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Tag Archives: Economics and Culture

Putting Entrepreneurship on the Menu

Even before the arrival of COVID-19, the restaurant industry was being transformed by a variety of forces, in particular the competition for home delivery among UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash and others. In addition, pop-ups, test kitchens, and food trucks offered unique dining opportunities at a very small scale and for short periods of time. These acts of entrepreneurship were possible because the food service industry is still largely characterized by “permissionless...

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Happy birthday, LvB!

250 years ago today Ludwig van Beethoven was born. Beethoven’s greatness is quite too obvious to comment on it. The great composer had liberal sentiments; he had great hope in the French Revolution and in Bonaparte as a liberator, yet he was disappointed by the Napoleon crowning himself and came to resent him. Jim Powell had an amusing profile of Beethoven for the liberty-minded, here. Sometimes people remark that Beethoven “wrote only one opera” and could not...

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Spencer and Prejudice

Herbert Spencer’s “From Freedom to Bondage” famously claims that “[T]he more things improve the louder become the exclamations about their badness.”  And he offered a bunch of great examples.  Inspired by Spencer’s insight, I recently turned to Google Ngram to look at long-run trends for six oft-named expressions of prejudice. Notice: Four out of six evils  – racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia – are now vastly more discussed that they were in early...

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Great Line from T.S. Eliot

Eliot could not have found a kinder, or more effective, way of putting me at ease. As we sat down, he said, “Tell me, as one editor to another, do you have much author trouble?” I could not help laughing, he laughed in return–he had a booming laugh–and that was the beginning of our friendship. His most memorable remark of the day occurred when I asked him if he agreed with the definition that most editors are failed writers, and he replied: “Perhaps, but so are most...

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Life, Liberty, and M*A*S*H: Other Civil Liberties

This fall, LIFE magazine has published a special issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the movie M*A*S*H. Despite the hook, the issue focuses on the ensuing TV series, which ran from 1972 to 1983. Though the show has often been characterized as being politically left-wing, it actually is heavily classically liberal, celebrating the individual, civil liberties, and the market, and harshly criticizing anti-individualism, government compulsion, and government...

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Wayne Rogers: Much More than M*A*S*H

I was very pleased to see Thomas Firey’s thoughtful series on the classical liberal currents in what was, arguably, the greatest television comedy ever, M*A*S*H.  The two original stars of the show were Alan Alda and the late Wayne Rogers.  What is lesser known of the latter, Wayne attended many Liberty Fund conferences between 2003 and 2015.  I had the privilege of knowing him for a number of years during his long and productive relationship with Liberty Fund. By...

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Jonathan Rauch Has a GREAT Answer

What’s the appeal to people? Obviously I agree with you when you talk about a liberal society being a good one. The idea of intellectual or ideological pluralism, I’m all in. But people who are saying, “That’s a false front for a system that is rigged against trans people, against black people, and against other types of racial, ethnic, ideological, or sexual minorities”—how do you engage them when they are not interested necessarily in hearing what you have to say?...

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Laughter, Liberty, and M*A*S*H

Television’s finest half-hour reminded America of the values of classical liberalism. This fall, LIFE magazine has published a special issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the movie M*A*S*H. Despite the hook, the issue focuses on the ensuing TV series, which ran from 1972 to 1983. Though the show has often been characterized as being politically left-wing, it actually is heavily classically liberal, celebrating the individual, civil liberties, and the market,...

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Viral Silence

This semester I volunteered to teach both of my classes in-person.  I’ve also given four public talks in Texas, and one at GMU.  All of these venues had mask mandates.  And in each case, I noticed an eerie pattern: Almost no one talks to each other anymore!  In the past, I had to ask classes to quiet down so I could start class.  Now I usually face dead silence.  Public lecture halls used to overflow with the chatter of the crowd.  Now you can practically hear a pin...

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Reflections on My Illustration Contest

You might not realize from EconLog or my academic work, but I love crafting and sharing stories.  Some are true, at least as far as memory serves.  I’ve told my kids hundreds of stories over the dinner table, most revolving around absurd events of my childhood.  I’ve also written a pile of fiction, mostly for my artisanal role-playing games.  I’ve explored almost every genre that’s game-worthy: high fantasy, superheroes, crime, dystopian, absurdist comedy, conspiracy,...

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