Tuesday , June 15 2021
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Knowledge, Reality, and Value Book Club Schedule Update

Capla-Con, my annual festival of nerdity, is in Austin this year, June 12-13, and I’m humbled by how many friends are making the trek.  By the power of Steve Kuhn, we’ll be gathering at Dreamland, noon-midnight both days.  All EconLog readers welcome! As a result, I’m tweaking the Book Club schedule for Huemer’s Knowledge, Reality, and Value.  New plan: June 7 – My reply to readers on Part 1 June 8 – My commentary on Part 2 Later that Week – Huemer replies on Part 2...

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Knowledge, Reality, and Value: Huemer’s Response, Part 1

Here’s Mike Huemer’s first set of responses to me and you. About Bryan’s Comments Thanks to Bryan for his fair and helpful comments on part 1. There isn’t much that we disagree about. But here are some thoughts about Bryan’s comments. 1. Philosophical progress: It’s fair to say that philosophy makes slower and less impressive progress than the natural sciences, or even economics. (But not less than the other humanities and social sciences.) And there are at least some...

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Regulation can be painful

In 2010, there was an growing problem of people abusing painkillers such as OxyContin.  Unfortunately, the steps taken to address the crisis may have made things even worse.  A 2018 NBER study by William N. Evans, Ethan Lieber, and Patrick Power showed that when the pills were reformulated to reduce drug abuse, people switched to other drugs such as heroin, which were even more dangerous: We attribute the recent quadrupling of heroin death rates to the August, 2010...

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The Enemy Below

One of my pleasures each Memorial Day weekend is watching one or two war movies on the Turner Movie Channel. This last weekend was no exception. I’m weird that way. I hate war and wrote regularly for antiwar.com from 2005 to about 2010 and sporadically after that. Yet I like war movies. It’s similar to my loving to analyze the economics of taxation while hating taxes. The two war movies I watched this weekend were The Great Escape, which I had seen probably 8 times...

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Economic Justification for Chinese Coercion?

The Chinese government relaxed to three children per family its former limit of one child after 1979 and two after 2015 (Lyian Oi, “China Delivers Three-Child Policy, but It’s Too Late for Many,” Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2021). Standard economic analysis provides an easy justification for limiting children: a child can be viewed as a negative externality “for society” because a more numerous population imposes costs on taxpayers and, through reduced family...

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Deregulate Discrimination

Two months ago, I voiced one big criticism of Richard Hanania’s excellent piece on the curiously ubiquitous institutional influence of the left: Hanania still fails to explain the sheer uniformity of left-wing cultural dominance.  Competition normally delivers more diversity than we’re getting.  And for that, I stand by my Explanation #5, which I flesh out greater detail here. Explanation #5. Discrimination law covertly stymies the creation of right-wing firms.  Most...

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How the Profit Motive Makes Discrimination Less than Otherwise

Because I have a cottage at Minaki, Ontario and am originally from Manitoba, I’m on a newly formed members-only Facebook group of Manitobans with cottages in northwestern Ontario. (I confessed to the organizer that I’m now a Californian and he said that was alright.) Why such a group? Because Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario, has taken measures against freedom of movement that make my governor, Governor Newsom, look positively libertarian by comparison. Ontario has...

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Miguel Perez: A “Bad Student” Makes Good

Miguel Perez sent me this email, entitled “the curious case of my education.”  Reprinted with his permission. Hi, I am sharing my case with you, because I feel it epitomizes some of your points against current education. I was born in Spain, in 1988, went to public school and it was a disaster. I was diagnosed with severe ADHD, and was unable to finish middle school. I came to China, where I faked my high school diploma to get into college. I studied Chinese...

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Tulsa Under an Economics-of-Politics Lens

One hundred years ago today, on May 31 and June 1st, 1921, white mobs descended on a prosperous black enclave of Tulsa, Oklahoma, dubbed “Black Wall Street.” The original purpose was to lynch a black man who was in custody after being accused of raping a white woman. The riots that followed, in which armed black men also (understandably) participated, ended up with hundreds of black residents killed or injured, and the burning and looting of most of the neighborhood...

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How do deficits matter?

Tyler Cowen directed me to a Ross Douthat post on people with intellectual influence: Scott Sumner/Stephanie Kelton: Because market monetarism and modern monetary theory arguably stand in the same relation to our “no, really, deficits don’t matter” policymaking era as Milton Friedman did to Reagan-Thatcher neoliberalism. I’m flattered that Douthat believes that I’ve been influential, but I worry that people might misunderstand this claim.  As far as I know, my views...

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