Blog Profile / Marginal Revolution

Filed Under:Academics / Political Science
Posts on Regator:7525
Posts / Week:36.2
Archived Since:July 6, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Churches against Prohibition

The New England Conference of United Methodist Churches, a group of 600 churches, has issued a resolution calling for an end to the war on drugs. The resolution draws on ethical principles and also a remarkably astute reading of economics and social science: Whereas: The public policy of prohibition of certain narcotics and psychoactive substances, sometimes called the […]

Greece fact of the day

What depresses us is how little attention has been paid to one major area of Greek government spending that seems ripe for the ax: defense spending.  Greece spends a whopping 2.2% of GDP on defense, more than any NATO member-state save the United States and France.  Bringing Greece into line with the NATO average would […]

What I’ve been reading

1. David Graeber, The Utopia of Rules: on Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy.  Don’t judge Graeber by his mistakes or by how he responds (doesn’t respond) to criticism.  This one is still more interesting to read than most books.  In fact, most of us quite like bureaucracy. 2. John Gray, The Soul […]

Tweets to ponder

Oddly, we probably owe the confederate flag removal to polarization. Could never get done when both sides competed for rural whites. That is from @SeanTrende.

Why do waiters clear your plates away so quickly?

It’s possible that there’s an economic impetus behind it. “The price of land is going up, which pushes up the value of each table,” said Cowen. “That makes moving people along more important.” A similar trend, after all, sees many restaurants hoping that diners don’t order dessert, because the course isn’t terribly profitable and it encourages people […]

Arrived in my pile

Eric Rauchway, The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace. Due out this October.

China fact of the day

Qing Dynasty measured some 14.7 million square kilometers in 1790…The two biggest countries in western Europe were under 0.7 million in the late eighteenth century. That is from Philip T. Hoffman’s new and interesting Why Did Europe Conquer the World?, here is the book’s home page.  Hoffman does note, however, that if we count empires […]

Tuesday assorted links

1. Computer-simulated baby? 2. Pepper sold out.  Derek Thompson on a world without work. 3. Dourado and Castillo on poor federal cybersecurity. 4. See-through truck (there is no great stagnation).  And the squeezable mayonnaise crisis is now over. 5. Face recognition without the face. 6. A short history of Pixar, in one tweet.

Is there a new Obamacare political equilibrium?

A Supreme Court ruling could gut an important facet of the Affordable Care Act as early as this week, but you wouldn’t know it from what the Republican presidential candidates have been talking about. In the lead-up to the key 2012 Supreme Court ruling on health care reform – in which the justices decided the […]

Can Wikipedia survive the spread of mobiles?

 One of the biggest threats it faces is the rise of smartphones as the dominant personal computing device. A recent Pew Research Center report found that 39 of the top 50 news sites received more traffic from mobile devices than from desktop and laptop computers, sales of which have declined for years. This is a […]

Greece facts of the day

“There’s a real issue of moral hazard?.?.?.?Around 70 per cent of restructured mortgage loans aren’t being serviced because people think foreclosures will only be applied to big villa owners,” one banker said. Dimitris, formerly a high-flying advertising executive, sold his brand new loft conversion at a knockdown price to help pay off debts when his […]

Monday assorted links

1. Ben Bernanke on the no-hitter he saw. 2. The culture that is the Leningrad Cowboys Red Army Choir (song, bad). 3. Brink Lindsey on reforming regulation to boost American economic growth. 4. “…many social and personality psychologists said that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues. The more liberal respondents were, the more they […]

Bermuda bleg

I’ll have less than a free day there, but I will put your advice to good use, thanks in advance.  What to see and what to eat?

Paid by pages read? (model this)

Soon, the maker of the Kindle is going to flip the formula used for reimbursing some of the authors who depend on it for sales. Instead of paying these authors by the book, Amazon will soon start paying authors based on how many pages are read—not how many pages are downloaded, but how many pages […]

Recycling is becoming less profitable in America

Aaron C. Davis has an excellent piece on this theme.  Here is one bit: Once a profitable business for cities and private employers alike, recycling in recent years has become a money-sucking enterprise. The District, Baltimore and many counties in between are contributing millions annually to prop up one of the nation’s busiest facilities here […]

Inside Out

In what is perhaps the worst year for movies in my life, the new Pixar feature stands out as a welcome relief.  Even by Pixar standards it is more adult than usual, with the main theme being the precariousness of mental health and the ease of slipping into depression.  Voluntarists will object.  Every scene is […]

Sunday assorted links

1. When to post on social networks. 2. Does shaming people about the Confederate flag work? 3. Markets in everything: toast whisperers. 4. Non-rapid human plus computer chess games are converging to 80-90% draws. 5. Maureen Dowd on TPP. 6. Save John Stuart Mill’s personal library!

Markets in everything 3-D printing arbitrage to curb rhino poaching

A San Francisco biotech startup has managed to 3D print fake rhino horns that carry the same genetic fingerprint as the actual horn. It plans to flood Chinese market with these cheap horns to curb poaching. And this: The company plans to release a beer brewed with the synthetic horn later this year in the […]

Daniel A. Bell on the China model and political meritocracy

Stein Ringen reviews The China Model, here is Gideon Rachmann.  He writes: Daniel Bell, a Canadian political philosopher who has taught at Tsinghua University in Beijing for many years, is deeply influenced by this Chinese tradition. In his new book, he has set himself the ambitious task of making the case that Chinese-style meritocracy is, […]

Claims about Germany

When I say that growing up in Germany helps bestow independent thinking skills, I’m not saying that it’s because they’re all taught [the] Straussian art of close reading. Instead I’m arguing that society has suppressed the value of certain status indicators, and that encourages people to think for themselves. To put it another way, there are […]

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