Daily Archives: February 19, 2009

Links for Today

Things I’m reading:

On Project Runway being off the air: They Couldn’t Make It Work

Because at that point we were getting desperate. At that point we were realizing that, without “Project Runway’s” inane challenges to discuss (professional lady wrestlers? Seriously?), we literally had nothing to talk about with most of our co-workers. At that point we saw we had built entire relationships with people upon doing nothing but yelling “MAKE IT WORK!” across the cafeteria.

On the economic crisis: Laissez-Faire Capitalism Has Failed

There is the failure of ideas–such as the “efficient market hypothesis,” which deluded its believers about the absence of market failures such as asset bubbles; the “rational expectations” paradigm that clashes with the insights of behavioral economics and finance; and the “self-regulation of markets and institutions” that clashes with the classical agency problems in corporate governance–that are themselves exacerbated in financial companies by the greater degree of asymmetric information. For example, how can a chief executive or a board monitor the risk taking of thousands of separate profit and loss accounts? Then there are the distortions of compensation paid to bankers and traders.

On the prison system crisis: Five myths about prison growth dispelled

Given that, what’s the most cost-effective prison reform strategy? We need to stop admitting many minor offenders, even if they’re serving only short sentences. We need to focus less on high-profile drug statutes and more on the ways small-fry drug convictions cause later crimes to result in longer sentences. Once we start admitting fewer people to prison, we should shift money from prisons to police. If this seems like tinkering, rather than a sweeping fix, that’s because it is. See Myth No. 4: Reformers shouldn’t waste their breath trying to turn us into Europe.