Archive for June, 2009

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Moving back to “menace of privilege”

June 28, 2009

I’ve moved the entire contents of this blog to my new one, menace of privilege. Of course moving is never simple.  For instance, it turns out that all the blogroll links had to be moved manually, which I did, but that they are now all in a single category.  One of these days real soon now I shall get them organized. (Meanwhile, the separate “priceofprivilege” blog that I experimented with last year has been discontinued.)

This blog will stay up for a while, I guess, but please update your bookmark to the new site: http://menaceofprivilege.com/

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Madagascar update

June 7, 2009

Last fall I mentioned a deal between Korean conglomerate Daewoo and the gov’t of Madascar, for the former to get half a Belgium’s worth of farmland at basically no charge. Turns out it was more controversial than I thought, caused a revolution, and the new government has revoked the deal. But, as the linked article explains, similar deals are proceeding in several other countries.

This information comes from farmlandgrab.org (“Governments and corporations are buying up farmland in other countries to grow their own food – or simply to make money”), via Alanna Hartzok.

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patents + taxes = insanity squared

June 1, 2009

Yes, over sixty patents have been issued for “tax planning methods.”  You discover (or contrive?) a loophole, then patent its use. Subsequent taxpayers (or tax avoiders) who might happen on the same idea are obligated to contact you and arrange to license your innovation.  This is not what the Framers had in mind when they empowered Congress

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

Cong. Rick Boucher introduced a bill a couple of years ago to limit the benefits patent holders could obtain for such patents (summarized here(doc) with full text here(pdf)).   A message today from Vaughn Henry implies that this has been reintroduced.