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I think I have stumbled upon a way to teach comparative advantage to those otherwise predisposed not to understand it, or to simply reject it because their tribal affiliations suggest they are supposed to. The beautiful insights from the basic Ricardian setup lead one to conclude that while Wintercow is surely the least intelligent economist […]

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This is the blog equivalent of drunk dialing, I had promised myself not to do this. Let’s talk this out. There is perhaps no sector in the U.S. economy that is more comprehensively controlled by the government than schooling. I suppose you might say National Defense, but given the large amount of expenditures that are […]

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In this interesting article on whether “we” want more equality or something else, the author includes a discussion of an idea that is very common: People might be troubled by what they see as unjust causes of economic inequality, a perfectly reasonable concern given how much your income and wealth are determined by accidents of […]

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In the litany of noise that we hear about “respecting diversity” what I originally imagined was that we should respect diversity because there is a lot of value to be had from learning from, sharing with, playing with, dating, marrying, trading with, writing music with, etc. people who are different than us. And what I […]

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Surely you have followed with interest the debate over the past decade on what the true history of Easter Island was. Was it, as Jared Diamond makes the case for in Collapse, a case of a people stupidly overconsuming the limited resources on a fragile island ecosystem, or was it perhaps a more nuanced story, or eve na […]

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In reading various papers and books that talk about biodiversity and the need to both measure and promote it (agreed!), you will encounter an idea of a thing called an “Indicator Species.” These would be species to examine, in part, to understand how healthy or threatened an ecosystem is. In various books on oceans I […]

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A former student asked me to re-run this post. You can see why I have few friends now. It’s likely that the main beneficiaries of “Veterans’ Day” and other ways we celebrate Veterans are not the Veterans at all. It is almost surely the government itself (on many dimensions). The dimension I have in mind […]

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I assume some will find this in bad taste in light of last week’s tragedies in Boston. But just in case anyone was paying attention, we’re closing in on a dozen years since the WTC was destroyed and it’s rebuild is still not complete yet, so I find it hard to read notes that New […]

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I’m off to class, but a few quick things that will surely have people stop inviting you to their holiday afterparties this year: It’s likely that the main beneficiaries of “Veterans’ Day” and other ways we celebrate Veterans are not the Veterans at all. It is almost surely the government itself (on many dimensions). The […]

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There are many reasons to be concerned about poverty, even here in rich America. While I am almost sure that living on low income itself is not ipso facto that hard to do, it does correlate well with other things that are hard to do. For example, I intentionally make myself poor when I go backpacking for […]

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