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Bryan Caplan: February 2005

An Author Archive by Month (15 entries)

Learning from Lomborg

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
There's a reason why Bjorn Lomborg has been rewarded for writing The Skeptical Environmentalist with a pie in the face. The book's good, very good - and that's bound to anger the touchy, gloomy Greens he's debunking. The book has... MORE

Ayn Rand, Economic/Political General Equilibrium Theorist

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
To finish off my celebration of Ayn Rand's 100th birthday (see also here and here) now let me turn to her contribution to social science. I remember that a critic of Murray Rothbard's work in economics, history, and philosophy quipped... MORE

Yesterday's Washington Post had a fascinating history of proposals for Social Security privatization. Admittedly, it's probably more fascinating to me than to most people, because I know most of the people mentioned in the article! Some highlights: Twenty-five years ago,... MORE

In a classic episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza realized that his instincts were fundamentally wrong, and vowed to "do the opposite": George: Elaine, bald men, with no jobs, and no money, who live with their parents, don't approach strange women.... MORE

Pete Boettke often says that I believe that we get the government we deserve. My usual retort is "No, they get the government they deserve, and unfortunately I get the government they deserve too." But in essence he correctly describes... MORE

Giles and Stereotype Accuracy

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
The weakest part of Martin Giles' Why Americans Hate Welfare is his dismissive treatment of stereotypes. He cites a number of psychological experiments on the emergence of baseless stereotypes. But he at best downplays the growing literature on stereotype accuracy.... MORE

Eastern European Economic Statistics Made Fun (Really!)

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
Tim Worstall provides some entertaining insight into the neverland of Communist and post-Communist economic statistics. It's gotten rather trendy to say that former Communist countries are worse off than they were in 1989 or 1991. The main problem with these... MORE

Economists have a favorite cynical explanation for the slow-growth movement: Property owners are trying to raise real estate prices by restricting supply. I'm no mind-reader, but I doubt that's the real motive of most opponents of further development. But in... MORE

See Saw

Game Theory
Bryan Caplan
The excellent Saw comes out on DVD this Tuesday. If you've got a cast-iron stomach, there is no better fictional exploration of the Prisoners' Dilemma available. (If you don't have a cast-iron stomach, may I suggest Pooh's Heffalump Movie?) The... MORE

Why I Don't Hate Why Americans Hate Welfare

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
I suspect a lot of my friends would hate Martin Gilens' Why Americans Hate Welfare. Gilens takes a stab at the question: Why doesn't the United States have a European-style welfare state? And his answer, to put it crudely, is... MORE

News of an Israeli-Palestinian cease fire reminds me of Tyler's Cowen's excellent game theoretic exploration of their long struggle. This essay is worth a thousand news stories on the subject, but I still think that Tyler misses the simplest explanation... MORE

Random Punishment

Bryan Caplan
"People with kids care more about the future than people without kids." Who could take offense at this truism? "Gays are substantially less likely to have kids than straights." Angry yet? "Gays probably care less about the future than straights."... MORE

Ayn Rand, Wise Philosopher Despite Some Bad Arguments

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Ayn Rand has some lame philosophical arguments, including a tortured "proof" that "life is the standard of value" and an odd effort to base individual rights on ethical egoism. So how can I maintain that Rand the philosopher is worth... MORE

Ayn Rand, the Russian-American Victor Hugo

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Ayn Rand's novels blend two distinct genres. She fits squarely into the tradition of the Russian philosophical novelists like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. But she is also a plot-rich Romantic in the tradition of Victor Hugo. Some standard features of the... MORE

Join the Party: Why You Should Celebrate Rand's 100th

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Today is Ayn Rand's one hundredth birthday, and I want to party down. I probably wouldn't be a professor if it weren't for her, and even if I were, I doubt I would be having a fraction of the fun.... MORE

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