On inequality

Inequality is inevitable (because we’re all different), and it isn’t necessarily wrong (if we value the freedom to make meaningful choices) and doesn’t necessarily have to be corrected (because we value diversity). Once we’re clear on this, we’re forced to…

Resource: Tim Harford on 50 Things that Made the Modern Economy

If you haven’t thought much about economics, this series from the BBC is a first-rate introduction to a lot of key ideas about how markets work. Each episode is about ten minutes long and features at least one interesting, often…

Econtalk: Mauricio Miller on Poverty, Social Work, and the Alternative

This is a really interesting episode of Econtalk, and worth a listen. Highlight 1: Accurate description of poor communities A couple of things here really resonated with my experience of living and working in low-income communities in Jakarta: Miller’s descriptions…

Peter Drucker on social responsibility

A business that does not show a profit at least equal to its cost of capital is irresponsible; it wastes society’s resources. Economic profit performance is the base without which business cannot discharge any other responsibilities, cannot be a good…

Externalities

We’re familiar with the externalities of industrial production and consumption. They’re fairly predictable, and often visible. Even air pollution, the silent killer, is usually visible when it happens, before the poison spreads. It’s a perfect example of a negative externality…

Debt to society

If you want to talk about our debt to society – the question of what we owe the other people who share our culture, and share the planet with us – it’s helpful to start with this: without other people,…

Tim Harford: slow-motion multitasking

I love Tim Harford‘s stuff, and I’m surprised he hasn’t featured here before. 50 Things that Made the Modern Economy is a delightful romp through economic history from cuneiform to mobile money transfers by way of clocks and the Haber-Bosch…