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?

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

A feast of classical liberal thought: Mont Pelerin Society in Stockholm

Last week, Stockholm hosted a special meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) on the populist threats to the free society. MPS meetings are held under Chatham House rules, which means I cannot report in any detail about the proceedings. Yet a few impressions can be shared. I have been a MPS member since 2010, … Continue reading A feast of classical liberal thought: Mont Pelerin Society in Stockholm

Paradoxical Geniuses: “Let us burn the ships”

In 1519, Hernán Cortés landed 500 men in 11 ships on the coast of the Yucatan, knowing that he was openly disobeying the governor of Cuba and that he was facing unknown numbers of potential enemies in an unknown situation. Regardless of the moral implications, what happened next was strategically extraordinary: he and his men … Continue reading Paradoxical Geniuses: “Let us burn the ships”

The End of the Past

On Branko Milanovic’s recommendation, I read Aldo Schiavone’s The End of the Past. Scholarly and elegantly written, it provides one of the best imaginative reconstructions of the ancient Roman economy. Previous posts have touched on the economies of late antiquity, the modernist primitivist debate, and diagnosed problems in many recent assessments of the ancient economy … Continue reading The End of the Past

Did the Thirty Glorious Years Actually Exist?

Okay, I am going for a flashy title here. I should have asked whether the Thirty Glorious were as glorious as they are meant to be. This is a question that matters in debates about both inequality and the often-bemoaned growth slowdown. In the past (say before 1950), labor force participation was quite low (relative to today) by virtue of … Continue reading Did the Thirty Glorious Years Actually Exist?

Castro: Coercing Cubans into Health

On Black Friday, one of the few remaining tyrants in the world passed away (see the great spread of democracy in the world since 1988). Fidel Castro is a man that I will not mourn nor will I celebrate his passing. What I mourn are the lives he destroyed, the men and women he impoverished, the … Continue reading Castro: Coercing Cubans into Health

The Nice Massacre

Following the massacre in Nice yesterday, I am hearing comments on radio that, together, would have one believe that it could not happen here, that it’s somehow the fault of the French themselves. I think that’s a dangerous dream. Americans have to get past the Irma la Douce fantasy about France that many still shelter … Continue reading The Nice Massacre

Socialism(s) – Part One

Sanders and Me and not so Democratic Socialism Sen. Sanders got a huge pass this primary season. Captivated by the deep dishonesty of one probable nominee and the crude ignorance of the other (not to mention his plain crudeness), the media, and informal commentators like myself, have not given the Democratic candidate and his program … Continue reading Socialism(s) – Part One