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Tag Archives: Economics and Culture

Anti-Communism and Anti-Racism: A Reply

There’s less disagreement than meets the eye between myself and my anonymous friend at the University of Texas.  He’s in blockquotes, I’m not.  Point-by-point: I respectfully disagree with Bryan’s recent post on anti-Communism and “anti-racism.”  I believe he falls into a classic false equivalence trap; just because two things sound similar does not make them fundamentally similar… Similarly, neither the problem being addressed not the proposed solutions discussed by...

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Anti-Communism and Anti-Racism Reconsidered

My anonymous friend at the University of Texas has issues with yesterday’s post.  Here’s his critique.  Enjoy! I respectfully disagree with Bryan’s recent post on anti-Communism and “anti-racism.”  I believe he falls into a classic false equivalence trap; just because two things sound similar does not make them fundamentally similar.  For example, slicing someone’s stomach open with a rusty knife to try to cure a cold is unquestionably a bad idea.  Surgery in a...

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The Missing Right-Wing Firms: Hanania’s Plausible Resolution

Last year, I tried to figure out why there aren’t a lot more right-wing (or apolitical) firms.  A recent piece by Richard Hanania comes down firmly in favor of my Explanation #4.  To review: Explanation #4. Few moderates or right-wingers care enough to create a major profit opportunity.  While they don’t relish looking over their shoulders, they prefer their current job to an alternative where they can shoot their mouths off but earn a $1000 less per year.  In this...

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Goldberg on Expressive Politics

Brennan and Lomasky’s expressive voting model tries to explain why politics is largely about style and stories, not substance and numbers.  Long story short: Political entertainment is a private good; political results are a public good.  As a result, political systems primarily yield entertainment, not results.  Jonah Goldberg nicely illustrates these insights in a recent column.  Highlights: Application to immigration: [I]mmigration is a perfect example of what I’m getting at. It’s an...

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Whose Body Is It Anyway?

When I taught benefit‐​cost analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, one of the first principles I explained was that, to do a good analysis, you need to consider the costs and benefits to the various people affected rather than taking as gospel the desires of policymakers. We studied both good and bad examples of benefit‐​cost analyses. In the bad ones, a common error was to leave out the gains to consumers when they consumed items that policymakers did not want...

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Repealing Political Discrimination

Most skilled American workers are now at least somewhat afraid to criticize fashionable left-wing views.  They feel quite fearful to do so on the job, and fairly fearful to do so on social media.  One tempting way to quell this high anxiety is to pass new laws against political discrimination.  Washington, DC already has such a law: [T]he District of Columbia Human Rights Act prohibits all employers in the District from refusing to hire, terminating, or otherwise...

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Why Human Space Exploration Matters

Unity proves elusive, but Americans who cannot seem to agree on much else— from Trumpian and traditionalist conservatives on the right, to certain libertarians, to liberals and progressive social justice advocates— do seem to agree on at least one big policy thing: space does not matter much, and other things matter much more than space. Cue the familiar disagreements on what those “other things” are. But the first part undoubtedly stands. Broadly speaking, the...

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What the Success Sequence Means

[continued from yesterday] …This is a strange state of affairs.  Everyone – even the original researchers – insists that the success sequence sheds little or no light on who to blame for poverty.  And since I’m writing a book called Poverty: Who To Blame, I beg to differ. Consider this hypothetical.  Suppose the success sequence discovered that people could only reliably avoid poverty by finishing a Ph.D. in engineering, working 80 hours a week, and practicing...

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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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