Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Small Segments Stolen From Some People Surnamed "S"

    The first two are from Scrivener, because he’s going on vacation, they’re good, and I’m shameless.

  • Iraq Swede vows to catch kidnappers, reports “The Local:”

    A Swede held hostage in Iraq for 67 days and released a month ago has vowed to take revenge on his captors and has hired bounty hunters to capture them, Swedish media reported on Wednesday.

  • In “Euro-Excuserosis,” Truck and Barter deconstructs claims that European economies are hidebound:

    There seems to be an entire industry devoted to making up more or less fanciful arguments why Europe is really doing better than the US. I want to exemplify and debunk some of those myths. In the process I also hope to convince you that Americans work less and have more free time than Swedes.

  • Schneier points to a very funny dog, singing about national ID cards.

One comment on "Small Segments Stolen From Some People Surnamed "S""

  • Wow, I’m sorry, Adam, but Tino’s note is a little silly. Most inequality scholars look at Scandinavia and acknowledge that there is an awful lot going on beyond pure rational choice: scaling and ethnic homogeneity are often extended as reasons. Collective action problems are culturally determined. Watch what would happen if anyone in Norway were to openly beg for money: that person would be told off by a mob who are aware that their tax dollars are going to support that shirker, so begging is offensive. In the US, fibbing on taxes gets a nudge and a wink among peers: try asking whether people are honest on their forms in Sweden.
    The we get delightful bits like this:
    “People thus substitute hours worked in the market to unproductive (but untaxed) work in the household, not because they want to but because the system forces them to.”
    *I have to pay someone to look after my kids not because I want to, but the system forces me to. *75 million americans, including over 20 million with full time jobs, go without health insurance, not because they want to, but because the system forces them to.
    GDP growth is higher in US. Fine. Disposable income may or may not be higher depending on hot it is measured: salaries are higher in the US, and taxes are lower, but medical care and mortgage/CC interest eat up huge swaths of household cash. Lifetime disposable income, under some models would tip towards Europe, since the savings and tax dollars come back in pensions and annuities. Tack on the national debt (paid for with an expensive dollar and an economy-pumping fiscal system) and all those metrics tip some more.
    The point is that if you believe that your personal economic liberties are paramount, even superior European life shouldn’t phase you, and shouldn’t require debunking. The fact that many people seem happy under a system that prioritizes other (social) values simply means that laissez-faire ain’t for everyone.

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