22 Oct 2014

Anything but water

  1. Dutch pensions are managed with a firm grasp of reality, unlike American "fantasy plans" that will leave workers in the lurch

  2. It's Final -- Corn Ethanol Is of No Use (except to crooked politicians)

  3. Margaret Mead described how "proper" behavior depended on culture, not moral absolutes. Speaking of culture, we just finished using Small is Beautiful for my microeconomics class, and I'd update my 2009 review to include:
    Schumacher has a lovely vision for how a bottom-up system of production by the masses would work, but he does not describe a strategy for dealing with people(s) who prefer large and ugly, e.g., China, the US, Canada, et al. This weakness puts his advice into the aspirational rather than pragmatic section of my bookshelf.
  4. Bryan Caplan argues that open borders are the best way to help the poor (and ourselves). I asked him:
    What's your response to "they're taking our stuff" when people (a) don't care about the 95% who are better off, (b) don't understand how policy works (e.g., waiting period for unemployment) and (c) support nativist populists (e.g., Marine Le Pen or Gert Wilders)?
    His reply -- "teach them how policy works" -- will not counter their logic. Thus, I stick with my (second-best) idea of two passports for everyone

  5. Russ Roberts's new book on Adam Smith explains how Smith reconciled loyalty to family and society with the efficiency of markets