Second to None in the Creation of Extraordinary Wealth

Like Rockefeller, he used accounting and technological innovations to expand the distribution of a commodity (silver or oil), and he was also one of the OG philanthropists. Like the Rothschilds’ development of the government bond market and reputation-driven trust, Fugger’s balance-sheet inventions and trusted name provided infrastructural improvement to the flow of capital, trust in banks, and the literal tracking of transactions. However, no other capitalist had as central of a role in religious change–both as the driving force behind allowing usury and as an anti-Reformation leader.

Damned Models and Cutting off the Chinese

I have a good eye for what ought to be there but isn’t. Don’t congratulate me; it’s a natural talent. I am retired so, I usually spend hours listening to the radio, reading newspapers and, watching television and, (Oops) on the internet. Nowadays, I do more of the same. Today’s lecture is going to be … Continue reading Damned Models and Cutting off the Chinese

Mexican Productivity and Poverty: a Superficial, Street-Level View

I just spent three and a half weeks in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (summer 2019). Below are some impressions. First things first; I have to give you the severe limits of my field of vision while I was there. My wife and I stayed in an old-fashioned, 1950s low-rise hotel on the ocean with a pleasant … Continue reading Mexican Productivity and Poverty: a Superficial, Street-Level View

Financial History to the Rescue: On Bitcoiners’ Many Troubles

This article is part of a series on bitcoin (and bitcoiners’) arguments about money and particularly financial history. See also: (2): ‘Rothbard’s First Impressions on Free Banking in Scotland Were Correct’, Joakim Book, AIER (2019-08-18) (3): ‘The Harder Money Wins Out’, Joakim Book, NotesOnLiberty (2019-08-19) (4): ‘Bitcoin’s Fixed Money Supply Is a Weakness’, Joakim Book, … Continue reading Financial History to the Rescue: On Bitcoiners’ Many Troubles

Against Ideology

Since first dipping my feet (brain?) into philosophical waters I’ve realized that the world has more dimensions than my mind. Many more. Which means insisting on a consistent philosophy is, in all likelihood, a recipe for disaster. This isn’t to say I’ve got an inconsistent philosophy, or that I’m ready to throw up my hands … Continue reading Against Ideology

Twelve Things Worth Knowing According to Jacques Delacroix, PhD, Plus a Very Few Brain Food Items.

Note: I wish you all a prosperous, healthy, and writerly year 2019. (No wishes for happiness, it will come from all the above.) I have a French nephew who is super-smart. Not long after graduating from the best school in France, he moved to Morocco where he married a super-smart Moroccan woman. He is so … Continue reading Twelve Things Worth Knowing According to Jacques Delacroix, PhD, Plus a Very Few Brain Food Items.

Midweek Reader: The Folly of Trump’s Tariffs

With stocks plummeting this week upon an announcement of retaliatory tariffs by China in response to a recent spate of steel and aluminum tariffs from the Trump administration, it seems a midweek reader on the situation is appropriate. At the Washington Post, Rick Noack explains how Trump is going into unprecedented territory since the WTO was founded, … Continue reading Midweek Reader: The Folly of Trump’s Tariffs

*The Islamic Enlightenment* | A critical review

De Bellaigue, Christopher. (2017) The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason 1798 to Modern Times. Liveright Publishing Corporation (Norton & Company) New York, London. In 1798, in view of the Pyramids, a French expeditionary force defeated the strange caste of slave-soldiers, the Mamlukes, who had been ruling Egypt for several centuries. The Mamlukes … Continue reading *The Islamic Enlightenment* | A critical review

Ricardo and Ringo for a free-trade Brexit

My colleague, Shruti Rajagopalan, points out that today is the 200th Anniversary of the publication of David Ricardo’s  On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. It was here that the notion of comparative advantage began confounding protectionists and nativists. Shruti offers this famous example of it in practice: Apparently, when asked if Ringo Starr … Continue reading Ricardo and Ringo for a free-trade Brexit

Why do we teach girls that it’s cute to be scared?

I just came across this fantastic op-ed while listening to the author being interviewed. The author points out that our culture teaches girls to be afraid. Girls are warned to be careful at the playground while boys are expected… to be boys. Over time we’re left with a huge plurality of our population hobbled. It’s … Continue reading Why do we teach girls that it’s cute to be scared?

A response to a student

Each week I assign some reading or video. Recently I assigned a series of videos where Bryan Caplan discusses common biases, including the anti-foreign bias One student questioned the benefits of expanded immigration, wondering if the costs to American workers might be too great. Below is my response: My understanding of the evidence is that … Continue reading A response to a student

Trade: Is Obama Right This Time?

I was hoping to sit this one out. I mean the multiple discords about the new Pacific trade treaty proposed by President Obama. I feel I need to lend a hand because there are good reasons to be confused. Plus, I taught international business for twenty-five years. My voice just might be useful this time. … Continue reading Trade: Is Obama Right This Time?