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Some Random Reading

Could a successful Brexit wrec... It's the end of the world as w...

We all know at a general level that (K-12) schooling is legally compulsory...but might it be culturally compulsory as well? Kevin Currie-Knight, for FEE, thinks so. I'm inclined to agree, and will second his recommendation of Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society. So does Arnold Kling.

Should genetically modified food be labeled? Should such labeling be legislatively mandated? And if so, what kind of information is it that consumers really want? (Need?) Jane Kolodinsky from the University of Vermont argues public opinion is on the side of labeling...Even assuming this to be true, she doesn't convince me it's a legislative matter. It might even be the case that mandatory labeling could compound information problems facing consumers. I'm not as concerned about the dangers of GMO foods as Nassim Taleb, but I'm not sure where he is on the legislative question.

Naturally, Malcolm Harris's story on "what men got wrong about the economy" caught my eye. It's based on Swedish journalist Katrine Marcal's book, Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner, purportedly an attack on economic rationality. (I've ordered the book, so can report back later...) It certainly offers a critique of using GDP as a measure of economic well-being, particularly because it leaves non-market labor our of its calculus. But we knew that already, and as Diane Coyle and David Henderson remind us, there's a lot to gripe about with regard to GDP. I'll leave my thoughts on her claim that women are better suited to manage global capitalism until I've read the book...


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CATEGORIES: Economic Education

COMMENTS (3 to date)

With Amy and Kevin Currie-Knight, I would favor an Amendment to the US Constitution separating school and state.

But what about cultural "compulsion"? Perhaps I do not understand what is being suggested here. In my effort to be clear I often use the word "coercion" as libertarians use that word. Coercion is the difference between government and social influence. The government will force you with their police: that is coercion. Your neighbors and trading partners may withdraw their willingness to interact with you: that is not coercion.

The mixing together of government- with cultural-compulsion reminds me of a debate which I hope to continue one day if a forum becomes convenient. In the Free Nation Foundation, I developed and published a view that ostracism can become the method of enforcement of society's most earnest expectations. But Roderick Long, who was the most acclaimed contributor in FNF, expressed disagreement with my formulation. Being propelled by the strength of his disagreement with me (or so I flatter myself), Roderick went on to organize the libertarian left. See also Bleeding Heart Libertarians. I doubt that I understand what motivates the libertarian left.

We humans could not thrive without our social orders. We need ostracism as a tool, but can learn to do without governmental coercion.

ZC writes:

I really enjoy this 'random reading' posts. Especially going into a long weekend, nice to have some rabbit holes to follow.

Amy Willis writes:

@ZC- Thanks! (Working on some more for you for this weekend...)

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