In his new book “Flash Boys,” Michael Lewis explains how high frequency traders are rigging the American stock market. It was an instantaneous hit; according to Malcolm Gladwell “in the hands of Michael Lewis, anything is possible.” Indeed, Lewis has accomplished the impossible task of mistaking the great financial revolution’s protagonist for its antagonist.
This week, dozens of young basketball players enjoyed their first appearance in the national spotlight, courtesy of “March Madness.” Good performance in the tournament could lead to the NBA draft and win them seven digit paychecks and endorsement deals. But for now, they are not allowed to receive compensation for their moves on court. The no-pay rule is a great distortion in the labor market for basketball talents, and should be changed to make the college sport more entertaining.
The Economic Man was utterly out of gift ideas for his girlfriend, the Economic Woman, for Valentine’s Day.
Last week, New Jersey became just the third state to allow online gambling, after Nevada and Delaware opened up the untapped market earlier this year. Those who are physically in New Jersey can now play all the games offered in Atlantic City without getting off the couch. Within a week, 37,277 signed up for gambling websites, putting HeathCare.Gov to shame.
In a country that worships individual freedom and the glamour of Las Vegas, the legal hurdle for online gambling seems easy to cross. However, online gambling has been a murky legal area since its conception in the late nineties. In 2006, after years of failed attempts to regulate online gambling, four Republican senators sneaked the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act as an amendment into a totally unrelated law on maritime security, and got it passed on the last day of Congress without a debate. Quietly and swiftly, Congress made this blossoming industry illegal.