08 August 2011

Some Tabs

By way of Jeffrey Ellis and Don Boudreaux:
“If one of our children grows up to invent a way to move goods and bits of information even more rapidly around the world, we rightly call that ‘progress’; if another child grows up to become a populist politician who advocates raising trade barriers to slow the movement of those same goods and data across borders, we perversely call that ‘progressive.’”

– Dan Griswold, Mad About Trade

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Another quote for you, this one via Arnold Kling:
The "problem" with manufacturing is mainly productivity growth that permits fewer workers to produce more goods. As workers are freed from having to produce common goods and services, total output expands greatly. For example, in 1947, food and clothing were 43 percent of what we consumed; the comparable figure in 2007 was 16 percent. The productive gains were distributed into other industries, notably health care, education, business services and recreation. This is a win for the consumer and for the economy.

– Stephen Rose
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Ideas | David D Freidman | Reality Based Community?

I was struck by a recent post to a NYT blog on the subject of "What Happened to Obama." The author is identified as a psychology professor. His thesis is that Obama should have told a story to the American people that made sense of what happened. [...]

The third and most interesting was the focus on "story." As he put it, "in similar circumstances, Franklin D. Roosevelt offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right."

It apparently did not occur to him that reality matters—that if you give the patient the wrong medicine he may die, even if you have a good story about why it is the right medicine.
If I had time I would write a critique of the West Wing using the ideas in this post as a jumping off point, especially this third one.

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Tom Friedman, Private Eye:

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Is one webcomic about punditry not enough for you? SMBC has you covered:

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Some news from my neck of the woods: historical preservationists prohibit Alexandrians from removing their chain-link fences.

(Via The Cranky Professor)

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