Some Links

Some of these aren’t especially recent, but…

Walter E. Williams of George Mason University lists but a few disparities that emerge naturally and without injustice between groups in society, and argues against the notion that we should expect to see proportionality in a perfectly just world.

Speaking of disparities, Russ Roberts of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution makes the case that, in fact, things are much, much better than they seem for poor and middle-income Americans (especially when you re-visit the data and correct for numerous methodological errors).

Of course, people never seem to be satisfied with (or even aware of) social and economic progress. GMU’s Alex Tabarrok blogs about a recent paper published in Science that suggests that this is because their frame of reference changes concurrently with such progress. This can make it difficult not only to detect progress but also to distinguish genuine improvement from concept creep.

Finally, GMU’s Bryan Caplan argues that the libertarian stance on the relationship between social and economic issues and the government is most easily understood in the context of the advice given to someone bitten by a mosquito: “Leave it alone, you’ll just make it worse.”

To wrap up, here’s quote that I love:

“Economics is the study of the whole system of exchange relationships. Politics is the study of the whole system of coercive or potentially coercive relationships.”

James M. Buchanan, What Should Economists Do?