by Edward Stringham As a professor, I am a fan of rigorous economic research, but I am also a fan of helping students learn about how important economics is in an engaging way. John Papola did an excellent job with the Keynes Versus Hayek music videos (especially the second one with yours truly), and over the past … Continue reading Economics Music Video Contest: Markets Promote Peace
by Mario Rizzo Some people rest the case for representative democracy on the idea that its decisions express the “will of the people.” Those who believe this have never thought deeply about what they are saying. I am inclined, in response to these believers, to use my favorite paraphrase of Ludwig Wittgenstein, “You can mouth … Continue reading THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE
by Edward Peter Stringham* Many economists are criticized for being unable to communicate their ideas in am intelligible and non-boring way. How many people, for example, jump to listen about a debate about the Austrian theory of the business cycle? It turns out quite a lot. John Papola and Russ Roberts demonstrated to the world that … Continue reading Supply and Demand in Music
by Chidem Kurdas Protestors have “occupied” a square near Wall Street for weeks. Hundreds of them were arrested, some 700 while blocking the Brooklyn Bridge. The movement may be spreading to other American cities. At least one demonstrator says: “This is a revolution.” They complain of joblessness and the inequities of global capitalism, though the … Continue reading Revolution on Wall Street?
by Andreas Hoffmann The euro benefited Germany more than others in the zone. Germany exported and won, the others had to import German goods and lost (link). This seems to be a consensus in the world of politics. The second consensus is that a bail-out package for the euro problem children or even euro bonds … Continue reading Euro Benefited Germany More than Others in Zone
by Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) Were anyone to call me dishonest or untruthful he would touch me to the quick. Were he to say that I am unpatriotic, he would leave me unmoved. “What, then, have you no love of country?” That is a question not to be answered in a breath. The early abolition of … Continue reading Patriotism
by Mario Rizzo I am always amazed that when many economists give policy advice the sophistication and logical rigor that the discipline so values gets completely lost. There are many ways to interpret this. One is that the level of precision appropriate to theory and to applied economics is not appropriate to the “art” of … Continue reading Confusion Masquerading as Science? Taxes and Spending
by Mario Rizzo There has been much moaning, even before the Arizona shooting incident, about why “we” cannot be civil in our political discussions and why political parties cannot work together for the common good. Most of this is pure logorrhea. There are some simple facts the commentators cannot or will not face. The reason … Continue reading Sowing and Reaping: The True Sickness of Society
by Roger Koppl The tragic shooting in Arizona has sparked a fight about whether today’s right-wing political rhetoric is somehow responsible for egging on Jared Loughner. The evidence so far is against the claim. Mother Jones, hardly a right-wing rag, interviewed a friend of Loughner. It seems that Loughner had a grudge against Giffords after … Continue reading Mark Potok’s Loony Logical Leap
by Mario Rizzo In an editorial the Wall Street Journal criticizes Sarah Palin for criticizing Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign. The point seems to be that such talk from the Ms. Bully Pulpit is innocuous or benign. The writer makes an analogy with Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign. Now if Michelle Obama were just … Continue reading Could Sarah Palin Be Right?!
by Chidem Kurdas Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter, a historian who died in 1970, is very much part of politics several decades after it was written. The past two years brought many charges of anti-intellectualism by left-liberals against people on the other side of the political divide. The latest in Hofstadter-inspired critiques is … Continue reading Anti-Intellectualism and Freedom
by Mario Rizzo The market is a “marvel.” What does that mean? According to Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman orator and senator, a marvel is something contrary to or surpassing common understanding. In that sense, the market is a true marvel – so much so that it even surpasses the understanding of many economists. Richard … Continue reading Cafeteria Marvels
by Roger Koppl Obama has been a bitter disappointment to me, though not really a surprise. He is skilled at signaling goodness while concentrating benefits and dispersing costs. That’s the norm for elected officials, especially at his level. Bush was an exception because he was only mediocre at signaling goodness and yet a genius at … Continue reading Props to Obama
by Mario Rizzo There have been many statements recently to the effect that we should not let “ideology” or “philosophy” stand in the way of solving our economic problems. Indeed, the Obama Administration (and the previous Bush Administration) are keen to persuade us to drop all of this prejudice and to go … Continue reading In Defense of Reasonable Ideology
by Mario Rizzo In an attempt to provide greater transparency and predictability the US Treasury has issued the basic “framework” that will determine whether a troubled “financial institution,” defined extremely broadly as the law allows (see my previous post), will receive governmental aid. Many commentators, including this one, have thought that the Treasury policy … Continue reading U.S. Treasury’s Bailout Framework: Mockery of the Rule of Law
by Mario Rizzo In a recent article in Time magazine Michael Kinsley implies that no “prominent” economist has come out against economic stimulus as a (partial?) solution to the current mess. My interest here is not whether this true but in what constitutes “prominent.” I know many economists who do not agree with the dominant … Continue reading What is a “Prominent” Economist?
by Mario Rizzo After most presidential elections in recent years there is talk of uniting the country, somehow overcoming differences and working for the betterment of the nation. This is a dangerous idea if it is taken seriously. In a (classical) liberal society with a minimal state this ideal is a real and benign possibility. This … Continue reading Time for Reflection: “The Unity of the People”