Rediscovering Adam Smith: 5 Questions for Biographer Nicholas Phillipson | Britannica Blog Adam Smith is revered as the father of modern economics and admired as one of the principal figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. That said, he is more admired than read these days; snippets from his Wealth of Nations are the fare of undergraduate economics and political science courses, but his other works are scarcely mentioned. Britannica contributing editor Gregory McNamee sat down with biographer Nicholas Phillipson, author of the recently published Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life, to find out why.
21st Century Regress Sometimes it seems like the world is going to hell and there's absolutely nothing a girl economist can do about it.
What Exactly Are We Crowding Out? The current economic downturn isn't a random draw of a black ball from an urn containing white balls and black balls. There's no sampling distribution. Very specific policies and actions landed us here. Now we must decide not only what policies need to be put in place to prevent it happening again, but also what policies would best drive us out of the ditch faster and sustainably.
I Wish It Were Only Butter We should be giving up some butter if we must. We should not give up education or health investment (or infrastructure or the environment (hello, BP). They may be the only legacies of any value that we pass on to our children and grandchildren.
Rational Health Investment? The obvious "market solution" is to improve the long run return on investments in health among the disadvantaged through meaningful and effective publicly funded education. The obvious short run "market solution" is to reduce the costs of investment and the shadow price of health for the disadvantaged by providing health insurance cover and reduced out-of-pocket costs.
The Socrates Parameter To the extent that our limbic systems respond to such engineering by over-riding the judgment of our frontal lobe and to the extent that our frontal lobe is deprived of the information it requires to make a rationally self-interested judgment, we are not only pigs and fools, we are slaves.
The Economic Rewards of Virtue If individual virtue tempers our "piggy" desires and conditions our choices to something that is both individually and socially better, then the economic rewards of virtue as embodied in and promoted by societal norms and institutions are far greater than we have ever suspected. As economists, we would do well to recognize this when we teach U max.
The Market for Morals Markets then are places where more is exchanged than goods and services, labor and product, credit, and interest. They are places where we also develop the personal virtues of temperance and prudence and the social virtues of benevolence and justice. When they function well, they produce trust, loyalty, and sympathy among those who trade there.
Post-Modern Applied Economics: It’s the Error Term, Stupid Maxine believes it’s time to refocus attention and discussion on the error term. It is often where much of the action is in our models. It is where unexpectedly catastrophic events dwell resulting in fat tails. It is where our animal spirits manifest and cause us to do the right thing or the wrong thing or the thing everyone else is doing rather than the self-interested, fully-informed rational thing. It is where God and miracles and chance dwell.
Short-term Private Payoffs, Long-term Social Costs The real health reform discussion, the one we should be having, is “What must we do to create a health system that is both efficient and fair?” The answer will almost certainly include relegating the private sector to markets where market forces or regulation are effective at aligning short-term private incentives and goals with long-term societal interests. If such markets are scarce or non-existent in health, then the private health sector will be of limited value.
global glass onion Everything macro: the Fed, QE, debt & deficits, FX & and macro issues; banks, banksters & congress critters; the main street economy, including CRE, foreclosures, unemployment, state budgets and health care issues; &global issues, including the Chinese economy, world trade, energy and the environment, and peak oil.
Rajiv Sethi Barnard College, Columbia U, and Santa Fe Institute economist Rajiv Sethi's thoughts on economics, finance, crime and identity...
VOXEU Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists
OMB Blog Director of OMB, Peter Orszag, blogs on health reform and health costs with more credibility than almost anyone else.
Health Impact Assessment Blog Interesting because it attempts to conceptualize health production as an expanded process with many causal factors, not all of them the obvious ones like medical care, nutrition, exercise, etc.
Mike Lawlor's Economics & Health Reform Blog Maxine thinks that Mike is a near-perfect boy economist because of his background in both economics and philosophy. He is always thoughtful, balanced, and theoretically sound.
Patience-Please Good blog for dog and horse lovers, creative writing lovers, music lovers, art lovers, and people who just want a quiet corner of the web where they can curl up for a good story, a good laugh, or a good cry.