Monday, March 09, 2009

Notes on the Public Choice Society Meetings

What I found most memorable about the PCS meetings:
  • Nicolaus Tideman's suggestion that we switch from a fiat money system to a commodity system. Not just any commodity, and not gold, but brick. Brick would be the basis of the money supply. He quickly defused many of the knee jerk reactions that one would throw at this idea. It's real challenge will be winning over monetarists when the possibility of a negative shadow value during recessions exists. The other challenge would be convincing the public of what on the surface appears to be a horrendous idea, but may actually be brilliant. I really hope this idea gets more attention. Regardless of how the profession will judge it in the end, it will be interesting to watch.

  • The return of the political business cycle model. I missed its return, and only learned about it when the paper that apparently brought it back won the annual award for best in the journal.

  • Matt and I's lunchtime conversation in which we pondered whether Prius owners will push for a heavier gas tax to retroactively justify their purchase. On the subject of home ownership, we also chewed on ideas as to why the realtor representing buyers have their compensation determined as a percentage of the final sale price. Will surely be a future blog post.

  • TPS bloggers once again didn't manage to get a team photo.

  • David Skarbek's explanation of how imprisoned members of the Mexican Mafia are able to extract bribes from roughly 80,000 drug dealers free on the streets. David needs a post with the explanation, if for no other reason than self-promotion.
And on Vegas itself:
  • When you think about it, casino's differentiate themselves in the competitive process by freely providing what is almost a pure public good. Fake volcanoes with very real fire, water shows, the Eiffel Tower, Michael Jackson impersonators, and pirate ships are for anyone to enjoy and yet it is hard to make the case that they are under provided, as a sterile Samuelsonian model would predict. It's hard to make an economic profit gambling as anyone can offer a higher payout rate. You have to get volume to ensure the house wins, and for that you need a draw.

  • I can definitely see now that a airline could feasibly exist by offering free seats on a flying casino.

  • I consider Fremont Street to be the highlight of the visit.


David said...

Tideman's proposal sounds reminiscent of Buchanan's 1962 article "Predictability: The Criterion of Monetary Constitutions" wherein he argues for the merits of a brick standard.

Fremont street rocks.

Justin M Ross said...

He did mention that article, as well as a Friedman article, but I believe he was interrupted by a heckler. Heckler's turnout was at an unfortunately high rate at PCS.