18 Oct 2016


Potpourri, Scott Sumner, Shameless Self-Promotion 5 Comments

I am back from the Contra Cruise but have to catch up on my day job stuff. In the meantime:

==> On November 1st I’ll be at American University.

==> The episode of Contra Krugman taped in front of a live audience on the Contra Cruise turned out awesome, if I do say so myself. It sounds like the laugh track from “Cheers.”

==> The finished version of my Cato study on a carbon tax (with co-authors Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger, both of whom are climate scientists).

==> I don’t have time to write it up now, but check out this Scott Sumner post on trade (actually current account) deficits at EconLog. It’s important for you to think through the examples he brings up, but I also think he overstates his case. In particular, it sounds like Sumner is arguing, “So long as U.S. GDP exceeds U.S. consumption, then it can’t possibly be the case that Americans are ‘living beyond their means’ by racking up a debt to foreigners.” Do you guys agree that’s what Sumner is arguing? If so, see if you think that’s an airtight claim. Counterexample coming soon…

5 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Daniel Kuehn says:

    Bob Murphy at AU! Unfortunately I am taking Evey to her four month appointment at that time. Tell all the kids to major in econ.

  2. Daniel Kuehn says:

    The former president of the AU YAL was in the history of thought class I taught. Very engaged kid – I believe he wrote his final paper on the calculation debate.

  3. Darien says:

    The live Contra Krugman was pretty rad. Best part was definitely when Tom accidentally harshed on your bitcoin book, and you heaped the guilt on him like a champ. 🙂

    • Tel says:

      And Bob worked up into one massive plug for his book too, despite being largely unrelated to anything Krugman was writing about. The free market at its finest.

      That said, I was thinking about some comebacks on Tom over his argument that Bitcoin is difficult to understand. Point about “you might have all your bitcoins on your phone and then lose the phone”… OK, you might have a wad of cash in your wallet and lose your wallet; seems pretty easy to understand even if somewhat unfortunate. Maybe you have been using that gold bar to wedge your car tyre while you were parked on a hill (gold is a good choice because it doesn’t rust and won’t blow away) and then one day you come back and it’s gone! Gosh, must be something very difficult to understand about how that works. Need a book or something to explain it.

      Also with this business “everyone understands how cash works” can be quickly tested by going and asking some random person what happens when they deposit cash into their own account at the bank. Do they still own the cash? People who have studied the guide understand the correct answer is “no” but you will find plenty who say “yes”. Then try asking people about the mechanism for inflation and see what sort of answers you get. Then try talking about fractional reserve. See how many people really understand how cash works.

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