Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Am I Hot or Not: Immigrants

I've been reading some interesting posts on immigration like this one, and I got jealous. I figured we should start our own incredibly controversial thread on the topic.

Is Immigration Good or Bad for America?
It's possible immigrants take jobs Americans are eager to perform, increasing our unemployment. But this picture is incomplete. It only looks at Americans at work, and ignores them at the store.

Suppose open immigration meant 10,000 Americans lost their 25k/yr jobs. But prices decrease by $1 on some essential item, any product 50 million Americans buy at least once a month. The country's collective pocketbook has lost 250m in salaries, but saved 600m on an needed good.

If you're worried about moving money around from workers to consumers like this, we could tax the cheaper goods and provide better unemployment benefits. A fifty cent tax on these items would return the salaries to those Americans who lost their jobs while still putting cheaper food on their dinner table, and giving me a $50m bonus without anyone noticing.

Even if these numbers aren't realistic, I'm not sure we help anyone by insulating them from competition. Adam Smith pointed this folly out a long time ago.

How Should We Enforce Our Immigration Policy?
Whatever the democratic decision is on (1) after all the data is in, we should enforce our laws as if we believe in them. So while I support more open immigration policies (tied to better unemployment benefits), I'm not offended by some of the protectionists' ideas for tougher border controls.

I recommend we stop deportations back to Mexico, and begin deporting directly to Canada.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It's Just Not Cool Any More

With ETA proposing a permanent cease-fire, the Red Brigade not having shown up for a long time, HAMAS getting legitimacy... what is happening to traditional terrorist movements?

My guess is that for more moderate viewpoints - which excludes HAMAS - terrorism doesn't engender sympathy or funding like it may have in the past. There is certainly not the same precedent of negotiating demands. We might be seeing the end of the Cold War era terrorist groups.

Thoughts? Predictions? Disagreements with mine?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

State of the Blog

Its been six months since the inception of this blog, and as moderator I thought we should open the blog up for editorial comment. I ask all readers and contributors to please comment on the nature of Theory Bloc, and how you believe it should evolve from this point.

Initially, the idea was to have a forum where people could speak on a range of different social issues freely, without concern for flaming or other generally negative forms of discourse. Posting recently has been low, and several contributors have not posted nor commented at all. Are there any thoughts as to contributors and their contributions? Part of me wishes to trim the list of contributors down, but some people may not have had topics come up that they wish to comment upon. As per the design of Blogger, anyone can view and comment on Theory Bloc, so keep that in mind.

Please give your thoughts about how this blog should change, and things you wish to keep the same. As usual democracy rules, with exceptions being made for vocal minorities.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Not just another bull crap post

Japanese scientists have found a way to change cow dung into gasoline. Using heat and pressure, the scientists were able to change 3.5 ounces of cow dung into .042 ounces of gasoline. While this sounds like a tremendously low amount of gasoline, especially for a country with as little arable land as Japan, my wife and I have calculated (without doublechecking mind you) that this amounts to 1.6 gallons of gasoline per year just from Japanese cow waste.

While this would not help as an effective greenhouse gas alternative, It would create the ability for us to lower energy costs. Finally putting trash to actual use is a good first step! Thoughts?