Rob Bradley’s Edison to Enron

Lynne Kiesling Consider the preconceptions that surface in your mind when you read the name “Enron”. What are they? Chances are that they are negative, and not particularly nuanced — fraudulent business activity, tarnishing the idea of free markets by trying to manipulate them using the political process, and so on. If that’s true for … More Rob Bradley’s Edison to Enron

Efficiency, Conservation, and the Inescapable Jevons Paradox

Michael Giberson Given the preponderance of government energy policies aimed at promoting technical efficiency, a careful consideration of the Jevons Paradox is in order. I’ve spent some time this summer reading about William Stanley Jevons, one of the three 19th-century economists co-credited with sparking the marginal revolution, and especially Jevon’s book The Coal Question. Most recently I’ve … More Efficiency, Conservation, and the Inescapable Jevons Paradox

Skwire at Cato Unbound: “Bonfire of the Clichés”

Michael Giberson We ought not let Sarah Skwire’s second hit-and-run posting here at Knowledge Problem slip by without mentioning that she is also lead-off essayist in the current month’s Cato Unbound. The teaser from Cato: Literary scholar Sarah Skwire asks us to revisit the western canon’s portrayal of business and commerce. Mainstream scholars and libertarians both … More Skwire at Cato Unbound: “Bonfire of the Clichés”

We Miss Manners

Sarah Skwire So Matt Zwolinski and I had a fun moment last week when we more or less simultaneously published on more or less the same topic. This either means that Matt and I need to get out more, or it means that we’re on to something. I’m going for the latter explanation. And all … More We Miss Manners

Price Gouging in Literature: Little House on the Prairie’s “The Long Winter”

Michael Giberson Jeremy’s Blog at LDSLiberty.org comments on a price gouging episode in The Long Winter, the sixth book in the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Due to a long winter of snow and storms, the people in the town of De Smet are at the point of starving.  Suddenly … More Price Gouging in Literature: Little House on the Prairie’s “The Long Winter”

Nutrition Experience, Research, and Orthodoxy, with Some Economics Parallels

Lynne Kiesling Last week was our spring break, and I finally took some time to read Gary Taubes’ 2008 book Good Calories, Bad Calories. Taubes is an investigative science journalist who has been writing for years about the science of nutrition and epidemiology, and the book focuses on a long, careful, detailed narrative about how … More Nutrition Experience, Research, and Orthodoxy, with Some Economics Parallels

Bourgeois Virtues in Action

Sarah Skwire The “most modern man” in Dickens, John Wemmick from Great Expectations, makes much of the importance of separating what Deirdre McCloskey calls the P-values of prudence from the S-values of sociability.  “The office is one thing, and private life is another. When I go into the office, I leave the Castle [his home] … More Bourgeois Virtues in Action

Book Review: A Genius For Money

Lynne Kiesling Today’s Wall Street Journal has a review, King of the Shopkeepers, of a new biography from Caroline Dakers. A Genius For Money tells of the rags-to-riches life of James Morrison, a Victorian innovator of retailing and banking in England. I can already tell that I am going to order the book as soon … More Book Review: A Genius For Money

Leisure Reading While Sick

Lynne Kiesling I have the first really bad cold, complete with ear infection, that I’ve had in almost two years. Other than the throat and ear pain, the coughing, and the congestion, I can tell it’s bad because I’ve stayed home from work for two days, and rather than being my usual Energizer bunny self … More Leisure Reading While Sick

Book Review: Mark Pennington’s Robust Political Economy

Lynne Kiesling There’s a lot of exciting work right now in political economy at the intersection of academic scholarship and application to public policy, ranging from law to public finance to regulation to development and beyond. Mark Pennington’s Robust Political Economy is one of the most exciting, thoughtful, and valuable of the recent work in … More Book Review: Mark Pennington’s Robust Political Economy