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I’m very eager to read Eamonn Butler’s hot-off-the-press Classical Liberalism: A Primer [2].  I’m also very eager to read Ron Bailey’s latest: The End of Doom [3].

James Sherk and Lindsey Burke explain that technology and innovation will not impoverish the masses by eliminating the need for human labor; quite the opposite [4].  Here’s the abstract of their new paper:

Many Americans worry that automation will significantly reduce the need for human employees. This is highly unlikely to happen. Automation reduces the need for humans in particular tasks, but employees have historically moved to new or different sectors of the economy as a result. Little evidence suggests this time is different. Technological advances have reduced the demand for employees in routine jobs and increased the demand for employees in non-routine jobs. They have not reduced the need for human labor overall. Further, the rate of automation has slowed over the past decade.

Seeing eye-to-eye with Bob Higgs, I agree that (as he notes on his Facebook page) this innovation – if it succeeds – will be a great boon for humankind [5].

Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson isn’t impressed with Hillary Clinton’s plan to use the tax code to prompt more employers to share profits with employees [6].  Here’s his conclusion:

The gains of Clinton’s proposal are overstated, the costs understated. We’d be better off with fewer preferences and lower rates. Let firms and individuals decide what’s best for them. But politicians would have to stop using the tax code as an advertising agency and benefits bargain store. That’s a long shot.

Megan McArdle puts Europeans’ often-self-righteous expressions of disdain for Americans’ use of air-conditioning into perspective [7].

Scott Sumner isn’t buying any defenses of Paul Krugman’s recent claim that “there’s just no evidence that raising the minimum wage costs jobs, at least when the starting point is as low as it is in modern America [8].”  Here’s Scott’s conclusion:

There are conflicting empirical studies of the effect of minimum wages. When that occurs, it’s probably safest to go back to the basic theory. That doesn’t necessarily mean that minimum wages are bad policies, perhaps the gains in income outweigh the cost in unemployment. But it’s disingenuous to claim that we can raise minimum wages without any disemployment effects.

David Brooks writes sensibly in the New York Times about minimum-wage research [9].  Here’s his conclusion:

The key intellectual upshot is that, despite what some people want you to believe, the laws of economic gravity have not been suspended. You can’t impose costs on some without trade-offs for others. You can’t intervene in the market without unintended consequences. And here’s a haunting fact that seems to make sense: Raising the minimum wage will produce winners among job holders from all backgrounds, but it will disproportionately punish those with the lowest skills, who are least likely to be able to justify higher employment costs.

At Alt-M, George Selgin discusses Hayek’s views on free banking [10].

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