Tag: Economics

2023, Books, Non-Fiction

GOAT: Who is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does it Matter? (2023) by Tyler Cowen

This is a “generative book” by the economist and blogger Tyler Cowen. I am not capable of evaluating it as a new idea as I did not make use of the GPT-4 chatbot or the other AI tools. I have not had particularly great experiences using ChatGPT and I didn’t quite see the point. (Clearly …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (2018) by Anand Giridharadas

This is a passionate, almost incendiary at times, argument that rich people who claim to want to improve the world cannot do it, based, interestingly, in part on interviews with a few of those rich people. I think it’s really worth reading, even if I think it could be better argued and though I do …

2006, Books, Non-Fiction

The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006) by Michael Pollan

I found this book to be extremely frustrating and I almost gave up on it multiple times. The first four sections I really struggled with but I’m glad I stuck with it to the final section, which was far and away the best part of the book and reason to read it. It’s the kind …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business (2018) by Josh Noel

This is a readable, engaging, informative and, I think, pretty fair book about the AB InBev purchase of Goose Island and the broader beer landscape in North America. I love beer, and I thoroughly enjoyed some of these Goose Island beers, and I definitely prefer independent breweries to macros. So I am clearly Noel’s target …

2022, Movies

The 2022 Toronto International Film Festival

This was my first time attending TIFF in person in 3 years. It was a little exhausting, given how far out of downtown we now live but, once I got the hang of it, I fell back into the rhythm of it and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It also helped that, after a few movies that …

2022, Movies

Free Money (2022, Lauren DeFilippo, Sam Soko)

This is a brief but reasonably compelling and entertaining documentary about a UBI experiment in Kenya by the charity GiveDirectly. Full disclosure: I have complete drunk the Universal Basic Income Kool-Aid so I am not going to be the most critical reviewer of anything about UBI. You have been warned.

2017, Books, Non-Fiction

Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality (2017) by James Kwak

I agree with a lot of the author says but I’m not sure I like the way he says it. In fact, this feels a little bit like a book I would write, albeit with better sources – a rant about the spread of an idea from someone who is does not have a background …

2009, Books, Non-Fiction

The Buyout of America (2009) by Josh Kosman

The problem with making big predictions in your book is that, when they either do not come true or only partially come true, you kind of look like an idiot. (I should say you “should” look like an idiot because we humans love to listen to people who’ve failed in their predictions time and again. …

2021, Movies

Arbete åt alla! [Jobs for All] (2021, Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck)

This is a short film which is basically a satire of the idea of “full employment” as a solution to our problems, as opposed to UBI or welfare. It’s not actually a documentary, as it is very much a satire and an advocacy film.

2021, Economics, Politics, Psychology, Society

It’s Status, Stupid

Note: I wrote this in January and then it set in my Drafts. So I’m publishing it now, with very few edits, in the hopes that it still makes some sense. When I was in undergrad and grad school, studying political philosophy, I was extremely skeptical of explanations of human behaviour based in class. Especially …

2020, Movies

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020, Jennifer Abbott, Joel Bakan)

I saw the original Corporation sometime back in the aughts. I have no idea whether or not I would like it now. This film is infuriating, both because of the problems in the world it reminds us of, and because of how unfocused it is. In many ways, it feels like two movies, the sequel …

2020, Books, Non-Fiction

10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less (2020) by Garrrett Jones

This is a frustrating book. I agree with some of what he says and he inspired me to come up with some additional ideas. But I find the presentation ill-thought out, and I find his perspective limited, and rather traditional.

Economics, Politics, Society

UBI Now

COVID-19 is causing all sorts of economic problems. Rather, reactions to COVID-19 are causing all sorts of problems. Behaviour that is good for reducing the spread of this virus is bad for the economy. Nobody is quite sure what to do or how to moderate the inevitable recession. Our government has a plan, this plan …

2013, Books, Non-Fiction

The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future (2013) by Paul Sabin

This is an interesting book ostensibly about a bet between a biologist and an economist over the earth’s future, but really about the problems of extremism and the folly of prediction.

2008, Books, Economics, Non-Fiction

Predictably Irrational (2008) by Dan Ariely

This is a fascinating and sometimes amusing exploration of behavioural economics through descriptions of experiments that the author has conducted, and some he’s read about. It’s a pretty good introduction to behaviourial economics and social psychology. A number of these experiments were unfamiliar to me and some of them are really illuminating. I’m particularly interested …

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

The Violence of Financial Capitalism (2011) by Christian Marazzi

It has been a long time since I’ve read a book this dense. A long time. Maybe grad school, maybe in the years after grad school when I tried to re-read or finish lots of books that I felt I hadn’t spent enough time with in school. Either way, I don’t think my brain is …

1953, Books, Fiction

The Worldly Philosophers (1953, 1999) by Robert L. Heilbroner

The Worldly Philosophers is an impressive and engaging summary of the lives and ideas of the major economists from Adam Smith through Joseph Schumpeter, covering both the people you would expect (Ricardo, Keynes) and some people you would not. Heilbroner is a refreshing guide because he both has a historical sense of economics and he …

1994, Books, Non-Fiction

The Creature from Jekyll Island (1994) by G. Edward Griffin

A necessary critique utterly ruined by conspiratorial nonsense. I have finished nearly every book I have ever started but I will not be finishing this one. I apologize for the slipshod nature of the review that follows. This has been a trying experience for me.

2012, Economics, Politics

The Fiscal Cliff: Another triumph of rhetoric over policy

I am not economist and perhaps that’s why I have trouble understanding the panic and the political stubbornness around the non-crisis of the so-called “fiscal cliff. (On the other hand, it is perhaps because of the fact that I am a not an economist that I have perspective, something that seems to be sadly lacking in most …

Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

19 Tough Questions for Libertarians, Part 4

This is part four in my series on the internet meme, “Jon Stewart’s 19 Tough Questions for Libertarians.” Please see part one here, part two here, and part three here. Today we deal with questions 10-19. You give money to the IRS because you think they’re gonna hire a bunch of people, that if your …

Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religion

19 Tough; Questions for Libertarianism, Part 3

In this post we look at questions 4-9. For the first part see here. For the second see here. Do we live in a society or don’t we? Are we a collective? Everybody’s success is predicated on the hard work of all of us; nobody gets there on their own. Why should it be that …

Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

19 Tough Questions for Libertarianism, part 2

So, for part two, we deal with questions 2-3. You can see the previous post here. One of the things that enhances freedoms are roads. Infrastructure enhances freedom. A social safety net enhances freedom. So obviously this is not a question, but a statement. But it gets to an important point, depending of course on …

2012, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society

19 "Tough" Questions for Libertarianism, Part 1

Around October 2011, Jon Stewart interviewed Andrew Napolitano, a prominent US “libertarian” on The Daily Show. At some point, some libertarians put Stewart’s interview questions into a meme sometimes called “Jon Stewart’s 19 tough questions for libertarians.” My understanding of this is that Napolitano did not acquit himself well enough in their eyes. This doesn’t …