Trump and the free market

2016/12/06

It is somewhat amusing to see Trump simultaneously denounce American firms overseas and extol the virtues of the free market. If the free market is so great why not accept its verdict when it says that products could better be manufactured overseas?

The argument for accepting companies moving production abroad are numerous but one simple way of looking at it is this: would we ban a company from making production more efficient or require them to employ staff that is not needed? That is probably not something Trump would want to do, and even in socialist Sweden it is possible to eventually get rid of workers you don’t need. (You have to keep them employed for between 1 and 6 months from the point when you make the decision to fire them.) But what is the difference to the American workers if it is Mexicans or robots that replace them? And the American consumers benefit the same since they get cheaper products. But the benefits to consumers is something that get lost in the debate.

Violent video games and the Munich shooting

2016/07/24

It is almost a matter of relief that the shooter in Munich does not seem to have had an ideological motive, or at least not an islamic motive. There is one thing I want to comment on however, and that is the ready connection some have made between him playing violent video games and this shooting. That is sloppy and inexusable, no one can say at this stage what made him do it. Blaming video games is no better than assuming that if a Muslim commits a violent crime it must be because the violent imagery in the Quran.

The cost of Scotland leaving the UK

2016/07/03

If Scotland leaves the UK and joins the EU it is likely that there will be trade barriers between Scotland and England. When considering the cost of that one should not make the mistake of focusing only on export. Scotland imports even more from England than they sell there, and being forced to impose tariffs on these imports would be very costly.

Hollow Crown: War of the Roses

2016/06/29

BBC has filmed Shakespeare’s tetralogy consisting of the three Henry VI plays and Richard III. Versions of Henry VI are not that common so I took the chance to order them.

Richard III is a frequently performed play and it is probably the main draw for this collection as well. There are large cuts in the Henry VI plays (who are condensed together into two episodes) with what remains focusing on the development of Richard’s character.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays him well, but I also felt that much was lost. There is much less of Talbot and Joan La Pucelle than one might expect and no Jack Cade or peasant rebellion at all. (Meaning they lose the most famous line in all of the Henry VI plays!)

The battle scenes (and there are plenty) clearly show budget limitations. The feuding armies consist of a dozen men each it seems. A more theatrical, non-realistic approach might have worked better or just reporting on the battles, instead of showing them. Court scenes are also limited in size but it is not so obvious, you would not necessarily expect a huge throng of on-lookers when the nobles have their arguments. Still, I would have preferred to see some more indications of the splendor of kingship so we see what everyone is fighting about.

All in all, I enjoyed the series but am unlikely to return to it many times.

On Brexit

2016/06/06

When I was visiting England a number of years ago I noticed they had commercials for shops on TV bragging that they only had British meat. Now in the rest of the world  British meat was not very popular at this point, and in fact probably barely legal to sell because of the Mad Cow disease.

The point of this story is that nationalism, in this case British nationalism, is a funny thing. I think that is relevant to the Brexit debate since it seems in large part to be driven by a nationalistic feeling that “we should make our own decisions”. As easy it is to sympathize with that, having laws made by British politicians instead of Europeans is not actually the same as making decisions yourself. I want to make the decisions that affect my own life, but to the extent that this not possible (or my fellow-voters won’t let me) I don’t necessarily care whether they are made by Swedish or European politicians. It is great to feel a connection to your countrymen, but it is just a feeling, you do not actually share a mystical bond or necessarily have common views or interests.

To be clear, there are good, valid arguments against UK being a member of the EU, but I think that without the nationalist bias most people would not consider them to outweigh the disadvantages of leaving. So my hope is that the majority of the British voters vote to stay.

 

 

About a golf club and feminism

2016/05/25

There has been a recent brouha about a golf club in Scotland, Muirfield, which has decided to not admit women members. A lot of people are upset about that decision and think it must reflect a misogynistic attitude. I am not upset about the decision and I don’t think it reflects a misogynistic attitude. I thought I would set down some of my thoughts on feminism and the freedom of association in this regard.

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The cultural appropriation that is Islam and Christianity

2016/05/10

I have been reading about the SJW madness that has gripped American college campuses and indeed larger society, and I am fascinated and horrified. Sweden is a society where there is far too much concern about equality and justice, but so far we have avoided most of the specific excesses that the social justice warriors in the US practice.

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How worried should we be about Muslims’ views?

2016/04/14

There have reporting on a survey that Channel 4 in England made about the views of British muslims. It has been read as providing a warning about the challenges of integrating Muslims. I do think there are worrying aspects of the poll, but there are also positive points. It should be noted that there have been some concerns raised about methodology, specifically that only Muslims living in areas with a large Muslim presence were polled. One would guess that this skews the result in a conservative direction but I am going to take them at face value in this post.

The data from the poll can be found here: ICM

Some results that have been given prominence are that 31% believe it is acceptable to have more than one wife, that 23% support the use of Sharia law, that 39% agree that wives should always obey their husbands and that only 18% that homosexuality should be legal (some neither agree nor disagree but over 50% disagree).

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Immigration and discrimination

2016/04/02

Trump has gotten a lot of press for his proposal to ban Muslims from entering America. There has also been a lot of outrage about it which I consider somewhat odd, given how immigration policy is usually set.

Immigration policy typically discriminates massively on the basis of what country you come from, as well as a host of other factors. People from poor countries for example have trouble getting visa to many places because it is feared they will become illegal immigrants, and if you happen to be a citizen of a state that is subject to international sanctions, well that is tough luck for you.

Given that discrimination on religion is surely not more wrong than discrimination on the basis of national origin I fail to see why people are so upset over Trump’s proposal unless they support open boarders.

“The Abominable Bride”

2016/01/24

I just watched the “Abominable Bride”, the special Christmas episode of Sherlock.  The episode starts of in the 19th century and it involves a bride who seems to have returned from the dead after committing suicide in order to commit a series of murders.

I liked it but not nearly as much as the Puzzle Doctor did. The remainder of the review will contain spoilers and started its life as a comment on the Puzzle Doctor’s blog.

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