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Archive for February 24th, 2011

The Meta Post

Over the last 6 weeks or so I have found myself taking a real world look at what is going on. For example, my fiancee 2 days ago pointed out the poles on 10th west in logan that have been put in place. They are your run of the mill, huge, aluminum power poles that Logan City must have found a pile of somewhere, because the are standing them up everywhere. What is interesting to me is to see how property rights are considered and the underlying issues of the placement of each power pole. Logan City must have “eminent domained” some properties to make it safe to run these much larger poles for higher voltage wires. One home is condemned with a pole planted right in the driveway. How was the individual home owner’s property rights recognized? It is the property of the individual property owner, but what we really define as property is that all property within the borders of the United States is the property of the state. You may have paid for it and have claim that it is yours to the point that the government will help enforce the laws that keep it the way that you want and to keep others from using it, but in the end, if it is in the interest of the public in general and the cost to you is less then the cost of the community, state or country it isn’t your property, it’s “ours”.  Kind of an interesting way to look at it.

Wait a minute, this means that there is a risk that I may lose the property that I own, due to zoning or some government interest. Is it possible to show some risk aversion and purchase some anti-government-seizure insurance? I am a rational actor, right? I want to keep what is mine to myself and I want to get the best outcome for myself based on the the circumstances at hand. I believe this is true, but we can see the rational idea that each desires private property, even pirates. After reading Leeson about how governance spontaneously occurs amongst humans I wrote, “Once one has private property and feels that he truly stands to lose from the behaviors that he may persue we find a more rational approach to life taking form.” I do believe that an individual will act to preserve his property. Its rational to human nature.

Another post I thought reflected a rationality in human nature. In my post “Is trust economical?” I commented on the experiment done in class with the quarters. All of those “repairman” except one replaced the bad parts with good ones. The single individual in the room (Really, I have no hard feelings towards Kelsey. It was just a quarter!) demonstrated the lack of integrity in some situations. Maybe it was the fact that it was a game in class over a quarter that was the motive for the drop out of honesty. No matter her rationale, it is clear that it is more economical to be honest in our dealings with others. The student that I played the game with in class kept his end of the bargain and I will be more likely to do business with him in the future. The same holds true for all institutions. Even though the rational decision in Kelsey’s case may have been to, in affect, defect to keep up with the prisoners dilemma lingo, according to the information Kelsey had, the truly rational decision is to be honest as long as you desire to stay in business.

My favorite section that I started a post on that I never finished was government health care programs. Talk about opening the flood gates to moral hazard and insuring nothing but adverse selections. I work in the medical field and watching the abuse of the system is pretty painful. A great example of moral hazard is the entire Utah Medicaid system. I’m just going to say this now so I don’t forget, there are some good people that do use Medicaid for what it is intended for, they appreciate it and do not abuse it. That said most do abuse it. What other type of health insurance do you have a mom and her 6 children going to the E.R. for coughs from the common cold, seeing doctors, getting prescriptions for the best cough syrups and anti-biotics for no other reason than to sooth the aching hearts of the mother for the large copay of $0. It’s ridiculous. Not too mention the amount of ambulance trips a Medicaid insured individual in Ogden takes to the E.R. for free on the backs of the tax payers, because their finger hurts. It’s good to finally have the vocabulary to finally identify the problems in these law and economic situations, as well as to see how one might fix them. Raise the copays! Make it important that someone have  a cost for risks! If there is, there will be less abuse.

Meta Post Blast

I usually write about what I have read.  I have noticed that I spend much of my time reading the topics and thinking about how they relate to my actual life and other things that I have read in the news.  I Haven’t really noticed any themes in my topics.  Concerns for the last couple of posts have definitely been centered upon governmental control.  I think that they have so much power and that is scary.  During the past 6 weeks I definitely have noticed that I have changed how well I analyze the information.  I am so impressed with how well everyone in the class has done and it has definitely made me want to have posts that equally analytical and intellectual.  I have definitely stepped up my game.  As I was rereading my work I was surprised at how much it seemed like I actually understand the material.  It seems that the majority of the time I feel like I have no idea what I am doing or saying but after reading those I would have to beg to differ, towards the last few.  One of the main ideas that I see as something worth discussing is Property Rights and Public Use.  Those were topics that really got me fired up and interested in what was happening.  The thing I value most about my weekly blogging is the opportunity to analyze critically the information I am reading.  It is so easy for us to just read and write but then to put in our own thoughts a lot of times can be super difficult and cause us to really get out of our comfort zones.

Meta Post

As I have read through my posts one thing is clear, I am most definitely not an economist. I still have trouble understanding the basic concepts of economic theories and I have little to no clue how economic concepts relate to law. However it may appear to others that I have not made much progress in learning about law and economics but trust me I have.

When I began to write my first post, honestly I had no idea what I was going to blog about. I felt like a fish out of water and everything was completely over my head. Throughout the past six weeks I have learned so much. I did notice that there is a major reoccurring theme in most of my posts, asking for help. It seems that I do not fully grasp the ideas economic theory just yet. The texts have been really helpful and make it easier to understand economics. Professor Simmons has been wonderful at explaining and helping me to better comprehend some concepts that were a little tricky at first.

Looking back through my posts I did find one surprise. I seem to be able to understand economics better when it is placed in the context of pirates. The Invisible Hook has been a huge help to me through the semester. When I first opened the book I thought that I would never be able to understand anything in it, but now it is my favorite book to read. It is entertaining and informative at the same time. Leeson helps me to apply economics to real situations, all right so maybe pirate life is not so much a “real situation”, but I can better comprehend how to apply economic theory to real life. The other texts are a little too technical and make me feel a little confused. But the economics of pirates is crystal clear.

Overall I have really enjoyed doing the blog posts. My posts are definitely not the most eloquent but I think that they have really helped me to better understand what this class is all about. Coming into it I had no idea what to expect and even thought I still feel like I am flailing around a bit the blogs have made me really pay attention to the readings and the class discussions. Because I know that I will have to blog about it, I really try to think about what I read and analyze it in the most economical way that I can. I am very pleased to be making progress with my knowledge of economics. I hope that my blog posts can continue to improve and that I can be more specific with my examples and more critical with my analysis.



I think that the first and most obvious thing to me as I re-read my blog post was that I ask a lot of questions, some hypothetical, and others true, that I may ask but I don’t actually delve into thought about these things. For some reason when I write, my creative juices get flowing, and I don’t want to stop. So I ask these questions and then never actually take the time to go back and really think about what I was asking or to research them more. I think that had I maybe stopped and though about these things that maybe my post could have been more in depth or more profound. I felt as I read my post that I was really only scratching the surface of what I really wanted to say. My post seem somewhat shallow in my own eyes (and probably in the other students as well!)

That being said, there were certain times when I surprised myself with the things that I had written. Typically in a class environment I try not to express my opinions very passionately. Perhaps it is my perception of anonymity in blogging, but I seemed to be much more passionate in the things that I wrote and especially in certain views that I hold. One post in particular I talked about the taking clause. While this is a very important issue to me, I typically like to listen and not voice my opinion when it comes up in discussion. As I reread this post, I realized that I used a lot of emotion and opinion and personal belief. I smiled a little at the things that I had written because I couldn’t really imagine myself actually saying those things in front of other people. But in front of my Macbook screen? No problem!

Which leads to my next point. While some of the things we discuss in class or read are interesting, they don’t necessarily interest me. But other topics have been incredibly interesting to me and I seem to have written better post on those subjects. As I already stated, the takings clause was one of those issues. Another issue that I noticed was on the subject of efficiency. For some reason, and it may be the male chromosomes I posses, I try to be colder than I really am. But on this subject of efficiency, I found myself quite bothered by the actually coldness of the economic theory. While I understand that this process is very analytical, it still bothered me that there seemed to be little to no emotion in the debate. I for one enjoy looking at the human side of issues, and not just the economic.

One thing I did notice however was that my post did become more analyzed and thought on, especially on the economic issues and theories. While I am not skilled in economics, I have noticed a better understanding that has developed throughout my studies in this class. My first posts seemed very forced and I remember trying very hard to relate the things I was reading to actually economics, to actually make that connection. As I read my most recent post and especially in writing my mid-term papers, I found that my linking of economics to real situations came much easier than a couple months ago.

Perhaps the most important thing, and the most obvious to me all along, is that I know NOTHING about economics! Yes, I may have taken a few classes and I may follow very closely certain details of the economic market, but the more I learn about these theories and the more I read these books, the less I think I really know about the subject. I’m sure that this is painfully obvious to others in my post, but I hope to gain a little more understanding of the subject throughout this class, and hopefully I will be able to show it in my blog post.

I think that the thing I value most about the blog is the chance to have my opinion and analysis heard. While my opinion may not be correct, and my theories may not be deeply creative or interesting like some of the others in class, it is good to know that someone is at least reading and grading them! I know that I have really enjoyed reading other peoples post and seeing things from their point of view. It has allowed me to think differently about certain subjects and has even changed my views on a few things. Just knowing that others are reading what I am writing is a good feeling.

I think that in my next posts I will try to be more specific. I hope that this will not prove too difficult. I envy those who are able to think creatively about economics, and I hope to maybe develop that trait through my interactions with those posters. I also hope to some day understand what a metapost means… @_@

If you want more of Randy…

As promised…