In lieu of proper blogging, a meme

In case you were wondering, this is an even more quiet place than usual just now because I have exams at the moment. Sorry I’ve not been more active at replying to comments in recent weeks. I found the first exam more stressful than I should have, so I decided to take today off to relax. So it’s a good opportunity to stick a lazy post up here.

I’ve been tagged by a meme twice in recent weeks. One of them will be more exciting for you readers, and I have been meaning to write a post like that for about a year anyway. But I will do this one first because the other one will take a bit of preparation. Because I need to preserve all that brain power for the exams.

This is from Angry Steve. I can’t actually see what the common theme that runs through this is. Still, if you have been tagged in a meme and you don’t take part the punishment is fifty lashes in the blogospheric dungeon. So here goes.

1. The rules of the game get posted on the beginning.
2. Each player answers the rules about himself [or indeed herself].
3. At the end of the post, the player tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read his [or her] blog.

What I was doing ten years ago:

According to my excellent maths skills, I was 12 years old. So I was probably being exceptionally annoying at primary school. I was probably preparing myself mentally for arriving at the big school with all the big bullies.

Five things on my To-Do list today:

Well, I am posting this last thing on Saturday. So here is my to-do list for Sunday.

  1. Watch the GP2 race
  2. Go for a walk round the park
  3. Watch the Spanish Grand Prix
  4. Begin revising for my next exam
  5. Uh, go to bed

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Given that I would be financially secure, I would ditch all of my formal commitments and get round to all of those leisure activities that have been building up. The pile of CDs that I bought way back in October and still haven’t had the time to listen to. The DVDs. The books I bought for my summer reading in 2006 and the books that have been added to that pile since. The issues of The Economist which I unwisely purchased a three year subscription to before realising that I didn’t have the time to read a single bloody issue.

Three of my bad habits:

  1. Weighing up the possibilities for so long that the opportunity completely passes by
  2. Eating too quickly
  3. Fingernail biting

Five places I’ve lived:

  1. Glenrothes
  2. Kirkcaldy

Uhh… and that’s it.

Five jobs I’ve had:

  1. Lifting furniture about for an antiques shop run by a family friend
  2. Sales assistant at Woolworths

Uhh… and that’s it.

Five books I’ve recently read:

Hmm difficult one. I don’t often get a chance to read a full book (I think my pace is about two per year). But I have read most of a few books at university so I’ll put the details here.

  1. The Economic Development of Modern Scotland, 1950-1980, Richard Saville (ed.) — Skim-read many chapters for my exam on the Scottish Economy. It’s not very “modern” any more though — it was published in 1985 (no modern perspective on oil, little if anything about electronics, poll tax what poll tax?). Good chapters on the Highlands and Islands Development Agency and the Scottish Development Agency though. Shame they never came up in the exam!
  2. The Myth of the Rational Voter, Bryan Caplan — Food for thought for proponents of “more democracy”. I thought it would be really useful for my dissertation. It was kind of, but I enjoyed the read more for the bits that weren’t much to do with my dissertation.
  3. A Logic of Expressive Choice, Alexander A. Schuessler — A theory on voting behaviour and things like that (cases which should be collective action problems but aren’t). It gets a bit technical towards the end, but the early chapters are fascinating to read. If you want to know why the US President is just like a can of Dr Pepper, this is the book for you!
  4. Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner — Finally something I read in my spare time. Quite fun to read.
  5. The Worldly Philosophers, Robert L. Heilbroner — I found this book very boring; it took me over a year to read. It’s okay when it’s talking about people you’ve heard of. But in the chapters about people I’ve never heard of, it was a real struggle to read.

Five people or communities I’m going to tag:

Well first of all, bollocks to leaving a comment as per rule 3 at the top. It’s bad enough tagging someone as it is. I will tag five people here and if they notice it they can carry on the meme if they wish.

  1. Colin
  2. Jeff
  3. Mat
  4. Rhys
  5. Sarah


  1. Heh, you with The Economist too… I have a few dozen lying around that I’ll probably never read, with the news and commentary just going out of date…

  2. Done. Y’bastard.

    Been meaning to get hold of the Caplan for ages, after I read about it in a “look, these economists are all wrong” review at maybe Liberal Conspiracy (was Natalie Bennett, remember that). Is it actually any good? The Schuessler looks interesting anyway, might try to dig that out from somewhere.

  3. Found the link to the LibCon piece. Tore my hair out trying to navigate the site though — resorted to Google in the end.

    Caplan’s book is great, but I doubt many posters at LibCon would approve much of Caplan’s proposed remedy which is more markets and less government.

    Nor is it a book that proves economists all wrong. Only a certain strand of public choice theory which says that voters should be rational is wrong. In fact, Caplan argues very convincingly that economic theory properly analysed tells us that voters are irrational.

    In a nutshell, the argument is that people are rational in a market environment because it is very costly to behave irrationally. If, for instance, you believed that gold is more plentiful than tin you would find yourself out of pocket very quickly. In the polling booth you can afford to be irrational precisely because your vote makes almost no difference to the final result, so you can afford to make the wrong decision. “Rational irrationality”, he calls it.

  4. I doubt many posters at LibCon would approve much of Caplan’s proposed remedy which is more markets and less government.

    I dunno, there’s me and Chris Dillow, although he’s stopped posting of late, gone back to his more long term project of persuading Tories I suspect. It’s on my wish list, might put the priority higher and remind myself to buy it next time I’ve cash.

  5. Cheers for the tag Mr Vee. I’m not sure if I’ll get around to it though, and not just because it’ll save me admitting that the only thing I’ve read in the past year is the first 40 pages of The Golden Compass…!

    good luck for the exams.