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Category Archive: Spontaneous Order

  1. The Walking Dead, Tocqueville, and Voluntary Cooperation

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    What can The Walking Dead teach us about prosperity? A lot, according to Professor Dan D’Amico of Loyola University. While The Walking Dead has shown viewers what zombies do to society since 2010, political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about shambling, lonesome, soulless creatures and the decline of society long before the show debuted. D’Amico explores what The Walking Dead and Tocqueville’s writings have in common, and what they reveal about the key to human prosperity.

  2. Foreigners Are Our Friends | Econ Chronicles

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    Some people say technology is the driver of innovation, but society often takes great steps in prosperity by trading. Like technological shifts over history, trade is a powerful way of creating wealth for all parties. In one example, Professor of Economics Bryan Caplan imagines a machine that turned agricultural products directly into cars: it would disrupt the way we do business, but the US would be wealthier for it.

    If, however, that machine was nothing but a freighter that exchanges corn for cars with another nation, many people think this is unfair. Whether in dislike for foreign trade or worry about immigration, Prof. Caplan calls this “anti-foreign bias,” and points out that most economists don’t share these concerns. Professional economists think trade and immigration benefit all parties involved – just like innovative technology. As we said before: trade is made of win!

  3. Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy | Econ Chronicles

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    People tend to think the world is much worse off than it actually is. Bad news gets a lot more attention than good news. Professor Bryan Caplan calls this “Pessimistic Bias,” and argues that it affects the policies people  vote for. Despite the amazing economic gains of the past 100 years and even the past decade, most people are under the impression that things are just getting worse. But Prof. Caplan argues that even with all the tough problems in the world, there is reason for optimism; contrary to most people’s expectations, he contends that the best is yet to come.

    Hat tip to Louis C.K.

  4. Make Progress, Not Work | Econ Chronicles

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    As technological developments increased the US agricultural worker’s output tremendously over the last two centuries, the share of the population employed in agriculture fell from around 90 percent to around 2 percent.

    The lay American public supposes that when workers lose their jobs, we become worse off — they suffer from what economist Bryan Caplan calls the make-work bias. But would anyone prefer to live in a society in which many went hungry and no one enjoyed the wealth, financial security, job growth, and innovation created as a result of all those workers losing their farm jobs?

    Unfortunately, the more that democracies enact policies that reflect the make-work bias, the closer we come to such a society. Follow Caplan, author of The Myth of the Rational Voter, as he explains the gap between the lay public and the professional economist’s views about the merits and demerits of making work for individuals instead of letting them find work.

  5. How Much Immigration Is Too Much Immigration?

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    The United States has laws in place to limit the number of immigrants granted entry. How many immigrants should be allowed to call America home? Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University, argues that the United States should have open borders. Jan Ting, professor of law at Temple University, argues that there need to be limits on the number of immigrants.

    In this clip from the debate, Prof. Ting argues that the risks of trying an open border policy are too great. He points out that the U.S. population is estimated to grow at a fast rate in the next 50 years and through the end of the century if we do nothing. He is concerned that allowing free immigration will overwhelm U.S. infrastructure and cause too much environmental damage.

    Prof. Caplan responds by arguing that the market will ration immigration just as it rations anything else. Indeed, the idea of immigration without quotas is overwhelming if we do not consider how market forces will play a role. He argues that we can have open borders without fear because of the power of the market.

  6. From Rags to Riches: The Cayman Islands Revolution

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    The rule of law, Hayek wrote, is “a rule concerning what the law ought to be”: It ought to be general and abstract; equally applied, with legal privileges for none; certain, not subject to arbitrary changes; and just. In this Learn Liberty Academy, Andrew Morriss sets sail to show how the law of the Cayman Islands conforms with Hayek’s ideals, how it got that way through astute political entrepreneurship, and how the world at large benefits from its legal wisdom. The benefits of Caymanian rule of law are so diffuse and far-reaching that we can even attribute the American poor’s high consumption of healthcare to it.  Embark on Morriss’s expedition — read, watch lectures, and discuss!

    Song credit: “Coconut Water” – Dan O’Connor

    Archival images courtesy of the Cayman Islands National Archive

  7. Recycle Smarter Than A Third Grader!

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    Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! All right? Maybe — maybe not, says scholar Daniel K. Benjamin. Making an unused tissue out of a used one wastes resources and hardly benefits the environment. Melting and casting aluminum cans, though, both saves resources and benefits the environment. But you don’t need to exhort the aluminum company to save those resources: saving scraps is in its own interest. So why does it take a lesson from your third-grade teacher to get you to recycle household waste?

     

    For more insightful work by Daniel K. Benjamin, check out his page on the Property and Environmentalism Research Center’s website

  8. The Relationship Between Commerce and Crime | Off the Clock Economist Explores

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    Professor Daniel D’Amico interviews a New Orleans business owner about crime in the city after Hurricane Katrina. They observe that local businesses can play an important role in reducing crime and increasing the safety of communities. Entrepreneurs and businesses create more connections between people, offer support and economic opportunities, and provide what urbanist Jane Jacobs called “eyes on the street.”

  9. How to Make a Criminal Cocktail | Off the Clock Economist Explores

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    With a social-capital-inducing King Cake in tow, Off the Clock Economist Dan D’Amico heads out to a backyard bar. Discover how to make a New Orleans Sazerac, which many say was the very first cocktail ever invented. Why? Keep watching to learn how the criminalization of alcohol in the United States forever changed the way we consume liquor. There is no tastier way to figure out how social capital, unintended consequences, and government intervention helped the Big Easy create this famous drink – and don’t worry, the recipe is in the video too!

    Check out Rob Hahne’s shop: Homestead NOLA

  10. The Gumbo Recipe that Works for Everybody | Off the Clock Economist

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    Off the Clock Economist Dan D’Amico is still going strong in his pursuit to know all there is to know about New Orleans. Join him as he learns how to make gumbo, the signature dish of the Big Easy. This delicious food will get him thinking too, so sit tight as he delves into topics like spontaneous order, social capital, and America’s melting pot. How do all these things relate? What do they all have to do with gumbo? How does that tie into NOLA? Keep watching and find out – no matter what, you will learn how to make some fantastic food.

    Checkout Langlois Culinary Crossroads!

  11. Bars and Brass Bands in the Big Easy | Off the Clock Economist Explores

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    What if we told you that the decadent and debaucherous nature of New Orleans made it easier, not harder, for the Big Easy to come back strong after Hurricane Katrina? Follow our Off the Clock Economist, Dan D’Amico, as he explores the underlying social capital of jazz music, parades, and much more. You will also get to learn what Faubourg Marigny is, hear some history on the Rebirth Brass Band, and discover a bar that warns, “Be Nice or Go Home.” This is New Orleans like you’ve never seen it.

  12. Off the clock, this Prof parties in New Orleans. Check it out!

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    New Orleans, the one and only! So much culture, so many parties, so many parades, so much food, and so much more. Where does it all come from? How did it survive the destruction brought on by Hurricane Katrina? Join Off the Clock Economist Dan D’Amico as he punches out from Loyola University to tramp around the Big Easy. Get ready to discover:

    – The social capital behind booking a local band
    – How spontaneous order makes Mardi Gras even more fun
    – Why cultural economics matters when you’re at the bar

    So follow the tattooed guy as he learns about the enduring social ties and financial logic of brass bands, legendary watering holes, and enticing parades.