Bored with politics? Curl up with a good journal!

From Gary Becker. The role of government in causing the Great Recession.

From Peter Klein. This book could be a blockbuster on the role of  institutions, the rules of the game, in social life.

Engagingly written, The Institutional Revolution traces the dramatic shift from premodern institutions based on patronage, purchase, and personal ties toward modern institutions based on standardization, merit, and wage labor—a shift which was crucial to the explosive economic growth of the Industrial Revolution.

From Econlib.

Why regulation is good for lawyers (not surprising really),

Putin and the return of the KGB state. Just to show what happens when you live without the rule of law or a moral framework for two or three generations. Are some of our trade unions going that way?

Under Putin’s direction, a “state mafia” has replaced the street mafias of the chaotic Yeltsin years. At the bottom of this mafia’s pecking order, armies of corrupt tax, fire and health inspectors have taken the place of the brawny young street thugs and racketeers of the Yeltsin era. They can ruin any small or medium-sized business that does not cooperate with them. At higher levels, municipal and regional officials allocate contracts, receive bribes from local businesses, wipe out fines or indictments, and look the other way in the case of unsafe cruise ships. At the top of the ladder, ministers and deputy prime ministers have replaced private oligarchs as heads of gigantic energy and mineral concerns. They deal with their victims politely in fancy hotels and modern offices, but the result is a classic shakedown worthy of the New Jersey mafia.

The Waffle  House indicator of  hurricane severity and other stuff on the effectiveness of private sector responses to natural disasters.

Peter Boettke joins a debate on the future of free markets in The European.


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8 Responses to Bored with politics? Curl up with a good journal!

  1. Louis Hissink

    I’m reading Anne Coulter’s Demonic – she made an interesting reference at the end of chapter 5 which I need to chase up.

    Put simply the progressives seem to actually believe their unusual ideas – hard to accept that so many could be so stupid, but if that is what the evidence points to, who am I too disagree

  2. Rafe

    John Ray has put almost a lifetime of work into the psychological characteristics of leftists.

    In good academic style I start with a definition: The first thing to say is that Leftism is emotional. The second is to say that the emotion is negative and the third thing to say is that the negative emotion (anger/hate/rage) is directed at the world about the Leftist, at the status quo if you like. The Leftist is nothing if he is not a critic, though usually a very poorly-informed critic. And the criticisms are both pervasive and deeply felt.

    Someone else jokes that this may represent a case of “speciation” where a new species is evolving through segregation and selective breeding.

  3. Token

    Rafe, do have any books about the theories of Joseph Schumpeter that can be recommended?

    I was reading something on the weekend and it noted the way of the over supply of academics / people trained in classical / non-vocational degrees will push society into decline and I’d like to read more.

    I’ve picked up the highlights from Wikipedia:

    Schumpeter’s theory is that the success of capitalism will lead to a form of corporatism and a fostering of values hostile to capitalism, especially among intellectuals. The intellectual and social climate needed to allow entrepreneurship to thrive will not exist in advanced capitalism; it will be replaced by socialism in some form. There will not be a revolution, but merely a trend in parliaments to elect social democratic parties of one stripe or another.

    I don’t believe in Oracles or visionaries, but this is a rather insightful comment on the challenges we face with the luvvies.

  4. Rafe

    Jason Soon is good on Schumpeter. He was an incredibly interesting figure with his fingers in banking, polymathic scholarship, partly Austrian but also into equilibrium theory, desperate to be known as the greatest horse rider, scholar and lover of the 20th century etc.

  5. Jim Rose

    placed an order for Doug Allen’s book months ago. His and Barzel’s work are all great reading.

    Allen is very good at analysing unusual historical issues such as patronage in the civil service, and British army but not navy, and dueling to glean great general insights.

    He gets under the fingernails of whatever he looks at using microeconomics. Has many papers on his web site

  6. ken n

    Thanks Rafe, as if I didn’t have enough to bloody read already…

  7. Jim Rose

    I read parts of schumpeter history of economic andlysis recently. It is free at as I recall as are other of his works.

    Schumpeter is as gifted a writer as any in all of economics and is full of insights.

    a great review of the recent biography of him is at's%20Best%20Move.pdf

    art diamond is an excellent writer on many issues such as stigler and the history of economic thought and the economics of science.

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