After “Don’t blame the victim,” the second-most obvious maxim for blame is, “Only blame the perpetrators.” Precisely who, though, are the “perpetrators”? Another deep criticism of my approach is that I blame too narrowly. Instead of concentrating blame on specific wrong-doers, we should blame large swaths of society – or even whole countries.
In 1968, Abbie Hoffman famously wrote a book called Revolution for the Hell of It. In 1973, this negatively inspired David Friedman to write a chapter called “Revolution is the Hell of It.” Last month, I watched The Battle of Algiers, probably the most famous pro-terrorist (or at least anti-anti-terrorist) movie in history. If you don’t […]
The post Revolution <i>is</i> the Hell of It: Algerian Edition appeared first on Econlib.
[I]n addition to being treacherous and menacing, the insurrectionists are also, strictly speaking, pathetic. These are grown men and women whose lives are apparently so devoid of other sources of meaning that their self-worth depends on who occupies the White House.
Yes, people who don’t wear masks impose negative externalities on others. But people who insist on masks impose negative externalities, too. Efficiency requires both sides to consider the burden they’re imposing on the other.
We are now unquestionably at a crisis point for free speech, academic freedom, and intellectual diversity in higher education. Ritualistic denunciations of faculty who dissent from consensus, under the thin veneer of combating “misinformation,” are now practiced by prominent universities and broadly accepted within higher education.
Convenience has a massive effect on your behavior. You rarely shop in your favorite store, eat in your favorite restaurant, or visit your favorite place. Why not? Because doing so is typically inconvenient. They’re too far away, or not open at the right hours, so you settle for second-best or third-best or tenth-best. You usually don’t switch your cell phone company, your streaming service, or your credit card just because a better option comes along. Why not? Because switching is not convenient. Students even pass up financial aid because they don’t feel like filling out the paperwork. Why not? You guessed it: Because paperwork is inconvenient.
Suppose someone accuses me of being a pickpocket. I respond, “I have picked no pockets, therefore I am not a pickpocket.” My accuser could naturally retort, “Oh yes you are, I have video evidence of you picking pockets on three separate occasions.” What would you think, though, if my accuser instead declared, “There’s a lot of pickpocketing in the world. You’ve personally done nothing to stop it. That makes you a pickpocket!”
The anonymous author of the satirical “Homeless Camping in Austin: A Modest Proposal” has also sent me this more serious guest post. The title is mine. “Democratic centralism,” you may recall, is the Leninist practice of demanding strict loyalty to a party line after a (usually perfunctory) debate. Printed with the author’s permission.
Economically speaking, there’s a straightforward win-win case for these Mexican resorts: Not only do they make the tourists happier; they make the Mexicans happier by providing them with better opportunities than they have elsewhere in the Mexican economy. If you reconsider this verdict through the distorted lens of Social Desirability Bias, though, a radically different picture appears before your eyes. Once you forget economics, you could easily describe the resort experience in the following sordid way.
This winter, I’m a visiting scholar at the University of Texas. Though Austin is gorgeous, visitors can’t help but notice vast homeless villages scattered throughout the city. Local sources tell me that this is driven by Austin’s repeal of the ban on homeless camping. One of the economists I’ve met here has written a Swiftian proposal for reforming Austin’s approach. The author prefers to remain anonymous, but this is printed with his permission. Engage your sense of satire, and enjoy!