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Over at EconLog, David Henderson rightly cheers Pres. Obama’s steps to normalize American relations with Cuba.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, one of today’s leading trade economists, Dartmouth’s Doug Irwin, also cheers the prospect of freer trade between Americans and Cubans.  A slice:

The trade ban has been in effect for more than 50 years. It has been a complete failure to promote any positive change in the country. Instead, it has strengthened the Castros’ grip on the country by giving them a ready-made excuse for their disastrous economic policies.

Restoring trade ties and expanding commerce would revolutionize the Cuban economy and transform Cuban society. It would spur the growth of a business class, creating competing pockets of power and new, wealthy groups that would challenge the ruling Communist Party. It would give Cuban citizens access to more information, and information about the outside world destabilizes any repressive regime. What would happen if every Cuban citizen had access to a smartphone, could organize protests via Twitter, and spread the word about government outrages?

Kevin Erdmann fruitfully explores the allure of design.  A slice:

We are conditioned by the scientific movement to look for falsifiability.  In the search for things we can learn, falsifiability is very useful and important.  Where we do our work, this is central.  We find topics to concentrate our efforts on, and we find little details to test – something falsifiable that moves our understanding to a higher plane.  But, our self-guided attention gives us a false sense of the pervasiveness of falsifiability.  The fact is, there is no promise that the truth is falsifiable, and, in fact, in the range of true facts with the complexity of broad human endeavors, falsifiability is unlikely.

Writing in the pages of the Washington Post, my Mercatus Center colleague (and GMU Econ PhD) Matt Mitchell explains why policies that are pro-business are often anti-middle-class policies.

I had no idea about the other of Charles Dickens’s Christmas stories.  Sarah Skwire educates me.

Speaking of Christmas stories, here’s “‘Twas the Overnight Before Christmas”.