Cities, Transportation and Labor Market Mobility

As regular readers of this blog know, I believe that cities are the engines of progress. I am bigly into urbanization. I am delighted that Russ Roberts has interviewed urbanist Alain Bertaud of NYU on EconTalk.

I loved listening to that podcast. (I highly recommend Russ’s pocasts.) I am looking forward to reading Bertaud’s book “Order Without Design: How markets shape cities”.

An excerpt from the book by Alain Bertaud below the fold. Continue reading “Cities, Transportation and Labor Market Mobility”

India, China and the US trade numbers

“As per a study by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, India’s global merchandise exports for 2018 were $324.7 billion, of which $51.4 billion were to the US.” [Source: Donald Trump terminates preferential trade status for India under GSP.]

“China has a $700 billion trade relationship with the U.S., including imports and exports, but it has a $3 trillion trade relationship with the rest of the world.” [Source: Protectionism Is Iatrogenic Government.] Continue reading “India, China and the US trade numbers”

Public Choice Theory and Behavioral Symmetry

One major premise of public choice theory is “behavioral symmetry”.

People act in their self-interest. They do what they believe will get them the most bang for the buck for themselves and their loved ones. This they do in the private sphere, such as in the supermarket.

Behavioral symmetry posits that when people act in the public sphere — as voters, politicians, bureaucrats — they also act in their self-interest. They don’t get transformed into other-directed, selfless beings capable of discovering what is true, beautiful and act solely in the interest of the “common good.” Continue reading “Public Choice Theory and Behavioral Symmetry”

With love, to my Leftist, “Secular” Friends

It’s deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra observed. We’ve seen this play before. Not once but all throughout human history.

The pendulum swings. Instead of introspection and looking into the mirror, the breast-beating, hand-wringing crowd of ignoramuses can’t — or worse won’t — read the writing on the wall. But that’s par for the course for the leftists and “secularists”, the people that this piece is addressed to.

Five years ago, in May 2014, I had tweeted, “Will @narendramodi be PM for the next 5 years? Absolutely not. He will be PM for the next 15 years. Get used to it.” It was a bold expression of hope that Modi will bring about structural changes in the economy and the governance of India, and that will ensure his continued leadership. Continue reading “With love, to my Leftist, “Secular” Friends”

Top 10 Countries GDP Ranking

Nicely done video showing how the top 10 countries with the highest GDP 1960-2017. It’s fascinating to watch the transition of China from being fairly irrelevant to being a world economic power. Note that India (thanks to Nehruvian socialism) is still struggling to be relevant. Do watch the video full-screen mode.

It’s nice to see the transitions as a movie. However I recommend pausing the video at each year and noting the size of each economy. We should note that the data is regarding the GDP, not per capita GDP. So when China’s GDP is smaller than France’s, for example, we have to appreciate that China’s population was 10 times that of France. The gap between par capita GDP in the world is immense.

Was Truman a Monster? No.

No, because monster “is too forgiving a word for his depravity.”

Lord Acton’s claim that “great men are almost always bad men”[1] holds broadly for the great leaders (men and women) of the world. I think the larger the nation or country, that tendency to badness in leaders tends to get exaggerated. The US produces some of the worst excesses of the abuse of power since the US is such a powerful nation. One example of a terrible person is Harry S Truman, who became the president of the US upon the death of President Franklin D Roosevelt in April 1945.

Here’s an article by  David S. D’Amato, “Everything Wrong with the Truman Administration“, which asks, “Was Harry Truman one of the worst terrorists of all time?” and answers, “If words mean anything anymore—then absolutely, yes.” Continue reading “Was Truman a Monster? No.”

Reading: Waypoints in the Sky

It’s delightful to read well-written prose. In the following, the author Mark Vanhoenacker, a professional pilot, writes like a poet. I love everything related to aviation. Hence I recommend this to you.

A Pilot Explains Waypoints, the Hidden Geography of the Sky

An airplane navigates through the sky along a route composed of beacons and waypoints. Waypoints are defined by geographic coordinates or their bearing and distance from a beacon, and by a name, which typically takes the form of a five-letter capitalized word—EVUKI, JETSA, SABER. The idea is that they will be pronounceable and distinct to controllers and pilots regardless of their first language. The pilot’s map of the world, and the flight computers’ too, is atomized into these waypoints. They are the smallest nuggets of aerial geography, and in some sense the only such unit that matters once you leave the runway. They are the sky’s audible currency of place. … Continue reading “Reading: Waypoints in the Sky”