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The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board reports on Sam Bankman-Fried’s overly late realization of the folly of ESG investing. A slice:

Mr. Bankman-Fried virtue-signaled by committing to make FTX “carbon neutral” and donating generously to fashionable progressive causes such as a foundation working to provide solar energy in the Amazon River basin. “We’re giving millions each year to launch sustainability related initiatives,” he said in an April Forbes magazine interview with—you can’t make this up—Brazilian super-model Gisele Bündchen.

Meanwhile, he was leveraging FTX customer funds to make risky, ill-timed bets. “Problems were brewing. Larger than I realized,” he tweeted. “In the future, I’m going to care less about the dumb, contentless, ‘good actor’ framework,” he added. “What matters is what you do—is *actually* doing good or bad, not just *talking* about doing good or *using ESG language*.”

Pierre Lemieux decries “the incredible conceit of the state.”

I’m always honored to be a guest of Amy Jacobson and Dan Proft.

David Harsanyi quite effectively punctures the pretensions and exposes the errors of today’s “natcons” – that is, the self-described “national conservatives.” Two slices:

Young NatCons, many of whom I know and like, seem to be under the impression that they’ve stumbled upon some fresh, electrifying governing philosophy. Really, they’re peddling ideas that already failed to take hold 30 years ago when the environment was far more socially conservative and there were far more working-class voters to draw on. If Americans want class-obsessed statists doling out family-busting welfare checks and whining about Wall Street hedge funds, there is already a party willing to scratch that itch. We don’t need two.

“National conservatism”— granted, still in an amorphous stage — offers a far too narrow agenda for any kind of enduring political consensus. It lacks idealism. It’s a movement tethered to the grievances of a shrinking demographic of rural and Rust-Belt workers with high school degrees at the expense of a growing demographic of college-educated suburbanites.

The “New Right” loves to mock “zombie Reaganism.” Well, the ’80s fusionist coalition, which stressed upward meritocratic mobility, free markets, federalism, patriotism, and autonomy from the soul-crushing federal bureaucracy, was by all historical measures more successful than the Buchananism that followed or Rockefellerism that preceded. Zombie Reaganism was a dramatic success not only in 1980 but also in 1994 and again in 2010 and 2014. The “shining city on a hill” might sound like corny boomerism, but it’s still infinitely more enticing than the bleak apocalypticism of Flight 93.


In the meantime, the New Right’s intellectual movement is a Trojan horse for a bunch of corrosive authoritarian “post-liberal” ideas. If a malleable “common good” means jettisoning limiting principles, well, no thank you. Plenty of secular right-wingers like myself have been defending religious freedom on neutral, classical liberal grounds. Today, the New Right tells me those notions are dead. If that’s true, I wonder who will be left to defend them 10 years from now?

On his Facebook page, GMU Econ alum Mark Perry shares some observations from Barcelona:

Random thoughts and observations after 24 hours in Barcelona, Spain:
1. Spain’s median household income (Purchasing Power Parity) was $28,365 in 2021 which is 39% less than the $46,511 household income in the state of Mississippi, America’s poorest state. If Spain became a US state, it would be America’s poorest state by far.
And yet, compared to the US:
2. No signs yet of a single homeless person.
3. No signs yet of a single panhandler.
Also compared to the US:
3. Almost NO baseball caps and the few I’ve seen are worn properly as intended (not backward).
4. No carjackings
5. Apparently almost no shoplifting.
6. Very few dogs
7. Food is insanely cheap, about 2 euros for a dozen eggs vs. $3.50 in the US, 1 euro for three large baguettes, Kentucky bourbon for $7 vs. $30 in the US, $12 for a bottle of Stoly vodka, vs. $25 in the US., etc.
8. Insanely cheap and good Spanish wine for less than 10 euros per bottle.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy calls on Republicans to take their focus off of personalities and to put it instead on policies – hopefully policies that will promote economic growth. A slice:

What’s more, in the rare occasions that Republicans have a policy idea, they’re usually calling for awful and outdated ones such as industrial policy and protectionism, or even Democrat-like entitlements such as federal paid leave and a child universal basic income. And that’s when Republicans aren’t making the economically ignorant case to drop “market fundamentalism” and embrace central planning.

Art Carden reminds us of an important function of labor markets. A slice:

Like every other market. Supply and demand determine broccoli, bean, and bowling ball prices. They also determine wages. What Bryan Caplan calls The World’s Greatest Market is complicated, and the competitive model doesn’t explain everything. People don’t understand, however, how competitive labor markets work, and that’s a bigger problem than voters not subscribing to the Journal of Labor Economics. As teachers, economists have work to do.

Historians and economists have based much of their analysis on the notion that workers and employers have unequal bargaining power. W.H. Hutt traced this idea, which he called “wooly,” back to Adam Smith. Hutt argued that competitive labor markets are workers’ friends, not enemies. His view runs counter to what a lot of people think. Hutt didn’t believe employers were enlightened or benevolent. Bob might be obsessed with his bottom line, however, other employers are obsessed with their bottom lines and stand ready to hire workers whom Bob might be mistreating. Hutt isn’t thinking wishfully, either. Rising productivity in competitive labor markets improves wages and working conditions. Studies of South African apartheid show how white workers enriched themselves by stopping native competition.

Will Jones reports on the G20’s scary proposal for a “global passport and ‘digital health’ identity scheme.”

JoeS619 tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

It’s such a bizarre ideology to rearrange your entire society around 1 respiratory virus. For years at a time.

While no other deaths or health problems matter.

Living life itself doesn’t matter.

Human rights are suspended.

It’s mind boggling to consider.