Art Carden  

EconLog Guest Stint #2 Ends This Month: Requests?

On the Complexity of the World... The Lawful Neutral Case for De...

My second guest stint with EconLog ends this month. I have about a week left and will take requests: what would you like to read about?

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COMMENTS (9 to date)
dullgeek writes:

CS Lewis wrote the following in The Screwtape Letters:

"Above all, do not attempt to use science (I mean, the real sciences) as a defence against Christianity. They will positively encourage him to think about realities he can’t touch and see. There have been sad cases among the modern physicists. If he must dabble in science, keep him on economics and sociology…"

This was Screwtape informing Wormwood on how to keep his "client" from Christianity. And it's always stuck with me.

Meanwhile you are (I believe) both a Christian and an economist. As a fellow Christian, who happens to be fascinated by economics, do you have any idea what Lewis was getting at there? Why would economics be a subject more likely to lead one away from Christianity than towards it? I've always just assumed that Lewis poorly understood economics. For me, economics is about the seen and the unseen (Bastiat), or the hidden side of everything (Dubner & Levitt).

So I guess my topic request is less about Lewis' unexpected dismisal of economics and more about how economics and Christianity intersect for you. How informative can the study of economics be for Christianity? Is your understanding of economics informed by your Christianity? Do those two things intersect seemlessly or with intellectual patchwork?

J Scheppers writes:

Externality Relativity

From different perspectives many different external economic impacts could be reported. Is there a way to determine which reference frames are most effective in determining possible economic efficiency?

By the way, you were missed the last time you left. Look forward to your future work in any available channel.

ThomasH writes:

Mine was not as good as dullgeek's. But plowing on anyway:

Policy in light of estimates of harm from CO2 accumulation. (If you think the evidence is now weak, in case it became stronger.)

Collective consumption, e.g government funding for space exploration if no material or economic benefits could be argued.

JFA writes:


Tom writes:

Your academic work. To be honest, quite a few of your posts are similar to older posts, either here or on Forbes or somewhere else (esp. minimum wage). But it would be interesting to hear more about your published work on big box retailers etc.

Paul Ralley writes:


Please can you describe a plausible 'end game' for price-factor equalisation. I.e. If incomes in each country converge (per skill level) what would the world look like in terms of trade, income distribution etc.

Zachary Bartsch writes:

I want to hear more about your religion or parenting beliefs and how your participation in either results in real actions that could be perceived as different from anyone else's.

dullgeek writes:
Mine was not as good as dullgeek's.
Not accustomed to seeing compliments from a comment section.

Thanks. Kinda made my day.

BC writes:

Ivory trade and elephant populations. My intuition suggests that human demand for ivory should actually *increase* elephant populations rather than endanger them. At least, that would be the case if elephant populations, or at least rights to harvest their tusks, were privately owned.

What are the theoretical and empirical aspects of protecting elephant populations by banning/discouraging ivory trade vs. private ownership of elephant herds?

More generally, what are the limits, if any, of preventing Tragedy of the Commons through private ownership or is private ownership (almost) always the solution?

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