Link Dumpoff Saturday

It’s Saturday night, post-shabbat, and I’m going to drop a bunch of links that I have and want to get rid of.

Tracking of tied US foreign aid will begin once more.  “Tied aid” means that aid must be spent on US companies.  This creates inefficiencies, as Easterly and Freschi note.  Getting a reckoning of exactly how much US foreign aid is tied is a good start to ending that practice as much as is possible.

It turns out that “new job” counts don’t actually mean anything.  I am, you can imagine, shocked and amazed that pseudo-precise numbers based on fuzzy generalizations and Keynesian models have no basis in reality.

– Robert McCain has a good post on a rather pernicious form of fallacious argumentation:  take a couple words here, a sentence there, and voila! your opponent is now evil.

Daring to be different:  James Buchanan.  Buchanan is one of my favorite economists and one of my favorite writers.  He got how to tell an entertaining yet elucidating story, and his innovations with regard to public choice and constitutional economics pushed forward the level of discourse in economics.  It was unfortunate that it took his colleagues so long to recognize this, but at least they’ve done so in his case, if not Gordon Tullock’s.

Here is an article describing a paper on how Shi’a terrorists fight differently than Sunni terrorists.  My thought on the conclusions is that the differences in style are reactions to American tactics.  We focused on going after Sunni terrorist-sponsoring regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving the Shi’a Iran and Syria* alone.  Because of this, taking out the infrastructure of Sunni terrorist organizations leaves them fighting in a more desperate manner, whereas the Shi’a organizations such as Hezbollah have a more-established base.  Had we gone after Iran instead of Iraq, I would guess that this trend would be closer to the converse.

* – Okay, Syria is run by Sunnis, but they support Shi’a terrorism, notably Hezbollah.  Don’t tell that to the State department, though—they know that Sunni and Shi’a would never work together on anything!