≡ Menu

Some Links

At EconJournalWatch, Phil Magness and Art Carden have a new paper on the hatchet-job done by Sandy Darity, M’Balou Camera, and Nancy MacLean on the late W.H. Hutt. Here’s the abstract:

William Darity, M’Balou Camara, and Nancy MacLean claim that William H. Hutt was a white supremacist: “Hutt was a white supremacist”; he “was not innocent of white supremacy.” We show the claim is baseless. They also say that Hutt “embraced notions of black inferiority”, and we show that Hutt neither said nor implied or speculated on any kind of genetically based racial inferiority but simply addressed the problems of inferior economic outcomes for blacks, which he said flowed chiefly from man-made causes—which he worked to undo.

(DBx: I was introduced to the works of Hutt more than 40 years ago as an undergraduate, and since then I’ve read nearly all of his books and many of his articles and essays – several more than once. I even had the pleasure, in 1986 or 1987, of driving him back to his hotel in Fairfax after he spoke earlier that day on GMU’s campus. The assertion that William Hutt was a racist not only makes no sense, it is as backwards as would be the assertion that Charles Darwin was a creationist.)

Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn is rightly impressed with the message of the excellent new book – Superabundance – by Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley. A slice:

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has a more positive view [than do those who fear ‘overpopulation’], even warning that civilization itself will “crumble” without more babies. “There are not enough people,” he said to a Wall Street Journal audience in December. He added that many “smart people” falsely believe the world is overpopulated and urged them to look at the numbers.

Now Marian L. Tupy and Gale L. Pooley have done just that. In “Superabundance,” their new book published by the Cato Institute, Messrs. Tupy and Pooley find empirical support for Mr. Musk’s more-the-merrier outlook. More people, they say, means not only a bigger economic pie—but more minds to think up more solutions for more of the world’s problems.

“The book will affirm the moral and practical value of every additional human being, leave you appreciative of the abundance that you are enjoying today, and even hopeful about the future fate of humanity,” the authors write. Capitalism, they posit, succeeds not only because it is efficient but because it correctly locates the source of wealth in the human mind.

Their argument builds on the life’s work of Julian Simon, who features prominently in “Superabundance.” Simon was a University of Maryland economist (and contributor to these pages) who wrote a revolutionary 1981 book called “The Ultimate Resource.” A physical resource traditionally considered a source of wealth (e.g., oil), he observed, is valuable only because of the uses to which the human mind puts it.

Here’s GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino writing on Cato’s Chris Edwards writing on income taxes.

Wall Street Journal columnist Andy Kessler is understandably appalled by the woke, pro-Marxist ideology now on display at the New York Public Library’s “Treasuries” exhibit. A slice:

Wouldn’t you know it, next to “The Wealth of Nations” was none other than manuscript notes for “Das Kapital” by Karl Marx with this description: “The work has exerted an immense and lasting influence on world events: over the past century, its ideas have not only maintained a secure place in the realm of economic and political theory, but also inspired anticapitalist revolutions across the globe.” OK, but it was a lasting negative influence. And of course there was no mention of the hundreds of millions of people impoverished and slaughtered by Marxist regimes.

The description goes on: “Karl Marx’s foundational account of capitalist production and its manifold effects on human lives still inspires argument, insight, and resistance.” Inspires? Marxism is a desperate and dangerous call for redistribution from the productive class to, say, museum curators. No matter, a 2018 New York Times opinion piece blared, “Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!” The Marx rehabilitation tour continues.

A 2020 Edelman global survey found that 56% agreed that “capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world.” Really? I guess somehow the global increase in living standards and lowering of the extreme poverty rate from 36% to under 10% since 1990 happened by magic. It’s really a miracle since capitalism is so bad and Marxism is so good. Of the porous southern border President Biden recently noted, “What’s on my watch now is Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.” Why would anyone leave a Marxist paradise for the capitalist U.S.? Maybe the New York Public Library has an answer.

Alberto Mingardi warns against falling for the mainstream media’s too-easy, and inaccurate, description of new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni as a fascist. Two slices:

Ms. Meloni grew substantially in the public’s appreciation during the pandemic, when she opposed most measures enacted to control the plague by controlling people’s lives. Her formidable parliamentary speeches against then prime minister Giuseppe Conte’s lockdowns proved that, at least so far, when she encountered authoritarianism, she took the opposite side.


The present author is neither a “nationalist,” nor a “national conservative.” But it is easy to get annoyed by Brussels — or the Economist — playing the headmaster. For all its faults, democracy has the redeeming feature of making politics a precarious employment. Italy, for all its institutional weaknesses, is a 70-year old democracy with a record of frequent and regular elections. There is a good chance that Ms. Meloni will prove an inadequate prime minister and if so, Italians will certainly take note of that. But they deserve to cast their votes for whomever they like, without being lectured from on high by our ostensible betters.

Pierre Lemieux applauds the late John Cowperthwaite’s laissez faire policies for Hong Kong. A slice:

The Maddison Project allows us to quantify the result of this laissez-faire policy better than Friedman was able to do (I am using the Maddison 2020 database). In 1950, according to this data, Hong Kong’s real GDP per capita was 27% of the US level. Until the territory was ceded to the Chinese state in 1997, Hong Kong grew so rapidly that this proportion had risen to 80% by 1997. Between 1997 and 2018 (the last estimate available), Hong Kong’s rate of economic growth diminished from 4.7% to 2.1%, but that was still sufficient for its real GDP per capita to reach 92% of the American level. (The Asian financial crisis of 1997 impacted Hong Kong’s GDP in 1998, but without changing the general portrait.) As the “one country, two systems” promised by the Chinese rulers for 50 years was fraught with uncertainty, and has indeed started to be degraded, the growth after 1997 remains an achievement, but is not likely to continue.

Jeffrey Tucker recalls “the 70 seconds that shook the world.”

TANSTAFPFC (There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Protection From Covid.)

Ian Miller tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Multiple colleges have reinstated mask mandates in October 2022 because incompetent administrators believe in prolific “expert” misinformation

This was always the danger in allowing “experts” to lie to the public about masks for 2+ years, endless rolling restrictions