Saturday , May 8 2021
Home / Tag Archives: Uncategorized

Tag Archives: Uncategorized

Does Spending Your Own Money on Yourself Create a Negative Externality?

Tyler Cowen thinks so. In a post this morning, economist Tyler Cowen writes: Now consider some older people who have a lot of wealth but very little human capital.  These (selfish) individuals still will pay a lot to avoid death or risk of death, but in essence there is an externality.  They treat their wealth as “disappearing with their death” when in reality that wealth simply is transferred to others.  Therefore they overspend to keep themselves around on planet...

Read More »

Boris Johnson’s two cheers for capitalism

Boris Johnson saluted fast development of COVID vaccines as a triumph of capitalism, even though he associated, somehow infelicitously, capitalism with greed (on the point, read Eamonn Butler). It is a bit bizarre that Johnson on the one hand sees R&D as a success of the market system, but at the same time wants to put more government money in it- committing £800 million to a new agency called ARIA (the Advanced Research and Invention Agency.) Johnson is never...

Read More »

The old left and cancel culture

As far as I can tell, there are three aspects of cancel culture of concern to the old left: 1.  They recall when cancel culture was used against the left.2. They worry that it diverts attention from achieving socialist aims, and indeed makes it more difficult to do so.3. They believe the younger generation is too soft. The first point is obvious. Free speech has traditionally been a liberal idea. Those of my generation will recall the Berkeley free speech movement,...

Read More »

Central Planning Covid Vaccinations

I just had a long argument about central planning of the Covid vaccine. The occasion for this argument is that I drove someone to the other side of Phoenix for a 5:30am appointment. Why 5:30? Because the government is doling out doses ‘round the clock. I marshalled all the facts. We’re nearly three months in to this exercise in central planning. And even people classified in the first priority group, due to age or medical condition, must wait a month or longer and take whatever...

Read More »

When is fiscal stimulus appropriate?

Greg Mankiw recently presented a graph showing that the US is doing much more fiscal stimulus than other big economies during the Covid crisis, even as a share of GDP: I was struck by the big difference between the US and major European economies such as Germany, France and Italy.  According to mainstream macroeconomic theory, the Eurozone economies should have been doing far more fiscal stimulus than the US. The standard model suggests that monetary policy should...

Read More »

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...

Read More »

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...

Read More »

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...

Read More »

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...

Read More »

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...

Read More »