[38] in Discussion of MIT-community interests

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daemon@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Ray Jones)
Thu Apr 19 16:21:51 2001

To: mit-talk@MIT.EDU
From: Ray Jones <rjones@pobox.com>
In-Reply-To: "Sourav K. Mandal"'s message of "Thu, 19 Apr 2001 15:36:20 -0400"
Date: 19 Apr 2001 16:21:30 -0400
Message-ID: <ppwvgo0vdx1.fsf@PIXIE.MIT.EDU>

I don't mind if Sourav spouts warmed-over Ayn Randism until the cows
come home, but I just thought I'd point out that the graph at this

"Sourav K. Mandal" <Sourav.Mandal@ikaran.com> writes:
> http://www.heritage.org/index/2001/wealth.html

...could just as easily be flipped on the X=Y axis to yield evidence
for a "richer countries tend to allow more freedom" hypothesis, which
I think is just as valid, but less ideologically motivated.

Of course, the graph's also highly suspect because of what it's
plotting: GDP vs "Index of Economic Freedom Score".  As if such a
fuzzy concept could be quanitifed.  Looking for more on how the dtaa
was produced, we get:

> To measure economic freedom and rate each country, the authors of
> the Index study 50 independent economic variables. These variables
> fall into 10 broad categories, or factors, of economic freedom:
>             Trade policy,
>             Fiscal burden of government,
>             Government intervention in the economy,
>             Monetary policy,
>             Capital flows and foreign investment,
>             Banking and finance,
>             Wages and prices,
>             Property rights,
>             Regulation, and
>             Black market activity

So, the authors of the study that featured this graph (2 leaders of
the Heritage Foundation, and an assistant editor at the Wall Street
Journal) ranked various, highly subjective factors to produce data
that shows that more freedom _under their rankings_ yield a higher
GDP.  That's some solid scientific work there, yup.

Have I shown you my graph that shows how more Saturday cartoons yield
a lower heart-attack risk in the population as a whole?  I've got it
here somewhere...

Ray Jones

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