Russ Roberts on inequality and poverty

Our age right now – this might change – is obsessed with inequality. And it disturbs me deeply that inequality is conflated with poverty. They’re not the same thing. A lot of people blame the condition of the poor on inequality as if the world was a zero sum game. If you press the person who says that [they’ll say]…

No finish line (2)

“No finish line” applies to most of our work too. There will be tasks to tick off and projects that we complete, but most of the important stuff – helping people who need help, making something important available, working so that things get better rather than worse – doesn’t stop. Won’t stop. This means: That projects and milestones become more…

Overflow: a little bit extra

We all have moments where it feels like we’re running on empty, and we need other people to help us carry the load. This is a normal part of being human – but it shouldn’t be the default for most of us. It’s desirable and healthy to live (at home, at work, and elsewhere) so that in the usual run…

The Life You Can Save

Singer’s work triggered the Effective Altruism movement, and his hugely influential book is now available as a free download in multiple formats – and as an audiobook – at thelifeyoucansave.org. I’m adding it to my reading list. This interview on The Ezra Klein show is a good place to start.

Three questions from economics

What are the tradeoffs in this situation? What gains can be made from trade and cooperation? How can we reframe this question to find new answers, or change the way we feel about the answers we already have? Largely drawn from Tyler Cowen’s interview with Tim Harford.

No finish line (1)

Most of the important things in life don’t have finish lines. This is fairly obvious for personal things like feeding your family – or simply being family – and things like staying healthy, maintaining your house, and looking after your garden. Most of the jobs we do, the tasks we tick off as finished, are actually done in the service…

Solon of Athens (via Herodotus) on looking to the end

Solon, the great law-giver of Athens, is visiting Croesus, the rich and poweful King of Lidya. After showing off his wealth, Croesus is disappointed when Solon declares three unknown men of middling rank to be the happiest he’s ever seen. Croesus snapped, “That’s all very well my Athenian friend, but what of my own happiness? Is it so utterly comtemptible…

Podcast Recommendation: two interviews with Raj Chetty

I really enjoyed listening to these two interviews with Raj Chetty. By all accounts (I’m not qualified to judge!) he is a good economist. He also comes across as someone who’s interested in people and working for policies that help actual people in the real world, rather than as an economist only interested in theory and abstraction. These episodes are…

Worse than this change

Change – especially change that feels beyond our control – is often unsettling. Will things ever be this good again? When people talk about change being the only constant,* it isn’t just change in the world around us and in the culture that we’re talking about: at an individual level, change is written into our DNA. The clock is ticking.…