Rising Infrastructure Costs, AI Peer Reviewers, and "Soft Socialism"

Weekend Reads: November 30, 2018

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China Blacklists Millions of People from Booking Flights as 'Social Credit' System Introduced

Harry Cockburn | The Independent | Tweeted by Christopher Coyne

A new “social credit” system in China judges citizens based on their behavior, credibility, and “trustworthiness.” It will be used to reward or punish individuals and organizations.

Civil Forfeiture Makes Law Enforcement Lawless. The Supreme Court Could Change That.

George Will | The Washington Post | Shared by Donald Boudreaux

A new challenge to Indiana’s version of civil forfeiture laws in the Supreme Court could prevent excessive fines in the future.

Steel Tariffs and Hot Economy Take Toll on Infrastructure Projects

Kris Maher | The Wall Street Journal | Tweeted by Christine McDaniel

Federal and state projects aimed at improving critical infrastructure are getting a lot more expensive—some projects more than $1.5 million higher than estimated—thanks to the Trump administration’s steel tariffs and a surging economy. 

The Problem with Soft Socialism

Richard Epstein | Hoover Institution | Shared by Donald Boudreaux

Can “soft socialism” survive in democratic societies, or does it create the right environment for totalitarianism? Richard Epstein examines various definitions of socialism, how “democratic socialism” has panned out in other societies, and theories about “pooling resources” from leaders in the ideological movement.

America Is Rejecting More Legal Immigrants Than Ever Before

David Bier | The New York Times | Tweeted by Daniel Griswold

Despite rhetoric encouraging immigrants to enter the US legally, newly-released data depict a different picture. Applications for citizenship are being denied at a rate that is 37 percent higher than the previous two years.

Everything on Social Media Is for Sale

Taylor Lorenz | The Atlantic | Retweeted by Tyler Cowen

Some social media bloggers and influencers are making over $50 an hour for every online move on almost every app. This is helping many up-and-coming artists who have traditionally struggled to make ends meet just for interacting with followers.

French Protesters Angry over Fuel Taxes Clash with Police

Thomas Adamson | The Washington Post | Tweeted by Peter Boettke

Protests in France turned deadly last week as around 106,000 protesters demonstrating against rising fuel taxes in Paris were met with tear gas and water cannons.

Why Amazon Runs toward Government with HQ2

Rajshree Agarwal | Forbes | Retweeted by Adam Thierer

Tech industry leaders, including Amazon and Google, are setting themselves up to be Washington influencers with significant political power. What does this mean for the future of big business, regulation, and government favoritism?

For a Small Fee, Entrepreneurs Can Now Manage Their Own Fleet of Bird E-Scooters

Kate Clark | TechCrunch | Tweeted by Jennifer Huddleston Skees

Yesterday, electric scooter startup Bird announced that it will start selling some of its scooter fleet to entrepreneurs and small business owners to brand and use as they please as long as they remain compliant with local regulations.

AI Peer Reviewers Unleashed to Ease Publishing Grind

Douglas Heaven | Nature: International Journal of Science | Shared by Tyler Cowen

New artificial intelligence tools equip academic publishers with the promise to not only boost the quality of published papers but also save reviewers time in the process.