Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sean Taylor

Here is a great column by Jason Whitlock on the Sean Taylor tragedy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Gift Horse Has Left Town!

The RTLC plant won't be coming to Marlin. A story from The Marlin Democrat from a week before the one I cited last week indicates that the President of RTLC, Billy Terrell, will not be expanding his operation to Marlin.

I hope the residents of South Marlin realize what they've done. (You can read the petition South Marlin residents passed around here.) Other business owners will see this and be hesitant to explore the option of moving into Marlin. So not only did this gift horse get kicked in the mouth, but every other potential gift horse will think long and hard before even considering venturing into this bastion of inexplicable snobbery, short sightedness and disrespect for property rights.

There is a beauty to the economic process of wealth creation. (Here is a fine article on the blessings entrepreneurs, like Mr. Terrell, bring.) It is a true shame more people don't realize it.

Post Thanksgiving Reading

  1. A story on megachurches adding local economic activity to their missions. On one hand I see how this can give the churches greater outreach opportunities and provide a Christian friendly environment for businesses and consumers. On the other hand, these churches could get sidetracked from saving souls to making a profit.
  2. The EU is seeking a ban on the sale of genetically modified corn. I am skeptical on whether this is more of an environmental or a trade protectionist cause.
  3. Here are women who have had themselves sterilized to "protect the planet." To quote one woman: "Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet." These women obviously view humans as consumers rather than producers and every new baby as a liability. I take the opposite view. Genesis 1:28: God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth!

Sometimes I wonder if some people really understand the ramifications of their words and actions. Marlin Texas is home to...em...uh... a chicken restaurant with a great lunch buffet and then uh...a Wal Mart and em...a couple of car dealers and em...a good feed store and...em...uh that's about it. You can't drink the water, most of the streets are terrible, the school system sucks (and that's being generous), and the city (and county for that matter) is bereft of economic activity.

Now someone, RTLC Piping Projects, wants to bring a business to town that is estimated to provide about 100 jobs. They want to place the plant on the south side of Marlin and some area residents don't want it there. Classic NIMBY. (I'm thinking about renaming the blog The Misanthropic Economist takes on NIMBY.) The president of the company says that he will not fight the residents on this and will look elsewhere for a plant location if the need should arise.

Listen up Marlinites: Marlin is an economic wasteland. If anyone wants to build anything in town whether it is a pipe fabricator, a power plant, or a maker of buttfores get the hell out of their way! Beggars cannot be choosers! As long as the company is not trying to use eminent domain to acquire land, welcome them with open arms and shut the hell up! Thank the good Lord above that someone is willing to invest in the damn town! Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NIMBY Ethanol Plant!

I should have expected this, but I didn't. Residents in several towns home to proposed ethanol plants are fighting to keep them out. Much of it, there are some concerns about water usage, boils down to a classic case of NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard. In fact one group opposed to a potential ethanol plant has printed up t-shirts reading "Good Idea. Bad Location."

Ethanol plants have to go somewhere and wherever they go, someone won't like it. A few things come to mind here.
  1. There is a failure of property rights in at least a couple of places here. If a firm acquires the land in an appropriately zoned area, they can build what they please on it. Provided of course that local government doesn't restrict their rights in some way which is a big if. The second failure comes in the form of negative externalities from the plant. If any form of pollution from the plant affects the property, including any one's person, of another then that constitutes an invasion and the polluter is liable for damages. This could include such things as runoff, air pollution, or the smell.
  2. There are going to be a few people who irregardless of the situation will raise complete and total hell when any proposal to build anything is talked about for reasons ranging from land use concerns to lack of "planning" to not wanting anything in their environment to change before they die.
  3. Apparently, I'm somewhat unique in actually liking the sight of economic activity, no matter where it is (although selling doves in the temple courtyard is a bit much). In most cases even the smells and sounds of productivity don't bother me. I'm more than compensated by the knowledge that entrepreneurial activity is taking place, work is being done and, hopefully, wealth is being created.

So hey ethanol producers: put the darn plant in my backyard. As long as you don't infringe on my property rights I wish you the best of luck!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Prospects for Biofuels

I will be first one to admit that I am extremely skeptical of the ability of ethanol, especially corn based ethanol, to have any meaningful impact on energy consumption. Other biofuels could be a different ball game. Here is a great article making the case that biofuels will play a major role in reshaping energy usage and energy markets.

Hat Tip (HT) to Arnold Kling.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"Making a Difference"

Thomas Sowell has an especially good column today. The second sentence should cause us all to pause when we seek to "make a difference:"

"I would be scared to death to 'make a difference' in the way pilots fly airliners or brain surgeons operate. Any difference I might make could be fatal to many people."

Each and every one of our areas of expertise extends over an infinitesimal area of the great totality of knowledge. Better that we stick to and improve our own little corner of the cosmos than step into someone else's corner and screw it up.

Read the whole column. Well worth a five minute investment.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Thin Santa

The Brits are sending Santa to Boot Camp. Apparently jolly ol' Saint Nick is setting a bad example for the children by carrying around that extra weight. Santa's in some British malls are required to slim down in order to stay on the job.

Next thing you know Santa will have to shave his beard because it promotes homelessness. Or he'll have to stop wearing so much red because it offends those you don't see colors well. Or instead of cookies and milk, you must leave Santa bottled water and a granola bar. Or Santa will have to buy carbon offsets for his factories on the North Pole, assuming the Russians haven't already nationalized his factories.