Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bin Laden wants Bush re-elected

Most of us are familiar with all kinds of conspiracy theories. This one takes the cake for best imagination. It is not as much a conspiracy theory, as it is a propoganda theory. Whoever would have even imagined that Bin Laden's motives were to get President Bush re-elected, and that the former's propoganda suggests the same. Well, this guys Kilcullen who lectures a course on counter terrorism at Johns Hopkins is the fountain of this idea. Where did I find this?, in a film critic's blog!!

Just as the Bush administration misunderstood Saddam's motives (Why is he acting like he's hiding something? Is it because he's hiding WMD -- or because he knows he'd be gone in a second if anybody knew he didn't have them?), they have also misread the nature of Osama bin Laden's motives, power and strategy for Al Quaeda and global jihad:

Just before the 2004 American elections, Kilcullen was doing intelligence work for the Australian government, sifting through Osama bin Laden’s public statements, including transcripts of a video that offered a list of grievances against America: Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, global warming. The last item brought Kilcullen up short. “I thought, Hang on! What kind of jihadist are you?” he recalled. The odd inclusion of environmentalist rhetoric, he said, made clear that “this wasn’t a list of genuine grievances. This was an Al Qaeda information strategy.” Ron Suskind, in his book “The One Percent Doctrine,” claims that analysts at the C.I.A. watched a similar video, released in 2004, and concluded that “bin Laden’s message was clearly designed to assist the President’s reĆ«lection.” Bin Laden shrewdly created an implicit association between Al Qaeda and the Democratic Party, for he had come to feel that Bush’s strategy in the war on terror was sustaining his own global importance. Indeed, in the years after September 11th Al Qaeda’s core leadership had become a propaganda hub. “If bin Laden didn’t have access to global media, satellite communications, and the Internet, he’d just be a cranky guy in a cave,” Kilcullen said.

Read the article here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Basic Micro Questions

Oligopoly and Monopolistic competition markets seem to assume either Constant Marginal Cost or zero Marginal Cost. Is there an economic reason for it or is it simply mathematical ease? We do not assume something like that with Perfectly Competitive markets. We always have a normally shaped MC curve. Are the aggregate of firm demand curves and market demand curves the same? They are different for the Supply curves because of the input price effect, and a similar effect does not apply with demand curves. So technically the market demand curve and the aggregate of the firm demand curves are the same. Can any individual firm demand curve be more elastic than the market demand curve? Why or why not?
Could someone give me answers to these questions?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Made us cry

The Yield Curve was by far the single most difficult thing to understand in Macro last year, and here's the guy who's paper gave me nighmares (John Campbell)!!

I also found this on youtube!! The very last statement of the video is so common in grad school! I myself have said it several times!!

Following in a similar vein, here's how someone else reacted to Ben Bernanke as the Fed Chairman!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Respect for property rights

This evening I was jarred to reality within the Economics department. There is no respect for property rights. For over a year, I have done all I could to keep people from using my coffee mug and leaving it unclean at the Mercatus Centre, to the extent that I have hidden it in the most unlikely places. Inspite of it people have found it used it and left it lying around without cleaning it. The very people who scream property rights are good everytime you are around them have no sense for others' property. They feel free to use it.
Today I was especially ticked off. I spent 20 minutes packing some left-over food which no one else wanted after a seminar and spent another 20 carrying an especially heavy box of food despite my injured back, and leave it at my desk. When I get back from class, I find that half my food is gone, although it sits at my desk and the lid says clearly Triya's Food!! It was taken by complete strangers who had no right to even be around my desk in the first place. I will go ahead and mention that these students are in the Religion and Economics class. I may have even offered to share some of my food with them if they had only asked. To believe that anything that lies on a desk is public property is preposterous.
The question is not about stolen food it is about respecting others' property and knowing before you use something if indeed you have a right to use it. I am sure this is how books get stolen from the department, because people do not respect property rights, and we expect such students to go on and become great economists?? Fat chance if they cannot practice what they preach through their papers and animated talk.