Category Archives: applied price theory

agreement and disagreement with victor ray about conservatives in academia

Recently, my friend and colleague Victor Ray published a very interesting essay in Inside Higher Education. In it, he makes three claims about conservatives in academia:

  1. Demands for intellectual diversity are not made in good faith.
  2. Conservatives “dominate” higher education.
  3. There is no diversity within conservative thinking.

I agree with #1 but I think #2 and #3 are simply incorrect. Let’s start with agreement: There are exceptions, of course, but many people who claim to represent conservative view points are not really interested in genuine engagement. Probably the most obvious case are the types of people who invite Milo Yiannopolous, Ann Coulter and other conservative “performance artists” who come to college campuses. They’re shock jocks, not real intellectuals.

But on the other points, Victor is not quite right. To be fair to Victor, let me quote him directly: “The second false premise that promoters of so-called diversity of thought…

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Report: British Police Solve Just Four Percent Of Robberies and Three Percent Of Burglaries


Abbe-03According to The Sunday Times, shocking report shows that only four percent of robberies in England and Wales in 2017 were solved.  Only three percent of burglaries were solved. That is a dismal record and indicates that criminals can effectively act with impunity in victimizing citizens.

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ROBIN by Dave Itzkoff

Doc's Books

Image result for photo of Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam

(From the film “Good Morning Vietnam”)

For years I showed the Robin Williams’ film “Good Morning Vietnam” to my history classes.  The movie reflected Williams’ genius, empathy, and commentary pertaining to a conflict that tore America apart.  I introduced the film because I wanted students to get a feel for a different aspect of the war which the character of Adrian Cronauer apply portrayed. Williams’ is also known for many other ground breaking and important films that include, “Dead Poets’ Society,” “Good Will Hunting,” “The Fisher King,” and the cartoon voiceover of “Áladdin,” along with a number that did not achieve recognition, but reflected Williams’ many talents.  Williams was a multifaceted individual whose onstage comedic insanity expressed a certain poignancy when one got passed the mask that the comedian presented to his audiences.  When he died in 2014 a cultural void was created which may never again be filled.  Williams…

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The Globalists Have a Major Blind Spot

American Elephants

Here is Jonathan Haidt, talking on globalism and nationalism and why they are incompatible. There are some real problems with global thinking, and Haidt exposes them, one by one. We get remarkably confused as to what human nature is all about, and shifting psychology and changing generations and just where we get off track. It’s an interesting talk. Just slightly over 10 minutes. Big audience. April, 2018.

Jonathan Haidt is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His academic specialization is the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. Haidt is the author of two books: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006) and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012). He is also the founder of the Heterodox Academy to support viewpoint diversity in academia: In this talk from…

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International Liberty

I wrote last month about a new book from the Fraser Institute about demographics and entrepreneurship.

My contribution was a chapter about the impact of taxation, especially the capital gains tax.

At a panel in Washington, I had a chance to discuss my findings.

If you don’t want to watch an 11-minute video, my presentation can be boiled down to four main points.

1. Demographics is destiny – Other authors actually had the responsibility of explaining in the book about the importance of demographic change. But it never hurts to remind people that this is a profound and baked-in-the-cake ticking time bomb.

So I shared this chart with the audience and emphasized that a modest-sized welfare state may have been feasible in the past, but will be far more burdensome in the future for the simple reason that the ratio of taxpayers to tax-consumers is dramatically changing.


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Southern Poverty Law Center apologizes to Maajid Nawaz, pays out a $3.4 million settlement for labeling him an “anti-Muslim extremist”

Why Evolution Is True

We’ve talked before about how the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has abandoned its historically useful mission, now taking after “hate speech” and including among the purveyors of said speech—on a list of “anti-Muslim extremists”—both Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Nawaz is a practicing Muslim, and Hirsi Ali a former Muslim and now a Muslim reformer whose latest book lays out a peaceful series of steps (granted, mostly impractical ones, like “getting people to stop taking the Qur’an literally”) to defuse Islamist extremism.

Nawaz threatened to sue the SPLC for labeling him as an anti-Muslim extremist. The SPLC then quietly removed its “field guide to anti-Muslim extremists” from its website, but now they’ve had to do more. Here’s a tweet from Nawaz’s foundation, Quilliam, detailing how the SPLC had to apologize and pay big bucks to settle the issue.

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Behind the BBC’s narrative on ‘international law’

BBC Watch

As has been noted here on countless occasions in the past, the BBC regularly breaches its own editorial guidelines on impartiality through the use of a standard insert which tells readers of its reports that: “[t]he settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.”

“Though that mantra has been repeated countless times over the years, it is not accompanied by a definitive cited source (because of course there isn’t one) and its claim is erroneously presented as being contested only by the government of Israel. In other words, the BBC’s standard formulation egregiously ignores the existence of legal opinions which contradict its own adopted narrative.”

Similarly, BBC audiences regularly see the phrases “occupied West Bank” and “occupied East Jerusalem” used in the corporation’s content and, as readers may know, it also refuses to call Jerusalem the capital city of Israel with its style guide stating:


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Quantifying BBC ‘due impartiality’ on ‘international law’

BBC Watch

For years visitors to the BBC News website have regularly come across claims concerning ‘international law’ in the corporation’s Israel-related content. For example:  

“The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.”


“More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem – land Palestinians claim for a future state.

The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.”

As has been noted here in the past, that more or less standard insert does not include a definitive cited source underpinning the claim of illegality and no explanation is given regarding the legal basis for alternative opinions to the one promoted. The claim is erroneously presented as being contested solely by the government of Israel, thereby erasing from audience view the existence of additional legal opinions which contradict the BBC’s selected…

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Reviewing inflation targeting frameworks in New Zealand, Australia and Canada…

Mostly Economics

Reserve Bank of Australia conducted a conference in April 2018 titled : Central Bank Frameworks: Evolution or Revolution?

the central bank has uploaded the papers discussed in the conference and they look fairly interesting reading. There are seperate papers on Inflation targeting in Australia (which completed 25 years of IT), New Zealand (the pioneer) and Canada. Plus there are papers on mon pol committees and macropru policies.

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Harvard Accused Of Anti-Asian Bias In Admissions

“An Asian-American applicant with 25% chance of admission . . . would have a 35% chance if he were white, 75% if he were Hispanic, and 95% chance if he were African-American.”


200px-Harvard_Wreath_Logo_1.svg Many academics have been been following the long-running litigation over Harvard’s admissions criteria. The University has steadfastly resisted efforts to review its admissions statistics and criteria by both litigants and even the Department of Education.  It has had to turn over that information and the results are a bit stunning, particularly with regard to the treatment of Asian students.  A federal case has revealed what challengers claim is a sizable bias against Asian students and in favor of African American students with much lower scores.  This includes a systemic downgrading of Asian students on a “personal” category that many have suggested is an effort to conceal an effective race-based quota or affirmative action system.

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Simon Bridges and climate change – maybe he’s not as green as it seems

He is trying to look green in the hope of attracting a few more blue-green nats off the Greens and pushing them below the 5% threshold by the next election

Point of Order

It’s been a field day for  political  commentators, and  cartoonists,  as  Winston  Peters  fulfils a lifetime  dream  and steps  up to the  role of Prime Minister  (even if it  is only for  six  weeks).

And the country  awaits just which one of the  many  politicians who have inhabited  the frame of  Peters  over the best part of  40 years  will  emerge  into the spotlight.

Those who know him well — and there are not many in the media who do — reckon  he’ll be playing the   would-be statesman.

“Look  New Zealand, see what you’ve been  missing…” That’s  the  line  he  will want to  propagate. Forget the political bruiser, blur the memory of  the  past:  he  craves more than just a footnote in  political  history.

If he does  shine as  something of a statesman (a very  Kiwi one, it would be)  then there  might be  sudden  turnaround in the polls.

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Australia Enters Third World: Chaotic Delivery of Wind & Solar Forces Industrial Users Off Grid


Dictating when and if power consumers get electricity was once the preserve of communist dictatorships (think the USSR, North Korea and Cuba).

Thanks to a maniacal obsession with intermittent wind and solar, Australia now sits comfortably in the same dismal ranks.

No longer can industrial users expect to have power according to their business plans – nowadays it’s all determined by the weather.

A couple weeks ago, big industry in New South Wales got a taste of what’s been dished up for years in wind and solar ‘powered’ South Australia, when the grid manager shut off power to its Tomago aluminium smelter.

The alternative was to watch the entire grid go black, as wind and solar output collapsed across NSW on 7 and 8 June:

RE promoters desperately tried to pin the blame on NSW’s coal-fired power plants, wildly claiming that they had ‘failed’.

A number of plants weren’t delivering…

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Coase’s influence on economics, and Adam Smith’s influence on Coase

Knowledge Problem

Understanding the economy as a dynamic, complex system relies on the foundational work of several economists, including Adam Smith (of course) and Ronald Coase. As Coase observed in his 1991 Nobel Prize address,

What I have done is to show the importance for the working of the economic system of what may be termed the institutional structure of production. …The concentration on the determination of prices has led to a narrowing of focus which has had as a result the neglect of other aspects of the economic system. Sometimes, indeed, it seems as though economists conceive of their subject as being concerned only with the pricing system and that anything outside this is considered as no part of their business. … This neglect of other aspects of the system has been made easier by another feature of modern economic theory – the growing abstraction of the analysis, which does not…

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Green Flop. Coal Still Rules As Greens Play Themselves

PA Pundits - International

By Andrew Bolt ~

This move to green energy is costing a bomb without lessening reliance on coal:

Wind and solar account for just six percent of total electricity globally, despite decades of subsidies. The growth of fossil fuels were enough to wipe out any emissions reductions from wind and solar, which grew 17 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), public and private actors spent $1.1 trillion on solar and over $900 billion on wind between 2007 and 2016…. To put this roughly $2 trillion in investment in solar and wind during the past 10 years in perspective, it represents an amount of similar magnitude to the global investment in nuclear over the past 54 years, which totals about $1.8 trillion.

Turns out the green movement also played itself. Hysterical scaremongering over the Fukushima emergency had a number of nuclear plants closed, especially…

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Corporate socialism – funding uplift for Air Chathams and a gondola

Point of Order

It has become hard to keep track of the corporate welfare troughs around the country into which companies dip their snouts.  One challenge in some cases is to find out how much swill has been poured into them.

The Business Dictionary defines corporate welfare as government financial support for big business, usually in the form of bounties, subsidies, or tax breaks.

The Taxpayers Union, which monitors this form of wealth redistribution, a year ago released a report, ‘Socialism for the Rich’, by Jim Rose.  This showed the annual cost of corporate welfare had become $1.6 billion – or $931 per New Zealand household.

Releasing the report, it said: 

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BBC’s Jon Donnison misrepresents PFLP ‘fighter commander’ as charity worker

BBC Watch

On Friday July 25th the BBC’s Jon Donnison reported from Jerusalem for BBC television news on the topic of the ‘Day of Rage’ called for by assorted Palestinian factions including Hamas on that date. The report also appeared on the BBC News website under the title “Gaza and Israel brace for ‘day of anger’“.Donnison 25 7 Jlem

In that report Donnison described the events of the night before at Qalandiya checkpoint.

“Now you mentioned those clashes in Ramallah overnight – ah…pretty bad. Ten thousand people demonstrating. They marched towards the Qalandiya checkpoint which separates Ramallah from…err… East Jerusalem. We had two Palestinians killed, more than 250 injured and 29 Israeli police officers also injured. So – as you say – a day of anger being called for and I think it could be a difficult day.”

Like all the other BBC journalists who reported on those violent riots in Qalandiya

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Why The IG Report Undermines Mueller’s Obstruction Investigation


Below is my column on the implications of the IG report for the obstruction allegations being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  I have previously written how the most likely explanation for actions taken by this Administration will be found in Ockham’s Razor and that theory that requires the least number of assumptions.  The IG report is an example of following such logic rather than assumptions.

Here is the column:

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This Cartoon Is Very Funny, but also Does a Great Job of Teaching Economics

International Liberty

Economists often do a crummy job of teaching people about the impact of fiscal policy on the labor force, largely because we put people to sleep with boring discussions about “labor supply” decisions (my blog post from last year perhaps being an example of this tendency).

From now on, I will try to remember to use this cartoon. It’s a parody of Obama’s policies, but the last slide (or is it a panel?) is a great teaching tool about what happens when politicians turn the safety net into a hammock.

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