Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The War on Drugs

There have been a couple of great blog entries on the War on Drugs recently. First here are some interesting data via Mahalanobis. And Becker and Posner have weighed in with some thoughtful writing on the topic and they both follow up on reader comments here and here respectively.

Keywords: Drugs, Legalization, ECO120

Thursday, March 03, 2005

China and Trade

I wish I had seen this post 1 week sooner. I recently gave a presentation on Globalization, Trade and Jobs at Viterbo University and I got a good question from a woman in the audience. She asked if trade was so good, why do some people in foreign countries work under such terrible conditions. The article points out that we ought not jump to that conclusion. While I might think a 60 hour work week is pushing the upper limits, clearly there are some people in China who would like to work more.

Taiwanese factories in Dongguan [a city between Hong Kong and Guangzhou and a major centre of manufacturing] are facing a problem. According to a news report in the United Daily in Taiwan, over a thousand workers at a factory, which produces goods for big brand names such as Nike, demonstrated for two days and damaged equipment and factory cars. 500 armed police arrived and quashed the riot. Several leaders were arrested.

The main cause for the riot was the limitation [sic] on working hours at the factory. The shorter hours have been requested by US companies so as to avoid criticism from various groups on long working hours. However, the mainly migrant workforce want to work longer hours so they can earn more. Consensus had been reached by the US companies, the Taiwanese-invested factory and local government that the maximum working hours per week should be set at 60 hours [which is still a breach of Chinese Labour Law, but less than other manufacturing plants]. However, this reduction in hours was unsatisfactory for the workers and the resulting riot was serious.

Keywords: Trade, Employment, China

Poor People and Porn

Via Marginal Revolution:

Drew Carey makes the excellent point:

The government is really into 'protecting people'. The Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) says you can't broadcast certain words and certain pictures. It says it's protecting citizens. But I'm sitting in my home with DirecTC and can watch whatever I want. I can afford the best pornography - laser-disc porn! The government's not protecting me from anything.

All the government's doing is discriminating against poor people. It
thinks poor people are like cows, that poor people can't think straight: If we let them hear dirty words or see dirty pictures, there's going to be madness! If you're poor and all you can afford is a 12-inch black-and-white TV and can't pay for cable - you're so protected. You'd probably be happier if you could see some pornography, a pair of titties, once in a while on free TV. But a pair of titties on free TV? The government figures if you saw that, you'd just explode!

Keywords: Porn, Privacy, Censorship