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Assorted Links

August 30, 2011

1. A quite enjoyable hour and a half advertisement for Frito Lay potato chips.

2. I agree that Star Wars, especially episode 3 is highly underrated as political commentary.

“You sort of see these recurring themes where a democracy turns itself into a dictatorship, and it always seems to happen kind of in the same way, with the same kinds of issues, and threats from the outside, needing more control. A democratic body, a senate, not being able to function properly because everybody’s squabbling, there’s corruption.”

“All democracies turn into dictatorships–but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it’s Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea. What kinds of things push people and institutions in this direction? That’s the issue I’ve been exploring: how did the Republic turn into the Empire?…How does a good person go bad, and how does a democracy become a dictatorship?” – George Lucas

Keep in mind that the Jedi are the ones controlling the narrative. How would the whole story look if the Sith controlled the story-telling and dressed in white?

3. Why are we nice to strangers? Or at least, why and how did market interactions ever form? For various sized groups, people can use dominance, trade or close bonds to resolve disputes, limited by Dunbar’s number and institutional constraints. I think the biggest moral story economists have to tell is how trade can displace dominance, but people focus almost exclusively on the trade vs. close bonds angle.

4. Who is really a parasite? (Hint: Do people have to be forced to pay for it?)

5. North Korea is the greatest tragedy of our time.

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