Bryan Caplan  

Meet Growthology

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I like the first two weeks of Growthology, the new blog by Tim Kane and Bob Litan. Highlights from what is perhaps its best post so far:

After 12 years, Peter Carlson is leaving his job as a journalist covering magazine culture, and taking the buyout offer from the Washington Post... Peter's farewell article, with some self-referential irony, describes creative destruction in the industry:
... During the past 12 years, Life died. So did Civilization, My Generation, Spy, George, Talk, Brill's Content, Punk Planet, Doubletake and Mademoiselle, plus Lingua Franca, a smart, funny magazine about academia, Gadfly, a lively pop culture magazine and recently, the music magazines Harp and No Depression.

Replacing the dead on newsstands was a crop of newborns -- Maxim, Portfolio, Real Simple, the Week, Blender, the American Conservative, Hallmark, Found, Mental Floss and a fine literary mag called the Believer...

Tim Kane then raises an interesting question about early retirement buy-outs:
Is a company downsizing via early-retirement the best way to handle financial distress? Would you rather lose your least productive 100 employees or your 100 employees who have the best outside options? Yes, RIFs are better for morale than layoffs. Or are they? When the Air Force had a RIF, my morale was hurt by the departure of the top mentors and role models. I submit that it hurts any organization deeply when it reduces staff by effectively carroting out its most entrepreneurial people...

The silver lining, perhaps, is that lost entrepreneurs may be lost to the organization, but not to society! The fact that they leave and start new businesses is a net plus, right? Indeed, Kurz points to Politico.com, founded by ex-WaPo staffers.

If you're not sold on Growthology yet, let me add that I really like it despite this misguided remark:
...I dislike the snarky "we get the media we deserve" whine that "the next generation blew us off in favor of Xbox and Wii and full-length movies on their iPods." It's anecdotal. Sure, you can point to some youngster who watches YouTube and scoffs at newspapers, but that person is an idiot.
Hey, as a non-newspaper reader who watched four movies on his iPod during the last two weeks, I resemble that remark! :-)


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Actually, the second quote sounds a lot like what happened with me, except that I wasn't downsized so much as not let in the door. No left-wing, anti-science postmodern English or humanities department was going to hire a libertarian, pro-science, anti-(post)-postmodernist like me, and I wasn't having any luck getting into the think tanks out there, so I started my own: The Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture, where I'm going to work to change the culture by providing a place for humanities scholars and artists who think like me to be published. With luck, the website will be up in a few weeks. It will start off with 3 poems by Frederick Turner and a few articles, so it's off to a good start even before it's started.

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