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Some Non-Covid Links

Summary:
Deirdre McCloskey shares the history of her political opinions. A slice: When in 1964 I shifted from Harvard College to Harvard graduate school in economics I was still supposing that my classmates and I would go down to Washington and, as the contemporary if daft phrase had it, “fine tune” the U.S. economy, or with still greater ease the Indian economy. The radio dial for tuning would be input-output analysis, which I had used to write my college fourth–year thesis. The thesis, which I have patented as a sleep aid, was not a good piece of work. I learned how to do economic research correctly by doing it at first incorrectly, and then having at least the minimally good taste to correct it. Input-output analysis is the businessperson’s metaphor of a “supply chain” generalized to the

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Deirdre McCloskey shares the history of her political opinions. A slice:

When in 1964 I shifted from Harvard College to Harvard graduate school in economics I was still supposing that my classmates and I would go down to Washington and, as the contemporary if daft phrase had it, “fine tune” the U.S. economy, or with still greater ease the Indian economy. The radio dial for tuning would be input-output analysis, which I had used to write my college fourth–year thesis. The thesis, which I have patented as a sleep aid, was not a good piece of work. I learned how to do economic research correctly by doing it at first incorrectly, and then having at least the minimally good taste to correct it. Input-output analysis is the businessperson’s metaphor of a “supply chain” generalized to the whole economy. That a supply chain is called a “chain,” as though there are no substitutes for making iron or ice cream this way, is what is wrong with it, and therefore with the input-output analysis that I applied for deciding on trucking vs. railroads in far India.

My GMU Econ colleague Dan Klein offers ten reasons for refraining from calling leftists “liberals.” A slice:

Our defense of “liberal society” collides with our domestic discourse if we call leftists “liberal.” Calling leftists “liberal” makes one lose touch with the centuries-long arc of liberal civilization and the rest of the world. To call leftists “liberal” is to fail to advance Western liberalism as aspiration for illiberal societies.

Walter Block explains why non-compete clauses are legitimate. A slice:

Second, … these stipulations are accused of artificially restricting competition. This is indeed correct, if by “competition” we mean, literally, numbers of competitors. Each such agreement reduces that number by exactly one. But these contracts are part and parcel of the competitive system. They were reached because of competition among employers for employees, and of the latter for the former. Mergers, too, as well as bankruptcies, decrease the number of firms still in operation. Shall we prevent them by law also? Hardly.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy again makes the case against deficit spending by government. A slice:

Deficit spending will eventually result in higher taxes for future generations. That’s a profoundly unfair burden. Debt is also expansive in and of itself, as interest payments on an enormous amount of debt—even when interest rates are low—will result in a larger and expanding deficit. According to Brian Riedl at the Manhattan Institute, Congressional Budget Office data reveal that by 2049, “Interest payments on the national debt would be the federal government’s largest annual expenditure, consuming 42% of all projected tax revenues.”

GMU Econ alum Dave Hebert decries the Biden administration’s effort to create a tax-collecting cartel among governments. (DBx: Unlike Dave, however, I find nothing justifiable in the use of antitrust to prevent private firms from attempting to cartelize.)

Writing from Britain, Philip Johnston argues that “We should be debating how to make the state trimmer, lighter and less intrusive.

Jonathan Rauch asks “Who gets to decide the truth?”

Art Carden observes that Cuba has now been demoted, predictably, to “not real socialism.” A slice:

I think the embargo is a terrible idea that should be lifted immediately, as it has given Cuban communists a convenient scapegoat for their country’s problems. The embargo, however, is not what causes Cuba’s woes, and people blaming the embargo overlook the fact that Cuba trades pretty extensively with the rest of the world–how else do you think Canadian and Mexican merchants get the Cuban cigars they hawk to American tourists? It’s not because a Cuban Rhett Butler is smuggling them past a blockade. It’s because Cuba trades freely with the entire world. I suspect the US embargo hasn’t really hurt Cuba that much more than the “transgender bathroom” boycott hurt Target.

Juliette Sellgren talks with Samuel Gregg about Christianity and liberalism.

George Will rightly bemoans the itch of so many to “plunge themselves into the world of political performance.” A slice:

The Federal Reserve Board and some of its regional banks are wading waist-deep into politics. Disregard the Fed’s embarrassing policy that its employees should avoid using “biased terms” such as “Founding Fathers.” And never mind that the Fed already had enough to do fulfilling its three statutory mandates (to promote “maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates”) before it unilaterally adopted a fourth: to produce properly “inclusive” growth, as measured by criteria of the Fed’s choosing. So, monetary policy must have distributional effects that satisfy particular political standards.

Don Boudreaux
He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

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