The Failure Of Private Auditing

On this blog I often discuss market failures and the need for government action to correct them. It is necessary for regulation to keep the free market from getting too wild. But is government the right answer? Can the market not control itself? Could companies not bind together to create industry standards without government bureaucracy? Can private regulators not ensure proper standards are met without the need for state intervention? Continue reading “The Failure Of Private Auditing”

The Problem With Forgiveness

One of my favourite bloggers to debate with is Prayson Daniel, an Evangelical Christian who I have been interacting with since I first set up my blog. Despite our differences we still respect each other and keep it civil. Surprisingly, he was open enough to ask me to write a guest post on his blog and an Atheist one at that. Fair play to him for that and his blog is well work checking out regardless of your religious beliefs.

With All I Am

Cross Nails

Probably the core belief of Christianity is the concept of forgiveness. It is the central teaching of Jesus and held aloft as the prime virtue of God himself. However nice a virtue it is in small doses, it is completely impracticable and worse still undesirable even if it was possible. Both the forgiveness Jesus told us to show to one another and the forgiveness God supposedly has for us are fundamentally flawed and rife with problems.

If I was to ask a random person what the most important teaching of Jesus was, they would probably answer the importance of forgiveness. The quotes are well know, “Treat others as you would like them to treat you” (Luke 6:31) and “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well” (Matthew…

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Should We Intervene In Syria?

As I write this conflict is raging in Syria. For the past two years a vicious war has been ongoing with 100,000 killed and 2 million refugees (half of whom are children) according to the United Nations. What began as part of the Arab Spring overthrowing dictators across the Arab world has turned into a bloody and relentless civil war. Now with reports of a massacre with chemical weapons, it seems increasingly likely that Western Powers will intervene in some form in the conflict. But is this the right decision? Are we compelled to fight on behalf of Syrian civilians or will it only make the problem worse?

Continue reading “Should We Intervene In Syria?”

The Markets’ Greatest Failure

The market usually works pretty well. Resources are distributed, transactions are made and the wheels of the economy keep turning. There are occasional glitches and problems though an unrestricted free market still retains many proponents. However, there is one area where the market has failed so catastrophically that even the market fundamentalists cannot defend it. This is the markets disastrous treatment of the environment and global warming. Continue reading “The Markets’ Greatest Failure”

What To Do About The Homeless?

It seems every street in San Francisco has a homeless person on it. Every day I pass them and at night most shop fronts has one huddled in it. The streets are littered with bundles of clothes which turn out to be people trying to sleep. We all pass them and feel pangs of guilt, often taking the easier option of ignoring them. Yet there doesn’t seem to be an easy solutions or ways to help. We want to help, but don’t want to encourage begging. Is dropping coins into their paper cup really the best thing we can do? Continue reading “What To Do About The Homeless?”

Health – A Market Like No Other

As part of my economics degree and my wide reading of economics books, I have had the idea of the market drilled into my head. The market is continually praised and idealised as the best way to organise resources in society. When then is health the major exception? Why do we not pay for medical treatment the same way we pay for a house or hire a doctor like we hire a plumber? Why is health treated in such a completely way, and why is this differential so widely accepted? Continue reading “Health – A Market Like No Other”

History Matters

Economics is usually discussed in a vacuum devoid of any reference to history or culture. The economy is viewed as a place without a past and little distinction is made between policies implemented in Japan, Scandinavia or America. However, in reality the past shapes the future far more than we realise. The state we’re in depends hugely on the actions and events of decades or even generations earlier. Economies were not born yesterday; they are hugely shaped by what came before. In other words, history matters. Continue reading “History Matters”

The Impossible Trinity

Most economic concepts are pretty dry, but the Impossible Trinity sounds like one of those dilemmas where you are in a burning house and can only save two out of three people. The term refers not to religion (that Trinity is impossible in its own way) but international trade and how governments can only two out of three options, each of which is desirable in its own way. The three options are fixed exchange rates, independent monetary policy and free movement of capital. If they don’t sound that exciting, they are crucial to understanding the crisis with the Euro and what we can do about it. Continue reading “The Impossible Trinity”

Scandals That Never Were

The opposition to Barack Obama has been extraordinarily vicious and vindictive throughout his Presidency. He has been accused of the wildest allegations from being a Muslim to a Socialist to planning to destroy America. Yet the common thread linking these scandals is not any actual wrong doing, but rather blind hatred by people who so desperately wish to see a scandal that they twist any minor issue. This is the case in the attempts to create a corruption scandal with Solyndra, link Obama to gun running gone wrong in Fast and Furious, accusations of a cover in the unending Benghazi saga. These phony scandals have so little behind them that I had chosen not to give them any credence by addressing them; however, they refuse to go away so I will point out how false they are. Continue reading “Scandals That Never Were”

The Future Of Religion

The religions of the world are in serious decline. Each generation is less religious than the last and the grip of the Church is being steadily weakened. Ireland used to be the most religious country in Europe, yet even here religion is being eroded away. The simple fact is that religion’s future is one of decline into insignificance as the older generations die off and young fail to take their place. Churches are facing a crisis in even finding members to join as priests and the closing of churches will soon be a common sight. Within 50 to 100 years religion will be but a shadow of what it once was, a mere footnote belonging to a forgotten time. Continue reading “The Future Of Religion”