Thursday, September 16, 2004


New book and DVD decisions

Not much new to report, but I wanted to stay active. I'm got Lott's book Are Predatory Commitments Credible?: Who Should the Courts Believe? I'm looking forward to reading it, though theoretically I have other books in front of it. My understanding is that there are several arguments, but the reason I bought the book was because of an extension of an idea pioneered by Jack Hirshleifer in the 70's in "The Private and Social Value of Information and the Reward to Inventive Activity," in the American Economic Review from 1971. Hirshleifer's position was that inventors can gain on the social value of their inventions by taking long or short positions in investments that will be effected by the discovery. Lott extrapolates this to firms attempting to enter the market where predatory pricing may occur. If predatory pricing does occur and the rival firm takes a short position in the dominant firms stock, then he can use the profits to sustain himself. Of course the point may be completely irrelevant as the actual evidence for predatory pricing is extremely limited. Many cases that are considered "textbook" examples of predatory pricing have been shown to have not been cases at all. The most famous example is the Standard Oil Case. While it is famously cited as the quintessential example, the evidence appealed more to lawyers than economists. I would like to think that due in no small part to the economic revolution in law that such a case would not survive today. (Those seeking a brief treatment of the Standard Oil Case might try John McGee's paper "Predatory Price Cutting: The Standard Oil (N.J.) Case." I'm not sure where it was originally published, but it can be found in the collection of papers aptly titled Famous Fables of Economics.)

The other argument in the book that is perhaps more relevant is that publicly owned firms (in the sense of government run firms) can and do engage in predatory pricing to prevent private competition. This will probably be more relevant to policy issues. Of course, I haven't read the book yet and am probably getting ahead of myself. I will share my thoughts when I complete it and hopefully be a little bit more intelligible.

In other news, I'm debating whether or not to spring for the first season of Sledge Hammer! on DVD. I really liked the show, but I'm not sure how many times I would watch the boxed set. I'll let you all know what I decide as I know you are on the edge of your seats.

Here are some IMDB quotes from Sledge Hammer! and some other shows out on DVD right now:

Sledge Hammer : You know, of all my years of being a cop, I will never figure out how people time and time again can do something like this.
Dori : It's true. Taking out a human life is just deplorable.
Sledge Hammer : Not that. The drawings of chalk outlines of dead bodies, that's just a ridiculous way of living!

The Powers that Be (This is not on DVD yet, but I am desperately hoping it comes out on DVD because I won't hesitate to buy this Norman Lear comedy that was brilliant about a democratic congressional family in Washington D.C. David Hyde Pierce played a suicidal congressman who was son-in-law to a dim witted senator. The wife abused the maid. The senator was having an affair with a much younger blonde. The daughter was anorexic and bolemic. Also the kid from 3rd rock was the son of the daughter and David Hyde Pierce's character and did a brilliant job as the one sane one scene he deadpans to his mother who has him in footsy pajamas and holding a teddy bear "Mother, I am not a photo opportunity." The first episode also included an ex football player who was faking being paraplegic to get elected. Dear god this was one of the great shows on network television, though perhaps too dark for some...especially coming on right after The Golden Girls.)

Caitlyn : If it weren't for your silly job, we'd get to go to England with Mummy and Daddy. Why do you have to be a congressman?
Theodore : To get to the other side.

Bradley : I wanted to spend my final moments among loved ones.
Jordan : Keep looking!

Theodore : Death. You think of it as your friend, then it turns on you.

Caitlyn : Pierce, go upstairs.
Pierce : How about if I just go home?
Caitlyn : How 'bout if I have the dog put to sleep?

Margaret : I didn't realize your people ate shellfish.
Sophie : My people? Oh. Well, some of my people do. We like to have them as a side dish when we're eating the Christian babies.

Theodore : Why do we have to be here?
Caitlyn : It's our anniversary. Where would you rather be?
Theodore : Hurdling through a windshield.

Caitlyn : Mummy, please let's not talk about d-e-a-t-h in front of Pierce.
Pierce : Mother, I've been able to s-p-e-l-l for some time now.

Pierce : Mother, can we go home? It's midnight and I've got school tomorrow.
Caitlyn : Pierce, did I complain when you were a baby and the nurse got up with you at midnight?

Alf (The first season, though the syndicated version, is available on DVD now. I would recommend the movie Permanent Midnight based upon Jerry Stahl's autobiography. Jerry Stahl, played by Ben Stiller, was a writer on the show at the same time that he was heavily into drugs. Explains a lot doesn't it? The movie is phenomenal though don't watch it for something completely funny and upbeat. It is one of those movies where things just keep getting worse. That fact alone almost has to prove that it is accurate.)

ALF: Putting humans in charge of the earth, is the cosmic equivalence of letting Eddie Murphy direct.

Brian : Do you get Sesame Street where you live?
ALF: No, and frankly I don't get it here either.

Willie : This is a jigsaw puzzle.
ALF: It's broken.
Willie : That's the object ALF. You're supposed to put it together.
ALF: Why? I didn't break it.

Night all...I'll post more on Friday.

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