. *sniff

Ah, the bi-weekly blog posts. What a pain they were, but in retrospect, what a joy. As one of my favorite professors always says, (sorry Randy, it’s not you) “Reading without writing is daydreaming.” Well, this semester has been jam packed with reading and writing both, in every aspect of my coursework and education. As a result, it was easy to kind of forget about this class and the time and effort I actually put in to it was less than maximized. So now reading back through my blog posts has been really entertaining, annoying, and enlightening. I am actually pretty impressed with some of the stuff I cranked out at the last minute out of sheer necessity. I credit the great selections of readings we had, which I would like to discuss for a bit.

It is very apparent by reading through my blog posts that I enjoyed reading Friedman the most. Even though I read the other books, I certainly invested in and responded to Friedman the most. This is due to several reasons, such as Friedman was the most entertaining, easiest to read, had the most relevant examples, and explained things the best.

I actually may have enjoyed Leeson the least. It’s a good thing I’m saying this now that I wont see any of you ever again. I may get banished from the class for making such a statement. It’s not that I didn’t like Leeson, I just thought he was overly simplistic and said the same things over and over again. (Maybe he reminded me too much of myself.) Simple is good, and maybe if I didn’t have any prior experience with economics, I would appreciate his writing more. As it was, I just thought his book was a little boring because it didn’t provoke much thought. It was fun thinking and reading about economics in the context of pirates, it just didn’t stir anything deep enough to spark a blog post in me very often.

Epstein was the forgetter book; reading it was either way boring or just got me way pissed off about the government taking all of our property. However, I did enjoy it on certain days, because there are times when I need something that can get me good and fired up. Then again, those things aren’t too hard to find. I appreciated looking back through Epstein to find ideas for the final because it reminded me of some of the cool things I actually did read in there.

And finally, Stearns and Zywicki’s Public Choice Concepts and Applications in Law. This was the book that I paid too much for, but enjoyed carrying around because it made me feel special and smart. My experience with this book was certainly one of those love/hate situations. Stearns and Zywicki were the exact opposite of Leeson: Leeson didn’t provoke enough thoughts, and Stearns and Zywicki provoked way too many thoughts! Yet this was one of the aspects I liked the most about their writing; the fact that 30% of the material was just questions. I appreciate that because so much of economics is not cut and dry, and it really bothers me when people try to present nuanced issues in black and white. The nice assumption of ceteris paribus is rarely true; therefore, the answer to every question regarding economics should begin with “It depends…” I enjoyed what of Stearns and Zywicki I read, but it was definitely an uneasy process. Maybe I’ll hold on to it for a while and pick it up in a few years, either to be impressed with how much easier it is to read, or depressed by the fact that I still have a long way to go… Maybe I’ll also carry it around occasionally when I need a self-esteem boost.

The quality of my writing in the blog posts was not excellent. I treated the posts as avenues in which to let my thoughts flow, and as a result, my posts were often fairly unfocused and purposeless (potentially as this is? Shoot). Much of my writing flowed as a one-sided conversation would. I suppose I’m a little disappointed in the fact that the blogs weren’t used more as a place for discussion. Then again, as the semester got busier, I abandoned trying to read everyone’s posts twice a week. But I think it would be cool if we could get more feedback on our thoughts and writings in the blog posts. I can’t decide if I wish I had written my posts more academically or if I’m pleased with the casual manner in which I approached them. Informal language promotes more creativity within me, so I suppose I’m glad I chose that route. Then again, I used the expression, “Bam!” in more than one post. I was really annoyed when I noticed that. I don’t even use that word very often.

I know I learned a lot more this semester and gained a lot more from my readings by being required to post on the blog. Often times I will read something interesting, but pass by it without really taking time to explore the thoughts it provoked. I was grateful for the opportunity this class gave me (forced me?) to engage more with the readings and take the time to explore thoughts that came to me while reading. I know I learned infinitely more as a result, and I hope to apply this practice into my reading for the rest of my life. Again, reading without writing is daydreaming.

Thanks all for a great semester!

meta post

After going through the second half of my blog posts from this semester, I have found one major similarity. I continue to write about and apply the concepts of law and economics to what I know through personal experience and what I have learned from school over the years. For example, in one of my blogs I brought up whether or not punitive damage is an efficient way of deterring a convicted felon from committing the same or similar act against another person. I claimed it was an efficient way, especially if the plaintiff was a business or a school and is able to win a large enough judgment that their insurance is affected. As for an individual, I am not so sure on how to approach filing suit against them. I feel it would be pointless to file if the individual was poor. No matter what the rewards end up being, the defendant most likely would not have to pay it off because, while paying the compensatory and punitive damages, they would be able to file bankruptcy and, therefore, the plaintiff would not see the expected amount of money.

I also noticed an improvement in the frequency with which I was able to relate to the topics at hand in the second half of the semester, thus, enabling me to write more. In the first half, I had more questions than answers. At least this time around I was able to provide more insight and connectivity rather than listing so many questions. I may still have those numerous questions, but I had more to discuss and thus just decided not to ask them. I may not have had answers, but I at least was able to come up with examples or discuss parallel situations. The examples that came to mind most frequently were ones that apply to sports, though in the blog I wrote about regarding the monopoly the NCAA has on post-season tournaments, I mixed up the terms “dominance” and “monopolies.” I originally tried to say the UConn women’s basketball team held a monopoly. It sure feels like it sometimes because almost everyone at one point in her career, especially recently, wants to play for Coach Gino. Then reality kicks in, and the athlete realizes that it is not a reality, either because she is not good enough or the school and or the program are not a fit. I was about to post a blog on this, but I had a gut feeling that it was not right. So, I decided to run it by my dad. He said I had it all wrong and have to re-do the blog. He explained to me that UConn women’s basketball program does not have a monopoly because they compete with the other programs under the same rules as any other NCAA varsity team. Through the discussion I realized that the possible monopoly was not behind a dominant sports team, but the monopoly was in major sports. In the United States, almost every sport’s related association operates as a monopoly. The NCAA has one with all the post-season championship tournaments except for Division-1 football; the BCS is a separate entity. Then there is the NBA and WNBA, MLS, MLB, and NFL. These organizations have such a tight hold on their respected sports that any one trying to create another league would have to have an unlimited amount of funding. Without a large amount of start-up money and the willingness to lose it all, there will be no other leagues competing in those national markets.

Sometimes I wish that school were more like sports. It would be so much easier for me. Well, at least the concepts of the sports are, not always the physical aspect of them. I think that is why I try to apply all the law and economic concepts to sports. I understand the tactics and technique of many sports, which allows me plenty of opportunities to apply them. On my team I am known as the nerd because I can usually come up with answers to my teammates’ questions or at least logically find my way to an answer. Also, if I want to try to lose the label of nerd, it does not help the fact that I spend plenty of nights in study hall till the wee hours in the morning. I have found what works efficiently for me and my sports and schoolwork. In sports, everything is kinesthetic. I physically do what I need to know. We practice plays, defense and skill sets needed to perform at our best for the position we play. As for schooling for me, there is really is no efficient way. I just work really hard and use the resources the athletic department provides, such as tutors and a quiet place to study. Without my tutor I would struggle with the amount of class I miss, especially during the conference schedule. Sometimes my extreme approach of constant hard work in both school and sports leads to burnout before the semester is completely over.

The past week with all the finals has been a bit rough and, mentally, I am feeling it. I began to feel the symptoms of burnout soon after spring break. The semester was flying by. It went by so fast that I thought we were only a few weeks in, but in actuality the semester was half over. After that, the semester slowed to a snail’s pace. Writing the blogs felt more of a chore than before. I was expecting to be reading the last bit of blog postings and hear the annoyance and pain in the writing voices. I was really surprised when the voice of the blogs did not come off all that bad. Looking back, I dreaded turning in each one because I thought they sounded like total crap. I do not like turning in something that is not up to my personal expectations. However, in reflection and second reading, they did read like I was actually engaged.

I took a loaded class schedule this semester, and I am feeling all the effects of burnout – a headache from a lack of sleep and too much caffeine for my body to handle over the past several days. I have begun to lose my efficiency. Being ambitious, team class-load policies, and NCAA progress toward major requirements got me all painted into a corner. I’m glad to have survived – through the support and understanding of many – and probably would not advise anyone to do it like I have.

Meta Post

This might be the most arrogant thing I’ve ever said. I love my blog posts. They rocked. Except for the grammar and the spelling and the content and the delivery. Besides that they were awesome. I was amazing reading back through them and having the same ideas come back into my mind fresh once more. I loved the experience of walking back through months of intellectual discovery. I wrote about Sex, I wrote about Sports, I wrote about God, I wrote about Greed. But most of all I wrote about myself. What I found wasn’t just economic principles applied to other’s live but the realization that whatever I was writing about at that moment had something to do with my life and the current situation I was in. I wrote about dating when I was getting into a relationship, I wrote about Sports when I had been watching it. I wrote about God when I was feeling religious, I wrote about my other classes, about my speeding tickets, about my life my habits, my incentives, my ideas.

As I was reading through all of this virtual economic journal of my life I stumbled across my meta post from the mid term. You know that one we weren’t suppose to post but I did. And I was amazed at how little I changed. I talked about how I had a hard time turning them in on time… that didn’t change at all.

I liked to write about pirates. I still like to write about pirates. Most of my posts were from Leesons book. I assume it was because that was the easiest for me to understand and connect with. I talked about how I put myself into extreme situations in my mind to try and understand things, which is still true today. In my original Meta Post I wrote that “ [a] list of topics I blogged about reads like a laundry list of ‘topics that are important to or interest Blake’. Just some of them are Girls, Sports, Facebook, The Bible, and Politics.”

The last few posts I wrote were about Politics, Girls, Sports and God. Seems just like me.

More then anything I was impressed at the depth and breath of my economic knowledge. It’s changed the way I think and the way I act. My goals and desires now yearn for efficiency. In my final I wrote that economics is a ‘disease of the mind that turns the curious student of choice into a hyper logical and observant’ individual. Thats what my blog posts reflect. Observation of economic principles in real life settings. They reflect a change of though, the development of economic muscles and intellectual confidence.

More then anything they reflect a semester of enjoyment and learning, of a free market of ideas that was our class room where good were bought and sold at the cost of getting up early in the morning and doing some light reading later in the day. Costs well worth the gain in my own humble opinion.

Meta Post

This whole semester on blogging has been quite the experience. I am not much of a writer nor do I consider myself to be a great thinker. It is very rare that I come up with deep and moving philosophical ideas. That is even rarer in my blog post. As I reread my work I realized that I tend to do the same thing over and over again. First thing is that I find some example of how the reading that night fit into my own life or into some situation I am familiar with. Second thing I noticed is that I tend to just spout off the exact same thing as what we already read. The only difference is that I say it in less than perfect words. So if I am not giving a real world example that doesn’t exactly apply I am repeating what we all learned in class and in our readings. The last thing I noticed is that at the beginning of the year I had quite a few problems with the authors. I just didn’t agree with them. I feel like that animosity got less and less as I reread my more recent blog posts.

Perhaps the reason for that decreases in animosity is that I actually started to think like an economist. I feel like I slowly began to understand this subject and the purpose for it. Depending on my grade on the final I may or may not put my foot in my mouth. Nevertheless at the beginning of the year I hated it when someone would bring up the idea of efficiency. I saw it as an excuse for greed and a reason to ignore the needs of others. In my first post I mentioned the needs of justice and the role that it should play in the law. I may not have come out and said it in my later posts but I feel like my opinion has changed. I still believe justice is important but I have realized that we can’t have inefficient laws all the time.

My real life examples were a thing of beauty at the time. Now as I re-read them I see that I had to work extra hard to apply most of them to economics and even harder to what we studied. Maybe I am my own worst critic but that’s how I feel. I can’t help but notice my sarcasm that I had when I wrote the examples. I was not as funny as I actually thought I was. Some of my real world examples were straight up mocking the things I had learned. My only hope is that the readers of my post had the same sense of humor that I had, otherwise the post would just come across as obnoxious. I didn’t mean to be. I just have a hard time taking serious things seriously. It is a curse my whole family has.

When the examples did hit the mark as I had wanted them to I feel like they were rather clever. Maybe I am flattering myself. I absolutely loved my post “Teleportation, Hover boards and Floo powder.” I don’t know why but I just think it is funny. It doesn’t make sense right off the bat as to what principle of economics it applies to right away. Nor does it teach that principle particularly well even when you look back at the course schedule but it makes me laugh.

Over all I feel that my thought process has changed over the semester. That is evident in my blog posts towards the end. I am less skeptical of economists and I don’t see them as efficient robots without feelings any more. Maybe that means I am become one of them. I guess if you can’t beat them join them. And maybe a little more efficiency in my life would be good. So I guess what the hell! I am one of them now.