Jonah Goldberg reminds Republicans that being pro-business is not the same as being pro-market.  The latter is the economically and morally correct stance; the former is cronyism – which Republicans no less than Democrats are far too prone to practice.

Speaking of cronyism, Tim Carney details how supposed “champions of the poor and downtrodden” frequently support welfare for the rich – in this case, through their support for the corporate-welfare agency known as the Export-Import Bank.  (Gotta feel sorry for those poor and downtrodden Boeing execs.)

In my latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I test how seriously minimum-wage proponents are when they blithely announce that the ‘small’ cost in the form of higher unemployment of low-skilled workers is a morally acceptable price to pay (! – Who, exactly, pays this price?) for artificially raising the wages of other workers.  A slice:

Politicians, pundits and economics professors who’ve read [and who accept the conclusions of] the Congressional Budget Office’s February report on raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, yet who continue to endorse a higher minimum wage, evidently believe that it’s morally acceptable to steal $15,000 annually from some poor workers if the proceeds are given to other workers.

Bretigne Shaffer reviews the movie Dallas Buyers Club.

Two of GMU Econ’s finest products (from our PhD program), Stewart Dompe and Adam C. Smith, reflect on the curse of scientism.

My George Mason University colleagues are very smart and creative.  Here’s a new paper by some of them.  And here’s the abstract:

Emile Durkheim said that when all of the members of a tribe or clan come together, they can sanctify the sacred and experience a spiritual “effervescence.” Friedrich Hayek suggested that certain genes and instincts still dispose us toward the ethos and mentality of the hunter-gatherer band, and that modern forms of political collectivism have, in part, been atavistic reassertions of such tendencies. Picking up on Hayek, Klein (2005) has suggested a combination of yearnings: 1) a yearning for coordinated sentiment (like Smithian sympathy); and 2) a yearning that the sentiment encompass “the people,” that is, some focal and seemingly definitive set of “we.” This paper reports on an experiment designed to explore the demand for encompassment by having subjects sing together. In each trial, one person in the room was designated not to sing unless every one of the others in the room had made a payment sufficient so as to have that person sing. Our evidence of a demand for encompassment is threefold: Subjects chose to sacrifice money to achieve encompassment 47.4 percent of the time, with 59.6 percent of the subjects doing so in at least one trial. An exit questionnaire showed that subjects’ chief reason for making such a sacrifice was a belief that the singing would be more enjoyable if it encompassed the whole group. Furthermore, the subjects reported significantly higher enjoyment when they had experienced encompassment. We are well aware of the significant differences between the situation of the experiment and the situation of actual political life. We nonetheless discuss the experiment as a parable for a penchant toward political collectivism, a parable that helps to clarify the role of encompassment in the sentimental facets of Hayek’s ideas about the psychology of political collectivism.

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