What are the ruling ideas today? Is “College For All” among them? (Doubts-that-don’t-change-our-practices edition)

by flickr user ChrisM70

I’ve just finished an article on higher education and the liberal arts, and it’s full of hope and comes to some definite conclusions about particular ways that an education in the liberal arts is valuable. It’s out for peer review right now, which means that if the reviewer is googling phrases maybe she’ll find this,… Continue reading What are the ruling ideas today? Is “College For All” among them? (Doubts-that-don’t-change-our-practices edition)

Varieties of Inequality

Clothes are seen hanging outside a bus which has been converted into a dwelling for Lu Changshan and his wife near newly-constructed residential buildings in Hefei, Anhui province in China on November 12, 2012 (Jianan Lu/Courtesy Reuters).

I can think of at least six kinds of inequality: Inequality of income: different people receive different wages, either for different jobs or for the same job, as profits from capital investments, or as government subsidies, transfer payments, or private charity. Inequality of consumption: different people consume different products (i.e. the generic widget) in differing… Continue reading Varieties of Inequality

The Progressive Paradox

At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a broad consensus among reformers in the United States regarding the perniciousness of economic monopolies and winner-take-all politics. After that period of rampant growth and cronyism known as the Gilded Age, groups who had been disproportionately disadvantaged by political patronage and voter fraud began to organize… Continue reading The Progressive Paradox

Talk Ain’t Cheap

Deirdre McCloskey describes her project: I have been trying for thirty years to revive the rhetorical tradition, and lately to introduce language into the economists’ models in which talk is cheap and therefore of no consequence.   On the contrary, sweet talk, persuasion, is one quarter of national income, earned by managers and teachers, police… Continue reading Talk Ain’t Cheap

What is the belief you hold that is most likely to be wrong?

Another way of putting this question is: how does your ideology and social setting blind you? One way to answer is to look at those beliefs that you have the most incentive to deceive yourself about. What are your biases? For instance, I’m probably not as smart or as caring as I think I am, because… Continue reading What is the belief you hold that is most likely to be wrong?