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November 2005

Most blogs are terrible

Ravikiran Rao has a great post about competition and regulation. He points out that while most blogs are terrible and the average blog is also terrible, this is no argument for regulation of blogs...

You will also find that established bloggers will start loving the regulations, because they keep new bloggers out.

Hmm. Maybe blog regulation isn't such a bad idea after all!

The perfect holiday gift: Kalashnikov, tank?

Not for your own use, mind you, but to provide the raw materials for enterprising blacksmiths and metalworkers in Sierra Leone, who turn the iron and such into "farm implements... hoes and axe heads... pickaxes, sickles and even school bells." A single tank will provide a year's work for 5 blacksmiths, they say, and convert into 3,000 items.

What if demand curves sloped upward?

Tyler Cowen:

Let us say, just for fun, that you woke up one morning to a world where everyone else's demand curve -- except yours -- slopes upward.  But it is not common knowledge that  this is the case.  What is the first oddity you would notice? 

1. The most expensive radio stations would be filled with the most ads.  The music would never come.

What matters for future economic growth?

At the Business Week blog, Economics Unbound, Michael Mandel argues that future economic growth depends most on our ability to develop new energy technologies and on whether there will be a major war.

Arab Economic Freedom Index

The 2005 version of Economic Freedom of the Arab World is out. The report looks at the economic freedom in 16 Arab nations and “how free enterprise throughout the Arab world is lifting individuals and families out of poverty.” The full dataset is also available. (Via Robert Lawson)

Public-private rail in China?

Two businessmen from Philadelphia, Pa., have launched a bold project to develop and run a mass transit system with the local Chinese government in Fuzhou… If successful, it would be the country's first public-private railway system. Yet the road from idea to implementation can be especially challenging, say a number of observers, especially when dealing with Chinese officials on a transaction that involves buying real estate alongside transit lines.

Via [email protected].

Telephone ladies connect Bangladesh

In case any readers of this blog haven't heard the story of Grameen Bank and the telephone ladies, the BBC have a nice write-up:

Mohammed Abul Kashem runs a fish farm of 10 man-made ponds. He uses the phone service to order food and other supplies from the capital.

"If the phone wasn't here then I'd have to travel to Dhaka," he says. "It's a very long and unpleasant journey. "Now I can use the phone I am saving time and it makes my business more competitive."