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Tag Archives: Archived writings

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Above subsistence”

In my column for the April 6th, 2011, edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I did my best to explain that, although material incentives matter more than most people realize, material incentives are not all that matter. You can read my column beneath the fold. Above subsistence Among the key facts that I teach on day one — literally — of my Principles of Economics course is that people respond to incentives. If you want a new pair of jeans, you offer money to Abercrombie & Fitch...

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On Richard Epstein on Regulating Big Tech

My latest column for AIER was inspired by Tunku Varadarajan’s fascinating report, in the Wall Street Journal, of Richard Epstein’s reaction to tech companies deplatforming certain conservative and populist voices. A slice: At the core of Epstein’s analysis is his identification of conditions under which so-called “big tech” firms might be prevented by the common law from deplatforming, or refusing to platform, customers. Specifically, the law sometimes holds that firms that are...

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Three More Principles of International Trade

Here’s the fourth and final installment in my series, at AIER, titled “Twelve Principles of International Trade.” A slice: 10. Because wages reflect worker productivity, workers and firms in low-wage countries do not have an “unfair” advantage over workers in high-wage countries. Contrary to popular mythology, high wages earned by workers in countries such as the US do not put them at a competitive disadvantage relative to workers and firms in low-wage countries, such as Vietnam. The...

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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Protectionism echoes Luddism”

In my column for the March 23rd, 2011, edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I wrote of the similarities between protectionism and Luddism. You can read my column beneath the fold. Protectionism echoes Luddism From the dawn of modern economics — lit by the beaming light of scholarship that is Adam Smith’s 1776 book “The Wealth of Nations” — one consistent insight shared by most economists is that political borders are economically irrelevant. Such borders might be relevant for...

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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Inflation & interest rates”

In my March 9th, 2011, column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I continued my discussion of inflation. You can read my column beneath the fold. Inflation & interest rates In previous columns, I explained that the process of inflating the money supply distorts prices. The result is economic decisions made with poor information. Resources are misallocated. One particular set of prices, however, is especially important when discussing inflation: interest rates. These are prices, for...

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Living Harmoniously and Inharmoniously with Nature

In my latest column for AIER, I argue that human beings today live in unprecedented harmony with the non-human natural world – but also in increasing disharmony with the nature of the market order that is responsible for our modern standard of living. A slice: There is, however, one part of nature with which we today do live in a great deal of conflict – namely, the nature of modern society. A central feature of this society is each individual’s dependence on the knowledge and productive...

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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Inflation’s worst consequence”

My column for the February 23rd, 2011, edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was a follow-up to my column of February 16th, 2011. You can read the February 23rd column beneath the fold. Inflation’s worst consequence Inflation is harmful. Unfortunately, the worst way that inflation harms the economy receives insufficient attention. Most people understand that unanticipated inflation transfers wealth from creditors to debtors: Debtors repay creditors with dollars worth less than anyone...

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More Principles of International Trade

In my latest column for AIER I continue to lay out some foundational principles of international trade. A slice: 7. The people of the home country benefit from their government following a policy of free trade regardless of the policies pursued by foreign governments. Some protectionists concede that a policy of free trade at home can be beneficial to citizens of the home country. But, these protectionists insist, free trade is advisable only if a policy of free trade is followed also...

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Heroes In a Year of Horrors

In my latest column for AIER I applaud some of the heroic people who stood up to the tyranny that exploded onto the scene in 2020. A slice: David Henderson. Calling as early as mid-April for an end to the lockdowns, Henderson has consistently been a crystal-clear source of sanity amidst the Covid madness. Writing principally at his blog, EconLog, but also in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal and for the Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas, he is characteristically very...

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On the Sensation of Tyranny

In my latest column for AIER I argue that tyranny is normally recognized as such only from the outside, including from the future. When tyranny is in progress, very many of its victims do not realize what is happening to them. A slice: Every tyrant convinces large numbers of the people under his rule that he uses force exclusively for the greater good. Tyrant wannabes who fail to convince The People of these wannabes’ noble purposes never grab the power they crave. Too few of The People...

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