Monthly Archives: April 2003

Wherefore art thou, capitalism?

Some folks are talking about this article by Anatole Kaletsky.

Right Thinking uses the article to seque into a look at the origin of Mayday.

Curveball thinks the article is right on.

au currant(who does not seem to have permalinks so page down to the next to last may 1 post) tells us that

Shopkeepers all over London were boarding up their windows and doors yesterday in anticipation of soapdodgers throwing a temper tantrum against The Man today

And Instapundit tells us “He’s right, of course,” when Kaletsky says

For if there is one social principle on which all economists, historians and politicians must now surely agree, it is that capitalism has done more than any other human construct to benefit working people around the world.

I kind of doubt that all those folks will agree with him on this. But they should. And the world might want to head on a straight line to capitalism and get rid of this statist cronyism that continues to be mislabeled as capitalism. Then the working people around the world will begin to see real benefits.

The Long and Short of Tariffs

The Progressive Policy Institute wonders about this:

Utterly mysterious fact: the United States seems to be the only country to discriminate by the “length” of silverware. If a fork is 27 centimeters or longer, the rate is 8.5% plus half a cent per fork; at 26.9 cm or less, it jumps to 15.8% plus nine-tenths of a cent per fork. Does anyone know why?

Do you know whether US tariffs are higher on gold plated silverware or stainless steel silverware? Read the rest of the article to find out.

Crossing the Canadian Border

We spent this past weekend in western Canada. It was very enjoyable and nearly all the people we interacted with were friendly and helpful (the one exception being the evening clerk at our hotel who seemed to be in a permanent snit). While IRAQ and SARS were prominent in the papers none of these folks intitiated conversations about them.
Some of you may be interested in the border crossing experience.
Heading into Canada at 5:45 AM Friday there was one lane open and the line was one car long at 5:45 AM Friday and the border guy way gruff but not rude. He asked the usual series of questions: nationality, where are you from, where are you headed, what for and how long. The car just before me had been pulled over for additional inspection and the border guy asked if I was related to any of the late teen/early twenty folks. I wasn’t and he waved me on without checking my documentation.
Returning to the US on Sunday at about 6:00 PM there were about 10 lanes open with the main road backed up only a couple 100 feet. The prescient driver stayed in the west lane because at the point where the line splits into the inspection lanes the lines ranging from 6-8 on the west side to 12-15 on the east side.
We observed both Canadian and US vehicles being searched: under vehicle, luggage compartment, inside containers and suitcases. To us there was nothing about these vehicle’s appearance that made them appear different. So the issue must have been the documentaion, the answers to the standard questions or some randomization tool.
When our turn came the border gal did take our passports and a birth certificate/driver’s license from the one person who did not have a passport. I do not remember that she actually looked at the passports but she did ask our rear seat passenger (w/o passport) to open the van door so she could see him visually. She again asked the usual questions for heading into the US: nationality, where do you live, where have you been, what were you doing, do you have anything to declare, do you have any fresh fruits, did anyone ask you to carry anything across the border for them, etc. She seemed particularly interested in citrus fruits and did not care about our apples and bananas. She waved us on without any additional searching.
Total time lost at the crossing: 20 minutes (I have seen it much worse). While waiting in the line we used to enjoy a nice view across the bay to the west. For over a year now empty train cars and an old engine have been parked blocking the view. I can think of no security reason to keep that junk there. Its removal would make this crossing a much more pleasant experience.


I’ll be away for the next 3 days and don’t expect to be able to spend much time in the blogosphere. If I post at all at will be short. See ya’ll on Monday.