Monday, September 05, 2011

Today's Links of Interest

Popular Mechanics: How to Make Your Own Apps reviews two pieces of app-making software, Google App Inventor for Android and GameSalad for iPhone's, iPads, etc.

Michael J. Totten reviews The Devil's Double, a movie based on the true story of Uday Hussein's body double.

Here's the trailer:

Gary S. Becker, Nobel Prize-winning economist: The Great Recession and Government Failure

Just a taste:

The origins of the financial crisis and the Great Recession are widely attributed to "market failure." This refers primarily to the bad loans and excessive risks taken on by banks in the quest to expand their profits. The "Chicago School of Economics" came under sustained attacks from the media and the academy for its analysis of the efficacy of competitive markets. Capitalism itself as a way to organize an economy was widely criticized and said to be in need of radical alteration.

Although many banks did perform poorly, government behavior also contributed to and prolonged the crisis. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates artificially low in the years leading up to the crisis. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two quasi-government institutions, used strong backing from influential members of Congress to encourage irresponsible mortgages that required little down payment, as well as low interest rates for households with poor credit and low and erratic incomes. Regulators who could have reined in banks instead became cheerleaders for the banks.

This recession might well have been a deep one even with good government policies, but "government failure" added greatly to its length and severity, including its continuation to the present.
Update - Some more links of interest:

Arthur Herman: The Ultimate Stimulus? World War Two and Economic Growth. Herman challenges the idea that WWII brought us out of the Depression, noting data that shows the increase in government spending came at the expense of private spending. Also, he points out that the economic boom of the '50s came only with a massive reduction in government spending.

Nigel Warburton on Introductions to Philosophy

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