When does trade become extortion? Economists say never, at least in principle. Free trade is a voluntary exchange between two parties who both stand to gain from the trade. Where’s the extortion? Let’s consider a criminal transaction in the airport of some backwoods country. A customs agent says you have to pay him a thousand… Continue reading When Does Trade Become Extortion?
Here’s the root problem with economics. To see the problem, you have to drill down to the very first assumpton it makes — at the very bottom of the pile — upon which the whole edifice is built. Let me pose it as a question. How shall we live? Shall we live a life of… Continue reading The Depravity of Economics
My complaint isn’t with the market. Try running a complex society without trade or money. My complaint is how so many never practice what they preach. It’s a matter of bait and switch. That means promising something good but delivering something else. Economists are masters of bait and switch. The bait of utopian capitalism is… Continue reading Bait and Switch
My how the rich get touchy when the poor want a bigger share. Just watch the knee-jerk reaction when the minimum wage goes up. “No, no, no — you’re going to screw yourselves out of a job if you insist on feeding your kids. If you extort a living wage out of us, we’ll cut… Continue reading The Minimum Wage Scam
We live in a bizarre world where we believe in libertarian free-market ideology, while we let the corporate sector practice socialism. Yet we don’t admit to either of them. “Wait”, you say. “I’m no libertarian. I believe in public parklands, and city street cleaning, and municipal firefighters and all kinds of other public services. The… Continue reading Corporate Libertarian Socialism
The latest winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (oddly named because it was not on the original list of Nobel Prizes) is the American, Richard Thaler. He did good pioneering work on Behavioral Economics. But despite the accolade, every effort will be made — successfully — to keep him on the sidelines.… Continue reading Nobel Economics Winner — Kept on Sidelines
Imagine if you will, you’re planning an ocean cruise, and you want to know whether you might face rough seas. Will you hire a weather scientist or an economist? The answer’s obvious, but the reasons are illuminating. The weather scientists will measure temperature patterns, air pressure patterns and how they’re spinning, ocean currents and how… Continue reading Economics vs Weather
How does one approach economic freedom from a moral perspective? Obviously it’s not enough to say, “Freedom means I can do anything I want, and nobody can stop me!”. But is it enough just to add the following proviso? “I should not exercise my freedom in a way that prevents others from exercising their own… Continue reading Fake Freedom