Zaterdag quote

Under the rule of individual property, the division of the produce is the result of two determining agencies: Competition, and Custom. It is important to ascertain the amount of influence which belongs to each of these causes, and in what manner the operation of one is modified by the other.
Political economists generally, and English political economists above others, have been accustomed to lay almost exclusive stress upon the first of these agencies; to exaggerate the effect of competition, and to take into little account the other and conflicting principle.

John Stuart Mill (1848). Principles of Political Economy, Book II, Chapter IV

Dinsdag quote

Growing prosperity seems to give an ever-wider range of people a sense of power and independence. It encourages a special form of self-esteem that comes when people recognize themselves as central causes of the particular lives they are living – rather than being in any way the ward of others, no matter how well meaning, other-regarding or wise those others might be. In many countries, citizens are increasingly resentful about having economic decision-making power taken from them by the planners of the social-democratic state. In ways that are difficult fully to understand, prosperity makes the personal exercise of economic liberty more rather than less valuable to many liberal citizens.

John Tomasi (2012). Free Market Fairness, p. 61

Zaterdag quote

“Market” is a remote and unhelpful analogy. Things don’t work out optimally for a simple reason: there is no reason why they should. There is no mechanism that attunes individual response to some collective accomplishment.

Thomas Schelling (1978). Micromotives and Macrobehavior, p. 32

Dinsdag quote

Citizenship is by its very essence less comfortable than customership, and if measured by the same criteria must inevitably lose out.

Wolfgang Streeck (2012). Citizens as Customers. Considerations on the New Politics of Consumption, in New Left Review, 76, p 41

Zaterdag quote

Plenty of charities and nonprofits don’t actually change or improve the world or deliver any useful product at all, but rather simply continue as lost causes with no impact. The same cannot be said for most commercial businesses, at least not over extended periods of time. If I think “nonprofit sushi”, my first instinct is to run away, not to embrace it.

Tyler Cowen (2019). Big Business. A love letter to an American anti-hero, p35

Donderdagse gevarieerde links

  • Spelen culturele verschillen een rol in de verschillen in infectie- en overlijdensratio’s tussen en soms zelfs binnen Europese landen? Dit kaartje toont frappante verschillen in Zwitserland. Het Duits-sprekend deel heeft ratio’s die overeenstemmen met die van Duitsland; idem voor het Franstalig deel en het Italiaans-sprekend deel. Ook in België was de taalgrens een Coronagrens. Was, want ondertussen heeft heel België dezelfde kleur.
  • Vervolg op en gevolg van de open memo (en hier) die Brian Armstrong, oprichter en CEO van de financiële innovator Coinbase, kort geleden publiceerde en waar hij zich afzette tegen Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) en politiek activisme binnen Coinbase. Ondertussen hebben 60 van de 1,200 werknemers van Coinbase ontslag genomen, weliswaar met het genereus afscheidspakket dat Armstrong in een follow-up post aanbood aan wie het niet eens was met zijn visie.
  • Oeps, politiek incorrect artikel? Psychologen en computerwetenschappers van onder meer de University of Columbia onderzochten de loonkloof tussen mannen en vrouwen in een anonieme arbeidsmarkt. Ze bekeken hoe meer dan 22,000 free lancers voor 5 miljoen opdrachten betaald werden in Mechanical Turk, het freelancersplatform van Amazon. Opdrachtgevers in Mechanical Turk kennen het geslacht van hun opdrachtnemers niet. De onderzoekers vonden dat vrouwen gemiddeld 10.5 procent minder verdienden dan mannen. Een van de mogelijke verklaringen was dat vrouwen de neiging hadden opdrachten te kiezen die minder betaalden. Via Marginal Revolution.
  • Interessant en vermakelijk interview met Angus Deaton, Nobelprijswinnaar Economie van 2016 en volgens interviewer Gordon Rausser “maybe the greatest applied economist of his generation“. In de eerste zeven pagina’s van de pdf geeft Rausser een goed overzicht van de loopbaan en verwezenlijkingen van Deaton. Het jongste en ophefmakende boek van Deaton en zijn vrouw Anne Case, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, bespreek ik “binnenkort” in de reeks over het einde van het kapitalisme.
  • De top 100 van productopzoekingen op Amazon in 2020.

Dinsdag quote

The same age which produces great philosophers and politicians, renowned generals and poets usually abounds with skilful weavers and ship carpenters. We cannot reasonably expect that a piece of woollen cloth will be wrought to perfection in a nation which is ignorant of astronomy, or where ethics are neglected.

David Hume (1752). Of Refinement in the Arts, Part II, Essay II

Dinsdag quote

But consumption inequality is vastly less than income inequality, which is vastly less than wealth inequality. And I know of no evidence that consumption inequality is increasing. So why worry about wealth inequality, or income inequality, above and beyond consumption inequality?
So, what is the question to which wealth inequality, as defined by Saez and Zucman, and wealth taxation, as advocated by Saez and Zucman and company is the answer?

John Cochrane, Wealth and Taxes

Zaterdag quote

The twentieth century will be chiefly remembered by future generations not as an era of political conflicts or technical inventions, but as an age in which human society dared to think of the welfare of the whole human race as a practical objective.

Arnold Toynbee

Dinsdag quote

(T)here’s a lot to like about urban poverty. Cities don’t make people poor; they attract poor people. The flow of less advantaged people into cities from Rio to Rotterdam demonstrates urban strength, not weakness. … Urban poverty should be judged not relative to urban wealth but relative to rural poverty.

Edward Glaeser (2011). Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, p 9-10

Dinsdag quote

(B)asic principles of economics are neglected in development today, starting with the idea beloved by Bill Gates, [World Bank President, 2012-2019] Jim Yong Kim, and the United Nations Development Goals: setting goals and then finding evidence-based ways to reach them.
This is not the way the “association of problem-solvers” solves problems. The decentralized system finds the cheapest solutions to problems, through markets and democratic feedback from individuals. Which problems get solved – which goals get met – are among the many choices that emerge from this decentralized system. The problems that get solved are those where individuals perceive the highest benefits relative to the costs.

William Easterly (2013). The Tyranny of Experts. Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, p 254-255

Zaterdag quote

The capitalist process rationalizes behavior and ideas and by so doing chases from our minds, along with metaphysical belief, mystic and romantic ideas of all sorts. Thus it reshapes not only our methods of attaining our ends but also these ultimate ends themselves.

Joseph Schumpeter (1943). Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, p 112