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Category Archive for 'ethical foundations'

The current debate about whether or not “we” should eliminate the last two lab samples of smallpox has me thinking more widely about the issue of species extinction. Also, I am in the middle of this book at the moment (my favorite nugget was his discussion of how a typical plant only converts 2% of […]

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You might remember the 2012 campaign trail when the Commander in Speech uttered, “You didn’t build that.” OK, so maybe that was out of context, and he didn’t really mean what his critics thinks he meant. Fine. Let’s assume the charitable version of his point – that even private enterprise “requires a village” and that it is […]

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He just wants to fix it. No comments from this peanut gallery. But Scott Sumner hits a 600 foot homer, do read the whole thing: Here’s what Yglesias misses. Unequal consumption matters because of opportunity cost—another bedrock of economics. The resources that went into that $200 million yacht could have produced lots of other goodies […]

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Wisdom from Interfluidity

He concludes an excellent piece with: I don’t mean to criticize anyone in particular. (I used to be the economics instructor.) In all of these cases, there really isn’t anything any one individual can do to remedy the bad practices. Making a big issue of them would lead to useless excommunication. Instead we shrug ironically. […]

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Just had the pleasure of watching Rocky with my daughter and that line above was one I missed when I first watched it 30 years ago. At the end of the epic fight, where Rocky had just gone the distance against Apollo (and lost), the news folks and TV folks are swarming Rocky, and upon […]

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It is typically asserted that on utilitarian grounds we can and should redistribute wealth from the richer to the poorer. On its face and all-alone the argument makes some sense. The argument goes like this: since there is diminishing marginal utility of wealth, a dollar to a rich person is worth less than a dollar […]

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Among some of the most unproductive questions I am asked regularly include questions of the type, “are you in support of XYZ?” As if XYZ is some monolithic, black and white, easy to understand and represent with the word XYZ, thing. Of course, it is not. So, in the past I’ve been very evasive when […]

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Austen Frakt thinks so: I’m simultaneously more cynical and practical. First the cynical: we’ll never have honest intellectual debate. … Can Avik and I have an honest intellectual debate about whether Medicaid helps or harms people, about whether Singapore’s low health spending is due more to the nature of its insurance and provider markets or to government intervention […]

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If you accept the conventional estimates for what a life in the United States is worth, statistically, you come up with a number around $7 million. This of course is not to say that any particular life is “worth” $7 million. After all, if I asked you how much money you would accept to allow […]

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In my news feed: Foes say the buses jam up municipal bus stops and remove potential customers from cash-strapped public transportation systems, including regional rail service, that could use their revenue. Right, so public transportation is not about delivering service people want at a good value? Not that this is news. I’m sure this will […]

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