Climate change is hard. It is a global phenomenon and any
effort to “do something” must involve seemingly near-impossible global political
cooperation. Sacrifices made by already relatively Green U.S, citizens are, about virtue-signaling which is in much demand throughout the U.S. (and
beyond) these days. Joseph Epstein explains.
Betting beats BS, they say. Trouble is that there are few
The U.S. economy is doing well -- and no one really knows why. Keynesian macro-economics (aggregate demand economics) is no help because there is no theory of mood and investment. How could there be one? The donnish Keynes simple wrote investment off as from "animal spirits". Not much has changed. The Obama-Trump hand-off seemingly incited animal spirits. With no better theory, that's all we
I enjoyed Tyler Cowen's BigBusiness: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero. Indeed, I have not yet come across a negative review. There is a chapter on crony capitalism ("How Much Does Big Business Control the American Government"?) Corporations are cited as spending about $3 billion a year lobbying the federal government but they spend $200 billion advertising (p. 171).
Sad to say, perhaps
Robert Shiller writes “Modern Monetary Theory Makes Sense, to a Point” (MMT)
in today’s NYT. What is MMT?
It comes out of the Bernie Sanders campaign (among others) and seems to
say “print all the money you want -- because
you can.” Sound silly?
The printing must be for “good causes.” But aren’t they all?
And increased national debt is not a problem “because we owe it to
People who talk about macroeconomics are captivated by the Philips curve trade-off between unemployment and inflation. The thinking has been re-packaged many times but the idea seems not to go away. When there is economic growth, there is the possibility of "overheating" and inflation. So, do something! Trouble is that the theory tells us nothing about timing. So mistakes are made and
There are probably good medical definitions of overweight and underweight. There are many other serious examples. But many other casually used overs- and unders- are hard to define. They are rhetoric. We hear many complaints about things "overpriced." More that I want to pay? Or the popular "I am underpaid," even "underappreciated?" Many more.
In private life there are bankruptcies and
Socialism and Capitalism are fraught labels that many people will define in their own convenient way. Crony capitalism is surely the wrong capitalism but perhaps defines our unstoppable drift. Both political parties inevitably find cronies with whom they would like to do business: special dispensation in return for political support. Too many businesses sign up for the deal.
In recent weeks, California’s new governor canceled (actually
scaled back) California’s high-speed rail (previous post), Airbus canceled
further work on the A-380, and Amazon has second thoughts about New York city.
Is it the end of the sunk cost fallacy? Not really. The sunk cost fallacy
results from the natural human tendency to not admit mistakes – and to somehow
strive to redeem mistakes.
Pharaohs, popes and politicians like(d) mega-projects. Peter
Hall has documented Great PlanningDisasters. Bent Flyvjberg and his colleagues have that shown such failures
Nevertheless, China’s economic accomplishments over the last
30 years, including all those bullet trains, have garnered fans for
this-time-is-different central planning.
Today’s New York Times
"Fatal conceit" is precious. How much wisdom can be crammed into a two-word phrase!
It is amazing (but not surprising) that those who are largely ignorant presume to manipulate a system they cannot really understand. Knowledge is dispersed and complexity is the rule. Again, Hayek said it best: "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men now little they really know about what they