About the MJC

Mutualist journal club

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Slashdot | Security Flaws Allow Wiretaps to be Evaded

Slashdot | Security Flaws Allow Wiretaps to be Evaded

More details on the eternal technological struggle between the watchers and the watched. Of course, there's always a weakness to any system, but in real-life situations, it's almost impossible to know if you've found it.

I once strolled through the Beverly Hills shopping district and was intrigued by a "spy" store that sold all types of surveillance and counter-surveillance equipment--for a price.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Slashdot | The End of Copyright (and more)

The Slashdot crowd includes a lot of fans of free-software, free culture, and all that jazz. A number of posts have caught my attention recently

Slashdot | The End of Copyright

How can software development (specifically games) be funded in a world where copyright can't be used to raise revenues?

U.S. Gets Taste of Own Patent Medicine

Let's patent EVERYTHING! Developing nations want to apply patent law to indigenous, organic technologies. Will the US play ball, or do patents only apply to the things that Americans tend to patent?

Patent's chilling effect on science.

The name says it all.

The demise of IP?

Reporting on an alarmist article directed at the beneficiaries of the government market for software and stuff.


Slashdot | ICANN/Verisign Sued For Monopoly Abuse

Slashdot | ICANN/Verisign Sued For Monopoly Abuse

There's a lot of fuss over the Domain Name System nowadays; first the UN and its totalitarian states want to take over the system, now the administrators of the system are being sued for abusing their privileges.

All this points to the problems of using a centralized naming system to navigate the decentralized Internet. I bet that any mutualist with a basic knowledge of computer networking can imagine the protocol for a decentralized Internet navigation system that doesn't rely on centralized assignment of unique names.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Environmental Economics: Measuring the Value of the Environment: The Contingent Valuation Method

This is a layman's review of methods that economists use to place a $ value on environmental changes. This is probably the area of economics where there has been the most progress in modifying measures of
GDP so that they actually reflect changes in the welfare of regular folk, rather than just reflecting how much wealth the parasite class can extract from regular folk. For anyone interested in utilitarian evaluations of economic/property systems, it is essential to be familiar with these methods.

Environmental Economics: Measuring the Value of the Environment: The Contingent Valuation Method


Bounded rationality and paternalistic government (Marginal Revolution)

The idea isn't new, but apparently some economists have done a rigorous analysis of the relationship between bounded rationality and paternalistic government policy. If nothing else, this can give us some ideas of how to think about paternalistic policies as well as providing a better understanding of how markets deviate from the ideal.

Marginal Revolution: Scream this from the rooftops

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


About the journal club

The Mutualist Journal Club is a forum in which members inform each other about publications of interest to mutualists and sympathizers. The journal club is meant to allow members to stay informed about news relevant to mutualism without needing to scour every publication in existence.

The following topics are generally relevant to mutualism, but members are not limited to posting on these topics.
  1. Civil rights
  2. State intervention in the economy (monopolies, subsidies, etc.)
  3. Mutualist institutions (money, insurance, defense, etc)
  4. Libertating tools and technologies
  5. Social movements with shared goals
  6. The spread of mutualist ideals
When members find articles relevant to mutualism, they can create a new blog post with a link to that article, along with a brief description (1-2 paragraphs) of why the content is interesting to mutualists. An easy way to do this is to use the Blogger "blog this!" bookmarklet.

To expand the range of publications that we cover, members should refer to the journal listing and try to monitor journals that are not being monitored by others in the group. Also, members should not repeatedly post articles from the same source, such as their own blog or a mutualist-themed blog.

Members can stay informed about new posts by adding the XML syndication to their RSS feed-reader.

An alternative method of accomplishing the same goal is to use the Del.icio.us or CommonTimes bookmarking systems to label websites as "mutualist". A blog-based system was chosen because it allows members to say why they believe that the article is of interest to mutualists and it also allows comments.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Marginal Revolution: Review of File-Sharing Papers

Marginal Revolution: Review of File-Sharing Papers

Some economic analysis of the effect of file-sharing. Two interesting conclusions -- fire sharing equalizes the marketing potential of content producers (popular artists loose, unknown artists gain), and also increases the total welfare of society.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Salon.com Books | Crime Inc. (another crisis of governability)

Salon.com Books | Crime Inc.

It looks like another author is fretting about a "crisis of governability". This is a review of a book about how globalization is breaking down the power of governments.


Medical Progress Today | Spotlight: Aspirin: Not Approvable

via Marginal Revolution

Some insight on the drug development process, with an emphasis on the logic and impact of the FDA regulatory system and the threat of lawsuits against drug manufacturers. Of course, this is just part of a bigger picture that includes the prescription and patent systems.
Medical Progress Today | Spotlight: Aspirin: Not Approvable: "With all the headlines in recent years about dangerous prescription drug side effects, many people must be wondering what happened to the days of safe, reliable medicines. Where are the new drugs that can get the job done safely? Where are the new aspirin, penicillin, acetaminophen?

As a drug discovery researcher, I can tell you something that might sound crazy: many of these older drugs would have a hard time getting approved today. Some of them would never even have made it to the FDA at all."

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Econbrowser: Oil grilling

via Angry Bear blog: Econbrowser: Oil grilling

A Econ professor shares his take-home exam with the world. He asks students to ponder how the government and oil companies could have conspired to raise oil-company profits.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


BBC NEWS | Technology | UN debut for $100 laptop for poor

BBC NEWS | Technology | UN debut for $100 laptop for poor

MIT has unveiled a laptop designed to be used by children in developing countries. This laptop represents a radical change from existing computer paradigms, with its operations being controlled by the end user: a crank for power, peer-to-peer wireless networks, and it runs on free-software (linux).

Developments like this may not only help bring much of the world out of poverty, but do so in a way that isn't dependent upon massive, centrally-controlled infrastructure.


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