Category Archives: Politics

What does “harm” mean? Or, the importance of baselines

Bryan Caplan asked an important question to economics bloggers via the Kauffman survey: “Taking into account its entire history, do you think the Federal Reserve has done more harm than good?” The returns were surprisingly ambivalent: 56% of respondents answered that … Continue reading

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Why not Socialism? Well, mostly because it’s morally problematic

The new great blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians poses an interesting question which comes from G.A. Cohen’s Why not Socialism?: …imagine a camping trip among friends.  Food and goods are shared freely.  Everyone abides by (purportedly) socialist principles of community and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, History, Politics | 2 Comments

Raising the Prestige of Government Bureaucrats

I once upon a time argued that raising the prestige of government bureaucrats would be one way to help muddle our way through the Great Stagnation. Some people thought this was a little unclear and general as a suggestion (and it was), … Continue reading

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Are Prisoners a Normal Good?

I’ve recently been reading Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, his take on how and why the justice system changed over the course of the Enlightenment from one of public executions and torture to private penitentiaries. His theories are interesting, but it lead me to … Continue reading

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Two Responses to Egypt

The news that Mubarak is, at long last, stepping down as Egyptian president has sparked responses from jubilation to fear. I think one of the wisest responses has been Chris Blattman’s, who wrote: Five years from now, there will either … Continue reading

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Your tax dollars at work

One of the wonderful little facets of our trade policy with much of the world are the exorbitant tariffs we levy on textiles – almost half of all tariffs are on them, according to NPR’s Planet Money. If we want our … Continue reading

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The State of the Union is Strong… and pretty nervous about China

In last night’s State of the Union address, the President seemed more nationalistic and zero-sum than usual: The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Politics | 1 Comment