Sunday, July 6, 2014

Highly Linkable

Terry Anderson is thinking sensibly about climate change. (HT: Don Boudreaux)

Speaking of Don Boudreaux, he has a fantastic new series of videos out as part of MRUniversity's "Everyday Economics" series. I highly recommend these short, extremely well-made videos.

Steve Landsburg points out an amazing physical-world derivation of pi. Here is the full paper. I don't suggest you pull this little nugget out the next time you're gambling, Eddie, gambling money on pool games, but it is pretty cool. Aside from being impressed by this myself, I think it demonstrates something about political economy. It is understandable that because brilliant people can discover truths like this other people believe brilliant people can discover the truths about how to govern other (not-so-brilliant) people's lives.

Two from Megan McArdle: In the first she offers an explanation as to why so many people are saving too little (AKA, building too much personal debt). In the second she talks about the social media frenzy surrounding the Supreme Courts' Hobby Lobby decision and how the calls of BOYCOTT! are very unlikely to actually succeed. This supports a thesis I have had about how the world has changed. To wit: Cults and cult leaders are less likely today while riots are more likely. Negative, tipping-point events can be blown out of portion and escalated more easily today, but they're not as long-lasting and sustainable as they were in the past. In the past information restriction, a critical tool of the cult, was much more easily accomplished. Hence, it is easier to incite a mob, but harder to inspire a movement.

I plan on reading the new book The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters and this recent EconTalk encouraged my excitement for it. But John Tamny at Forbes raises a few negatively critical points that are worth considering.

Vintage Photos:
Moscow in 1968
Street scenes of NYC in the 60s and 70s
More street scenes of NYC in the 70s
Other color photos of NYC in the 70s
Besides being very cool to look back at these places and people in the past, there is something I notice--more evidence against the Great Stagnation theory. For one we can see some stark differences between life back then and modern life in these cities. The second is a bit more subtle. In the previous era the USSR could appear to compete with the USA economically (e.g., having a large number of cars, the world's biggest X, etc.). In the current era the shortcomings are too obvious. Life today in the USA is filled with so many creature comforts available to so many of us, that in the comparison we rightfully consider Moscow as the capital of a undeveloped economy.