The Undercover Economist — Tim Harford

The Undercover EconomistThe Undercover Economist is full of useful explanations of many orthodox economic concepts. It explains why free markets are so powerful and what economic efficiency means. It also contains the most accessible explanation of the subprime mortgage crisis as I have ever read. But when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For Mr Harford, like many others, markets are that hammer. He does a decent job of trying to address possible difficulties with market-based solutions, but he ignores some fundamental problems.

Economists call free markets “efficient”. This just means that nobody can be made better off without also making somebody else worse off. For example, 10 billionaires having all the money while a million paupers starve to death could be an efficient system, since we can’t give a crust of bread to a pauper without making a billionaire worse off (by the price of a crust of bread). Obviously, this sort of efficiency doesn’t say anything about whether the economy is at all desirable. Hartford briefly points out that we tend to value things like fairness too.

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Immersive cello music and video…

Immersive cello music and video clip:
Video premiere: Julia Kent – Invitation To The Voyage reviews.headphonecommute.com/ via @H_C #fb

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Stack Overflow: It’s like Wikipedia,…

Stack Overflow: It’s like Wikipedia, but for programmers! And it is INDISPENSABLE. stackoverflow.com/users/61754/bennett-mcelwee #SOreadytohelp

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Cricket World Cup 2015: Aus beats NZ in…

Cricket World Cup 2015: Aus beats NZ in final. Netball World Cup 2015: Aus beats NZ in final. Rugby World Cup 2015: we’ll see…

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RT @AklDesignChamp: Good design is…

RT @AklDesignChamp: Good design is clearly good for Business. Gr8 images of #O‘ConnellSt #Sharedspace from @TransportBlog t.co/NfTPI…

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OH: There’s no such thing as a best…

@OH: There’s no such thing as a best practice. But there are lots of second-best practices.

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I’d use @backblaze if it backed up…

I’d use @backblaze if it backed up deleted files permanently (I would even pay extra). Instead I have to use crashplan, which does do this.

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The Homework Myth — Alfie Kohn

The Homework Myth

Alfie Kohn says that homework is worthless. According to his book, there is no evidence that typical homework is beneficial in any way for junior schoolkids, and minimal evidence that it’s worthwhile for any students at all. In fact, there … Continue reading

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“did they think about how it would make…

“did they think about how it would make people feel or act to see this?” The crazy @bootsuk sign. www.disambiguity.com/where-does-crazy-come-from/

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The Way the World Works — Nicholson Baker

The Way the World Works

This is a collection of essays on topics that have caught Baker’s eye. There are reports of his (in)famous efforts to preserve library newspaper collections, as well as thoughts on pacifism and video games, and a fascinating story of his … Continue reading

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