Monday, December 26, 2005

The Sun Rises From the East

Came across this article from Der Spiegel. It's about Eastern European tigers who entered the EU in 2004 (via Pekka Nykanen & EU Rota).

All across the old Europe, unemployment rates are high, close to or above 10%, GDP growth is weak (Finland, around 2%, Germany, less than 2%) and people have less money to consume (high price level meets high taxes). The same can't be said about our Eastern friends, the so called "emerging markets", who entered the EU last year. Flat tax rate and more flexible labor markets are creating dynamic economic growth and unemployment rates are dropping along with corruption, which has plagued the Eastern Europe ever since Communism was forced upon them by Stalin.

This, the economic growth of Eastern Europe, is a great thing since it will set an example for the rest of us, for the so called "welfare" states in Scandinavia and Western Europe. The answer to our continuing problems is not that far away. One doesn't have to look all the way to the United States anymore to learn how to create a dynamic economy.

In East, Labor unions have not yet gained much ground, mostly because people are still sceptic of them. The unions worked as weapons of Soviet propaganda back in the days of Communism. At this point, labor unions could only stagnate the economical growth.

In the midst of all this is Russia, the shithole of the world. Corrupt and oppressed, run by former communists and KGB men, Russia has failed pretty much in every respect. Last week the Duma approved a legislation which severely restricts the rights and freedoms of non governmental organizations (NGOs). In Russia, starting a business is a pain in the butt, a process which takes time, extra money and extra motivation. Belarus is another example of a country that's heading toward its own failure.

And no - there isn't going to be any "mass migration" to Old Europe. Business is good - why would these people, the Eastern Europeans, leave their countries?

A lot remains to be done. There's still a lot of corruption, poverty, restrictions and unemployment, but they're definitely moving in the right direction, unlike the Old Europe.

"In the next 10 years, the gap between per capita incomes in the old and new EU member states will progressively close," forecasts Andreas Polkowski of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA). "Some regions may even overtake us."

Merry Christmas!

Links: EU Rota, Der Spiegel,

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Die "Intelligent Design", DIE!

The battle over Intelligent Design in Dover, Pennsylvania, is over.

"A Pennsylvania school district cannot mention the concept of intelligent design in its biology classes, a federal judge has ruled. "We have concluded that it is not [science], and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents," said U.S. District Judge John Jones." (CNN.COM)

"The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID [intelligent design] is nothing less than the progeny of creationism," wrote U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III. (FoxNews)

Discovery Institute's response:
"The Dover decision is an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate, and it won't work," -Dr. John West

An activist federal judge? The Judge already responded to this accusation in his ruling:
"Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist court,"

America might be full of religious fools but at least their system works and is well able to fix its own mistakes. Dover school board members, the ones who voted to include ID into school curriculums, got kicked out a few months back.

More good stuff at

Check my previous posts on the subject here and here.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Down Down WTO"

"On Tuesday, several dozen protesters clashed with police after a street march that drew about 4,500 people, police said. The protesters — mainly South Korean farmers — said they fear they will not be able to compete if their domestic agricultural markets are opened up under a WTO treaty." (FoxNews)

That's just too bad for them, yet this behavior is extremely selfish. The left portrays these riots as anti-poverty or anti-globalization demonstrations but the point seems to be in protecting domestic products from evil 3rd world competitors. This is the situation in the EU where most of the agricultural subsidies go to big farms (which don't need them) and to Queen Elisabeth. Then these farmers and land owners are able to produce surpluses and sell them at a very low price (lower than their would-be free-market value) against which the 3rd world farmers can't compete. Artificial barriers, tariffs and policies create problems.

"The extremely useful web site shows the real beneficiaries of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). In all countries, it is big businesses like Nestle, Cadbury, Arla and people like Queen Elisabeth and Prince Charles. Not really the typical family farm." (JohanNorberg)

Also, these people (the farmers, their supporters and anti-globalists) don't understand the shift that's taking place here. A few centuries ago people started to move from agriculture to industry and industry is now turning more and more into services. It's all about comparative advantage. The poorest countries gladly produce and export agricultural and manufactured goods for us while we create new technology and provide the best services, research, new innovations and hi-tech.

So, if the South Korean farmers lose their jobs because of globalization that's only a good thing and a sign of that things are moving in the right direction. Countries with economies that are unable to adapt are doomed.

Don't blame me if I missed the message these anti-globalists (you know - the "WTO sucks", "Capitalism is boring" -crowd) are supposed to carry. When I turned on my tv to watch Euronews all I could see was a bunch of teenagers attacking the police with some sort of bamboo sticks. Should we take these people seriously? Only a fool would.

"That these people parade themselves as the friends of the poor merely demonstrates how self-deluding people can be. With friends like these, the poor of the world need no enemies." -Martin Wolf

More on subsidies:
-The Guardian
-The Globalisation Institute


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It's not all fire and brimstones in Iraq

BBC.CO.UK just released a survey indicating that the Iraqis have a bit more positive idea about the future of their country than the rest of the world (excluding George Bush and me) does:

"An opinion poll suggests Iraqis are generally optimistic about their lives, in spite of the violence that has plagued Iraq since the US-led invasion.

Although most Iraqis were optimistic about the future, the poll found significant regional variations in responses.

In central Iraq respondents were far less optimistic about the situation in one year's time than those in Baghdad, the south and north.

The BBC News website's World Affairs correspondent, Paul Reynolds, says the survey shows a degree of optimism at variance with the usual depiction of the country as one in total chaos.

The findings are more in line with the kind of arguments currently being deployed by US President George W Bush, he says.

Interviewers found that 71% of those questioned said things were currently very or quite good in their personal lives, while 29% found their lives very or quite bad.

When asked whether their lives would improve in the coming year, 64% said things would be better and 12% said they expected things to be worse

However, Iraqis appear to have a more negative view of the overall situation in their country, with 53% answering that the situation is bad, and 44% saying it is good.

But they were more hopeful for the future - 69% expect Iraq to improve, while 11% say it will worsen."

The survey also reveals what the Iraqis think the new government (to be formed) should have as its priorities: Improving security, getting foreign troops out and rebuilding the infrastructure. Support for democracy has increased while support for political parties remains low.

Senator Lieberman (a Connecticut Democrat and an idiot who opposes violent video games) also sheds some light on what's going on:

"Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress." Via Fred Fry International

More at BBC.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Violent crime in American cities

I've been going through some violent crime statistics and made this list showing the number of homicides in some of the biggest American cities. The numbers below the city names are the total population of the city in question (metropolitan areas not included), the amount of homicides and the amount of homicides per 100 000.

-Camden (New Jersey):
80 000, 49 homicides, 61/100 000
-New Orleans (Louisiana):
500 000, 265 homicides, 53/100 000
-Detroit (Michigan):
900 000, 384 homicides 42/100 000
-Washington DC:
560 000, 198 homicides, 35/100 000
-Atlanta (Georgia):
420 000, 112 homicides, 26/100 000
-Philadelphia (Pennsylvania):
1 500 000, 330 homicides, 22/100 000
-Miami (Florida):
380 000, 69 homicides, 18/100 000
-Phoenix (Arizona):
1 300 000, 202 homicides, 16/100 000
-Memphis (Tennessee):
650 000, 105 homicides, 16/100 000
-Chicago (Illinois):
2 900 000, 448 homicides 15/100 000
-Houston (Texas):
2 000 000, 272 homicides, 14/100 000
-Los Angeles (California):
3 700 000, 518 homicides, 14/100 000
-Boston (Massachusetts):
590 000, 61 homicides, 10/100 000
-Jersey City (New Jersey):
240 000, 23 homicides, 10/100 000
-San Francisco (California):
750 000, 67 homicides, 9/100 000
-New York (New York):
8 200 000, 572 homicides, 7/100 000
-Honolulu (Hawaii):
370 000, 26 homicides, 7/100 000
-Anaheim (California):
330 000, 10 homicides, 3/100 000

National homicide average is 5.5 per 100 000 (Japan 1, the UK 2, Finland 3, Russia 20).

There's a correlation between race and exceptionally high violent crime levels. The most violent cities; Camden, Washington DC, Detroit, New Orleans and Atlanta all have black majorities. Most of the crime occurs in specific neighborhoods, not all around the city. This could lead back to the days of segregation when all-black neighborhoods were built, artificially, and drug markets started to concentrate on specific black neighborhoods. Partial legalization of drugs could help move the markets off these neighborhoods.

Some cities, such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have greatly reduced violent crime rates during the past fifteen years. New York reduced homicides (along with other violent and non-violent crime) by 75% during that period (and is now the safest big city in the United States). This has been due to improved crime-fighting techniques, brought on by the NYPD, later adopted by police departments in Los Angeles and Chicago. Gentrification has also played a keyrole in transforming violent neighborhoods.

-"AreaConnect" webpage lists homicides for each city. Type http://"cityname" For example, if you wish to see crime statistics for Detroit, type:
-Also check Wikipedia for general city information.
-Official statistics are available at State Police Department websites. Go to Google and type "Detroit Police Department" or "Detroit Police Department Statistics".