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Nicholas Kristof is correct: 2018 was indeed a marvelous year for humanity. A slice:

“Everyone seems to get the world devastatingly wrong,” Dr. Hans Rosling, a brilliant scholar of international health, wrote in “Factfulness,” published in 2018, after his death. “Every group of people I ask thinks the world is more frightening, more violent and more hopeless — in short, more dramatic — than it really is.”

Gale Pooley and Marian Tupy have released the the Simon Abundance Index. A slice:

First, the time-price of commodities allows us to measure the cost of resources in terms of human labor. We find that, in terms of global average hourly income, commodity prices fell by 64.7 percent between 1980 and 2017. Second, the price elasticity of population (PEP) allows us to measure sensitivity of resource availability to population growth. We find that the time-price of commodities declined by 0.934 percent for every 1 percent increase in the world’s population over the same time period. Third, we develop the Simon Abundance Framework, which uses the PEP values to distinguish between different degrees of resource abundance, from decreasing abundance at one end to superabundance at the other end. Considering that the time-price of commodities decreased at a faster proportional rate than population increased, we find that humanity is experiencing superabundance. Fourth, we create the Simon Abundance Index, which uses the timeprice of commodities and change in global population to estimate overall resource abundance. We find that the planet’s resources became 379.6 percent more abundant between 1980 and 2017.

Nick Gillespie rightly laments the fiscal imprudence of the U.S. government.

Jeff Jacoby masterfully debunks the anti-immigrationists’ frequent assertion that the nation is – or is like – a house. Here’s just one of the flaws that Jacoby finds with the house analogy:

We lock our homes to deter thieves and others with criminal intent — burglars or home invaders who want to hurt us. The odds are overwhelming that someone who enters your home in the middle of the night when you’re sleeping (or during the day when you’re at work) is doing so with malicious intent. By contrast, foreigners who cross the US border are overwhelmingly likely to do so for benign reasons — to better their lives, not to diminish anyone else’s.

James Pethokoukis is justifiably skeptical of fears that today’s ‘dominant’ companies will remain ‘dominant’ for long.

Damon Root looks at the life and legend of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board reports some of the unnecessary costs that Americans are beginning to pay because of Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the TPP. A slice:

The President’s trade supporters say his tariffs are merely short-term costs that will lead to better trade deals. But withdrawal from TPP is a deadweight economic loss because it has led to no other trade concessions from anyone. The U.S. and Japan are again talking about a bilateral trade pact, but the easier and far quicker path to open Japan was TPP.

From 1993 is this still-relevant essay by Sylvia Nasar. A slice:

Mr. Clinton’s remarks seem to suggest that he wants America, the world’s biggest exporter, to act more like Japan or Europe by letting the hand of government guide promising industries. But the risk is that Washington could wind up imitating not only the successes but the flops — especially with a horde of special interests trying to hijack the policy.