Tag: Economists

Rags to Riches (to Rags Again) »

“Most income statistics present a snapshot picture as of a given moment—and their results are radically different from those statistics which follow the same given individuals over a period of years.” —Thomas Sowell Last week, CNNMoney carried a fascinating report on how rich families end up squandering their wealth: Nearly 60% of the time...
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Burgeoning Regulations Threaten Our Humanity »

Insofar as mainstream economics may be said to make moral-philosophical assumptions, it rests overwhelmingly on a consequentialist-utilitarian foundation. When mainstream economists say that an action is worthwhile, they mean that it is expected to give rise to benefits whose total value exceeds its total cost (that is, the most valued benefit necessarily forgone by...
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Piketty and Emerging Markets »

Much has been said to refute Thomas Piketty’s important book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, from the perspective of developed countries, but not from the standpoint of emerging markets. His contention that the rate of return of capital, roughly twice the rate of growth of the economy, leads to increasing inequality is not consistent with...
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Virginia DMV and Taxi Unions versus Consumers »

“Competition always has been, and always will be, disagreeable to those who are affected by it. Thus we see that in all times and in all places men try to get rid of it.” —Frédéric Bastiat Last week, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sent cease-and-desist letters to app-based, ride-sharing services Uber and...
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Chances Are that You Have No More Expertise in Economics than You Have in Astrophysics »

Although the statement is commonly attributed to Mark Twain, his friend Charles Dudley Warner was the one who said, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Regardless of who said it, the statement was and remains fairly accurate. In contrast, we might observe, “Everybody complains about the economy, and a...
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Dining with Stalin »

“In the socialist commonwealth every economic change becomes an undertaking whose success can be neither appraised in advance nor later retrospectively determined. There is only groping in the dark. Socialism is the abolition of rational economy.” —Ludwig von Mises When I was driving to work earlier this week, I heard a fascinating story on...
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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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