Marginal Revolution Leads the Blogging Revolution

by Don Boudreaux on April 28, 2005

in Education

Congratulations to Tyler and Alex at Marginal Revolution for having now reached more than two-million readers with their incomparable blog wisdom!

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Speaking of blogs, this column by Jay Hancock in the Baltimore Sun has nice things to say not only about Marginal Revolution, but about Cafe Hayek, Econlog, and other GMU-related and inspired blogs.  (Because an annoyingly tedious, if free, registration is required at the Sun website, I paste below relevant sections of Hancock’s column):

"We actually want to apply the economic way of thinking to what’s going on in the world, and that’s not just the budget deficit and taxes but divorce rates and anything in the social field," says Alex Tabarrok, a George Mason University economist and co-proprietor of Marginal Revolution, a libertarian-tilted blog begun in 2003 that just registered its 2 millionth visit. (www.marginalrevolution.com)

Recent Marginal Revolution topics included why Starsky & Hutch is more boring to 21st century TV viewers than The Sopranos; how come Western consumers don’t buy Chinese music and regulating cell-phone use on airplanes. (Does the cost of hearing your coach-class seatmate talk to his girlfriend for an hour outweigh the benefits of freedom and communication that come with unlimited cell-phone use?)

George Mason tuition is $8,000 a year for out-of-state undergrads, but the considered thoughts of two of its most interesting professors – Tabarrok and co-blogger Tyler Cowen – arrive daily for free on Marginal Revolution. Fairfax, Va.-based Mason, in fact, has become a hub of libertarian economics blogging.

There is Cafe Hayek, co-authored by Don Boudreaux and Russell Roberts and named after the Austrian economist who described how market prices convey economic information far more efficiently than central planners. (www.cafehayek.com) And there are EconLog’s Arnold Kling and Bryan Caplan, also at Mason. (http://econlog.econlib. org)

Like all blogs, these link and argue with each other as well as other sites.

Other good, pro-market blogs include Knowledge Problem (www.knowledgeproblem.com), from a Northwestern University economist (with more help from George Mason), and Asymmetrical Information, penned by "Jane Galt," a pseudonym derived from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (www.janegalt.net).

Yesterday, Jane (actually Economist magazine’s Megan McArdle) discoursed on the fact that few Americans think of themselves as rich even though all of us – even welfare mothers – are Bill Gates compared with our ancestors.

Of course, not all good economics bloggers come from the libertarian right. (Or is it left? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.) But they all pay attention to market incentives, proper economic measurement, rational consumer behavior and the long-term benefits of growth. …..

Economists have long known that societies work best when relevant information is plentiful and cheap. More and more, they are contributing to the cause.

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