An Agnostic Manifesto. Ron Rosenbaum, Slate. An irreligious reply to the New Atheists. “At least we know what we don’t know.” (Missed this first time round. Thanks to A&L for the pointer.)
Hysteresis makes a comeback. Tim Duy, Fed Watch. The danger that high unemployment is self-sustaining. See also Fed urged to adopt aggressive easing by Robin Harding in the FT.
Where we stand on Basel III. Douglas Elliott, Brookings. (Read alongside his primer on the Basel talks.) “Overall, the news is good…” The banks seem to agree. Elliott is more generous than I would be, but let’s see the capital ratios.
Too many laws, too many prisoners. The Economist. An eye-opening look at America’s harsh, dysfunctional, and potentially tyrannical system of criminal justice. The essay by Alex Kozinski referenced in the article — “You’re (Probably) a Federal Criminal” – is worth seeking out in this excellent Cato volume.
Decades ago I worked in the British civil service. I remember a colleague once got into trouble when security guards, patrolling the office one night, found he had left a secret paper on his desk. To be exact it was a single empty page — a blank continuation sheet, stamped “secret”. The guards, following procedure, had recorded a “breach”, and sealed the room. (The stray page was not from a document about biological weapons or terrorist cells, by the way. It had fallen out of a note about monetary aggregates, or some dull thing. Even the pages it belonged with, the ones with text on them, said nothing sensitive.)
Governments are so routinely intent on withholding information that one wants to cheer whenever somebody leaks a stash of material. But I had mixed feelings about the WikiLeaks archive from the beginning, and nothing I have read in it or about it has made me feel any more comfortable.