Monday , December 16 2019
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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “The Environmental Creed”

In my Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column of June 13th, 2007, I wrote about today’s hottest religion: environmentalism. Below the fold you can read what I wrote (link added). The Environmental Creed Careful observers often and correctly note that, for many of its adherents, environmentalism is a religion. Too many environmentalists disregard inconvenient truths that would undermine their faith that calamities are percolating just over the horizon. It might well be that humans’ “footprint”...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 185 of the Mercatus Center’s 2016 re-issue of my late colleague Don Lavoie’s brilliant 1985 volume National Economic Planning: What Is Left?: But the first principle of any analysis of the capital structure has to be the clear recognition of the fact that, unlike a physical structure such as a building, it is continually changing. Its parts are forever adjusting to one another the basis of profit. Profit and loss signals are the only information that can guide producers of...

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Some Links

Kevin Williamson is brilliant. Here he eviscerates progressives, as well as conservatives such as Marco Rubio and Michael Brendan Dougherty, whose advocacy of industrial policy and other forms of protectionism reveals both their economic ignorance and their skill at slaying straw men. A slice: Conservatives like to laugh at Paul Krugman, revisiting his long-ago prediction that the Internet would prove no more economically significant than the fax machine, but nobody is really very good...

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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “‘Like little puffs of smoke’”

In my Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column of May 30th, 2007, I reprised a true story that I first published years earlier in The Freeman; it’s a different spin on the theme of the “seen versus unseen.” You can read my column beneath the fold. ‘Like little puffs of smoke’ I once knew two World War II veterans. Both were fine men. One, call him Bill, was a navigator on a B-29 bomber based in the Pacific. The other, call him Joe, was an infantryman in Europe. Fortunately, neither was injured...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 255 of George Will’s excellent 2019 book, The Conservative Sensibility: [John Kenneth] Galbraith brought to the progressive chorus a special verve in asserting that Americans are as manipulable as clay. Hence Americans were what modern progressives relish: victims, to be treated as wards of a government run by progressives. DBx: Centuries ago rulers said to their subjects: “I’m superior to you – and I have at my disposal more coercive power than you – so do as I command...

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Yes. Yes I Truly Do Admire J.D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Here’s a letter to someone who was directed by a friend to this Facebook post of mine. Mr. Çubiry: “Shocked and speechless” at my “scary” admission of admiration for John D. Rockefeller, Sr., you ask if I’m “unmoved by the tremendous suffering and economic damage he spread through society with his monopoly.” Simple answer: the Rockefeller in your mind is a myth. The real Rockefeller was no monopolist, and his Standard Oil Company was no monopoly. Rockefeller was a creative and driven...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 467 of Ron Chernow’s excellent 1998 biography of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Titan: He [J.D. Rockefeller, Sr.] was also insistent that his massive philanthropy paled in importance beside the good he had done in creating jobs and furnishing affordable kerosene at Standard Oil. DBx: Rockefeller was correct. Wealth cannot be philanthropically given away unless it is first created. Nor can wealth be “redistributed” by the state unless it is first created. And wealth is created...

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Two Can Play This Game: Externalities Edition

Here’s a letter to someone who believes that my “faith in the market blinds [me] to its shortcomings”: Ms. Grant: Thanks for your e-mail. You support mandated paid leave because you “believe society benefits when parents stay home with newborns, but the market does not fully account for this beneficial effect…. Paid leave internalizes this externality. With respect, I disagree. First, in the U.S. today about two-thirds of working women have some form of paid leave as part of their...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 5-6 of economist Arthur Diamond, Jr.’s superb 2019 book, Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism: The greatest breakthrough inventions and innovations are those that go against the dominant theories and opinions. These are the ones that teach us the most; these are the ones that bring us what we thought was impossible. The most binding constraint on the rate of our breakthrough inventions and innovations is the scarcity of those key moments when...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 426 of the late Jan Tumlir’s January 1984 speech at the Cato Institute – a speech titled “Economic Policy for a Stable World Order” – as this speech is reprinted in Dollars, Deficits, & Trade (James A. Dorn and William A. Niskanen, eds., 1989): Indeed the difficulty for the economist may now lie in explaining why the world economy still functions at all, however dissatisfied we may be with its functioning. The answer is, of course, that there is a lot of ruin in any...

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