15 May 2019

Murphy Triple Play

Bob Murphy Show, Climate Change, Contra Krugman, Shameless Self-Promotion 1 Comment

==> In the latest Bob Murphy Show, I interview Lew Rockwell. We get into some pretty serious stuff, including the methods by which the CIA kill people.

==> In the latest Contra Krugman, Tom and I discuss Bernie’s apparent hypocrisy on now being a millionaire in the 1%.

==> In my latest IER column, I explain that–according to the UN’s periodic report on climate change science and policy–it is absolutely not the case that we “have a decade left” to solve it.

06 May 2019

Potpourri

Potpourri 29 Comments

==> Part 3 of 3 of my scintillating series on Capital & Interest. In this one, I take aim at Bohm-Bawerk, Mises, and Rothbard. I am the Thanos of economics.

==> Dave Smith will debate Nicholas Sarwark at the SoHo Forum in September.

==> This is a fantastic SlateStarCodex piece on what’s driving big prices in Big Pharma. An excerpt:

Extreme fringe libertarians have a certain way with words. For example, they call taxes “the government stealing money from you at gunpoint”. This is a little melodramatic, but words like “patent loopholes” and “onerous review processes” sound a little bloodless for something that probably kills thousands of diabetics each year. So I would like to take a page from the extreme libertarian lexicon and speculate that the problem with insulin costs is that the government will shoot anyone who tries to make cheap insulin.

==> Some really good ones in this compilation:

04 May 2019

Bob at Connecticut College Talking Climate Change Economics

Climate Change No Comments

They sent it to me broken up in 3 parts:

02 May 2019

Potpourri

Conspiracy, Potpourri 43 Comments

==> I explain why I think Carl Menger still added to our understanding of the origin of money, although Adam Smith definitely anticipated most of the explanation.

==> I side with David R. Henderson in thinking Scott Sumner has put forth an untenable view on how to settle questions of morality.

==> Since I’m linking to my EconLog comments, let’s do a full triple-play and go back to my discussion of Les Misfrom a while ago.

==> Larry Reed is stepping down as the head of FEE.

==> I know a lot of “hardcore” libertarians who give grief to Tyler Cowen for watering down his positions in order to curry favor with the establishment and remain “respectable” with the NYT etc. But maybe, just maybe, Tyler has been keeping his powder dry in order to get out the truth on the most important issue.

==> That’s as good as segue as any to point this out: I was listening with amusement to Benjamin Owen make some bold claims on Dave Smith’s show. One of the things Owen said was that “NASA was founded by S. S. Nazis.” I thought, “That seems like it must be a bit of an exaggeration,” but, uh, here’s what NASA itself says about it:

01 May 2019

Would We Be Happier Without All That Pesky Output?

Climate Change 18 Comments

I’m actually not opposed to people arguing, “Americans work and consume too much.” But the solution is to persuade them to scale back, not to implement the Green New Deal. My snarky opening in my latest IER post:

Sometimes you have to congratulate the progressive left on their ability to turn that frown upside down. When the laws of economics hand them socialist lemons, they turn right around and make leisure lemonade. Specifically, Kate Aronoff at the Intercept has written an article that says the Green New Deal will make us all happier—in part because who needs all that work and economic output anyway?

30 Apr 2019

Podcast Potpourri

Bob Murphy Show, Contra Krugman, Potpourri No Comments

==> In the latest Bob Murphy Show, I talk with Robbie “the Fire” Bernstein about stand-up comedy, AOC, and the coming crash.

==> In episode 185 of Contra Krugman, we bring on David Stockman to help dissect Mankiw’s love letter to the Fed. (No, really.) Then in episode 186 we reluctantly retire the Krugman Collusion Avoision Meter.

==> It’s not all about me: Check out Tom’s interview with Jacob Hornberger on the CIA. It’s pretty awesome.

29 Apr 2019

The Garden of Eden and Original Sin

Religious 11 Comments

Here are two standard critiques of Christianity:

  1. Why does a good God allow evil?
  2. The doctrine of “original sin” is monstrous–how can the actions of Adam and Eve possibly affect the “nature” of their descendants?

The other day an idea popped into my head (I would say God gave it to me but I realize opinions may vary) that seems to solve both problems in a very elegant and satisfying way.

First, let’s review what actually happened in the Garden (Genesis 1: 15):

15 Then the Lord God took [d]the man and put him in the garden of Eden to [e]tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you[f] shall surely die.”

Now in the Garden, life was bliss. There was no suffering. Adam and Eve had childlike innocence.

But they wanted to possess the knowledge of good and evil. So they ate of the fruit that bestowed it.

Now–and here’s the part that just occurred to me the other day, even though it’s pretty obvious–suppose that in order for a human to truly understand evil, you have to experience it? And I don’t just mean you have to suffer at the hands of evil, but you have to be in its grip?

Then everything else would follow. God allows evil in the world, and indeed the fundamental nature of humans born since that fateful decision has been in bondage to sin (but still with the remnant of the divine origin).

God would have preferred that this didn’t happen. He explicitly warned them, “If you seek that knowledge, it will kill you.” But they disobeyed Him, they chose the knowledge of good and evil, and so He gave it to them.

Even so, God designed the structure of the universe such that DESPITE their disobedience, He could still achieve humanity’s salvation. So now humans definitely understand evil, but they also have been rescued from it by Jesus.

What’s wrong with this explanation? I realize it seems pretty basic but it almost knocked me over when it first occurred to me.

26 Apr 2019

Rothbard on the “Sustained Sneer”

Contra Krugman 5 Comments

Ryan Griggs alerted me to this footnote in Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State (p. 975 of the Scholar’s Edition)in which he describes Galbraith’s rhetorical style when dealing with opponents:

92 Galbraith’s major rhetorical device may be called “the sustained sneer,” which includes (a ) presenting an opposing argument so sardonically as to make it seem patently absurd, with no need for reasoned refutation; (b ) coining and reiterating Veblenesque names of disparagement, e.g., “the conventional wisdom”; and (c ) ridiculing the opposition further by psychological ad hominem  attacks, i.e., accusing opponents of having a psychological vested interest in their absurd doctrines—this mode of attack being now more fashionable than older accusations of economic venality. The “conventional wisdom” encompasses just about everything with which Galbraith disagrees.

As Ryan asks, sounds familiar doesn’t it…?