Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: January 2011

An Author Archive by Month (31 entries)

The Conscience of a Liberaltarian

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Immigration restrictions are the single worst policy the First World imposes.  They're a massive violation of human freedom with awful consequences.  That's the main reason I write about the issue so frequently and so doggedly.But to be honest, I have... MORE

Rand the Intuitionist

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Last week I saw the debate between my co-author Ilya Somin of the GMU Law School, and Will Thomas from the Atlas Society.  The topic: Are there conflicts of interest between rational people?  If you're inclined to respond, "Of course. ... MORE

Me on Twitter, My New Book on Amazon

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm now on Twitter as bryan_caplan.  For the first year or so, I'm going to use it to promote my views on kids and parenting, then see how things evolve.  My book on this subject, Selfish Reasons to Have More... MORE

Creative Destruction: Sumner Edition

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
In mid-2009, I asked, "Creative destruction: what's next?":Everywhere I look, firms are going out of business...What's going to happen now?  Most people probably accept the economically illiterate view that the empty store fronts will stay empty forever.  They don't understand... MORE

Lindsey on the Great Slight Stagnation

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
I haven't read Tyler's much-discussed e-book, but he defended the main theses over a few lunches.  My prediction: When I get around to reading the book, my reaction to the numbers will mimic Brink Lindsey's:Tyler correctly points out that median... MORE

Immigration: Reply to Ozimek

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
Adam Ozimek uses my own words against me to defend liberaltarianism from my critique:I disagree with Bryan's presumption that domestic distribution actually encourages that much of a restriction on immigration, or at least that the immigration restrictions we have would go... MORE

Reply to David on Immigration

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Last month I digested my position on the political externalities of immigration, but I'm happy to elaborate.  David writes:I could imagine that leading to an additional 300 million people coming into the United States within a couple of years. My... MORE

Open Borders Haiku

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
Markets champ at bit To end global poverty But statists say no.... MORE

The Great Depression with Great Brevity

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Sumner:My research on the Great Depression convinced me that it was two depressions, occurring one right after the other.  A demand-side recession that began around September 1929, and a supply-side depression that began in July 21, 1933 (with another demand... MORE

The Stranger

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
What do you call a man you never met?  A stranger.What are you morally forbidden to do to a stranger?  You may not murder him.  You may not attack him.  You may not enslave him.  Neither may you rob him.What... MORE

More Liberaltarian Than Thou

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Karl Smith calls this line from Will Wilkinson "liberaltarianism in one sentence":It's best to just maximize growth rates, pre-tax distribution be damned, and then fund wicked-good social insurance with huge revenues from an optimal tax scheme.Smith adds:A core hope of... MORE

When I denounce Hayek's heinous writing style, many libertarians retort that Mises was even worse.  Their claim baffles me.  Yes, you can fault Mises' organization; do you really want to begin your treatise on economics with 89 pages of Kantian... MORE

Media Bias Bias

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Question: Why is bias in the media so much more on our minds than bias in the schools?  Both the media and schools are largely in left-wing hands - and the content reflects this fact.  But consider the stark contrast... MORE

Why Don't Big Firms Fire the Sick?

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
My friend in the insurance industry once let me in on a little secret: De facto, though not de jure, virtually every big firm is also a health insurance company with an exclusive clientele: Its own labor force.  Once a... MORE

A True Conversation on the Political Externalities of Immigration

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Will immigrants from dysfunctional countries move to the West, become citizens, then vote to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs?  I've addressed this common fear before - see here, here, and here for starters.  But recently, I discussed... MORE

The Overlords of Immigration

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
In his Cato Unbound essay "Against Overlordship," my colleague Dan Klein argued that the heart of the modern liberal position is the idea that the citizens of a country collectively own their country:Although they may not be fully conscious of... MORE

Missing Politics

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Two decades ago, I asked a libertarian professor, "Is there any socialist analog of the Institute for Humane Studies?"  "Sure," he replied.  "Harvard University, Columbia University..."  Does anyone know of a less flippant response to my question?In a similar vein,... MORE

Tyler's impressed that spending and output are up, but employment isn't.  But the simplest story is just that employment is becoming a lagging indicator.*  Consider: After the last "jobless recovery," the unemployment rate still fell to 4.9% by the end... MORE

A Nation of Cowards: The Case of World War II

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
David says I "overstate" the extent of human cowardice.  If, per the title of his post, I claimed that people "always" avoid war, he'd be right.  But these are my original words:Yes, the man in the street often says he's... MORE

I Chose Liberty

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Walter Block's book of libertarian autobiographies is finally in print - and available as a free pdf to boot.  Many of your favorites spill their hearts out therein, including me, Tyler Cowen, Pete Boettke, Judge Napolitano, and even Gordon Tullock... MORE

Are Governors and Mayors Scapegoats for the Fed?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Here's a passage from the discussion section I'm writing for "Systematically Biased Beliefs About Political Influence": Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New... MORE

War: What Is It Here For?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Albert Jay Nock's classic essay "Peace the Aristocrat" begins promisingly: The peace advocates are notably disposed to rest their case with proving that war is irrational, illogical, horrible, and costly; and they appear to think it quite enough to do... MORE

The Labor Market for Philosophers

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Michael Huemer isn't just my favorite living philosopher; he's also amazingly perceptive about the real world.  The latest example: His FAQ on "Should I Go to Grad School in Philosophy?"  Highlights:7.    But I'm really smart, so I'll be one of the... MORE

Temptations to Cruelty

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
The most bizarre thing about Amy Chua's essay is that she combines contempt for drama with fanatical devotion to music.  School plays are too frivolous for words:[N]o Chinese kid would ever dare say to their mother, "I got a part... MORE

Does Asian Parenting Cause Asian Success?

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Scholars familiar with twin and adoption research will be sorely tempted to summarily dismiss Yale Law professor Amy Chua's recent defense of Chinese parenting.  It's hard to find a stauncher defender of what Judith Harris called "the nurture assumption."  Chua:A... MORE

Asian Parenting Bleg

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Are there any genetically informed studies of the effects of Asian parenting?  Google Scholar has zero hits for the union of "Asian parenting" and "shared environment."  And in all my years of reading this literature, I can't recall a single... MORE

Advantage Kant

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Tyler (via Ken Feinstein) says I should raise my opinion of Kant.  After reading this paragraph, I can only say: Done!The usual touchstone of whether what someone asserts is mere persuasion or at least a subjective conviction, i.e., firm belief,... MORE

The Case Against Latin

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
The great Frederic Bastiat was an eloquent enemy of Latin in the curriculum.  In the Middle Ages, he admits, "There were only Latin books; writing was done only in Latin; Latin was the language of religion; the clergy could teach... MORE

Upcoming Seminars

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'll be lecturing at the Students for Liberty conference in DC (February 18-20) and the Institute for Humane Studies Liberty and Society seminar in Philadelphia (June 11-17).  Hope to see you there.... MORE

What Will You Do If Someone Tries to Kill You?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I largely agree with David Henderson's remarks on foreign policy (here, here, and here), but his initial post makes a rather improbable claim.  Here's David:As I once said, after someone in a roundtable discussion had called me a pacifist, "If... MORE

Engage Pacifism

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
It's time for a belated reply to Arnold's critique of pacifism.  I wish Arnold would engage the three-premise argument I actually made, but I'll take what I can get.  Here's Arnold:I just cannot buy into pacifism as some libertarians express... MORE

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