Thursday, August 02, 2007

Blogger Profiles; Jason Soon

Jason was born in Malaysia but moved to Australia with his parents aged fifteen. He attended the University of Sydney where he studied Economics and Law. He is now with an economic consultancy where among other things he works on regulatory and antitrust economics related issues. His favourite super-hero is, apparently, Batman.

He runs the free market blog, Catallaxy, and his latest article on the benefits of privatisation can be found in the CIS (subscription only).

i) Why Do You Blog?
Blogging combines a number of things that I would have been likely to do in other ways anyway. When I see an article that interests me or gets me thinking or annoys me or any other possible range of reactions above a certain threshold I'm likely forward it on to friends anyway or take note of it mentally or even bookmark it for more careful reading later. Instead I can now blog about it. But aside from chronicling my reactions to a particular piece, sometimes I just like thinking aloud and testing my thoughts among a bunch of people and I also like to hear what other people are thinking about a particular issue. Blogging (with comments) is a nice medium for this.

ii) What is your best and worst blogging experience?
The best blogging experiences I've had is when I've written one of my longer thinkpieces (which I don't have time to do on a regular basis) which I'm intellectually satisfied with and I get comments from readers telling me they got a lot out of them. The worst blogging experiences have been where I've gotten legally threatening emails not for anything I wrote but what others (like commenters) have written on my blog.

iii) What do you most dislike about your blog?
I don't think there's anything I strongly dislike about it. Sometimes the comments threads get a bit unruly and I have to cull things pre-emptively (as a precaution against legal risks as per above) and that can be a bit annoying but that's about it.

iv) Who are your favourite Oz bloggers?
Well I'm excluding my own crew in the interests of avoiding blog self-promotion ...
Andrew Norton, John Humphreys when he's blogging at ALS, yourself (Pommygranate) and Don Arthur when he blogs at Club Troppo (which isn't often nowadays). I would also say Steve Edney at Criticality except he seems to have gone into retirement.

v) Who are your favourite international bloggers?
The Marginal Revolution crew, Greg Mankiw, Steve Sailer, FuturePundit, Art DeVany

vi) What are you reading now?
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

vii) What is your favourite book?
It's difficult to nominate just one. But based on the number of times I've read and re-read it would have to be 'The Constitution of Liberty' by Friedrich Hayek. A close contender would be 'The Fabric of Reality' by David Deutsch though that covers just about everything else not covered by Hayek!

viii) What was the last good film you watched?
Spiderman 3

ix) Which film character do you most relate to?
Nothing readily springs to mind.

x) What major political issue have you changed your mind on?
I used to think inheritance taxes could be a good idea and that we could combine substantial income tax cuts and flattening of income tax with an inheritance tax but now I wonder why bother? Just aim higher in cutting both taxes and spending.

xi) Who are your political heroes?
Assuming that they have to be people who have had some involvement in politics either as politicians or government advisors or in political activism I'd say John Stuart Mill and Milton Friedman,

xii) If you could effect one major policy change in Australia, what would it be?
Sort out our mess of a federal system so that with the exception of some national public goods (like interstate highways) the States are basically responsible for raising their own revenues for whatever spending programmes they want to pursue and they can do this through an income tax (create a greater degree of jurisdictional competition and tax competition in particular).

xiii) If you could have any three dinner guests, who would they be?
Friedrich Hayek, Miles Davis and David Deutsch.

xiv) Do you have any prejudices?
None that I'm aware of.