Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Interesting blog bits

  1. Matt Ridley on The economic defeat of tuberculosis
    TB was not cured so much as prevented by better housing conditions
  2. Richard Posner on Homosexual Marriage
    President Obama’s declaration of support for homosexual marriage has focused public attention on the question whether such marriage should be permitted, although so far the response has been rather tepid. It no longer seems a hot issue, though it may heat up in the furnace of a presidential election campaign.
  3. Gary Becker On Homosexual Marriage
    In today’s sexual environment, homosexuality no longer seems exotic or radically unnatural. For this reason, while American anti-discrimination law protects homosexuals from discrimination, acceptance of homosexuals in the workplace and elsewhere would have greatly increased even without legal protection against discrimination. I am not familiar with any studies that assess the causes of the decline in discrimination against homosexuals, but they would show, I believe, that changes in attitudes were more important than legislation.
  4. Justin Wolfers on How Economics Explains The Rising Support for Gay Marriage
    President Obama’s personal evolution toward accepting same-sex marriage has certainly made plenty of headlines. But perhaps the bigger—and untold story—is the evolution of marriage itself, and how the generational shift in how we experience marriage underpins rising toward support for same-sex marriage.
  5. Gavin Kennedy has Some Thoughts for May
    I had occasion last weekend to re-read part of Dugald Stewart’s biographical eulogy to Adam Smith, that Dugald read to two meetings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1793, and which was published in 1795, and thereafter reproduced in most editions of Smith’s Wealth Of Nations published during the 19th century. Stewart’s is a remarkable document of Smith’s life and achievements – Dugald knew Smith well and, through his father, Michael Stewart, who was at Glasgow with Smith, who knew Smith intimately, socially and intellectually from childhood to when he died in 1790. Even today, Dugald’s biographical eulogy deserves close study by Smithian scholars, though this first biography was superseded later by three other major biographies: John Rae’s ‘Life of Adam Smith’, (1895), W. R. Scott’s ‘Adam Smith as Student and Professor’ (1937), and Ian Ross’s ‘The Life of Adam Smith’ (1995, 2nd edition, 2011, Oxford University Press), the definitive biography of Smith.
  6. Not PC on Still no need to panic about global warming
    It sounds like the start of a joke, i.e.:

    Q: What do you get when two economists argue about global warming?
  7. Pietro Alessandrini, Michele Fratianni, Andrew Hughes Hallett and Andrea F Presbitero on The Eurozone crisis: Fiscal fragility, external imbalances, or both?
    Unsustainable debt along Europe’s periphery is bringing the euro to breaking point. But this column argues that this is not simply the result of fiscal ill-discipline. After 2010, the Eurozone crisis went from a fiscal crisis to a balance-of-payments crisis – with different prescriptions for policy.
  8. Philip Booth on The Archbishop of Canterbury and the market economy (part one)
    The Archbishop of Canterbury’s latest foray into the world of political economy does him even less credit than his previous attempts.
  9. Philip Booth on The Archbishop of Canterbury and the market economy (part two)
    In my last blog post, I looked at Archbishop Williams’ use of legal organ sales as an example of the degeneracy of the market economy. The fact that organ sales are not legal is a detail that seems to have escaped his attention.

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