Bryan Caplan  

My Student Gets a Letter in the Washington Post

Trading or Sharing?... Caught In My Own Trap?...

My former student Daniel Lurker (and the youngest graduate in the history of GMU!) got his letter published in the Washington Post. You may even detect trace elements of my lectures:

To read Brigid Schulte's recent "Class Questions" article about American poverty... one might think we are going to hell in a handbasket. Not so.

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COMMENTS (4 to date)
mgroves writes:

While it may be a fact that the poor in the US are still rich by world standards, how can a reasonable person convey this reality without sounding cold-hearted?

Jason Briggeman writes:

If you aren't cold-hearted but people think you are, their opinion says more about them than it does about you. Better not to worry about them and to find different people to hang around, ones who see you more accurately.

kedar writes:

To have a telephone, car, computer is good. But that does not mean poverty does not exist. Not to have telephone, car, computer is not great. But that doe not mean poverty exists.

We know that absolute poverty exists if one has to be worried about food, shelter and clothes. Relative poverty exists if we can't keep up with the Joneses.

In America, one may have telephone, computer and car but he/she may be too worried about paying bills for food, clothes and shelter.

In a poor country, one may grow food, wear minimum clothes and have a hut for shelter. He may be not be as stressed as an American in credit card debt.

In that case, who is poor? American or the poor country's individual?

So, it may be a good idea to find measures of 'stress' to measure poverty and not the number of telephones or cars or computers if our goal is to live a stress free life.

Daniel Lurker writes:


I-bankers and CEO's are entrenched in poverty by your "stress" standard!

Let's stick to defining poverty as not having stuff, while realizing that no one needs anything (no, not even their life). Also, your stress free standard is more unrealistic than even the Libertopia I try to construct my reality around :)

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