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Tag Archives: Myths and Fallacies

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Spending & saving”

In my column for the July 10th, 2012, edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I took on some myths about savings. You can read my column in full beneath the fold. Spending & saving No economic instinct runs more deeply than the instinct about the alleged supremacy of spending. It screams: “Buying more output from existing producers is key to economic health! The more spent, the better!” It’s this instinct that makes reports on “consumer confidence” seem relevant. More “confident”...

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Some Non-Covid Links

Writing in the Atlantic, Jonathan Haidt explains why life in America over the past decade has become “uniquely stupid.” Two slices: This, I believe, is what happened to many of America’s key institutions in the mid-to-late 2010s. They got stupider en masse because social media instilled in their members a chronic fear of getting darted. The shift was most pronounced in universities, scholarly associations, creative industries, and political organizations at every level (national, state,...

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On Thomas Piketty and Capital

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal: Editor: Phillip Magness and my colleague Vincent Geloso nicely identify a critical error in Thomas Piketty’s work that is purported to show that income inequality in the U.S. was significantly reduced by the New Deal-era imposition of very high marginal income-tax rates (“Inequality and the Piketty Accounting Error,” April 12). Piketty, whose recent book is titled Time for Socialism, often slices and dices data in ways that support his...

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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Economics, money & wealth”

In my column for the June 13th, 2012, edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I explained that good economists – contrary to popular misconception – do not obsess over monetary values. You can read my column in full beneath the fold. Economics, money & wealth We economists get a lot of attention at cocktail parties. We do so by explaining that more sex can lead to safer sex, by complaining that the “drug war” makes drug use more dangerous, by noting that mandated fuel-economy...

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Some Non-Covid Links

Phil Magness corrects the record about AIER. A slice: Last month this journal [the BMJ], which is published by the British Medical Association, published a deranged smear against AIER over our involvement in the conference that produced the Great Barrington Declaration. Authored by Professors Gavin Yamey and David Gorski, along with graduate student Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, the commentary asserts that “AIER is funded through an investment fund that itself owns shares in tobacco companies...

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Some Non-Covid Links

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy – writing at National Review – is rightly appalled by the lousy ‘reporting’ done by the New York Times‘s David Leonhardt about the stance toward Ukraine taken by AIER’s Will Ruger and the Koch organization Stand Together. Here’s Vero’s conclusion: Here’s the bottom line: David Leonhardt seems to have done no actual investigating whatsoever before accusing Charles Koch and Will Ruger of being pro-Putin. This is particularly sad in a...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 197 of the late Robert Tollison’s 1978 paper “Is Industrial Concentration the Cause of Inflation?” which is chapter 38 in The Attack on Corporate America (M. Bruce Johnson, ed., 1978): In sum, there is neither a logical nor factual argument for the claim that corporate market power causes inflation in the United States. DBx: Yes. And since Bob wrote these words nothing on this front has changed. Now as then, blaming inflation on monopoly power, or on corporate greed, is...

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Capital Is Not Fixed In Amount

On-going correspondence with a trade skeptic: Mr. W__: Disagreeing with my explanation of why high-wage American workers have nothing to fear from an American policy of free trade with low-wage countries, you write: “High US worker productivity comes from companies investing plenty of capital for workers to work with.  But under free trade companies would move investments to countries with lower wages.  US workers will become less productive and be paid lower wages.  This is why the...

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In Markets, High-Wage Workers ≡ High-Productivity Workers

In my latest column for AIER, I again explain that the high wages paid to workers in market economies, such as the United States, put these workers at no disadvantage relative to workers paid lower wages in low-wage economies. A slice: There’s a key to escaping the confusion that traps people who worry that Americans’ high real wages prevent us Americans from trading profitably over the long haul with people in poorer countries. The key is to ask why are Americans’ wages higher than are...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 68-69 of the 2003 Liberty Fund collection, edited by Henry C. Clark, Commerce, Culture, and Liberty: Readings on Capitalism Before Adam Smith; specifically, it’s part of an excerpt from Nicholas Barbon’s 1690 tract, A Discourse of Trade (capitalization modernized): The reasons why many men have not a true idea of trade, is, because they apply their thoughts to particular parts of trade, wherein they are chiefly concerned in interest; and having found out the best rules...

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