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Ảnh đẹp ngày 05 tháng 01 năm 2011

Tháng Một 5, 2011

Bức ảnh này làm ta có cảm giác thật ấm áp trong những ngày lạnh lẽo và u ám như hôm nay. Thêm nữa, nó cũng làm ta nhớ về những người thân của ta mà đã đi xa mãi mãi, những người mà, vào một ngày, tháng, năm cụ thể nào đó trong quá khứ, cũng bên ta như thế này…

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The Economic Analysis of Law – An Introduction

Tháng Năm 28, 2010

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Economic analysis of law applies the tools of microeconomic theory to the analysis of legal rules and institutions. Ronald Coase [1961] and Guido Calabresi [1961] are generally identified as the seminal articles but Commons [1924] and Hale [1952] among others had brought economic thinking to the study of law in the 1910s and 1920s. Moreover, as I will elaborate below, economic analysis of law derives from several different intellectual traditions in economics.

Richard Posner [1973] brought economic analysis of law to the attention of the general legal academy; by the late 1970s, his work had provoked a vigorous controversy within the legal academy. That controversy has usually defined the debate around the philosophical foundations of economic analysis of law. Posner made two claims: (I) Common law legal rules are, in fact, efficient; and (II) Legal rules ought to be efficient. In both claims, “efficient” means maximization of the social willingness-to-pay. In the course of the controversy, two other claims were articulated in Kornhauser [1984, 1985]: (III) Legal processes select for efficient rules; and (IV) individuals respond to legal rules economically. (In this third claim, “efficient” means “Pareto efficient.”) Kornhauser identified this last, behavioral claim as central to the enterprise. A fifth claim is also implicit in the literature: (V) on the best interpretation of law, common law doctrines promote efficiency.[1] Notice that (V) differs from (I) in important respects. According to (V), an economic interpretation fits a doctrine not because, as asserted in (I), the legal rules in fact induce efficient behavior but because the rule would induce efficient behavior within the view of the world that seems to underlie the judicial decisions. (I) is an empirical claim that requires the analyst to determine whether the actual behavior induced by legal rules is efficient; it requires knowledge of how individuals do, in fact, behave and of which behavior in the real world would, in fact, be efficient. (V) requires only knowledge of the content of judicial opinions; the analyst interprets these opinions to extract an economic model that underlies the decision. (V) might be true even though legal rules induced inefficient behavior in the real world because the announced legal rule might be efficient within the implicit model used by judges.

These five claims do not correspond directly to traditional questions in the philosophy of law. The evaluative claim (II) that legal rules ought to be efficient would, if directed to judges, qualify as a theory of adjudication, one of the central concerns of anglo-american philosophy of law. Central philosophic questions concerning the concept of law, of its normativity, and the obligation to obey the law, however, are not directly addressed. The behavioral claim as well as the evolutionary claim (III) and the positive claim (II), by contrast, concern empirical issues that philosophers of law generally neglect. Nevertheless, the controversy within the legal academy has generally regarded economic analysis of law as providing a comprehensive theory of law that challenges traditional approaches to law. Indeed, an explanation of the vehemence of the controversy should identify differences in fundamental views concerning law.


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Grand Valse Brillante – Chopin

Tháng Ba 8, 2010

Compassionate Conservative or Cowboy Capitalist?

Tháng Ba 6, 2010

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The president understands that opportunity is the best poverty program.

Whatever happened to compassionate conservatism? Despite the Bush administration’s focus on the war against terror, the idea didn’t disappear. But as White House thinking developed, it got incorporated into a larger, more profound domestic theory. Yes, we need a safety net, the current view seems to go; but we don’t need a European-style welfare state. What’s called for is the traditional American opportunity society, as much a boon to the poor as to everyone else.

Implicit in compassionate conservatism was an epochal paradigm shift that is now all but explicit. Taken together, compassionate conservatism’s elements added up to a sweeping rejection of liberal orthodoxy about how to help the poor, which a half-century’s worth of experience had discredited. If you want to help the poor, compassionate conservatives argued, liberate them from dependency through welfare reform, free their communities from criminal anarchy through activist policing, give them the education they need to succeed in a modern economy by holding their schools accountable, and let them enjoy the rewards of work by taxing their modest wages lightly or not at all. For the worst off—those hampered by addiction or alcohol or faulty socialization—let the government pay private organizations, especially religious ones, to help. Such people need a change of heart to solve their problems, the president himself deeply believed; and while a clergyman or a therapist might help them, a bureaucrat couldn’t.

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In the Heart of Freedom, in Chains

Tháng Ba 6, 2010

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Elite hypocrisy, gangsta culture, and failure in black America

Two April days threw a clarifying light on the state of race in America. On the 11th, North Carolina’s attorney general exonerated three white Duke students of the rape charges that a black stripper had lodged with much press fanfare a year earlier. The next day, CBS fired shock jock Don Imus for calling black Rutgers women’s basketball players “nappy-headed hos.” Between them, these events suggest an explanation for America’s most vexed social question: in a country whose chief domestic imperative for 50 years has been ending racism and righting long-standing wrongs against blacks—with such success that we now have an expanding black middle class, a black secretary of state, black CEOs of three top corporations, a black Supreme Court justice, and a serious black presidential candidate—how can there still exist a large black urban underclass imprisoned in poverty, welfare dependency, school failure, nonwork, and crime? How even today can more black young men be entangled in the criminal-justice system than graduate from college? How can close to 70 percent of black children be born into single-mother families, which (almost all experts agree) prepare kids for success less well than two-parent families?

The legacy of slavery and racism isn’t the reason, economist Thomas Sowell has long argued. That legacy didn’t stop blacks from raising themselves up after Emancipation. By World War I, Sowell’s data show, northern blacks scored higher on armed-forces tests than southern whites. After World War II and the GI Bill, black education and income levels rose sharply. It was only in the mid-1960s that a century of black progress seemed to make a sudden U-turn, a reversal that long-past events didn’t cause. Beginning around 1964, the rates of black high school graduation, workforce participation, crime, illegitimacy, and drug use all turned sharply in the wrong direction. While many blacks continued to move forward, a sizable minority solidified into an underclass, defined by self-destructive behavior that all but guaranteed failure.

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Alexander Hamilton, Modern America’s Founding Father

Tháng Ba 6, 2010

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How New York’s opportunity society became America’s

We New Yorkers imagine our city’s history begins in earnest with the Gilded Age and the Great Migration that brought many of our forebears sailing under the Statue of Liberty’s torch to supercharge a nascent metropolis with a jolt of new energy. But this summer, when a handful of square-bearded, antique-garbed Pennsylvania German Baptists jacked a yellow clapboard house up over a Harlem church and wheeled it around the corner to a new site in St. Nicholas Park, we recalled that more than a century earlier Gotham took center stage as the nation’s first capital. For the house belonged to Alexander Hamilton—not only one of the greatest Founding Fathers but the one who stamped the infant republic forever with the unique spirit of New York City.

The other Founders were Americans of a century’s standing, who fought the Revolution to defend liberties their families had claimed for generations. Washington and Jefferson, landed grandees, descended from seventeenth-century Virginians; Harvard-educated John Adams’s forebears settled in Massachusetts Bay in 1638. Such men were rooted Americans, living on land inherited from their fathers. Hamilton, by contrast, was a penniless immigrant from the West Indies; like so many New Yorkers, he had come here from elsewhere, seeking his fortune.

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The Obsolete New York Model

Tháng Ba 6, 2010

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Where a tax-eating majority votes itself a permanent income

It’s worth recalling that when the Founding Fathers led the American colonists in revolt against British oppression, they weren’t rebelling against torture on the rack or being chained in galleys or having to let aristocrats deflower their daughters. They were rebelling against taxes. To them, having to pay duties they hadn’t voted for themselves was a tyrannical taking of property—theft—and, in true Lockean fashion, they concluded that since government exists to protect life, liberty, and property, a regime that does the opposite renders itself illegitimate. What would they make, then, of today’s New York City, where 1.2 percent of the taxpayers—40,000 households—pay 50 percent of the income taxes, and half the households pay no income tax at all? If the tax code ensures that those who pay the bulk of the taxes are always a minority of those who vote for the legislature that imposes the taxes, isn’t that taxation without representation? Isn’t it also the tyranny of the majority that the Founders tried to prevent?

A state of affairs so opposed to the Founders’ vision could never have come about all at once. It took shape in emergency spurts, sparked by upheavals like the Civil War, which prompted crisis measures like the first federal income tax (made legal retrospectively in 1913 by the Sixteenth Amendment). For New York, the cataclysmic turning point was the Depression. Gotham was the New Deal metropolis, with New York senator Robert F. Wagner and Gotham mayor Fiorello La Guardia falling over each other to make the city the showcase for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s big programs, designed (among other aims) to turn urban ethnics—whose normally supportive banks and charities the Depression had crushed along with their jobs—into the foundation of Democratic Party power.

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