URLs du Jour


It's econ day here at Pun Salad! Try to stay awake!

  • My memory is hazy, but I sort of remember Thomas Sowell appearing on Meet the Press a couple decades back, when one of his interlocutors tossed out a sneer about having "faith in the market." Sowell replied: "I don't have faith in the market. I have facts about the market."

    There's nothing new under the sun, as the NYT recently quoted Dani Rodrik, of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, as lacking the "faith" of free-market economists. Don Boudreaux reacts, not quite as concisely as Sowell did, but still worth reading.

    I would say that I have no "faith" in free trade; rather, the evidence and the theory of free trade are powerful enough to convince me that it is practically superior to any form of protectionism if the goal is widespread prosperity.
    I also liked Don's rather neat reductio ad absurdum:
    If it's true that theory and evidence in favor of protectionism are sufficiently strong to warrant economists abandoning their conclusion that free-trade policy is generally sound, then why shouldn't economists -- led by Dani Rodrik -- also start exploring the potential benefits of intra-national protectionism? Surely a scholar not benighted with the free-trade "faith" ought to take seriously the possibility that, say, Tennesseeans could be made wealthier if their government in Nashville restricts their ability to trade with people in Kentucky, Texas, Rhode Island, and other states?
    Only problem is, there's no idea so absurd that some idiots won't embrace it.

  • And today, the NYT leads with a story:
    On Capitol Hill and on the presidential campaign trail, Democrats are increasingly moving toward a full-throated populist critique of the current economy.
    Only problem is, as Dan Drezner points out, a lot of that "critique" involves pandering to economic illiteracy about trade. Congressman George Miller is quoted:
    Trade may not be the reason, or the number one reason, they're losing their jobs, but they think it is.
    … and the Dems are all too willing to bow to that silly misconception.

  • But the NYT also occasionally prints some sense. People who like to put the words "fair" and "tax" in close proximity should read N. Gregory Mankiw before they are tempted to do that again:
    Fairness is not an economic concept. If you want to talk fairness, you have to leave the department of economics and head over to philosophy.

Last Modified 2012-10-19 5:56 AM EDT

Live Free or Die Hard

[Amazon Link] [4.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

Random thoughts:

  • If you're going to have the "I'm a Mac" guy be John McClane's sidekick in a Die Hard movie, shouldn't you also get the "… and I'm a PC" guy to be a henchman of the evil mastermind? Thoughts like these explain why I'm a university computer geek instead of a Hollywod casting director.

  • In my post about Apocalypto the other day, I wrote that the hero was "made to endure physical abuse that would send a normal person into a quivering mercy-begging fetal position." So I can't really write the same thing here, much as I'd like to.

  • Most common line: "Hang on!," shouted approximately ninety-three times from Bruce Willis to Justin Long.

  • Viewed as a progression over all four Die Hard movies, the bad guys' plots seem to make less and less sense, but do allow for more chase scenes and bigger explosions. Roughly consistent is their marksmanship when shooting at McClane, which remains, fortunately, low.

  • Speaking of which, I liked the vital correction appended to the NYT's review:
    Because of a transmission error, a film review yesterday about "Live Free or Die Hard" misstated the critic's description of the plot. It should have been described as "logic-defying," not "logic-defined."

  • It really is a lot of fun.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 5:32 AM EDT