Archive for February, 2008

The financial cost of the war in Iraq

Nobelist Joseph Stiglitz and economics professor at Harvard Linda Bilmes have published a survey of the financial costs of the war in Iraq. Any guesses?

Well, their figure is US$ 3 Trillion. Of course, financial costs are far from all, but they do give some indication of priorities, of opportunity cost, that is: what could that money have bought instead?

Daniel Davies at Crooked Timber argues that it is not so much that the war cannot be afforded. It is, after all, a relatively smal share of the state budget of the US. The problem, again, is what could have been bought instead. Any suggestions?

Valentine’s Day: Yet another conspiracy!

Valentine’s Day is not important to me, irrelevant in fact and my girlfriend does not complain about it. I suppose that in order to ascribe a particular meaning and feeling to it, I should probably have grown up with it, which I haven’t since it is a relatively new tradition in Denmark. A strong factor explaining the rise of Valentine’s Day, I think it is safe to say, is the commercial value to be had by sellers of flowers, greeting cards and chocolate. But to call it a conspiracy probably is to go overboard. An example of going way overboard is reported by Patung at Indonesia Matters:

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Who buys this stuff?

Take a look at the picture below depicting the cultural revolutionists of China rosily in action, softened and eased by veils of history. The question is: Who buys this stuff? Answer below the fold.

Who buys this stuff?

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