Saturday, February 28, 2004

Deference

Sorry for the lack of posts, but time has been short as of late. Thus, I suppose, I've been deferring to greater minds. See yesterday's post starring Milton Friedman.

Also worth checking out is Jonah Goldberg's most recent article at the National Review. I quote:

"Today, the loudest voices in the Democratic party want to regulate the economy based upon what's nice, not on what works. Yes, it would be nice if economic realities didn't make it necessary for some jobs to be sent overseas, and, sure, it'd be sweetness and light if life-saving drugs could cost a penny.

But simply saying you're going to "stop" companies from outsourcing a fraction of their labor or that you're going to "make" drugs supercheap doesn't cut it. There's no way to do those things without inviting other, usually worse, problems."

I love it. Also, in the spirit of quoting people more poetic than I, I turn to the New York Supreme Court's Heller v Boyan, 29 NYS2d 653 (1941), discussing a lavish executive compensation package:

"Assuming, arguendo, that the compensation should be revised, what yardstick is to be employed? Who or what is to supply the measuring-rod? The conscience of equity? Equity is but another name for human being temporarily judicially robed. He is not omnipotent or omniscient. Can equity be so arrogant as to hold that it knows more about managing this corporation than its stockholders?

Yes, the Court possess the power to prune these payments, but openness forces the confession that the pruning would be synthetic and artificial rather than analytic or scientific. Whether or not it would be fair and just, is highly dubious. Yet, merely because the problem is perplexing is no reason for eschewing it. It is not timidity, however, which perturbs me. It is finding a rational or just gauge for revising these figures were I inclined to do so. No blueprints are furnished. The elements to be weighed are incalculable; the imponderables, manifold. To act out of whimsy or caprice or arbitrariness would be more than inexact -- it would be the precise antithesis of justice; it would be a farce.

If comparisons are to be made, with whose compensation are they to be made -- executives? Those connected with the motion picture industry? Radio artists? Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States? The President of the United States? Manifestly, the material at hand is not of adequate plasticity for fashioning into a pattern or standard. Many instances of positive underpayment will come to mind, just as instances of apparent rank overpayment abound. Haplessly, intrinsic worth is not always the criterion. A classic might perhaps produce trifling compensation for its author, whereas a popular novel might yield a titantic fortune. Merit is not always commensurately rewarded, whilst mediocrity sometimes unjustly brings incredibly lavish returns. Nothing is so divergent and contentious and inexplicable as values."

Isn't that great? What fantastic language! "The elements to be weighed are incalculable; the imponderables, manifold." I love it. And, to boot, the decision is correct.

"Merit is not always commensurately rewarded, whilst mediocrity sometimes unjustly brings incredibly lavish returns." If there's anyone who knows this, it's us folks at That's News. We strive to bring excellent content to all of our eight readers, and all we ask in return is a ninth reader. And yet I fear our wishes are never to be gratified :-)

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