Sunny Side Up

by Russ Roberts on December 27, 2007

in Education

My optimism about the American economy can be found here in my commentary for NPR’s All Things Considered. I’ll post the text soon.

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{ 10 comments }

muirgeo December 27, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Professor Roberts,

I guess I'm not sure what should be a cause for pessimism in your opinion. Aren't there measure of economic optimism? Should we expect them to be stable over time? Is the media really the only thing effecting these measures?

What I'm trying to say is that policy does matter as does the direction of the economy as reflected by those working in it.

Is your point that people should be happy with the status quo? Or if they think things aren't as good as they could be shouldn't they vote for change.

I'm an economic optimist with regards to my own circumstances. But as a doctor I see 20 families a day from all cross-sections of America. Some don't have health insurance and some our losing their houses. Many have maxed out credit and no liquidity. Do you see people like this in your world on a daily basis?

Russ Roberts December 27, 2007 at 12:35 pm

I'm saying something very simple. The children and grandchildren of those people you see every day will live better than they do. This has generally been true for the last 100 years in America. Barring a radical change in economic policy (real socialism, for example), I expect that trend to continue.

If one knows no economics, however, one might believe that we are on the edge of a precipice that threatens our prosperity. It's simply not true.

Sam Grove December 27, 2007 at 2:58 pm

How much better off would these people be if we weren't wasting our wealth on maintaining the empire and killing people in Iraq?

The argument is no longer about the wealth producing nature of people free to produce and consume, but about how much of our productivity is wasted, WASTED, on empire, corporate subsidies, foreign aid and similar kinds of socialized wealth transfers.

Dammit, if we weren't wasting so much money on these things, we could have more charity hospitals and health care, not to mention more stay at home parents.

Geoffrey December 28, 2007 at 1:29 pm

Russ..

What the world needs is more optimism..

I couldn't agree more. There are a million things that I would like to see changed that would make this world a better place..

That said, I think things are in general really really good. I wouldn't want to live at any other point in history compared to today (a point in the future maybe).

People just love to concentrate on the negative. Human nature I just don't understand..

Geoffrey

muirgeo December 28, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Geoffrey,

Half of the world lives on less then $5 per day as I understand. We DO need more optimism but unfortunatly that needs to be preceded by a reason for optimism.

Ignorance IS bliss but my problem is I ain't ignorant.

Python December 28, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Global Warming discussion versus Health of Economy discussion:

Human-caused Global Warming Non-Believer: Worldwide temperatures in 2007 were lower than 1998 through 2003. Shouldn't temperatures continue to be rising if this is global warming?
Human-caused Global Warming Believer: You can't take a few years as comparison, the overall trend is clearly going up.

Economic Improvement Non-Believer: Some economic indicators are down a bit from 1997-1999. Shouldn't things be getting better if this is economic improvement?
Economic Improvement Believer: You can't take a few years as comparison, the overall trend is clearly going up.

Russ Nelson December 29, 2007 at 9:36 am

Trust us, muirgeo, you ARE ignorant. The problem is that you refuse to learn from us.

Education Links February 19, 2008 at 10:34 am

I am of the opinion that this is a part of a natural cycle – we are retreating from an Ice Age so temperatures are getting warmer. However, I also believe that Man is not helping, but whether worldwide cooperation on "global warming" will counter the natural cycle.

Edu Advisor or the best online universities February 19, 2008 at 2:24 pm

One issue is the fact that alot of students need to work and go to school (I provide info on the top online universities and how to get in on my blog) – http://onlineuniversitiesreport.wordpress.com. Flexible schooling is an option and people need to be informed about how to find flexible and affordable training and education

Edu Advisor or the best online universities February 19, 2008 at 2:25 pm

One issue is the fact that alot of students need to work and go to school (I provide info on the top online universities and how to get in on my blog) – http://onlineuniversitiesreport.wordpress.com. Flexible schooling is an option and people need to be informed about how to find flexible and affordable training and education

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