≡ Menu

Some Links

GMU Econ alum Shruti Rajagopalan interviews the great trade economist Douglas Irwin.

David Henderson ponders Thomas Piketty and Taylor Swift. Two slices:

Think about how Taylor Swift began her career. She started singing for money as a teenager. Did she steal anyone’s songs? Almost certainly not. People whose songs are stolen tend to object. Once she started making it big, did she steal songs? Again, probably not. What about the people around her whom she hires? Did she stiff them on the pay she promised? Here I’m virtually positive that the answer is no. Why? Because of the $100,000 bonuses she gave her truck drivers at the end of her recent Eras Tour. Someone who does that is highly unlikely to renege on more-normal payments.

How about her voice? That really is her voice. It’s not as if she’s got a prisoner in a basement doing the singing while she lip-syncs.

The bottom line is that Taylor Swift became a billionaire the old-fashioned way: she earned it.


In a free economy, and even in a somewhat-free economy like that of the United States, a large percent of wealthy people’s wealth is gained in mutually agreeable voluntary exchange. Moreover, even though innovators often get very wealthy, most of the value they create is captured by consumers. It is unwise, therefore, to punish wealthy innovators with special taxes on their wealth. The novelists that Thomas Piketty quotes were good novelists. But they are hardly a guide to understanding how wealth is created and how it grows. Nor is Piketty’s book, with its proposed heavy taxes on wealth, a good guide to tax policy.

Eric Boehm sensibly asks: “If semiconductor chip demand is high, why do we need more subsidies?”

Pierre Lemieux riffs on the Gemini incident.

At his Facebook page, Vernon Smith questions the claim that Islam is “a liberal faith.”

Machines simultaneously substitute for, and complement, workers.

Contrary to the accusation of “TakingHayekSeriously,” in my latest AIER essay I do not say or suggest that Hayek did anything other than accept the findings of Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz. It seems as though “TakingHayekSeriously” mistakes what I describe in paragraph three as the ‘textbook’ view of the typical economist regarding Friedman and Hayek for the actual reality. (The confusion is at least partly my fault, as I describe this textbook view as that of a “knowledgeable economist.” But by “knowledgeable” I meant someone who knows the textbook view rather than someone who is seriously familiar with the works of Hayek and Friedman. Careless wording on my part.)

Here’s Chelsea Follett on “the folly of legislating family sizes.”

Simon Maechling tweets: (HT Humanprogress.org)

Everything you eat has been modified genetically by humans.

Humans have been modifying plants and animals for tens of thousands of years.

We have only recently discovered how to do this a little faster.