9,545 research outputs found

    Unfolding the Allegory behind Market Communication and Social Error and Correction

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    One aspect of the present paper is to draw out the Adam Smith in Friedrich Hayek. I suggest that common economic talk of market communication, market error and correction, and policy error and correction invokes a spectatorial being and appeals to our sympathy with such being. Behind such common economic talk, I suggest, are implicit allegories wherein an allegorical figure runs a system of superior knowledge, communication, and voluntary cooperation. Theoretical discussions of social error invoke the notion of agent error applied to the allegorical being. Similarly, theoretical talk of social correction invokes the notion of agent correction applied to the allegorical being. The allegory behind such talk is vital and necessary because without it the talk of social or market communication, error, and correction cannot be sustained. Unfolding the allegory clarifies the meaning, limitations, and value of such talk. Making what had been implicit explicit helps economists to avoid overstating their generalizations or making those generalizations sound more precise and accurate than they are. Meanwhile, scholars have pointed out that spectating impartially involves something of a paradox – distant-closeness, or cool-warmth. Concurring, I explore the connections between the features of the allegorical being and the doings of the economic agents. I suggest that the cogency of such theorizing depends on such correspondences, and that they are matters of culture, of both the context within which the theorizing is done and of the context theorized about.Market communication; price system; error; correction; coordination; Adam Smith; Friedrich Hayek; impartial spectator; invisible hand

    Generating Natural Language from Linked Data:Unsupervised template extraction

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    We propose an architecture for generating natural language from Linked Data that automatically learns sentence templates and statistical document planning from parallel RDF datasets and text. We have built a proof-of-concept system (LOD-DEF) trained on un-annotated text from the Simple English Wikipedia and RDF triples from DBpedia, focusing exclusively on factual, non-temporal information. The goal of the system is to generate short descriptions, equivalent to Wikipedia stubs, of entities found in Linked Datasets. We have evaluated the LOD-DEF system against a simple generate-from-triples baseline and human-generated output. In evaluation by humans, LOD-DEF significantly outperforms the baseline on two of three measures: non-redundancy and structure and coherence.

    Resorting to Statism to Find Meaning:Conservatism and Leftism

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    The paper develops the idea of configuration of ownership to distinguish three primary political ideologies: (classical) liberalism, conservatism, and leftism. The liberal configuration is atomistic in its recognition of owners and ownership claims; it conforms closely to Adam Smith’s “commutative justice,” which Smith represented as a sort of social grammar. The conservative configuration also strives for a social grammar, but it counts among the set of owners certain spirit-lords such as God and Patria. The liberal and conservative configurations become isomorphic if and only if the ownership claims of the conservative spirit-lords are reduced to nothing. The left configuration ascribes fundamental ownership of resources to the people, the state, and sees laws as organizational house-rules into which one enters voluntary by choosing to remain within the polity; the type of justice that pertains is parallel to Smith’s “distributive justice,” which Smith associated with aspirational rules for achieving beauty in composition. The scheme illuminates why the left’s conception of liberty consists in civil liberties. The formulation of configurations is used to interpret the semantics of the three primary ideologies. Meanwhile, it is noted that actually existing parties and movements are admixtures of the three primary ideologies. For example, what makes Republicanism “conservative” is that it is relatively conservative; it by no means thoroughly or consistently rejects the precept of collective ownership by the polity.ownership; justice; liberalism; statism; conservatism; leftism;

    Free Parking versus Free Markets: A Review Essay on Donald Shoup’s The High Cost of Free Parking

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    Donald Shoup has written a massive tome on parking. This essay summarizes the key insights, evaluates the contribution, and interprets Shoup’s work as a form of strategic writing.Parking; parking requirements; curb parking; parking benefit district; privatization; decontrol; spontaneous order; esoteric writing; strategic writing

    From Weight Watchers to State Watchers: Towards a Narrative of Liberalism

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    Alan Kahan’s Mind vs. Money: The War between Intellectuals and Capitalism (Transaction Publishers, 2010) treats intellectuals as a class, and tells of intellectuals’ yearning to play the role of cleric and of aristocrat. Kahan says that intellectuals are necessarily alienated from “capitalism.” In this essay I discuss Kahan’s erudite and insightful – though sometimes exasperating – work, and I take the opportunity to develop some ideas on the topic, ideas in line with Hayek’s thought.Intellectuals; capitalism; liberalism; statism; Hayek

    In Defense of Dwelling in Great Minds: A Few Quotations from Michael Polanyi’s The Study of Man

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    It seems like a small and perhaps shrinking minority of economists know reverence of individual figures. Most economists seem to be without heroes, and sometimes disparage reverence as cultish idolatry. Here I collect from Michael Polanyi’s The Study of Man (1959) a few passages that eloquently suggest that “we need reverence to perceive greatness, even as we need a telescope to observe spiral nebulae.” The selection is made in the defense of seeking out and communing with great minds.greatness; reverence; heroes; calling

    Do Off-Label Drug Practices Argue Against FDA Efficacy Requirements? Testing an Argument by Structured Conversations with Experts

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    The Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 with amendments in 1962 is inconsistent regarding FDA certification of a drug’s efficacy. The act requires efficacy certification for the drug’s initial (“on-label”) uses, but does not require certification before physicians may prescribe for subsequent (“off-label”) uses. Are there good reasons for this inconsistency? Using a sequential online survey we carried on a “virtual conversation” with some 500 physicians. The survey asked whether efficacy requirements should be imposed on off-label uses, and almost all physicians said no. It asked whether the efficacy requirements for initial uses should be dropped, and most said no. We then gently challenged respondents asking them whether opposing efficacy requirements in one case but not the other involved an inconsistency. In response to this challenge we received hundreds of written commentaries. This investigation taps the specialized knowledge of hundreds of physicians and organizes their insights into challenges to the consistency argument. Thus, it employs a method of structured conversations with experts to test the merit of an argument. Is the consistency argument a case of “foolish consistency,” or does it hold up even under scrutiny?Food and Drug Administration; drug approval; efficacy requirements; off-label uses; on-label uses; certification; liberalization

    America’s Toll Roads Heritage: The Achievements of Private Initiative in the 19th Century

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    Private toll roads shaped and accommodated trade and migration routes, leaving social and political imprints on the communities that debated and supported them. Private road building came and went in waves throughout the 19th century and across the country. All told, between 2,500 and 3,200 companies successfully financed, built, and operated their toll road. Although most of these roads operated for only a fraction of the 100+ period, the combined mileage of private toll roads that operated at any point in time would be in range of 30,000 to 52,000 miles. The paper explores the character, methods, and purposes of the private toll roads, and draws lessons for the privatization of highways today.toll roads; turnpikes; plank roads; privatization; free riding; regulation
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