Planet Money on TTIP

Planet Money has this slightly naive, but not entirely one-sided piece on TTIP and nontarrif trade barriers: Today on the show: why can’t you build a car that can be driven anywhere in the world? There might be a lot to dislike about how TTIP is negotiated (closed-doors, special interest, anyone?) Still, I don’t get the fundamental outrage against Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS). This, as in car safety regulation, is always the logic of economic integration, and it’s beautiful thing: trade makes us all richer, but sovereignty moves to a higher, international level.

Planet Money on the History of Light

Planet Money has this great story on the history of (artificial light): The history of light explains why the world today is what it is. It explains why we aren’t all subsistence farmers, and why we can afford to have artists and massage therapists and plumbers. (And, yes, people who do radio stories about the history of light.) This, and Frédéric Bastiat’s “Candlemakers’ Petition” is for the luddite in all of us.

The Economist Free Exchange on Bitcoin

That may be for the best, given another Bitcoin quirk. The currency’s “money supply” will eventually be capped at 21m units. To Bitcoin’s libertarian disciples, that is a neat way to preclude the inflationary central-bank meddling to which most currencies are prone. Yet modern central banks favour low but positive inflation for good reason. In the real world wages are “sticky”: firms find it difficult to cut their employees’ pay.

Equal Opportunity (Seminar)

Why do we become so unequal, and why would that be unfair? The course introduces participants to social scientific theories, applies them to education and migration and offers observations from a german inner city school. We’ll discuss how things might be better, and who, how, can bring about such change – to keep our capitalist and liberal societies prosperous, and to make it more just. A seminar with Anja Jungermann at Deutschen SchülerAkademie 2010-2 in Brunswick, Germany.

Doing without Structural Unemployment and/or Working Poverty

The plight of structural unemployment and gaggles of working poor, it appears, are here to stay. But are they the inevitable consequence of economic liberalisation?

They are not. If we balance the burden of economic transformation on labor and capital, and strengthen progression, we can have it both: near full employment and open borders.

Low-Carbon Tech, an Infant Industry in Need of Protection (Assignment)

How to react to global warming? How do wean ourselves off that harmful oil – and still prosper?

I maintained that we’d better be safe with Sinn‘s fears of a Green Paradox than sorry without him, notwithstanding the uncertainties of his argument.