July 2014

Is religious adherence bad for the economy?

I have a new post up at First Thoughts about religious adherence and economic performance. This one was prompted by a frustratingly shallow NPR story about Ramadan’s effect on GDP in majority-Muslim countries. Ramadan, it said, and (by implication) similar events in other religions steal from productivity as religious adherents divert energies toward something other than […]

Read More

Wage stagnation. Blame grad school?

The chart below from Kevin Drum at Mother Jones shows that median wage for 25-34 year olds have been stagnating or declining for more than a decade. Wages don’t include other benefits, of course, but similar wage stagnation hasn’t been seen among older Americans. Two things about this chart: First: I’m seeing anti-immigrant activists using data […]

Read More

Hyperfocusing on negative externalities

Mark Buchanan had an interesting article at Bloomberg View yesterday. He writes: Much of human activity is focused on the quest for efficiency — getting the most out of our resources so that we can improve our standard of living. Problem is, what we perceive as efficient is often making us worse off in ways […]

Read More

I got a new theme

As you can see, I found a new theme for my blog. This one is much more modern. I’ve noticed the big thing in online journalism lately is to let the content (not the environment) set the tone — minimize distracting widgets to emphasize the content. As someone far too eager to fill in blank […]

Read More

QOTD: Jeffrey Kluger

Want to know how far we’ve sunk? Here’s how far: There was never any chance at all that we would handle the crisis of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children running for their lives and arriving at our border with any maturity or grace at all. There was never a chance we’d take them in, get […]

Read More

Boettke on the “economists’ conundrum”

From Chapter 1 of Peter Boettke’s Living Economics. I received the book as a gift on Monday and just started reading it. This is the economists’ age-old plight: what is fleeting in economics is politically popular, whereas what is enduring in economics is politically unpopular. Hayek describes the economists’ conundrum as consisting of being called upon to consult […]

Read More

QOTD: Henry Hazlitt

From Chapter 14 of Henry Hazlitt’s timeless book The Failure of the “New Economics”: According to Keynes, holding cash for the “speculative motive” is wicked. This is what the Monetary Authority must stop. It is Keynes’s usual trick of giving the dog a bad name as an excuse for shooting him. But it is a nice […]

Read More

No one actually reads Piketty’s book

Hardly anyone actually finishes Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. According to University of Wisconsin professor Jordan Ellenberg writing at wsj.com last Thursday, only 2.4 percent of readers actually make it to the end of the book. Of course, we can’t know this for sure. Ellenberg admits this study is for “entertainment purposes only.” The number […]

Read More

QOTD: Ron Paul

Ron Paul discussing the Hobby Lobby case and the alleged “right” to free birth control on the Glenn Beck Show this morning: Demands and desires and needs can’t become ‘rights.’ That’s why we have a society in which anyone who needs or wants something says, “We have a right to this!” But they never say, “Whose […]

Read More

Obamacare as jobs creator? Not so fast.

According to Thomas Black and Caelainn Barr writing at Bloomberg.com this morning, 2014’s surging hiring pace indicates broad economic recovery. Whether this is driven by stronger fundamentals or the illusions of easy money is yet to be seen. But my reason for highlighting this article is for one particular phrase near the end: Positions for software developers, computer systems analysts and financial […]

Read More