In "Our Intangible Riches" (page 34), Reason's science correspondent, Ronald Bailey, interviews World Bank economist Kirk Hamilton about a "ridiculously important book," Where Is The Wealth Of Nations?: Measuring Capital for the 21st Century. Hamilton's book discusses the importance of "intangible capital"—things like good institutions, the rule of law, and human skills—for developing countries. Bailey says his own intangible capital consists of "mostly my education" and "the fact that I am making a living as a journalist. Because we have a free country and a free press, I can say whatever I damn well want to say."
Ilya Somin, born in St. Petersburg, has been a libertarian since he was 15. "Ultimately," he says, "it was Brezhnev and the Communist Party who made me a libertarian more than anything else." Now an assistant professor of law at George Mason University, Somin has written several amicus briefs for the Institute for Justice, the public interest firm best known for litigating the infamous Kelo case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Connecticut town to seize a woman's home and give the property to politically connected developers. Somin also wrote an amicus brief in Kelo itself, on behalf of the late urban policy theorist Jane Jacobs. In "The Limits of Anti-Kelo Legislation" (page 42), he explores the upside and downside of the reforms passed in the wake of Kelo. "While I don't think that Kelo was a good decision," says Somin, "it was great career boost."
Greg Beato, a freelancer based in San Francisco, writes frequently for Reason. This time he checks out the new Bettie Page boutique in Las Vegas, devoted to the woman who "reduced kink to kitschy fashion" ("The Fetishist Next Door," page 61). Page, says Beato, "is the Betty Crocker of porn. Decade after decade, that face just keeps popping up, unchanged." With the new boutique, "Bettie Page had come full circle—she started off as a face without a name; now she's a brand name without a face."