Some Links

by Don Boudreaux on May 19, 2015

in Civil Society, Economics, Monetary Policy, Myths and Fallacies, Scientism, Seen and Unseen, Taxes, Trade

Over at Alt-M, George Selgin rightly criticizes most modern graduate training in economics.  (Apart from GMU Econ and handful of other programs, most such training today is aimed at churning out good researchers, with almost zero attention paid to the formation of good scholars.  One unfortunate and ironic consequence of this scientistic narrow-mindededness is that far too many PhD economists today excel neither at scholarship nor research – although, being poor scholars, these economists are unaware of their shortcomings.)  Here’s a slice from George’s essay:

I offer his [an unnamed PhD economist] presentation as an example of the all-too common tendency for otherwise competent monetary economists (and our economist is in fact very accomplished) to misread the historical record regarding potential alternatives to central banking and to otherwise give such alternatives short shrift.

This unfortunate tendency rests in part on the fact that most economics graduate programs stopped teaching any sort of economic history decades ago (our economist earned his PhD in the early 1990s), while burdening their students with enough mathematics and statistics to all but guarantee that they never so much as crack open a book on the subject.  But the trouble isn’t just that many monetary economists don’t know their monetary history: it’s that they know, and teach, monetary history that ain’t so.  That’s what our economist did when he lectured a roomful of teachers on the merits of central banks and “Alternative Monetary Systems.”

My brilliant GMU Econ colleagues Bryan Caplan and Dan Klein disagree with each other over the desirability of ‘designer babies.

David Henderson ably corrects a misimpression potentially created by a recent remark by Bill Gates on the connection between tax rates and economic growth.

John Tamny explains the virtues of free trade – virtues that, alas, are largely unappreciated, or even denied, by those who benefit from free trade.  A slice:

One of the exciting aspects of free trade … is that when our borders are fully open to the world’s plenty, it means we have the most talented people in the world vying to serve our needs. Even better, those same talented people are competing with one another to give us the best deal. Those who love bargains intuitively love free trade.

Scott Sumner highlights, in a fun EconLog post, one of the many ways that data on income differences can be seriously misconstrued.

Tim Carney documents just how shallow and wrongheaded is Barack Obama’s understanding of markets and society.

Obama, however – as the great Radley Balko explains in the Washington Post – does deserve some praise for moving to scale back the militarization of police forces throughout the United States.


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