Wednesday, April 18, 2012

US District Judge Lucy Koh Sends Samsung and Apple to Settlement Talks on Patent Wars

At Reuters, Dan Levine reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh
has referred Samsung and Apple to settlement talks on patent wars
before a San Francisco-based magistrate judge.

Now that is a good idea,
but we will have to see if it leads to any useful results.

We posted very positively about Judge Koh previously at LawPundit.

On the Origin of Belgium in a Dutch Revolt from Spain as Financed by a Beer Tax

For the story of the origin of Belgium,

see Stephane Straub » Belgium: Brewed in Holland

which summarizes a new working paper by Koen Deconinck and Johan Swinnen titled
“War, Taxes, and Borders: How Beer Created Belgium”,
linking the creation of Belgium
to a beer-financed Dutch revolt.

The paper is linked at that website.

Global Happiness and Well-Being: A Pursuit and Not an End in Itself

We posted recently about happiness.

Charles Kenny has a nice short article on global happiness at
Universal Joy As a New Goal for the Millennium?

and concludes:
"I'm with Jefferson on this one: what the UN ought to be focused on is ensuring everyone enjoys their unalienable right to pursue happiness. Making happiness an end in itself is not such a good idea."

Charles Kenny : A World Bank Economist Worth Reading to Get a Better Understanding of What is Going on Globally

Charles Kenny is a World Bank economist worth reading to get a better understanding of what is going on globally.

We all have our political and economic "opinions", fine, but do we really know our stuff?

Take a look.


Charles Kenny

Contra Malthus on Income-Driven Population Dynamics: Non-Income Factors such as Institutional Change, Individual Prudence, Civil Liberties, Education, and Health Technologies are Reducing Population Growth Rates

Nicholas Kristof has a Twitter link to a paper by Charles Kenny, a senior economist at the World Bank, who has some interesting ideas contra the Malthusian model of population dynamics, which held that population growth is determined by incomes and that land capacity set fixed constraints.

Kenny writes inter alia in Is Anywhere Stuck in a Malthusian Trap? Kyklos, Vol. 63, Issue 2, pp. 192-205, May 2010 as follows:
The key features of the Malthusian model are that (i) income determines population growth, with rising wages increasing survival rates and (ii) there is a vital factor of production (land) which is fixed, implying decreased returns to scale for all other factors. The equilibrium state in such a model is a population living on subsistence incomes. The country-level analysis in this paper suggests that (i) the link between income and population growth is (almost) everywhere broken and (ii) there is little evidence of declining returns to scale because of constraints imposed by land carrying capacity anywhere. Population dynamics are being driven by non-income factors in a manner that is reducing population growth rates everywhere. At the same time, output is increasing everywhere, in a manner inconsistent with significantly declining returns to scale based on land being a vital factor of production.

. . .


Malthus himself, in his Political Economy, argued that the best way to decrease birth rates was through "civil and political liberty, and education" which would encourage poor people to seek the "means of being respectable, virtuous and happy" through smaller families. He may have been partially right for the wrong reasons.... [read the article for those] 
...Malthus argued that the secret to progress was prudence in personal affairs rather than institutional change, but while prudence in personal affairs may be part of the story ... this very prudence appears to have its roots in the spread of education and health technologies that have required significant institutional change...."
This is a must read.

Kenny, Charles, Is Anywhere Stuck in a Malthusian Trap?. Kyklos, Vol. 63, Issue 2, pp. 192-205, May 2010. Available at SSRN: or

UEFA Champions League 2012 - Bayern Munich 2 Real Madrid 1 in First Leg of Semi-Final

For all you soccer (association football) fans out there,
this was a good result for those of us living in Germany,
but the second leg for FC Bayern M√ľnchen
will be tough against a top Real Madrid team.

See UEFA Champions League 2012 - Bayern-Real Madrid –

Twitter Limits Use of Patents in Lawsuits to Defensive Purposes

Thomson Reuters News & Insight have the story at

Twitter to limit use of patents in lawsuits

writing inter alia
"It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees' inventions in offensive litigation without their permission," Twitter said on the blog.
Read the whole thing here.

Health Care Well-Being and Quality of Life: The Wall Street Journal Reports

Laura Landro reports at The Wall Street Journal Innovations in Health Care

How Health Care Is Changing to Emphasize Quality of Life

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