economics in one lesson

Economics in One Lesson

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups” The premise of Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson is simple: Policy should be honest about the losers, … Continue reading Economics in One Lesson

Narrative Economics

Narrative Economics

Narrative Economics by Robert J Shiller has been on my to-read list for a while (I was waiting for the paperback edition to launch in South Africa. The book looks at the thesis that narrative a way of presenting or understanding a situation or series of events that reflects and promotes a particular point of … Continue reading Narrative Economics

Be careful what you beg for

It has been rather depressing to watch people get exactly what they want. In South Africa in March, people begged to "be lead" through the COVID crisis - and they were. Crop-bottom pant regulations, arbitrary prohibition and all. They are now number three on the global misery index. In the UK, people demanded schools were shut down - … Continue reading Be careful what you beg for

skin in the game

Skin in the Game

"Bureaucracy is a a construction by which a person is conveniently separated from the consequences of his or her actions." What a poetic quote. Nassim Taleb is a polarising figure; yet there is no doubt that he is on top form in Skin In The Game. Less academic and mathematical heavy than some of his … Continue reading Skin in the Game

the deficit myth

The Deficit Myth (and the Free Lunch Fantasy) of MMT

“Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.” ~ Milton Friedman Right now, Modern Monetary Theory (aka Magic Money Theory, aka MMT aka a new branding for monetary stimulus) as popularised by Stephanie Kelton’s The … Continue reading The Deficit Myth (and the Free Lunch Fantasy) of MMT

money history and future

Money (the unauthorised biography)

"Everyone except an economist knows what 'money' means, and even an economist can describe it in at the course of a chapter or so..." ~ A.H. Quiggin Best chased (in my opinion) with a little eurodollar crash course (like this) Money, The Unauthorised Biography is one of the better efforts in the genre of "attempting … Continue reading Money (the unauthorised biography)

reflections of a revolution in france

Reflections on the Revolution in France

Reflections on the Revolution in France... a  book written by a rich Englishman of leisure, critiquing the working-class French Revolution from the other side of the pond... Revealing, (although perhaps more revealing of Burke himself than the author may have intended) as much for what it gets wrong about the French revolution itself (Burke was … Continue reading Reflections on the Revolution in France

On mob mentality

The Lottery

Shirley Jackson's collection of dystopian short-form fiction The Lottery (and other stories) is a stark reminder of the fragility, banality and horror of the un-scrutinised human condition. It's all too easy to slip into group-think that priorities the "greater good" over the individual life. And once we have accepted that, it is a slippery slope to treating people … Continue reading The Lottery

sure you're joking Mr Feynman

Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman

"...I have developed a very powerful sense of social irresponsibility..." ~ Richard Feynman The inimitable and endlessly quotable Richard Feynman always makes for entertaining - and enlightening - reading. Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman is part physics lecture, part biography and complete delight. A Nobel prize, winner, atom-bomb contributor, and occasional amateur philosopher, Richard Feynman, … Continue reading Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman