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Writing in Time, my colleague Bryan Caplan makes the case for open borders.  A slice:

Most countries welcome tourists, yet developed countries place heavy restrictions on foreigners who want to settle down, find a job, and make a new life. This would be weird if we didn’t take it for granted. Immigrants, like tourists, are normally paying customers, not beggars. Like our ancestors, today’s immigrants come to swap their labor for our products. Most move because their productivity – and hence their pay – is higher here than it is at home. If you lived in Syria or Haiti, you wouldn’t be very productive either.

On his Facebook page, Bob Higgs reflects on love of country:

“You can’t say you love your country and hate your government.” — Bill Clinton

“Oh, yeah? Not only can I, but I have done so many times.” — Robert Higgs

I love it, however, not because I consider it uniquely good or great. I love it because it happens to be my own, the one within whose confines and among whose people I became the person I am, the one whose history and language have shaped my outlook and sensibilitiies. I recognize that it has features worthy of love and features worthy of hate. It once had noble ideals, but those have long since faded and become little more than odious cant far removed from the people’s present values, conduct, and character, lingering only as a shadowy ghost of abandoned virtues.

Also from Bob Higgs is this splendid brief essay, at Econ Journal Watch, on “markets-fail” versus “markets-work” economists.  A slice:

Markets-work economists have been trained for the most part in graduate programs that place less emphasis on the construction of formal mathematical models. Hence they generally regard such formal showings of market failure as suggestive at best and wholly worthless and misleading at worst. Members of this group make less precise demands on the real world. They believe that because formal models cannot capture every aspect of how real markets work or take into account everything that enters into their operation, it is inevitable that real-world conditions will always diverge from strict satisfaction of formal-model conditions for optimality; that is, given the nature of the formal models, “market failure” in the real world is effectively preordained. However, in their view, such divergences condemn the actual markets less than they condemn the models—or at least the insistence that policy makers should try to force real markets into conformity with the conditions required for optimality in a formal model. For this group of economists, models are worthwhile for the insights they allow economists to gain into aspects of how real markets operate, but such models, by themselves, can never justify policies by which the government purports to intervene in real markets in order to bring about an actual correspondence between a model’s efficiency requirements (e.g., price equals social marginal cost [whatever that might mean], general equilibrium throughout the entire economy, no uncompensated external effects, etc.) and the conditions prevailing in the real world.

And on this same topic – and in the same issue of Econ Journal Watch – are Arnold Kling’s wise reflections on the very different ways that different ‘schools’ of economists approach scientific and policy questions.

Looking carefully at data on productivity growth, my colleague Alex Tabarrok finds cause for optimism about the future.

Jonah Goldberg isn’t impressed by Hillary Clinton.

Alberto Mingardi writes about Herbert Spencer.


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