Wednesday, October 31

Be Wary of Creating Centralized Power

Milton Friedman (via Coyote Blog)
The error of believing that the behavior of the social organism can be shaped at will is widespread. It is the fundamental error of most so-called reformers. It explains why they so often feel that the fault lies in the man, not the "system"; that the way to solve problems is to "turn the rascals out" and put well-meaning people in charge. It explains why their reforms, when ostensibly achieved, so often go astray.

Tuesday, October 30


Fernando M. TreviƱo's web page at SIUC does not list his publications mentioned earlier; does that say something about SIUC?

Hilsenrath P, Trevino FM, Singh K. An Institutional Retrospective on South African and American Health Sectors. Journal of the Academy of Business and Economics. 1905 Jun; 2(2): .

Carrillo JE, Trevino FM, Betancourt JR, Coustasse A. Latino Access to Health Care: The Role of Insurance, Managed Care, and Institutional Barriers. Health Issues in the Latino Community. 1905 Jun; (): .

. Quality of Health Care for Ethnic/Racial Minority Populations. Ethnicity and Health. 1905 Jun; 4(3): .

Trevino FM. Quality of Health Care for Ethnic/Racial Minority Populations. Ethnicity and Health. 1905 Jun; 4(3): .


“Illegal” is accurate insofar as it describes a person’s immigration status. About 60 percent of the people it applies to entered the country unlawfully. The rest are those who entered legally but did not leave when they were supposed to.


We are stuck with a bogus, deceptive strategy — a 700-mile fence on a 2,000-mile border to stop a fraction of border crossers who are only 60 percent of the problem anyway, and scattershot raids to capture a few thousand members of a group of 12 million.

None of those enforcement policies have a trace of honesty or realism. At least they don’t reward illegals, and that, for now, is all this country wants.

The irrational clustering of political beliefs

For most people, a lot of their beliefs are consumption goods. The irrational clustering of political beliefs--there is no logical reason that one's views on abortion should be so tightly correlated with one's view on business regulation or nationalized health care--indicate that there is a very strong social component to the formation of allegedly principled beliefs. The anger with which opposing views are met, and the in-group/out-group social dynamic of most political debate, suggest that for most of us, fitting in with our friends and feeling good about ourselves are at least as strong a component of belief formation as careful reasoning from first principles.

Yep. Both the Democrats and Republicans are full of it.

Monday, October 15


From China's One-Child Mistake by Nicholas Eberstadt:
In Beijing, Shanghai and other parts of China, extreme sub-replacement fertility has already been in effect for over a generation. If this continues for another generation, we will see the emergence of a new norm: a "4-2-1 family" composed of four grandparents, but only two children, and just one grandchild. The children in these new family structures will have no brothers or sisters, no uncles or aunts, and no cousins. Their only blood relatives will be their ancestors.

It is no secret that China is already a "low trust society": Personal and business transactions still rely heavily upon guanxi, the network of personal relations largely demarcated by family ties. What exactly will provide the "social capital" to undergird commercial and economic development in a future China where "families" are, increasingly, little more than atomized households and isolated individuals?

One final consequence of China's population-control program requires comment: the eerie, unnatural and increasingly extreme imbalance between baby boys and baby girls. Under normal circumstances, about 103 to 105 baby boys are born for every 100 baby girls. Shortly after the advent of the one-child policy, however, China began reporting biologically impossible disparities between boys and girls--and the imbalance has only continued to rise. Today China reports 123 baby boys for every 100 girls.

Over the coming generation, those same little boys and girls will grow up to be prospective brides and grooms. One need not be a demographer to see from these numbers the massive imbalance in the "marriage market" in a generation, or less. How will China cope with the sudden and very rapid emergence of tens of millions of essentially unmarriageable young men?

All of these problems just described are directly associated with involuntary population control. Scrapping this restrictive birth-control policy would surely ease China's incipient aging crisis, its looming family-structure problems and its worrisome gender imbalances. Some in China's leadership may worry that the end of the one-child policy might mean the return to the five-child family--but in reality, modern China is most unlikely to return to pre-industrial fertility norms.