Monday , December 9 2019
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Tag Archives: standard of living

Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 175 of Pierre Desrochers’s and Joanna Szurmak’s important 2018 book, Population Bombed!: In the end, population growth and the development and use of carbon fuels liberated human labour and brains from subsistence agriculture while simultaneously reducing pressures on both wild flora and fauna. As a result, not only has much marginal agricultural land been rewilded in many parts of the world over the last several decades, but an increasingly large number of human brains...

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George Will rightly – and devastatingly – criticizes Sen. Marco Rubio for “joining anti-capitalist conservatives.” A slice: Rubio serves in a legislature whose constant resort to funding the government with continuing resolutions testifies to its incompetence concerning even its most elemental function: budgeting. Yet he expects this government to wisely define the “common good” and deftly allocate wealth and opportunities accordingly. John Samples is, like George Will, dismayed by the...

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Reflections on the Fall in the Labor-Force-Participation Rate

In my latest column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I reflect on some possible causes of the fall, in the United States, in the labor-force-participation rate. A slice: Indeed, the very length and timing of the 70-year-long decline in men’s labor-force participation strongly suggests that much of this decline reflects a rise in prosperity rather than in problems. In the decades immediately after WWII ordinary Americans famously became wealthier. The U.S. economy boomed, despite the...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 158 of Deirdre McCloskey’s insight-filled 2019 book, Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All: [Thomas] Piketty downplays the main reason that we are so much better off than our ancestors. The reason is not the character of distribution, but the ingenuity encouraged by letting people run their farms or their factories the way they want, taking the risk of failure and the rewards of success. We all agree that...

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Shikha Dalmia argues that Trumpism increases Americans’ likelihood of embracing policies of the sort peddled by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. A slice: Socialism subordinates the interests of individuals in the name of a utopian egalitarianism, producing terrible results wherever tried. And yet it manages to seduce people because it purports to advance a just society. But America First dispenses with notions like justice. It has a zero-sum Hobbesian view of the world where one...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 486 of George Will’s excellent 2019 book, The Conservative Sensibility: It is astonishing that we do not live in a state of perpetual astonishment. DBx: If you’re reading these words, why are you not in a perpetual state of astonishment – or, at least, in such a state frequently? You are gazing at the screen of a computer, powered by electricity generated at a place that you likely do not know by machines built with technological knowledge about which you almost certainly...

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George Will is correct that Elizabeth Warren in many ways has become the Trump of the political left. Here’s his conclusion: Her cachet has been intellectual gravitas, supposedly demonstrated by blueprints for refurbishing everything. Suddenly, “the thinking person’s Bernie Sanders” seems more like progressivism’s Trump, exacerbating social hostilities and playing fast and loose with facts. Markets, for which Warren has minimal respect, are information-generating mechanisms, and...

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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Statistics tell us …”

In my November 25th, 2006, column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I warned against careless presentations and readings of statistics, for even the most accurate statistics can be highly misleading. You can read this column below the fold. Statistics tell us … As the old saw goes, “If you torture the data long enough, they’ll confess.” For anyone who works with statistics, this observation rings true. It’s not that data lie (although instances of outright falsification are not...

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My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy gives good reasons for us Americans to give thanks. A slice: While millions of manufacturing and other “middle-skill” jobs have disappeared, that decline has been more than offset by an increase in the number of high-skilled jobs. In fact, a look at the data reveals that while the middle class has indeed thinned out, it’s because more and more Americans are joining the upper class, a phenomenon that we should applaud. Meanwhile, the...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 155 of Deirdre McCloskey’s 2019 excellent book, Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All: The danger is that each new generation will not realize how good for the poor the Bourgeois Deal has been, and will forget how bad the earlier deals have been – the Bolshevik Deal, for example, in which the government takes over the railways and the electric companies and the newsagents and the newspapers and your employment,...

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