Robert Higgs - one of our most underrated economists - wrote In economic theory, a high level of aggregation conceals a multitude of sins. The more removed a concept is from genuine, individual, economic choice, the more misleading it is likely to be. The highest-level aggregates, such as GDP, are almost impossible to invest with… Continue reading Lies, Damned Lies, and Aggregates
What's worse than fake news? The news that you don't see. Remember the "memory hole" in the novel 1984? We suffer from a kind of "news blackout" which heavily influences what we think we know. Many of us also, because of our own choices, see a very limited slice of the news which is available.… Continue reading Worse Than Fake News
The words and phrases we use shape our thought. Bad language can lead to bad policy decisions. Daniel B. Klein and Donald J. Boudreaux take aim at a deeply misleading phrase: "trade deficits." Deficits sound bad. But deficits look only at part of a trade: the units of account, or dollars in the United States. What… Continue reading A Deficit of Proper Language
"My 5 year old son keeps asking to do more math, and I have to keep explaining to him that school is over, and it's summer vacation now!" Sorry, but you're doing home education wrong. Anytime anyone, of any age, expresses an interest in math, I'm happy to oblige. Home education requires very little "formal… Continue reading To Suppress Natural Curiosity – Or Not?
Over the past forty years of striving to make computers do what I want, I have gained a few hard-won truths. One is that we can be very poor critics of own ideas. We love those ideas; we poured our own blood, sweat and tears into them. Of course they must be right; of course… Continue reading You Are Your Own Worst Critic
Folks who read or listen to me know that I am deeply against war; indeed, I have been against war since my earliest memories, going back to the Vietnam War. But why? To answer simply: I have moral standards. War is about "breaking things and killing people;" especially the latter. Now, I am no pacifist;… Continue reading Against War: Standards
Why are school lessons so bad? Perhaps we overlook the most crucial of reasons, discovered by Parkinson: work expands to fill time. Compulsory attendance laws mandate that children attend to something for ever-increasing parts of their lives, under the direction of professional educators, at ever-increasing cost. It simply wouldn't do to pay these educators to… Continue reading Makework Expands To Fill Time
"Let's bring this meeting to order," said the Mayor. "Order, please." He banged the gavel. Quiet emerged in the packed City Council Chambers. Cameras flashed. "All right, to begin, this is a highly informal meeting, at the request of a group which calls themselves the Freedom Zone. This group, and the area where they reside,… Continue reading Freedom Zone Confronts City Council