Sunday , September 22 2019
Home / Tag Archives: Cross-country Comparisons

Tag Archives: Cross-country Comparisons

The Great Successor: Inside North Korea

I highly recommend Anna Fifield’s The Great Successor.  It’s full of information about not only the life of Kim Jong Un, but what’s happened inside North Korea since his ascent to the Red Throne.  Most readers will be shocked by her description of the North Korean hell-state, but that’s all old hat to me.  Here’s what surprised me in Fifield’s book: 1. Kim Jong Un didn’t just attend a fancy English-language school in Switzerland.  After his expat guardians – his...

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Bernie Sanders Didn’t Say It

When I wrote a review of the excellent Socialism Sucks by Bob Lawson and Ben Powell, I quoted a passage from it that they attributed to Bernie Sanders. It did sound extreme, even for Bernie, and I should have checked. Unfortunately, I didn’t. That’s a problem because Bernie didn’t say it. Here’s the relevant passage in my review: They [Lawson and Powell] quote Bernie Sanders’s 2011 comment that “the American dream was more apt to be realized” in Venezuela than in the...

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Reinhardt’s Misleading Data on Drug Price Differences

Timothy Taylor, the Conversable Economist, posted today on some highlights from the late Uwe Reinhardt’s last book, Priced Out: The Economic and Ethical Costs of American Health Care. He, following the lead of the Milken Institute Review in its excerpt of the book, shows charts comparing the cost of various health care goods and services in the United States to the cost in other countries. The bottom line, which will surprise no one who has followed the issue, is...

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Socialism Does Indeed Suck

Two free-market economists, Robert Lawson of Southern Methodist University and Benjamin Powell of Texas Tech University, have pulled off a marvelous stunt. Their just-published book, Socialism Sucks, is a humorous travelogue about their experiences in various socialist and allegedly socialist countries in the last few years. The book, subtitled “Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World,” is the best in this genre since fellow drinker P.J. O’Rourke’s...

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Socialism Sucks, and Everyone Ought to Know It

Today my friends Bob Lawson and Ben Powell have released their new Socialism Sucks: Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World.  Intellectually, EconLog readers will know the score, but Socialism Sucks embeds good economics and economic history within an irreverent travelogue.  Modern socialist rhetoric is so ahistorical and otherworldly that it’s great to hear reports about what North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba are actually like.  Along the way, Lawson...

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Fernandez-Villaverde, Spain, and Gravity

In a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I asked Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde two follow-up questions. My first question: “Suppose Spain had been in South America.  Would the same policies still have worked nearly as well?” Jesus replied: “Yes if a free trade agreement with US and Canada had existed.” I then inquired: “So the gravity model just isn’t that important here?  Opening your economy when you’re surrounded by rich neighbors seems a lot more fruitful than opening...

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Fernandez-Villaverde on Spain’s Economic Success

Last week I asked: Why is Spain so much richer now than almost any country in Spanish America?  Before you answer with great confidence, ponder this: According to Angus Maddison’s data on per-capita GDP in 1950, Spain was poorer than Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and roughly equal to Colombia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Panama.  This is 11 years after the end of the Spanish Civil War, and Spain of course stayed out of...

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Reflections from Spain

I just got back from a five-week visit to Spain.  The first four weeks, I was teaching labor economics at Universidad Francisco Marroquín while my sons took Spanish-language classes on Islamism, Self-Government, and the Philosophy of Hayek.  Then we rented a van and saw Cordoba, Seville, Gibraltar, Fuengirola, Granada, and Cuenca.  During my stay, I also spoke to the Instituto von Mises in Barcelona, Effective Altruism Madrid, the Rafael del Pino Foundation, and the...

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Two areas where I am out of step

I read a lot of material from experts on politics, economics and international affairs. As a result, I think I have a pretty good idea of the consensus views of respected pundits, which are sometimes called the “Very Serious People.” Here I’d like to discuss two views that seem increasing popular, which I view as extremely misguided. Feel free to correct me if I’ve misjudged the zeitgeist; if these are not two widely held views. The first consensus view is that...

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Socialism vs. Capitalism: My Debate with John Marsh

Here’s the video for my Socialism vs. Capitalism debate with John Marsh.  (Not to be confused with my earlier debate on the same topic with Elizabeth Bruenig).  Marsh is an English professor at Penn State, but I’d say his knowledge of social science favorably compares to most tenured professors in the social sciences.  (And he’s fun to talk literature with as well!)  Here‘s an earlier exchange the two of us had on education and poverty. Overall, I...

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