In Praise of Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison

Here’s a great video on FastGrants the fast funding institution started by Tyler and Patrick Collison to fund COVID research at a speed that could make a difference on the ground. And it did. Lots of other people stepped in with funding including Arnold Ventures, The Audacious Project, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, John Collison, Crankstart, […]

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In praise of Alex Tabarrok

Here’s a question I’ve been mulling in recent months: Is Alex Tabarrok right? Are people dying because our coronavirus response is far too conservative? I don’t mean conservative in the politicized, left-right sense. Tabarrok, an economist at George Mason University and a blogger at Marginal Revolution, is a libertarian, and I am very much not. […]

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Mistrust of the CBO is unfortunately a growing bipartisan avocation

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt: Recently the CBO issued a working paper considering what would happen if U.S. government expenditures were to consume an additional 5% to 10% of GDP. The results are pretty grim: By 2030, because of higher taxes and higher borrowing, the level of […]

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Personal bankruptcies have declined during the pandemic

The number of people seeking bankruptcy fell sharply during the pandemic as government aid propped up income and staved off housing and student-loan obligations. Bankruptcy filings by consumers under chapter 7 were down 22% last year compared with 2019, while individual filings under chapter 13 fell 46%, according to Epiq data. After holding above 50,000 […]

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What should I ask Pierpaolo Barbieri?

I will be doing a Conversation with him, here is the opening part of his Wikipedia page: Pierpaolo Barbieri (Buenos Aires, May 17, 1987) is an economic historian, researcher, Executive Director at Greenmantle[and founder of Ualá, an Argentina-based personal financial management mobile app. He is the author of the book Hitler’s Shadow Empire: The Nazis […]

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How might depopulation reverse itself?

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, drawing upon an earlier discussion by Robin Hanson.  The problem is this: if families find that having three or four kids just isn’t that fun, and women wish to focus more on their careers, which forces might be capable of reversing that trend?: One possibility is […]

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A quiet war, with mutual option values on both escalation and further Clubhouse comments

‘Neither Israel nor Iran want to publicly take responsibility for the attacks because doing so would be an act of war with military consequences,’ Hossein Dalirian, a military analyst affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, told The New York Times in a Clubhouse discussion on Thursday. Here is the full NYT article.

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Supply chain sentences to ponder

Khanna says these intricacies mean that brash political talk about reshoring operations is naive. “Even the supply chain has a supply chain,” he says. A dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, for example, requires 280 components from multiple countries, according to the company. The idea of moving from what Okonjo-Iweala calls “just in time to just […]

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Charter city finally in Honduras?

Próspera is the first project to gain approval from Honduras to start a privately governed charter city, under a national program started in 2013. It has its own constitution of sorts and a 3,500-page legal code with frameworks for political representation and the resolution of legal disputes, as well as minimum wage (higher than Honduras’s) and income taxes (lower in most […]

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Focus on the supply side

The biggest question in the U.S. right now is how rapidly vaccinations will proceed. Yet only 8.5% of the new appropriations — under the most generous calculations — are directed toward vaccine supply and anti-Covid-19 efforts. The biggest question for the world is whether the wealthier nations will put up the estimated $25 billion needed […]

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