Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, January 14, 2022

Notable Commentary

Image by Mufid Majnun, via Unsplash, license.
"Trusted messengers, in familiar settings, are key to moving the needle on vaccination rates." -- Amesh Adalja, in "With Child Vaccines, We Enter a New Phase of COVID-19 Pandemic" (The Hill)

"In the context of Omicron, it's worth considering how original antigenic sin factors into discussions of boosting young, healthy adults with the current COVID-19 vaccines." -- Amesh Adalja, in "Don't Jump the Gun on Boosting All Adults" (Medpage Today)

"It's important to emphasize, considering widespread disinformation from the anti-vaccine movement, that there is no 'antigen overload' risk with combination vaccines." -- Amesh Adalja, in "The Technological Marvel of Combination Vaccines" (Medpage Today)

"[T]oo many public health officials issued pronouncements without adequately conveying the lack of certainty." -- Paul Hsieh, in "How Public Health Officials Have Lost Many Americans' Trust, and How They Can Regain It" (Forbes)

"Without property rights securing the fruits of these high-risk, high-cost labors, medical miracles won't happen." -- Adam Mossoff, in "Waiving Vaccine Patents Would Imperil Public Health" (The Virginian-Pilot)

"As a matter of moral principle, there is no difference between the farmer who labors for a year to create crops to sell in the market -- armed with the knowledge that the fruits of his labors will be secured to him as his property -- and the scientists, engineers, and physicians who engage in inventive labors for years knowing that patents will secure the fruits of their productive labors." -- Adam Mossoff, in "Pandemics, Patents, and Price Controls" (PDF, Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum 285, 2021)

"President Washington's deeds and Madison's words speak volumes about the original understanding of patents and copyrights in the Founding Era: They were property rights and deserved the same legal and constitutional protections afforded all other property rights." -- Adam Mossoff, in "The Constitutional Protection of Intellectual Property" (PDF, Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum 282, 2021)

"When government funds a particular scientific viewpoint, it is establishing it unfairly." -- Raymond Niles, in "Wuhan Lab Controversy Illustrates How Government Funding Throttles Scientific Integrity" (The American Institute for Economic Research)

"Undoubtedly, the Trump-started and Biden-continued trade war with the Chinese has disrupted global supply chains and contributed to worldwide shortages and shipping disruptions." -- Raymond Niles, in "Hostility to Free Trade Is Now Officially Bipartisan" (The American Institute for Economic Research)

"The Power to debauch the money is the Power of the One Ring." -- Keith Weiner, in "What Trick did Tricky Dicky Pull 50 Years Ago Today? " (SNB & CHF)

"The prices of commodities, and manufactured goods alike, have been rising due to non-monetary forces." -- Keith Weiner, in "Why Isn't Gold Going Up with Inflation?" (SNB & CHF)

-- CAV


Dinwar said...

I'm still somewhat on the fence with regard to government funding of science. One legitimate role of government is the military, and in a technological world advanced weapons are a necessity to maintain superiority over our enemies. I mean, Russian and China, to say nothing of Iran, aren't going to stop looking for ways to kill us with nuclear power, lasers, space-based weapons, and the like, and it would be an egregious abnegation of their role for our government to not find ways to counter these. This involves funding cutting-edge research, which means favoring certain scientific interpretations over others within the scientific community.

In a free society this wouldn't be as big an issue--the military wouldn't absorb so much productive effort (ie, wouldn't be as big a hunk of the economy), so dissenting views would have opportunities for other funding. But we live in a semi-free society at best, which complicates the issue. Ultimately I know there's a line somewhere, I'm just not entirely certain where that line is.

I'm also a fan of NASA. I know space exploration isn't a legitimate role of government (again, outside the necessity of military operations), but like Rand, I take the view that if we must do something improper let's do something spectacular. If my money's going to be stolen from me I want to at least see it used for something that emphasizes the nobility of the human spirit! I can see an argument being made for NASA kicking down the doors to space exploration and allowing private companies to come in behind them as well. Fortunately NASA is mostly engineering. That's not to downplay their accomplishments, particularly those of the past and (hopefully) those coming; it's just that there's far less controversy, since engineering tends to rely on established facts and well-tested ideas. Not many people argue against the equations involved in rocketry, or the physics of thermal stress in metal.

SteveD said...

WRT the Keith Weiner article, my understanding is that inflation is 'too much money chasing too few goods' This means inflation is determined by the ratio between the supply and demand for goods vs. the supply and demand for money.

There is a sense in which Milton Friedman is right. Assuming demand does not change, if goods are cut off and the money supply does not change, the ratio between them decreases, and prices will increase. The ratio between goods and money would also decrease causing prices to increase, if the amount of goods remained the same, but the money supply increased.

Therefore, if in response to the supply chain issues, if the government had decreased the money supply to match the supply of goods, prices would have remained stable. In that sense the price increases we see are a monetary phenomenon.

So perhaps it would better to say that inflation is always and everywhere a phenomenon of supply and demand.

Gus Van Horn said...


I have no problem with some government spending on science and technology regarding military defense, although I don't have a great answer to how much and have not thought much about how to ensure that such spending remains in the proper scope of governmnent.

Ayn Rand said something to the effect of -- and whatever you do, don't quote this -- Government shouldn't be funding NASA, but while government throwing money at science, it is one of the better uses for it.

We'll have this problem at least until returning government to its proper scope becomes a non-fringe position. Until then, we have to work to make sure that whatever science the government does fund is proper science as best we can.


I don't think money printing or government-caused supply restraints are mutually exclusive scenarios (or that you or Weiner are saying they are). But I think Weiner's observation about the non-movement of gold in dollar terms needs explanation.

Perhaps we're seeing an acute supply-constraint inflation, which will be followed by a chronic currency inflation once all those new bucks start getting spent.