Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Colombian Presidente Mockus, Mock You, Too

An interesting guy. Excerpt:

Perhaps Mockus is best known for his stunts. Attempting to crackdown on traffic law violations, he hired an army of mimes to stand on street corners and publicly humiliate bad drivers. It worked brilliantly. He also created his super hero alter-ego, "Super Citizen" (complete with spandex and cape), to talk to citizens about civic responsibility. This definitely drew more listeners than a mayoral speech. And then there was his most infamous move of all: In an attempt to get the attention of a tuned-out college age audience, he pulled down his trousers and mooned them. Needles to say -- the ploy worked.

Needles, indeed. Some questions:

1. What's with all the mooning, all of a sudden? Sheesh.
2. When I hear "broken window," I think of Bastiat. But most people apparently think of Giuliani. Which is the dominant metaphor?


James said...

I think Guiliani is most associated with the "broken window theory" but Bastiat is most associated with "broken window fallacy".

Richard P. said...

Dr. Munger,

The "broken windows theory" of crime is associated with criminology and sociology. Concisely stated, it claims that visible decay or disregard for the public sphere leads to more crime. So for example, graffiti that is tolerated will signal to potential criminals that wrong-doing will not be punished, and therefore encourage crime.

If you already knew that, I am sorry I presumed you didn't. Frankly, I think only a sub-group of economists are aware of Bastiat, and therefore his fallacy is not widely-known anywhere else.

Here is a question for you: How many economists (strictly trained) know about Hirshman's Exit, Voice and Loyalty?

Kevin said...

I have what passes for a university education and I read a lot, but this is the first I'd heard of Bastiat or his fallacy (I just looked him/it up though).


Anonymous said...

Lenin3: Yes, I did know about the zero tolerance policy, and its background. Still, it is useful that you described it?

In any case, you have a fair question about Hirschman (which I know withouth looking has a "c" in it). And the answer is....not that many. I am old, and was educated at a political economy oriented program. But most economists.... no.

Then, Kevin: Yes, you may never have heard of Bastiat. But I guarantee you that MANY of the times you have seen a reference to "broken windoes," it was a reference to Bastiat, and you didn't know!