I hope you are enjoying a fun and relaxing holiday weekend! I’ve been using it, among other things, to catch up on my reading, made more enjoyable by two new additions to the rotation:
askblog: Arnold Kling has started blogging again, this time at his own new site. Given that his tagline is “taking the most charitable view of those who disagree”, I look forward to more of the same insightful and civil discourse that has made Arnold one of the most valuable and appreciated economist voices among public intellectuals.
Political Entrepreneurs: Ed Lopez and Wayne Leighton have a brand-new book out, Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers, and this blog is a companion to that work. From the publisher’s website:
Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers offers up a simple, economic framework for understanding the systematic causes of political change. In order to distill the smorgasbord of scholarship on political evolution, Madmen takes up three fundamental, interrelated questions: Why do democracies generate policies that impose net costs on society? Why do such policies persist over long periods of time, even though they may be widely known to be socially wasteful and even though better alternatives could be implemented? And why do certain wasteful policies eventually get repealed (e.g., airline rate and route regulation), while others endure (e.g., sugar subsidies and tariffs)?
Authors Wayne A. Leighton and Edward J. Lopez examine these questions through familiar policies in contemporary American politics, but also to draw on examples from around the world and throughout history to paint a lively picture and illustrate the pervasiveness of these quandaries.
Both the book and the blog look like a worthwhile read, and have moved to the top of my list.