Thursday , February 22 2018
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Henderson on Economic Inequality

[L]et us consider two historical figures of twentieth-century American history. The first came to prominence in the late 1940s, when he invented a light one-man chainsaw, and sold more than 100,000 of them at a price that made him quite rich. That added slightly to wealth inequality. But although the wealth gap between this man, inventor Robert McCulloch, and his customers was higher than it was before, the...

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There’s no success like failure

I've worked in several different types of organizations, and I've observed a growing tendency for managers to look for measurable metrics to assess productivity. Fortunately, I've generally been in a position where I didn't have to spend a lot of time on those reports, but others are not so fortunate. (That's not to say these management techniques are not useful or effective, I suspect at least some of them...

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Against Argumentative Definitions: The Case of Feminism

Suppose I define socialism as, "a system of totalitarian control over the economy, leading inevitably to mass poverty and death."  As a detractor of socialism, this is superficially tempting.  But it's sheer folly, for two distinct reasons.First, this plainly isn't what most socialists mean by "socialism."  When socialists call for socialism, they're rarely requesting totalitarianism, poverty, and death.  And...

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Italian elections update

A government that doesn't do much is highly preferable than one that does harm. Italian elections are fast approaching: they'll be held on March 4. I think there is so far an unnatural/uncanny sense of composure surrounding the ballot. I think many assume that, since France ultimately didn't vote for Marine Le Pen last year and stayed on the safe course with Emmanuel Macron, the same is going to happen in...

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I LOVE the Olympics

I've heard many people on Facebook and elsewhere talk about how politicized the 2018 Olympics are. In this case, though, I think politics is in the eye of the beholder. Sure, I thought that Mike Pence had incredibly bad manners in standing only for the U.S. team at the opening ceremonies. And some of the mainstream media went gaga over the sister of North Korea's chief murderer. But if you choose to focus on...

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Will Trump reverse Obama’s H-4 program?

We dodged one bullet. The Trump administration's proposal for a dramatic increase in regulation of the energy industry, support by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, has been rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Now there is danger of another bad regulation being enacted. But first a bit of background: She came to the country legally with a spousal visa, or H-4, granted to the wives and...

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Is Education Worth It? My Opening Statement for the Caplan-Hanushek Debate

It was great fun debating Eric Hanushek, truly a gentleman and a scholar.  Here's my opening statement.Is the education system really a waste of time and money, as my new book claims right on the cover? This is a strange topic to debate with Eric Hanushek.  Why? Because if Hanushek had absolute power to fix the education system, education might actually be worth every penny.  Hanushek is famous for focusing...

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Posner and Weyl on Sponsoring Immigrants

University of Chicago professor Eric Posner and Microsoft employee Glen Weyl wrote last week about their intriguing proposal for immigration. It's titled "Sponsor An Immigrant Yourself," Politico, February 13, 2018. I like parts of it but I don't totally understand it. Here's their reasoning for why the proposal makes sense to them:The problem posed by migration is that the benefits are not evenly...

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Never reason from an interest rate spread

Here's the Financial Times: Analysts have struggled to explain why the yen is rising when the gap between US and Japanese interest rates is widening further, with the US Federal Reserve tightening policy while the BoJ is pinning 10-year bond yields at zero. Possible answers include a belief that the BoJ will soon tighten policy, reduced confidence in the dollar because of the rising US budget deficit, or...

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