Some people denounce stock buybacks. They’re a scam! They’re destroying the economy! They only benefit the rich! Are stock buybacks bad for the economy? Let’s take a look. Definition A stock buyback is when a company buys back shares of its own stock. This reduces the total number of shares held by the investing public. … Continue reading Are stock buybacks bad for the economy?
This is a transcript of my conversation with young Sally Socialist. Me: “Thanks for meeting me.” Sally: “No problem.” Me: “Socialism seems to be getting more popular, so I thought it might be interesting to talk with a socialist.” Sally: “I don’t know if I’m really a socialist. I just want everyone to be treated … Continue reading Conversation with a young socialist
Mike Munger at the American Institute for Economic Research published a thought-provoking article last week. He says we too often discuss the world as if we have only a binary choice of (a) for-profit free markets or (b) government. I’m as guilty of that as anyone. Munger’s point is that we have other ways to organize … Continue reading Anything voluntary
It appears to be conventional wisdom that US manufacturing has shrunk in recent decades. “We don’t make anything anymore!” Is it true? Let’s take a look. Manufacturing workers First, let’s look at the number of workers employed in manufacturing. The graph below shows data from 1947 to July 2018. The blue line is the number … Continue reading Is US manufacturing shrinking?
It seems like more discussions these days are framed in terms of group identity based on race, gender, etc. For example, some colleges are banning or downplaying Shakespeare because he belonged to a disliked group: the white European male. Respect for individualism seems to be shrinking, while respect for collectivism seems to be growing. This … Continue reading Individualism vs Collectivism
Most readers probably remember the US housing bubble of the 2000s. The bubble burst starting in 2007, leading to a financial crisis and significant recession. Are we in another housing bubble now? Let’s take a look. Historical housing prices The graph below shows the median selling price of new homes from 1963 through May 2018. … Continue reading Are we in a new housing bubble?
Let’s talk about inflation. It affects everyone, but it’s not always well understood. There are also some interesting points to make. What causes inflation? Milton Friedman said, “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” In other words, inflation occurs when too much money is created relative to the supply of goods and services. This … Continue reading Interesting facts on inflation
Let’s talk about a couple reasons we should be optimistic about the future. The two reasons are somewhat random and not connected. One relates to the US, while the other applies anywhere. Divisive US politics Is divisive politics a reason to be optimistic? Well, it could be. It’s possible that the experiences of Presidents Obama … Continue reading Two reasons to be optimistic about the future
Science is always true and accurate, right? Not necessarily. Irreproducible Peter Wood and David Randall of the National Association of Scholars wrote an article for the April 17th Wall Street Journal on this topic. They start out by saying: “Half the results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals are probably wrong. John Ioannidis, now a professor of … Continue reading Faith in science
People often talk about the rights they have. “Our right to free speech is being eroded.” “We all have a right to decent healthcare.” And so on. We do possess certain rights. However, rights are not limitless. We possess some rights, but not others. Which rights do we have, and how can we tell the … Continue reading What rights do we have?