Women and secular stagnation

As an economic historian, I’ve always had a hard time with the idea of secular stagnation. After all, one decade of slow growth is merely a blip on the twelve millenniums of economic history (I am not that interested with the pre-Neolithic history, but there is some great work to be found in archaeology journals). … Continue reading Women and secular stagnation

From the Comments: Is US Economic Stagnation A Myth?

The short answer is “yes.” In the ‘comments’ section of Dr Delacroix’s recent article on the myth of American economic stagnation, Dr Amburgey, who works at the University of Toronto’s business school, dropped three arguments at my feet. I gave him three responses and he chose to address Issue #2 first. I will await his … Continue reading From the Comments: Is US Economic Stagnation A Myth?

Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 7): Breaking the mold

This role of entrepreneurs also depends on an abstract characteristic of technological knowledge: it works in a manner contrary to that of most goods, since it is more productive to the extent that it is more widespread in the population. This characteristic of the abstract nature of technological knowledge is related to the phenomenon of … Continue reading Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 7): Breaking the mold

Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 6): Breaking the mold

Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson acknowledge that the weakest point of their theory consists of recommendations to “break the mold.” How to change the historical matrix that leaves the nations stagnant in extractive political and economic institutions, or that move them back from having inclusive economic institutions with extractive political institutions to being trapped in … Continue reading Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 6): Breaking the mold

Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 5): “Spontaneous” institutions

When Friedrich A. Hayek referred to the coordination problems among rational agents as a consequence of the dispersion of information in the economic system -and that made him worthy of the Nobel Prize in Economics- he did not refer to an information problem that could be solved with better statistical tools. This is also a … Continue reading Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 5): “Spontaneous” institutions

Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 4): Institutions and the Rule of Law

Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson call the set of regulations that obstruct innovation “extractive institutions.” Of course, here again, extractive institutions are less harmful than the total absence of institutions. Not every change in the status quo can be interpreted as “creative destruction” or “entrepreneurship.” As Friedrich Hayek pointed out in Law, Legislation and Freedom, so … Continue reading Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 4): Institutions and the Rule of Law

Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 3): Innovation means creative destruction

The concept of creative destruction was popularised by Joseph Schumpeter and assumes that the economy is in a equilibrium. The “entrepreneur,” therefore, is an unbalancing factor that, through innovation, displaces the winners of the prevailing situation until then, generating a new equilibrium. This notion was criticized by other economists such as Friedrich Hayek and Israel … Continue reading Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 3): Innovation means creative destruction

Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 2); Institutions: definition and subtypes

Implicitly, Douglass C. North, William Easterly, and Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson share the same notion of “institution.” In this respect, what must be taken into account is not a real definition of the former but its operative concept, that is, what characteristic features relate it to the rest of the concepts of each … Continue reading Three Lessons on Institutions and Incentives (Part 2); Institutions: definition and subtypes

No Country for Creative Destruction

Imagine a country whose inhabitants reject every unpleasant byproduct of innovation and competition. This country would be Frédéric Bastiat’s worst nightmare: in order to avoid the slightest maladies expected to emerge from creative destruction, all their advantages would remain unseen forever. Nevertheless, that impossibility to acknowledge the unintended favourable consequences of competition is not conditioned … Continue reading No Country for Creative Destruction

The State in education

Mary Lucia Darst maryluciadarst@gmail.com Part I: A History In Beyond Good and Evil, written after breaking with composer Richard Wagner and subsequently rejecting hyper-nationalism, Friedrich Nietzsche proposed the existence of a group of people who cannot abide to see others successful or happy. Appropriately, he dubbed these people and their attitude “ressentiment,” or “resentment” in French. … Continue reading The State in education

The State and education – Part IV: Conclusion

On August 17, 2018, the BBC published an article titled “Behind the exodus from US state schools.” After taking the usual swipes at religion and political conservatism, the real reason for the haemorrhage became evident in the personal testimony collected from an example mother who withdrew her children from the public school in favour of … Continue reading The State and education – Part IV: Conclusion

The Sad Retreat

Do not go gentle into that good night / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.   ~ Dylan Thomas Thomas’ villanelle to his dying father is one of the most iconic English poems of the 20thcentury. It is also curiously relevant today, though not in a literal sense. The traditional American zeitgeist is … Continue reading The Sad Retreat