Thursday , January 21 2021
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Tag Archives: Uncategorized

Biden approves First Dose First!

In a decision that will likely save many lives, Biden Administration officials have indicated they will stop holding back second doses and vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible. Second doses will be provided as soon as manufacturing catches up.  Here’s CNN: President-elect Joe Biden will aim to release nearly every available dose of the coronavirus vaccine when he takes office, a break with the Trump administration’s strategy of holding back half of...

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Reflections Over 2020

Wow, it has been a heckuva year! One thought leads to another on this sunny-but-cool January 1. Having watched a few seasons of Forged in Fire, I’ve gained an appreciation of how difficult it is to pound and grind a lump of steel into a blade, even with power tools. There are many ways for it to go wrong. And “wrong” generally means catastrophic failure—a crack in the metal that will cause it to break into pieces when hit. That led to thoughts regarding an advantage, in Medieval...

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Gold hoarding during the Great Depression

Back in 2015, I wrote The Midas Paradox, which showed how gold hoarding helped to cause the Great Depression. I’ve always hoped that another (presumably younger) economist would repeat this research using updated methods.  Better yet, I hoped the new study would confirm my findings. Doug Irwin directed me to a new paper by Sören Karau that reaches a similar conclusion, using better data and much better statistical techniques.  Here’s the abstract: I identify monetary...

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Michael Oakeshott: A Hero for Whom?

Michael Oakeshott died thirty years ago. The Michael Oakeshott Association, which is a network of scholars who share an interest in his thought, maintains an interesting website with plenty of information about him and new initiatives concerning his work. Searching “Oakeshott” on Amazon, it seems apparent that there has been considerable interest in Oakeshott since his passing. Alas, I tend to fear this interest was confined to a certain number of experts and was not...

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Generally Accepted Rules and the Election

To a large extent, people do what is generally expected from them, simply because it simplifies their lives in society. This is how and why rules develop that facilitate social coexistence. The danger is that these rules turn out to be stifling and economically inefficient, which means that they impede trade, innovation, and prosperity. Primitive tribes provide an extreme example. The opportunity is that some social rules—and institutions, which are sets of rules—may...

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Lockdowns and Political Realignment

A few days ago the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed of mine, on the new Christmas restrictions that the Italian government passed for coping with Covid19. Here’s a link (gated). I am not a fan of the restrictions. Italians are no longer free to move through the country; they may travel only within their respective regions or between regions rated as having a similar risk status. Regions are classified according a “color code”, depending from their infection rate and...

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Walter Williams Memorial Service

Many of you have asked about a memorial service for Walter Williams. There will be one, but because of the Covid-19 situation, we as yet have set no date or location. I will, here at Cafe Hayek, post updates on the service. Thanks to all of you for your kind words about Walter and your wish to be part of remembering the life and legacy of this great man. Comments

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Walter Williams

Devastating news: Walter Williams died last night (or early this morning). Walter has been my colleague and friend for more than 35 years. He is one of my few heroes. I will write more later, but I am now in no condition to say more. Comments

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The relationship between identity and politics is complicated

Back in 1976, I drove from Wisconsin to the Canadian Rockies. In North Dakota I drove past endless miles of wheat farms, with some sunflower farms thrown in. The countryside looked much the same after crossing the border into Saskatchewan, Canada. But one thing changes dramatically at the border. Just south of the border the farmers tend to vote for right wing candidates that are strongly opposed to Obamacare. To the north, the farmers vote for candidates that support...

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Non-linearities in Covid outcomes

Recent trends in Covid-19 fatalities in Western countries are quite unusual, with a wide range of outcomes. We know that these highly divergent results can be explained with a model where long run outcomes are highly sensitive to whether the replication rate “R0” is above or below 1.0 (after social distancing.) I will argue that a country’s complexity plays an important role in determining that replication rate. Obviously the term ‘complexity’ will require some...

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