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Jon Miltimore looks back on the sorry history of price controls. A slice:

And let us not forget the French Revolution, where in 1793 leaders paused their head-lopping to pass the Law of the General Maximum, a set of price controls passed to limit “price gouging.” (Henry Hazlitt had it right when he called the law “a desperate attempt to offset the consequences of [the leaders’] own reckless overissue of paper money.”)

The American historian Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918), a cofounder of Cornell University, explained the consequences of the policy.

“The first result of the Maximum [price law] was that every means was taken to evade the fixed price imposed, and the farmers brought in as little produce as they possibly could,” White wrote. “This increased the scarcity, and the people of the large cities were put on an allowance.”

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board decries the calamitous environmental lunacy now on the loose in California. Two slices:

Nothing—including cost or reality—will keep California progressives from their effort to turn the state into a grand carbon-free economic experiment. The state Air Resources Board moved this week to ban gas space and water heaters in 2030 and proposed that all big rig trucks must go electric.


Long-haul diesel trucks can go some 1,000 miles before needing to fill up, which takes 10 to 15 minutes. But electric models have a much shorter range, and “even the fastest available chargers right now are going to take three to four hours to charge up to a full state,” California Trucking Association senior vice president Chris Shimoda told the local news outlet LAist.

He added: “These charging stations are going to be a huge, huge power draw.” And for context, “the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on a game day uses around 300 to 350 kilowatts of power. A charging station needed for a big rig is going to be like 30 times larger.”

Arnold Kling is understandably unhappy with today’s politics. A slice:

Richard Hanania claims that the people on the left care more than conservatives about politics. If that is true, then we can expect the left to be more ruthless.

I have already remarked on Democratic organizations making contributions in Republican primaries to candidates they really hate in order to knock off more formidable moderate challengers. I consider that indefensible, and friends of mine who are Democrats (but not party officials) agree.

Juliette Sellgren talks with Range author David Epstein.

What unites Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter, Steve Bannon, and the Lincoln Project?

Walter Olson explores the constitutionality of universities’ mandating ‘diversity statements’ (so called).

Eric Boehm asks an excellent question: “If Sanders and Warren Think Climate Change Is an Emergency, Why Are They Against These Green Energy Reforms?”

My GMU Econ colleague Vincent Geloso reviews Marian Tupy’s and Gale Pooley’s new book, Superabundance. A slice:

They innovate by using “time-prices” which represent the length of time that people must work to purchase something. Time-prices are particularly useful, as they allow us to capture the effect of a richer world on the demand for goods. For example, imagine that incomes increase by 20 percent which leads us to consume more goods that use copper. The price of copper, as a result of the income-driven increase in demand, surges by 5 percent. Based on only the price change, one could say that copper is now dearer. However, this would be incomplete. Indeed, the time-price suggests that one needs 12.5 percent less time to acquire a given quantity of copper. Yes, copper is dearer now but only because we can satisfy more wants! As such, the fall in time-price speaks to greater abundance.

In and of themselves, the time prices of Pooley and Tupy are not novel. Historians like Fernand Braudel in the 1960s used “wheat wages” with the assumption that the number of workdays needed to buy a bushel of wheat could speak to differences in living standards over time and across countries. Modern economic historians created something similar in the use of “welfare ratios” which divide annual incomes by the cost of a basket of goods that assures subsistence. Others simply changed the ratio to see how long it took to buy the basket.

The novelty that Pooley and Tupy undertook is the task of analyzing hundreds of commodities, goods, and services spanning two centuries in more than forty countries. Compressing this data into a few figures, they confirm the phenomenal improvements in living standards. Economists and economic historians had long been aware of the time-prices. They simply never undertook the task of assembling the data and presenting them in a straightforward and appealing manner. Economists are aware of the tools needed to provide the measurement. All they needed to undertake was the gruesome task of assembling the data and presenting it in a way that allowed Milton Friedman to say that a picture was worth a thousand words. In Superabundance, the picture is novel, and it is worth a thousand words.

Also reviewing Superabundance is The Economist.

My GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan shares his favorite page from Chapter 2 of his new animated book, Build, Baby, Build.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

It’s now beyond clear that the unvaxxed workers do not pose a categorically different risk of covid transmission than vaxxed ones. Companies should stop discriminating against the unvaxxed in hiring, firing, work opportunities, and pay. No more rapid tests for the unvaxxed only.

Laura Powell reports on “the dystopian vision of the health-information police.” A slice:

While most proponents say as little as possible regarding Assembly Bill 2098’s implications, one group is more vocal and less guarded in its statements. Two self-described “frontline” California doctors, Nick Sawyer and Taylor Nichols, formed No License for Disinformation (NLFD) in September 2021.

As its name suggests, the organization’s purpose is to promote policies that use the threat of medical license revocation to discourage doctors from spreading information it believes to be false. Sawyer has twice testified before legislative committees in favor of Assembly Bill 2098. NLFD’s prolific tweets and other public statements paint a dystopian picture that reflects opponents’ worst fears of the type of authoritarian regime proponents wish to impose.

NLFD pushes the idea that there is, as Sawyer described it his testimony before the Assembly committee on April 19, a “well-coordinated and well-funded network of doctors” who promote “anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, sow distrust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government, and ultimately the Covid-19 vaccines.”

At the outset, note the irony that NLFD frequently criticizes “conspiracy theorists” while promoting its own conspiracy theories. And NLFD not only wants to silence those who undermine faith in public health measures, but anyone who “sows distrust” in the government. Let that sink in.

NLFD’s tweets elaborate on its conspiracy theories, which are, like most conspiracy theories, built on weak evidence that magnify tenuous connections. A recent tweet shared a long thread posted by one of its founders that purports to uncover a web of right-wing “disinformation” purveyors funded by oil money. It implicates, among others, anyone associated with the Great Barrington Declaration or Brownstone Institute and specifically names UCSF professor and doctor Vinay Prasad, journalist and author David Zweig, and Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Stefan Baral as part of this cabal.


Many of NLFD’s conspiracy theories are quite dark and disturbing. It recently retweeted a thread from its own Nick Sawyer, which argues that the United States is currently in the midst of a civil war, which goes unrecognized because it is an information war. Another recent tweet exhorts: “This is an information war, a battle for the truth, and [every] American is a soldier. Get up to speed and start fighting for evidence based reality. No one is going to do this for us.”

NLFD’s primary weapon in this imagined information war is censorship, but it also advocates for criminal prosecution for expressing the wrong ideas. It frequently encourages its followers to report physicians to their medical boards, even if they have no relationship with them. It also frequently calls on Twitter to deplatform accounts it feels say things that are untrue. But it goes even further, tagging the FBI and posting a link to the FBI tip line, asking its followers to report people for alleged misinformation.

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