“Il fascismo privilegiava i somari in divisa. La democrazia privilegia quelli in tuta. In Italia, i regimi politici passano. I somari restano. Trionfanti.”—Indro Montanelli (Fucecchio, 22 aprile 1909 – Milano, 22 luglio 2001)
Public lawmakers lack incentives to engage in a socially optimal amount of legal innovation. Private lawmaking is a potential solution to this problem. However, private lawmaking faces a dilemma: In order to be effective privately produced laws need to be publicly enacted, but under current law enactment eliminates the intellectual property rights that are essential to motivate private lawmakers. Because of this dilemma, much private lawmaking is done as a byproduct of other activities. The mixed incentives entailed in this “byproduct” approach make it a second-best response to the problems of public lawmaking. Potential solutions involve finding a better balance between public access and private rights.
“Questa storia che io farei parte dei ricchi, l’uno per cento della popolazione, non mi convince. Ho la stessa automobile, la stessa casa e la stessa moglie da moltissimi anni. […] Ma le sembra giusto che chi ha lo yacht, la villa al mare e l’amante risulta più povero di me?”—Antonio Martino
“Quando il genio di Sondrio aprì il suo studio di tributarista, solo nel primo anno fece erodere ai suoi clienti, in modo legale, base imponibile per 600 miliardi di lire. Il che, tradotto in parcelle, vuol dire qualcosa come tre miliardi.”—Antonio Martino [via jonkind]
"Stealing Rembrandts" tells the story of modern art theft through the thefts of a single artist’s work. It is a clever strategy, and Rembrandt a natural choice. The 17th-century Dutch master was heroically prolific; more than 2,000 of his paintings, drawings and etchings survive. Some of his canvases have fetched auction bids in the tens of millions of dollars. And because Rembrandt was a painter of masterly economy, his works tend to be small and portable. As a result, Rembrandt is among the most often stolen artists, topped only by Picasso. Some 80 of Rembrandt’s works have been pilfered in the past 100 years.
Andrea Alciato’s Emblematum liber or Book of Emblems had enormous influence and popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a collection of 212 Latin emblem poems, each consisting of a motto (a proverb or other short enigmatic expression), a picture, and an epigrammatic text. Alciato’s book was first published in 1531, and was expanded in various editions during the author’s lifetime. It began a craze for emblem poetry that lasted for several centuries. We use the Latin text and images from an important edition of 1621 and we give a translation into English.
“Show me the person who has actually read the “important information” you must understand before entering the website of an institution regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and I will show you a man who has difficulties with girls.”—John Kay [I didn’t like the whole column, but this bit was fun.]
“Ovunque si parlava dell’estate, del generale Odrìa, dei costumi da bagno Lastex, del processualista Carnelutti, un nome orribile, da fabbricante di aperitivi.”—Julio Ramón Ribeyro, I genietti della domenica