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August 2nd, 2003 - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Aug. 2nd, 2003

08:56 pm - The Probability That a Real-Estate Agent Is Cheating You

Courtesy of candid


August 3, 2003
The Probability That a Real-Estate Agent Is Cheating You (and Other Riddles of Modern Life)

he most brilliant young economist in America -- the one so deemed, at least, by a jury of his elders -- brakes to a stop at a traffic light on Chicago's south side. It is a sunny day in mid-June. He drives an aging green Chevy Cavalier with a dusty dashboard and a window that doesn't quite shut, producing a dull roar at highway speeds.

But the car is quiet for now, as are the noontime streets: gas stations, boundless concrete, brick buildings with plywood windows.

An elderly homeless man approaches. It says he is homeless right on his sign, which also asks for money. He wears a torn jacket, too heavy for the warm day, and a grimy red baseball cap.

The economist doesn't lock his doors or inch the car forward. Nor does he go scrounging for spare change. He just watches, as if through one-way glass. After a while, the homeless man moves along.

''He had nice headphones,'' says the economist, still watching in the rearview mirror. ''Well, nicer than the ones I have. Otherwise, it doesn't look like he has many assets.''

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10:17 pm - You know you're in California when......

1. Your coworker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.

2. You make over $300,000 and still can't afford a house.

3. You take a bus and are shocked at two people carrying on a
conversation in English.

4. Your child's 3rd-grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring,
and is named Breeze.

5. You can't remember...is pot illegal?

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Assuming the FSP is successful, how will we maintain the hard-won reforms? How will we prevent our economically ignorant descendants and immigrants from other states from voting in the same bad policies in other states? The Swiss canton system offers one possible model system for maintaining freedom over a long period of time:


A Model Democracy

by Frances Kendall

In this, the first of the "ISIL Solutions" series, we examine the "Swiss model" of government -- a highly-decentralized system which Swiss economist Robert Nef more accurately describes as an "ongoing experiment" than a "model."

The concepts of devolution of power, local autonomy, and participatory democracy have produced the world's most peaceful and prosperous country. Of course, Switzerland, with its compulsory military service, state controlled monetary system, railroad and telephone services, and taxation, is not a pure libertarian society -- but for those interested in reining in out-of-control governments in other parts of the world, there are large parts of the Swiss cantonal system that are worthy of emulation.

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