Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Examples of Mis-Guided Social Engineering

That last post got me warmed up. Some more examples of mis-guided, government-sponsored social engineering that spring to mind:

  • Locations of the campuses of the State University of New York (aka, SUNY), So many of them are in godforsaken corners of the state: Fredonia, Oswego, Oneonta. I don't know for sure, but it sure feels like that was someone's (Rockefeller-era?) idea of a way to spread the wealth.
  • There is a trend to putting prisons in rural areas. Yes, there is some justification, in that land and labor is probably cheaper. But separating prisoners from family members seems very much at odds with any hope of rehabilitation.
  • Special economic zones for depressed areas. This is really just the general case of the last post. State governments will commonly provide tax incentives for companies to relocate to depressed areas within the state. The tax incentives don't last forever, of course. So most likely, what you get for a 5-year tax incentive is creation of some job, a number of which are filled by people who relocate to the depressed area. Then when the 5 years are up, nothing about the area is any more intrinsically appealing than it was before, so the employer shuts down. But now they have dragged even a few more people to the depressed area, actually making the local unemployment problem worse.

Social Engineering Is and Ever WIll Be A Big Fat Fail

In President Obama's State of the Union this month, he proposed the creation of hubs for manufacturing research. It seems the idea is to revitalize decimated cities and geographies, such as  Detroit and Youngstown, OH, by setting up research hubs dedicated to developing super-high-tech manufacturing. This kind of thing just doesn't work. Government incentives can't make people--especially the kind of upwardly mobile people who are likely to invent the future of anything--live in places they don't want to live. It's a waste and a boondoggle.

Opposing wishful thinking like this is the job of true conservatives.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jargonwatch: Stink Eye

I don't really like this phrase...for one thing, it doesn't really make sense: "stink" does not go with "eye". Here is the Urban Dictionary take on it.

Church music

Barbara Nicolosi: "The idea of beautiful as something that we should aspire to every time we sit down to create – that’s gone. I go to the 10 o’clock Mass in my parish watching 1,500 people groaning because it’s such bad music. It’s not that they’re not doing music anymore, it’s just they’re doing it badly...A lot of church drama, skits, what passes for literature intended for the Christian audience, is banal at best."

Amazon needs to do some advertising

I think Amazon needs a mass-media ad campaign. In particular, they should promote the more mundane items that they carry--packaged foods, health & beauty aids, stuff you normally might get at Wal-Mart. I buy a lot of this kind of stuff at Amazon. Not strictly for price, though it is usually very competitive. But also for convenience. Instead of having to put it on my Wal-Mart list, then hope I remember when I got there for my monthly shopping spree--I just put it in my car, now. It gets ordered as soon as I hit the low, low $25 threshold for Super Saver Shipping.

Another thing they can promote are the benefits of their reviews. Never buy a consumer durable without getting a virtual test-drive, courtesy of the reviews.