Marijuana: It’s All In The Implementation

Marijuana legalization seems to be “on track toward decisive and irrevocable public acceptance”. Like gay marriage, you might think: “Both have crossed the magic 50 percent line defining majority support”. But what if the better analogy is with Obamacare? Not so good. “Marijuana legalization, unlike gay marriage but very much like Obamacare, requires the government to execute a complicated new program well” (1,620 words)

How The Romans Invented Facebook

Review of Writing on the Wall: Social Media—The First 2,000 Years, by Tom Standage. The thesis: “Informal networks flourished for centuries as society’s main sources of information and commentary, before mass media emerged to turn news into a one-way conversation. The rise of the Internet has made everyone a potential publisher, and, thus, media has reverted to its natural, social state. Everything old is new again.” (1,470 words)

Stay Put, Young Man

Labour mobility used to be a powerful source of economic efficiency in America. No more. Americans are moving to different states only half as often as they did in the 1950s. And when they do move, it’s usually because they need to find cheaper housing — which often means, perversely, moving away from where the work is. Since 2009 the median house price has risen 13%, while the median income has fallen 4% (3,450 words)

The Doctors Who Control Medicare

American Medical Association organises a committee of doctors which meets secretly every few months to set prices that doctors everywhere charge Medicare for procedures — MRI, heart-stent insertion, etc. In effect, doctors themselves decide how much the government will pay them. In almost any other business, such price-rigging would be illegal. In health care, it’s both legal and horribly expensive (6,000 words)

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