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Some Non-Covid Links

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David Henderson busts two myths about free trade [2]. A slice:

Second, there is nothing special about free trade. Indeed, in a large economy like that of the United States, most trade is not across borders but is between people within the US borders. In 2019, imports were about 14.6 percent of gross domestic product. That sounds high, and is high, but that number confirms that most trade in the United States is between and among people in the United States. When a new technology or even a new way of running a business helps consumers, it also destroys many businesses and hurts workers who lose their jobs or who must work at a lower pay to keep their jobs.

We don’t need to go back far to see such examples. When I taught in the business school at the University of Rochester in the late 1970s, some of my evening MBA students who worked at Kodak called it the “big yellow money machine.” Kodak was riding high on the technology that innovator George Eastman and his successors had created and perfected. But digital cameras in the 1980s and 1990s and, later, cell phones that got better and better at taking still shots and movies, virtually destroyed the market for Kodak’s product. It’s true that part of the causes was international trade in cell phones. But even without cell phones from other countries, US cell phone producers were plenty capable of competing Kodak into bankruptcy.

Few of those who advocate compensating those who lose due to expanded trade across borders advocate compensating those who lose due to increased trade within borders. I hasten to add that I’m glad that they don’t. But the principle is the same.

My new GMU Econ colleague Vincent Geloso clarifies some Canadian history [3]. A slice:

But what would have happened if the settlement of Canada had occurred with a smaller state presence? Would there have been fewer abuses of the rights of First Nations? In an article with Rosolino Candela (published in Public Choice [4]) and in a working paper [5] with Louis Rouanet, I argue that the relations between settlers and natives were essentially peaceful in settings with limited state involvement.

“Researchers admit there are absolutely no current examples of low-energy societies providing a decent living standard for their citizens” – thus reads the summary of this recent piece by Reason‘s Ron Bailey [6].

Yascha Mounk identifies a phenomenon that he calls 180ism. I believe he’s correct that 180ism is both real and lethal to productive discourse [7]. (HT Arnold Kling)

David Henderson identifies his favorite of all of the many essays that he commissioned and edited over 11-plus years for EconLib. I can see why this essay – by Jeff Hummel on the benefits of the American Revolution – has earned that distinction [8].

Here’s good sense from David Bernstein [9]. A slice:

I would add one more factor to Douthat’s analysis. As with the 1619 Project and Kendi and Reynolds, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You [10], activist historians and journalists play fast and loose with facts to suit their historical narratives. They also seem impervious to acknowledging, much less correcting, even the most glaring errors when pointed out to them. For example (in honor of Independence Day), no, the American Revolution was not fought primarily to prevent Great Britain from abolishing slavery in the colonies. Those who insist that public schools should teach made-up nonsense as historical fact in service of radical ideologies that most Americans don’t agree with will rightly get political blowback.

And here’s Mike Gonzales on that lethal mind-poison and soul-toxin called ‘critical race theory.’ [11]

The Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro explains, in the Wall Street Journal, why he’s running for a seat on the school board [12]. A slice:

The board paid a consultant to conduct a survey on whether those Virginian Founding Fathers’ slave ownership meant their names shouldn’t adorn school buildings. Three-quarters of the community members surveyed wanted to keep the names; the margins were smaller but still significant for current parents, students and staff. Overall, 56% of survey respondents supported keeping the names, about a quarter wanted to change them, and the rest had no opinion. Yet the board unanimously voted to rename.

That caught my attention. Regardless of the merits of Jefferson and Mason, how could elected officials be so oblivious to public sentiment? And this had nothing to do with national politics; Falls Church went 80% for Joe Biden in November, so the renaming survey didn’t reflect some inherent partisan divide.

Todd Zywicki alerted me to this interesting piece of information about the collapse of the Surfside condo [13].

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