Economics Roundtable

Technical Problems 3/9/15

The website was down several hours today, but is back up now.

May 2014 Payroll Employment

After 76 months, we finally got back to the prerecession level of payroll employment.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.


The best summary of the state of our economy is the graph (below) of employment as a fraction of population for people over 16 years old. The decrease is large, but the most troubling feature of the graph is the flat trend .

Click on the image to get a bigger version.

Graph-of-the-Year Candidates

Donald Marron likes European interest rates. Click on the image to get a bigger version. Can you find three distinct subperiods?

Brad DeLong favors the U.S. gdp gap.

Remember M1?

Money Supply M1 growth is now over 20% per year over a 12 month lag. M1 growth has touched 20% before, but not with excess reserves of $1.6 trillion. Where is M1 headed?

Click on the chart for a larger version.


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Cafe Hayek

March 28, 2015, 10:04 am, 1446894
(Don Boudreaux)

One of the best books that I’ve read lately is Alex Epstein’s 2014 volume, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.  (My colleague Bryan Caplan shares my enthusiastic assessment.)

This short piece of mine in today’s Wall Street Journal is in the same spirit as Alex’s scholarship.  A slice:

Richard ...

March 28, 2015, 10:04 am, 1446895
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from pages 206 of the 1993 Fox & Wilkes re-issue of Rose Wilder Lane’s inspiring 1943 volume, The Discovery of Freedom (original emphasis):

Stupid men believe that force can improve other men’s morals; they want force to stop men’s drinking, or smoking, or gambling.  Superstition clouds ...

March 27, 2015, 4:04 pm, 1446647
(Don Boudreaux)

In my Principles of Microeconomics class, when we’re discussing the role of prices and of speculation, I share with my students the following story (as recounted in this September 2008 letter to the station manager of WAMU radio in DC):

This morning your reporter interviewed a resident of ...

March 27, 2015, 12:04 pm, 1446502
(Don Boudreaux)

In my Principles of Microeconomics class at George Mason University, my students and I recently discussed the economics of so-called “price gouging” – the signifiant rise in the prices of staple goods (and services) following a natural disaster.  Basic supply-and-demand analysis explains quite well the observed pattern of ...

March 27, 2015, 10:04 am, 1446413
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 256 of William Easterly’s excellent 2006 book, The White Man’s Burden:

It is the job of economists to point out trade-offs; it is the job of politicians and Planners to deny that trade-offs exist.

March 26, 2015, 2:04 pm, 1445885
(Don Boudreaux)

Carl, a high-school history teacher from South Carolina, writes to ask how, if ever, do I consider the “losers from free trade” in my defense of complete, unilateral free trade.  It’s a good question.  Being busy at the moment, I content myself here with reprising the following ...

March 26, 2015, 10:04 am, 1445714

March 26, 2015, 8:04 am, 1445635
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 75 of Julian Simon’s 1993 essay “In Favour of Immigration,” as reprinted in the splendid 2000 collection Population: The Ultimate Resource (Barun S. Mitra, editor):

Opponents of immigration seek to persuade us that new immigrants damage society economically, politically, and culturally.  Immigration restrictions are intended ...

March 25, 2015, 10:04 am, 1445030
(Don Boudreaux)

… that if each individual can, on his or her own, choose which offerings of private businesses to accept and which to reject, and all without having to coordinate these choices with other individuals, people are slaves to corporations – but that individuals regain their freedom and dignity ...

March 25, 2015, 8:04 am, 1444947
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 86 of Alex Epstein’s brilliant and clear 2014 book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels:

[T]he natural environment is not naturally a healthy, safe place; that’s why human beings historically had a life expectancy of thirty.  Absent human action, our natural environment threatens us with ...