Would You Eat this Abandoned Chicken Stick?

– July 11, 2018

I could have eaten it without violating anyone’s rights, so far as I can tell. But doing so would bump into an idea that forms the basis of social order, the very distinction between what is mine and what is thine. And keep in mind that this norm thrives most (or only) in an environment in which we are not desperate. In famine and war, such norms become more flexible. Sitting at the airport bar, I had the luxury to be scrupulous … and remain hungry, awaiting my chance to beg the flight attendant to give me an extra bag of salted almonds.


The Limits of Presidential Self Criticism

– June 4, 2018

In so many areas, Obama seemed like an intelligent and thoughtful person, certainly someone who wanted to achieve some good. But even from his earliest extended interviews – however erudite and insightful – it was clear that he had a gigantic blind spot about fundamental economic topics. Most foundationally, the topic of wealth creation was never on this mind. He had great confidence in the capacity of great public administrators to manage economic life from the center but no discernable awareness of the limits of state power.


If You Can’t Beat Foreign Competitors, Copy Them

– March 19, 2018

The “sweet spot” that facilitates spillover effects occurs with foreign firms with local market focus and highly tangible assets. Although the results are not uniform, this new research shows that far from being detrimental, foreign companies keep local ones on their toes, as locals search for ever better ways to serve customers and piggyback on newly observed strategies.


Highlights from the GSMA’s 2017 Mobile Money Report

– March 16, 2018

The continued growth of mobile money should excite anyone who believes private sector innovations are the best means of achieving sustainable economic and financial development across the developing world.


In this Case, Nothing Beats Old Technology

– January 8, 2018

The continued popularity of the cast-iron skillet illustrates a point. The purpose of technology is not to be new. It is not to complicate your life. It is not to do something never done before. It is not to confound, confuse, or disorient. The purpose of technology is to make your life better than it is. In this case, technology can come from any age, even the ancient world. As the slogan of Lodge pan company says, iron is forever.


Why Mainstream News No Longer Connects

– January 2, 2018

Will we ever again trust the experts to run our lives, pick our leaders, tell us the news we need to know, plan our economy? It’s just not going to happen anytime soon.

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Mattresses Signify Our Astonishing Prosperity

– January 1, 2018

Consider our good fortune. A third of our lives are spent on mattresses. A solid sleep is determinative of a good life. And get this: you didn’t build that mattress. Someone else is working right now for you, in the hope that you will buy. That’s called the market at work: endless progress, a beautiful community of work, ever better quality, ever lower prices.


China: Money Matters

– January 22, 2013

Contrary to what the doomsters have been telling us, China’s economy is not on the verge of collapse.


Two Legends in Economics Wrestle Over the Euro’s Future

– September 28, 2012

FORTUNE — Robert Mundell and Allan Meltzer rank among the most influential economists of the past half-century. Mundell, a professor at Columbia University, garnered a Nobel Prize in 1999, in part for his work in defining what he calls “optimum curren …

Industrial production

Is Greater Productivity a Danger?

– June 27, 2012

It is bad enough that opponents of the free market wrongly blame capitalism for environmental pollution, depressions, and wars. Whatever the failings of their causal theories, at least they are focused on undoubtedly bad things. We have really gone beyond the pale, though, when the market is blamed for something good.

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It’s the Money Supply, Stupid!

– June 21, 2012

During the 1992 presidential campaign, former President Clinton’s rallying cry was “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” He sang it to perfection and won the election. Today, the smart politicians (and economists) should realize that “It’s the Money Supply, Stupid.”


Ron Paul and the Martian Atmosphere Machine

– March 22, 2012

“Bernanke, give these people air!” by John DeFeo Ron Paul has staked his presidential hopes on a few key issues, among the most prominent being monetary policy. The feisty Texas congressman has had his share of ideological head-butting with Federal Res …