Assorted Links (10/29/2011)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading and videos that I have been viewing lately:

World on Wi-Fire – Niall Ferguson

Hat tip to my friend Ken Coffel for pointing out this excellent article written by Harvard historian Niall Ferguson…

My challenge to Paul Krugman

Wonderful essay by George Mason University economist Russ Roberts on the differences between being a truth-seeker and an ideologue. The primary application pertains to economics, but Professor Roberts’ ideas are applicable to a wide range of topics which encompass our worldviews…

Does U.S. Economic Inequality Have a Good Side?

This PBS interview of NYU law professor Richard Epstein on the economics of income inequality is superb and well worth the 9 minutes you’ll spend watching it…

Are Firms Responsible for Creating Jobs?

This is an intriguing essay which addresses the concept of “corporate social responsibility” through a number of different lenses. The referenced Friedman 1970 New York Times Magazine article is available at, and the 2005 Reason Magazine debate between Friedman and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is available at

Review & Outlook

“European deal has something for everyone, except the real problem, The Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial.”

Allan H. Meltzer: Four Reasons Keynesians Keep Getting It Wrong

“In The Wall Street Journal, Allan Meltzer writes that concern over future tax rates is one of the main reasons for reduced investor confidence.”

Facebook Popularity Tied to Brain Size – Video

“Bloomberg’s Shannon Pettypiece reports on the effect the amount of Facebook friends has on the brain.” Really??? I can’t help but wonder how much grant money this academic research received, and what the sources of funding are…

Does Government Spending Stimulate Private Activity

In her working paper entitled “Does Government Spending Stimulate Private Activity” (see, UCSD economist Valerie Ramey finds that “…in most cases private spending falls significantly in response to an increase in government spending …increases in government spending do lower unemployment …virtually all of the effect is through an increase in government employment, not private employment. See for an hourlong interview of this and other related research.

Charles Calomiris: The Mortgage Crisis—Some Inside Views

“In The Wall Street Journal, Charles Calomiris writes that insider emails show that risk managers at Freddie Mac warned about lower underwriting standards—in vain, and with lessons for today.”

Henninger: Our Un-Presidential Debates

“In The Wall Street Journal, Wonder Land columnist Daniel Henninger writes that Michael Vick went to prison for staging dogfights, but for presidential debates, it’s legal.”

Crony Capitalism Comes Homes

I don’t often agree with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, but I think he may be onto something here…

Robert A. Sirico: The Vatican’s Monetary Wisdom

“In The Wall Street Journal, Father Robert A. Sirico writes that the Vatican understands that more than just ‘greed,’ fiat money and central-bank policies caused the financial crisis.” Excellent critique of the Vatican’s recently released report entitled “Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority”…

Wendy Huanjie Wang: Employment and the Captaincy of Your Soul

“In The Wall Street Journal, Wendy Huanjie Wang writes that it’s a dog’s life for job seekers these days.”

Review & Outlook: Remedial Economics

“The Wall Street Journal says the ‘Occupy’ folks learn the limits of wealth redistribution.”

Malcolm Gladwell: The strange tale of the Norden bombsight

“TED Talks Master storyteller Malcolm Gladwell tells the tale of the Norden bombsight, a groundbreaking piece of World War II technology with a deeply unexpected result.”

Why we need more capitalism, not less

“The economist Milton Friedman liked to point out that capitalism is a profit-and-loss system. Profits encourage risk-taking. Losses encourage prudence, which is just as important. Over the last 25 years, however, government policy has been laissez-faire when it comes to profits, and socialist when it comes to creditor losses. That is a very destructive cocktail. It has encouraged imprudent risk-taking financed with large amounts of borrowed money. When you subsidize recklessness, you unsurprisingly get a lot more of it.”

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