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June 5, 2012

Does it actually help the poor? Sure it can raise real estate prices, reduce crime, etc. – but when the prices go up won’t the poor people simply be forced into a different poor, dangerous neighborhood?


Gamblers’ Safe

February 13, 2012

I used to have a Gamblers’ Safe. It is a sturdy metal box about the size of a pack of cigarettes with a tiny hole for inserting currency, and a key lock. The idea is you leave the key at home, and while gambling you insert your winnings or other money you would like to protect from your own degeneracy. One time I managed to stuff maybe $4K into the sucker and yes, it was all still there when I got home.

Does anybody know if this product is still being made, and if so, who sells ’em?

LOL degenerates

“Markets in Everything”: Sick Days

February 12, 2012

Allegedly you can go to pretty much any hospital or medical clinic here and for $5 ($7 on weekends) you can walk away with a fabricated doctor’s note to excuse a work absence. Apparently everyone knows this and nobody really cares. I guess it benefits the average worker and only hurts the big bad corporations, so Viva La Revolución!

“All of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

December 30, 2011

The Joy of Quiet / Don Winner = scam

December 20, 2011

Just in case anyone else is looking for info on Panama and comes across this site, it has some decent information but be warned:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Exhibit D

Taxi fare theorizing

December 19, 2011

Taxi fares here are determined by a simple government-issued(?) table listing prices for all areas of the city (theoretically, although the gringo tax still applies as well). At first I thought this seemed really smart, since now the taxi’s interests are perfectly aligned with the passenger’s – he won’t get paid any extra for dawdling or long-hauling so he wants to (safely) get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, just like you. However this only applies once you’re actually in the taxi. Taxis will often refuse to take you if they expect to get stuck in bad traffic, making it nearly impossible to get to busy areas of the city during daytime hours. So now I’m curious as to what’s actually the social optimal pricing methodology for taxis. This flat-rate system could still conceivably be socially optimal, since it encourages taxis to avoid high-traffic areas, preventing even worse traffic jams. But it seems this system would work a lot better in conjunction with a city-wide, traffic-based toll system, which would likely go a long ways towards reducing traffic jams and thus taxis wouldn’t have to be as concerned about getting stuck in a bad spot. Until that happens though, what’s the best alternative?

“Model this”: Why is there no Starbucks in Panama?

December 19, 2011