26 Oct 2019

Murphy vs. Cochrane

Chicago School 21 Comments

I have been reading (and enjoying) John Cochrane’s blog lately, which means I show my appreciation by criticizing any mistakes I perceive. My latest at Mises.org laments that Cochrane said income is a “meaningless concept.” I push back with an analogy. (I won’t change the formatting because then it would be double-nested; the following words are directly from my mises.org post.)


In this short blog post I won’t give a full rebuttal and explanation of what income is, and how it relates to lifetime consumption (which Cochrane and Sumner do think is a meaningful concept—thank goodness). Interested readers can refer to my earlier piece. For our purposes here, let me just use an analogy to show why Cochrane and Sumner are overreacting. Imagine a PhD nutritionist surveying all the fad diet crazes and exclaiming:

“Weight” is really a fairly meaningless concept. We don’t all have the same body types, and can’t be described by a single number. Weight varies a lot over a lifetime, and ebbs and flows for many. And “fat weight” is not the same as “muscle weight.” The broad consensus theory of health states that gaining muscle weight shouldn’t be penalized at all. It really isn’t “weight” in any meaningful sense.

Would the above make any sense at all? Would we excuse it by saying, “Oh, that nutritionist is just lashing out at the nonsense in the supermarket tabloids”? Of course not; we would just insist that the experts chide the novices for superficial discussions, and ask them for more nuanced analyses.

Likewise, just because politicians try to justify higher taxes through ludicrous abuses of statistics, doesn’t mean the very concept of “income” is meaningless.

26 Oct 2019

Mark Thornton on the Economics of Slavery

Bob Murphy Show No Comments

This was a fun interview.

25 Oct 2019

Two Approaches to Sustainability

Deep Thoughts 6 Comments
25 Oct 2019

Bob Murphy Show ep. 70

Bob Murphy Show No Comments

A potpourri of an episode, where I tell stories about my adventures with cashiers, explain my epistemic failure, and do my impression of the Godfather, among other goodies…

22 Oct 2019


Potpourri 7 Comments

==> Two recent interviews at Lara-Murphy Report, one with Bill Peacock talking about Texas electricity markets, and with Rafael Acevedo on his experience as an economist (and father) in Venezuela.

==> The latest Bob Murphy Show interviews Richard Vedder on the problems with higher education.

==> Two seasteaders marked for death by Thai navy.

==> Are a lot of published math “theorems” wrong? What about theories of Dark Matter? (I personally have thought the latter is true, not sure about the former.)

18 Oct 2019


Bob Murphy Show, Potpourri 5 Comments

==> In the latest Bob Murphy Show I interview Jeff Snider on the repo market flare-up.

==> Why the media needed the new Joker movie to fail.

==> Kopczuk explains some of the background on the new inequality claims.

16 Oct 2019


Potpourri No Comments

==> When researchers point out all of the uncertainties in our current models guiding us on climate change policy, are they the good guys or the bad guys? It depends what year it is, as I explain in my latest IER article.

==> My latest Mises.org article on Austrian vs. mainstream Law & Econ on product safety.

==> A very interesting article from Dan Sanchez on the Joker and Jordan Peterson.

10 Oct 2019

BMS ep. 67: Walter Block and Bill Barnett Critique the Hayekian Triangle

Bob Murphy Show, Business cycle, Capital & Interest No Comments

Here is the standard audio, and I’m now experimenting with releasing select episodes on my YouTube channel: