viernes, 30 de enero de 2009


There's a war going on at Disciples of Diotima! Join the carnage!

Men: Yeah!
Women: I knew liking warrior princesses would come in handy someday.

Esta un conflicto en Disciples of Diotima. Vengan! Hablan! Ganan por muerte!

Hombres: Mas Bueno Che!
Mujeres: Pensia que me gusta reinas con weapones vaya necessario.

jueves, 29 de enero de 2009

Wage Discrimination?

In the context of an article about wage discrepancy laws, the Lincoln Journal Star recently contained a remark that said something like this: "According to the US Census Bureau, women earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by men doing equivalent jobs." The way the paper presented it, this looks like evidence of wage discrimination, but is it? Here's some reasons it might not be.

1. What is an "equivalent job?" Is being the chef at Grisanti's equivalent to being the waiter/waitress? It does not seem implausible that men would usually be in the higher up and better paying of two positions when two jobs that are really different are considered equivalent. Is a part time job equivalent to a full time job?

2. Does "equivalent job" mean "equivalent work?" It makes sense to pay women less if they do less work then the men on the same job for reasons of physical capacity. For example, if there are women construction workers, it would be plausible for them to statistically have a lower work output, and thus be paid less.

3. Do women, on average, earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by men on average? Or does American Womankind earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by the declined American male? If there are more working men and the study used the second option, wage discrimination would probably not exist.

4. It is possible (though unlikely) that men create a better "impression," either in their initial interview or in the workplace. I don't think that having a part of the wage be based on impression counts as discrimination.

5. Some employers (such as my grandfather) view women employees as relatively unreliable because they have to occasionally take off time at work to have children or take care of home/child matters. Just as risky mortgage applicants have to pay higher rates, risky employees would have to be paid lower wages.

6. Does the study take into account family-run businesses where a husband and wife work but only the husband counts as the one receiving the money?

7. Last, but not least, the Papal Encyclicals (and probably Chesterton's principles of subsidiarity as well) state that it is ideal if the family lives on one income, the father's and not the mothers, and if possible, companies should pay fathers enough so that mothers do not have to work. An employer with this view (which would not only be Catholic employers) would likely pay his women less. This is not discrimination.

My Research Paper

Here's a research paper I did on the conflict between Lebanon and Israel, if you want to learn more about the general Israel situation. I think that when you read it and then consider that the leaders of the middle east nations could be letting the people in the refugee camps that generate the Islamic radicalists that cause the problems assimilate into middle east nations nations but these leaders do not do so, you will begin to see why I commented the way I did on Don Pedro's post on Israel a few days ago.
Ever since sin entered the world, there have been conflicts between nations. One that has been highly publicized is the semi-perpetual state of tension between the nation of Israel and its Arabic neighbors. One country in particular that has had a rough relationship with Israel is Lebanon, the small nation directly to the north. At its root, this conflict is religious, and the situation would be alleviated by the increased spread of Christianity in Israel and Lebanon.
History of Lebanese Elements in the Israel-Lebanon Conflict
The Israel-Lebanon conflict actually started because of internal tension in Lebanon. Years ago, when Lebanon was formed from territory that was previously French, there was a slight majority of Christians (mostly Maronites) in the population. The constitution insured that there would be six Christian representatives for every five Moslem representatives, that the President would always be a Christian and that the Prime Minister would always be a Moslem. Although this system worked well for a time, the decrease in the Christian/Moslem ratio and the accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of the Christians resulted in an increase of tension. The two religions began to build up private militias to enforce their respective collective wills, eventually leading to all-out anarchy and civil war, with factions of Sunnis, Shiites, Druze, Maronites and others. At some point in their effort to “subjugate” the Christians, the Moslem factions allied with (by inviting to Lebanon) the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), an organization of exiled past inhabitants of the area that is now Israel. These people, in addition to being allies of the Moslem factions in Lebanon, were also determined to destroy the nation of Israel so that they could repossess their entire native land of Palestine. In addition to their anti-Christian activities, the PLO also carried out anti-Israeli activities. Although an invasion of Lebanon by Israel forced the PLO to leave Lebanon for a time, Israel and the United States were either unable or unwilling to stop the civil war. Eventually, the PLO returned to Lebanon and peace was established through a new constitution that included provisions for 50-50 (Moslem, Christian) distribution of seats in the Lebanese legislature (seen as an injustice by many Christians, although they comprised only 30% of the population). Today, Hamas (A Lebanese Islamic terrorist organization founded by Israel as a counterbalance to the PLO), and Hezbollah (a Lebanese Islamic terrorist organization founded by Shiite clerics and funded by Syria and Iran), carry out most of the anti-Israeli terrorism from Lebanon. Thus, the conflict between Israel and Lebanon has generally not been one of invasion and counter-invasion, but of terrorism inflicted by Lebanese Islamic groups on Israel’s population, infrastructure, and military establishments, followed by Israeli retaliation.
Why the Lebanese Internal Conflict is a Religious Conflict
Although economic elements may have played a role in the increase of tension in Lebanon and the strained relationship between Lebanon and Israel, the element that changed Lebanon from peaceful to chaotic was the religious element. While there are examples of people of different religions living peacefully together (such as the United States) and of people of one economic class ruling those of a lower economic class (such as the feudal system in the Middle Ages), the fact that both of these separations were in place in Lebanon simultaneously made the situation much more difficult. Because the Christians had all the influence in the government, due to the required 6/5 Christian-Muslim ratio in the Lebanese parliament, all the people of one religion and wealth class were put in power, despite the fact that the country, with its Moslem majority, masqueraded as a democracy. Religion aggravated a potential source of conflict: money. Religion also provided a means for the minority to take power from the majority, an action that would be perceived as an injustice in a democratic nation.
Why Christianity Would Alleviate the Situation
A Christian evangelization of Lebanon would have many beneficial affects on the situation in the area. Obviously, the spread of Christianity in Lebanon would mean the decrease of the Moslem portion of the population. Such a situation could decrease (and if carried out completely, eliminate) the civil strife in Lebanon because the Christians would no longer be all wealthy and disproportionately powerful, thus pacifying the religious-defined class conflict behind the main desire of the Moslem population to continue to support the PLO. A Christian Lebanese population would probably also cease to support the Hezbollah organization; founded as it is by Shiite clerics, it certainly has an Islamic, not a Christian agenda. With an official name like “Islamic Resistance Movement,” Hamas also would be likely to collapse if Lebanon became a Christian country. All three organizations would most likely weaken insofar as Christianity strengthened. Each of the three organizations that cause conflict between Israel and Lebanon would be likely to weaken or collapse and thus cause no conflict with Israel if Christianity were to be spread in Lebanon.
To understand fully how the conflict is a religious conflict, however, it is also necessary to understand why the groups in Lebanon have a conflict with Israel in the first place, and thus, to understand Israel’s history.
History of Israel side of Israel-Lebanon Conflict
Israel was founded in 1948 by British mandate as a home for Jews. Many of these Jews were Zionists, who were attached to the idea of a distinctly Jewish state for both the purpose of Jewish advancement and the avoidance of another Holocaust. Many other founders had other very Jewish agendas, such as the reunification of the Jewish Diaspora, the spiritual and cultural advancement of the Jewish people, and the hastening of the coming of the “Messiah.” They further thought that these agendas would be achieved through the founding of a Jewish state. After the state was founded, the Jews lived in a situation of tension with their neighbors and with the Palestinians who lived in or used to live in the area of Israel and who refused to assimilate into Israel’s population. In 1967, the Israelis launched a preemptive war against the Syrians, Jordanians and Egyptians, taking the Sinai peninsula, Old Jerusalem, and the West Bank (which holds the holy places of Judaism). However, these Jews were faced with a problem: they could not possess the entire Biblical land of Israel with out either losing their Jewish character to the Palestinians who would be voting along with the Jews or losing their democracy by tyrannically excluding the Palestinians from the voting process. Naturally, the native, conquered Palestinians in this area were displeased with their lot, launching the Intifada rebellion in 1987. The displaced Palestinians settled in many places, such as Lebanon. In Lebanon, they were (and 200,000 of them still are) kept landless in refugee camps, longing for their homeland because they have not assimilated into the Lebanese population. These refugees allow Hezbollah to work in Lebanon because they “destabilize” it. These same refugees also make up much of the PLO organization that contributes to both the Lebanon-Israel conflict and the Lebanese civil conflict. These conflicts have not ceased, despite the fact that Israel ceded all of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 and despite the fact that 70-80% of the West Bank is currently under Palestinian control.
Why the Israeli-Lebanese-Palestinian Conflict is a Religious Conflict
The Palestinians outside Israel have a quarrel with Israel’s very existence. Because Israel’s existence is a religious existence, this quarrel is a religious conflict. Additionally, there are other religious elements in the quarrel that Lebanese refugee Palestinians have with Israel. Lebanese Moslems use these Palestinians in their religious conflict with the Lebanese Christians in the manner outlined above. At the same time, both Israeli Jewish and Lebanese Moslem politicians use Hamas to create among the people religious and/or ethnic/patriotic rage against their enemies, and thus keep themselves in office. The Lebanon-Israel conflict has both religious roots and religious elements that exacerbate it even today.
Why Christianity Would Alleviate the Situation
A Christian evangelization of Israel would have many beneficial effects on the tense situation in the area. Because Israel would lose its identity as a Jewish state, the people would have nothing but ethnic and economic objections to the immigration and assimilation of 200,000+ Palestinians, thus giving homes to many of the refugees who make up a large portion of the PLO and destabilize Lebanon. Perhaps there would even be a reverse-assimilation, where the Israelis abandon the notion of Israel altogether and assimilate into some sort of Palestinian nation. Although some Christian denominations may pressure Israel to keep its Jewish identity, after Israelis realize certain Christian teachings, they ought to realize that the Jewish identity will not necessarily make them better Christians, but this identity will necessarily impede the spread of peace in the area. Israelis would be able to admit many more solutions to the Lebanon-Israeli conflict if they became Christian.
The Lebanon-Israel conflict is primarily a conflict of religious classes. While the Christians and Moslems fight for power in Lebanon because of its undemocratic religion-based democracy, the Jews and non-Jewish Palestinians (including those in Lebanon) fight for land by war and by terrorism in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel because Israel’s status as a Jewish state does not permit many refugee Palestinians to live in their ancestral homes. The spread of Christianity in Israel and Lebanon would weaken the lines and distinctions that separate and provoke the warring factions, thus crippling both their ability and their desire to fight each other. Although the Israel-Lebanon conflict may not be between the religion of Israel and the religion of Lebanon directly, it is a religious conflict nevertheless, and it requires a primarily religious solution.

miércoles, 28 de enero de 2009

el monetarismo

My fellow distributists do not talk a lot about monetary policy and do not understand why I simultaneously subscribe to both the monetarist and the distributist schools of economic thought. Here's the short of it: they both contain uncommon common sense. While I do not agree with Milton Friedman's radical political views, I believe his approach to monetary policy is the best one yet.

Monetarism is the simply idea that money should be money. Keynesians and supply siders focus on their pets projects which have the goal and making money somehow a magical cure all to the business cylce. I suspect that they countercyclical policy actually retards overall economic growth, but I have no proof of that. Now, money has 4 purposes:

1. a medium of exchange

2. a unit of value

3. a standard of deferred payment
4. a store of value

Now monetarists aim for a constant money growth target of about 3% greater than growth of GDP. This ensures that there will be no deflation, but very low inflation. Now, supply siders and Keynesians are always inflating or deflating the dollar insanely fast, erroding away its 3 of its 4 basic functions. While the function of medium of exchange is not usually affected, in cases of very bad activist decisions (à la Zimbabew), it can. As a unit of value, the contantly changing currency loses its efficieny and messese with everyone's interanal price regulators. Supply sider Bush inflated the dollar 20% during his administration, and I expect a similar amount from Keynesian Obama. As a standard of deferred payment, money fares even worse under our Keynesian/supply sider tyranny. Frankly, you never quite know how much the money you are going to receive will be worth, which distracts from productive efforts and engages a large part of the economy in speculating about policy/inflationary expectations, etc. And finally, as a store of value, considering that currencies are almost always inflating, just at varying rates, frequently currencies are not very good stores of value. While I have no problem with the monetarist constant low rate of inflation (which I imagine would encourage people to invest in capital and not just throw everything in a savings account or the like), the inflation we have with the Keynesians/supply siders creates dificulties with economic efficiency. Because monetarism proposes to keep money as money, I believe that it is the most logical of any current school of monetary policy.

martes, 27 de enero de 2009

Las Malvinas....

son argentinas! así ruge el cielo y ruge el mar

My friends on the Distributist Review whose way of thinking frequently escapes me, which is to be expected when you mix me with Latin teachers. I've never quite understood them. Anyways, they recently posted a passionate post about the need to return the land that is currently Isreal to the Palestinians. I will not pretend to be an expert on this conflict and I realidy admit I have utterly no idea what to do with the region or who is in the right, I would like to point out one point, which to me seems glaringly obvious.

When Britain invaded the Malvinas (referred to in the obscene tongue as the Falklands) and kicked the Argentineans out, Buenos Aires has but once attempted to use force to retrieve the islands in a misled move (te lo agradezco, señor Galtieri, pero no). Not a single British person died in the Argentinean invasion, and the Brits killed numerous Argentinean soldiers in rather shady ways. Regardless, Argentina has kept up a peaceful campaign for sovereignty for hundreds of years. What do we get from everyone? Nothing but apathy and support for the English. While I'm sure Isreal probably isn't exactly a defenseless lamb, the Palestineans wage guerilla warfare (the justice of this I will not dispute) for years and years. What do they get? Passionate cries for the return of Isreal to their hands. Why this inconsitency? Personally I blame it on partisan politics which pretty much consumes everyone is this country, including most "non-partisan" people. As a future member of the Partido Popular Democrático, I have absolutely no stake in the Democratic vs. Republican idiotic war. however, this still does not seem able to explain the entire situation. England and the U.S. have been committed to screwing Latin America since day one, and renewed their resolve in 1810. And no one cares. Surprisingly we Latinos still like the U.S. somewhat, and everyone is still to busy having cat-fights over Isreal vs. Palestine. But that's ok, because unlike everyone else, we always are just absolutely extatic, which is perhaps why everyone hates us so much. q la vida es un carnaval! y es más bello vivir cantando! =)

martes, 20 de enero de 2009

In Honor of our New President

As long as we are making fun of politicians here, why don't you visit this site:

in honor of our new President?

domingo, 18 de enero de 2009

Let's get it partisan in here

I just had an extremely fascetious conversation with a friend about how we were going to overthrow the U.S. government and elect only celebrities to the entire government. We are convinced that the Rihanna administration backed by the Oprah lead House and Ellen DeGeneres senate with the protection of Britney Spears (Department of National Security), Jessica Simpson (CIA), and Halle Berry (NSA) would do just as good as our government in general. And they might actually get something done, even if it is only painting the White House Bajan Lime green. Anyways, this prompted me to get partisan and systematically insult everyone in America. The following are stereotypes and are meant to be offensive. I imagine that in my Twain immitation today I'm going to tick everyone off. Excellent! We need some hot water - "it keeps us clean."


Libertarians: generally correct but unable to think about anything besides how much fewer taxes they could pay. And screw airport security, I want my Axe spray on my carry on and I want it NOW!

Republican partisans: Generally welmeaning individuals who shun the amazingly un-international American media and vote against whatever is currently popular. Stand up for life and human rights in any circumstance, unless the humans involved are Mexicans from Honduras, Brazil, and Argentina. Classically conditioned to interpret everything as government intervention

Republican Politicians: also generally welmeaning individuals who think that their job is to follow the Democrats off the side of the cliff and be sure to pay lip service to the abortion issue and hard talk those Mexicans from Argentina. Prone to hypocrasy, feeblemindeness, partisanship, corruption and the lot.

Democratic Partisans: Welmeaning people who seem to think that the Democratic party stands for something. Stupider but more reliable than Republicans. Classically conditioned to see inequality in everything, including the alphabet and graphing calculators.

Democratic Politicians - not welmeaning individuals who want to screw everyone to the greatest extent possible. For some unknown reason everybody loves them. Have all of the faults of the Republican party times a couple million.

The American Media - the worst aggregate on earth whose only job is to uneducate the American public by focusing more on Paris Hilton's DUI, Kate Hudson's new golf partner, and Obama's new dog than on international issues. Earth to the media: Africa and Latin America DO exist and it would be nice to hear about them every once in a while. And be sure to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of whatever the financial advisors tell you.

And everyone wonders why I'm moving to Latin America... =P

lunes, 12 de enero de 2009

Sol Y Viento

Do any of you know anything about the movie "Sol y Viento?" I have to watch it sometime in Spanish class and it seems to be of the anti-European sort.

miércoles, 7 de enero de 2009

The balanced trade part

I happen to be under the tutelage of one of the founders of the balanced trade movement. As such I feel that I should at least mention it once on this blog.

While my professor works out all of the intellectual kinks of the system, I wanted to address the more common sense part of the problem. Now there are generally considered to be two philosophies of international trade: free trade and protectionism. However, my professor points out that there are actually four. Free trade (U.S.), Protectionism (Argentina, I think), Mercantilism (China), and Balanced trade (which no country has yet been smart enough to adopt). Now, free trade is just if you leave everything alone, everything is just handy dandy. I think the law of entropy can speak for itself. Protectionism is a proven failure and in all reality is not even protectionism, it's political favoritism. Mercantilism purposely creates imbalances in trade, which do help the exporting country, but this system is absolutely doomed to failure in the long run.

Now balanced trade I think is most easily understood with an analogy to the microeconomic level. A household cannot continually but well above it's means, or eventually the creditors will come around. If income signfinies exports and expenditures imports, these two must eventually equal out. While a suplus of income would not be necessarily bad, it's sort of pointless if there are expenditures to match in some way (say putting in savings account, investmnet, rennovations, what have you). similarly a country cannot continually receive from the world more than it gives out. Now I realize that Warren Buffet's importation certificates plan seems like a weird thing for a Distributist, but personally I believe that if there in one instance of govenrment intervention which can help right now, it is importation certificates, not stimulus packages or whatever else the Bush/Obama people can dream up. Furthermore, the government has regulartory power over the economy, and this would be regulation, and the government also wouldn't be able to decide what is imported or not (like tariffs do). All it does is ensure that we have an exchange with the world, and that we're aren't getting stuffed like some spoiled child until we burst.

And of course, Shakespeare put the whole point into 1 line of blank verse
"Neither a lender nor a borrower be"