Tag: Book Review

The Giver’s Dystopia: Total Equality and No Humanity »

“Submitting to censorship is to enter the seductive world of The Giver: the world where there are no bad words and no bad deeds. But it is also the world where choice has been taken away and reality distorted. And that is the most dangerous world of all.” —Lois Lowry Last month, I had...
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Shining Light on Big Brother »

“Will the digital age usher in the individual liberation and political freedoms that the Internet is uniquely capable of unleashing? Or will it bring about a system of omniscient monitoring and control, beyond the dreams of even the greatest tyrants of the past? Right now, either path is possible. Our actions will determine where...
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Piketty on Inequality »

The ultimate thesis in Thomas Piketty’s Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century is that the return on capital is higher than the growth in output and wages, so the owners of capital will see their wealth, and therefore, incomes, rise faster than those who earn the bulk of their incomes through labor. The distribution of...
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Piketty’s Capital: IV »

I’ve made some observations about Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century already, here, here, and here, and in this post want to note the way that the twentieth-century welfare state has contributed to the inequality that Piketty has observed. Piketty observes that growing inequality is the result of the return on capital being...
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Piketty’s Capital: III »

In a recent post on The Beacon I argued that what Thomas Piketty called “the first fundamental law of capitalism” in his recent book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, depicted the causal relationship between the value of capital and the return earned by capital backwards. Representing the return on capital as α, the rate...
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Piketty’s Capital: II »

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is well-written and well-researched, as I have indicated already, but it has some fundamental problems with the way it depicts capital. Piketty says “the first fundamental law of capitalism” is that the share of income going to capital, α, is equal to the return on capital, r,...
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Piketty’s Capital: I »

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a surprising best-seller (how many economics books make the New York Times best-seller list?) and has been getting lots of press lately. Reading it, I have some comments and observations, which I will make in a series of posts rather than in one extended review. I’m...
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The Concise Case for Free Speech Against Its Enemies »

“A liberal society stands on the proposition that we should all take seriously the idea that we might be wrong. This means we must place no one, including ourselves, beyond the reach of criticism; it means that we must allow people to err, even where the error offends and upsets, as it often will.”...
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Global Poverty and the Tyranny of Experts »

Recovering former World Bank economist William Easterly has a new book on the folly of top-down development aid, The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor. As its title suggests, Easterly emphasizes the pernicious role played by technical “experts” from international development agencies in crafting policies that encourage authoritarian...
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The Independent Review—Spring 2014 Issue Now Available »

The Spring 2014 issue of The Independent Review, the Independent Institute’s quarterly journal, has just been printed and is en route to subscribers. Here’s a quick look at the contents: Is the near extermination of the North American bison a clear example of “the tragedy of the commons”? No, not if, like Peter J....
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