Another (Big) Problem with “Nudging”

I’ve written recently about Richard Thaler’s Nobel prize and my objections to his (and Cass Sunstein’s) cheerleading for “nudging”. That’s a polite term for the use of business and government power to get people to make the “right” decisions. (“Right” according to Thaler, at least.) It’s the government part that really bothers me. Ilya Somin […]

Economics Explained — Part II: Economic Principles in Perspective

This is the second installment of a long post. I may revise it as I post later parts. The whole will be published as a page, for ease of reference. If you haven’t read “Part I: What Is Economics About?“, you may benefit from doing so before you embark on this part. What Drives Us […]

No Tears for Cass Sunstein

Cass Sunstein is, among many things, the co-author (with Richard Thaler). of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. One reviewer says this about the book: Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler contend that the way public choices are framed and presented goes a long way toward determining the kinds of decisions people make. Summarizing […]

Thaler’s Fatuousness

Richard  Thaler, with whom I had a nodding acquaintance many years ago, is one of my least favorite economists — and a jerk, to boot. (See, for example, “The Perpetual Nudger“, “Richard Thaler, Nobel Laureate“, “Thaler’s Non-Revolution in Economics“, “Another (Big) Problem with ‘Nudging’“, and ” Thaler on Discounting“.) What the world needs isn’t a […]

2020 Vision

Trump confounded most expectations in 2016 by taking Florida, Iowa, and Ohio — all Blue since 2004 — and nudging two long-time Blue States — Michigan and Pennsylvania — into the Red column. What about 2020? A lot of water will flow under the bridge and over the dam in the next two years, but […]

Not-So-Random Thoughts (XXII)

This is a long-overdue entry; the previous one was posted on October 4, 2017. Accordingly, it is a long entry, consisting of these parts: Censorship and Left-Wing Bias on the Web The Real Collusion Story “Suicide” of the West Evolution, Intelligence, and Race Will the Real Fascists Please Stand Up? Consciousness Empathy Is Over-Rated “Nudging” […]

Richard Thaler, Nobel Laureate

I am slightly irked by today’s news of the selection of Richard Thaler as the 2017 Noblel laureate in economics. (It’s actually the Swedish National Bank’s Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, not one of the original prizes designated in Alfred Nobel’s will.) Granted, Thaler did some praiseworthy and groundbreaking work in […]

Unorthodox Economics: 3. What Is Scientific about Economics?

This is the third entry in what I hope will become a book-length series of posts. That result, if it comes to pass, will amount to an unorthodox economics textbook. Here are the chapters that have been posted to date: 1. What Is Economics? 2. Pitfalls 3. What Is Scientific about Economics? 4. A Parable […]

Economists As Scientists

This is the third entry in a series of loosely connected posts on economics. The first entry is here and the second entry is here. (Related posts by me are noted parenthetically throughout this one.) Science is something that some people “do” some of the time. There are full-time human beings and part-time scientists. And […]

The Perpetual Nudger

Richard Thaler, about whose “libertarian” paternalism I’ve written many times, is at it again. Thaler, in case you don’t know of him, is co-author (with Cass Sunstein) of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Thaler’s partnership with Sunstein should be enough to tell you that “libertarian” paternalism is about paternalism, not liberty. (My […]

Not-So-Random Thoughts (XII)

Links to the other posts in this occasional series may be found at “Favorite Posts,” just below the list of topics. *     *     * “Intolerance as Illiberalism” by Kim R. Holmes (The Public Discourse, June 18, 2014) is yet another reminder, of innumerable reminders, that modern “liberalism” is a most intolerant creed. See my ironically […]

McCloskey on Piketty

UPDATED 01/07/15 The left loves Thomas Piketty‘s Capital in the Twenty-First Century because it lends pseudo-scientific backing to some of the left’s favorite economic postulates; to wit: Income inequality is bad, even if real incomes are rising across the board. Why is it bad? It just is, if you’re an envious Marxist. But also… Income […]

Another Entry in the Sunstein Saga

Alec Rawls, writing at his blog, Error Theory: As Congress considers vastly expanding the power of copyright holders to shut down fair use of their intellectual property, this is a good time to remember the other activities that Obama’s “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein wants to shut down using the tools of copyright protection. For a […]

Favorite Posts

AS OF 04/05/2021 I started blogging in the late 1990s with a home page that I dubbed Liberty Corner (reconstructed here). I maintained the home page until 2000. When the urge to resume blogging became irresistible in 2004, I created the Blogspot version of Liberty Corner, where I blogged until May 2008. My weariness with […]

Columnist, Heal Thyself

David Brooks’s recent column, “The Protocol Society,” is a typical Brooksian muddle, in which he attributes evolutionary changes in economic behavior to the “discoveries” of contemporary economists. Despite Brooks, there is nothing new under the sun of economic analysis. The practitioners of today who draw on sociology and psychology are simply returning to the roots […]

The Real Constitution and Civil Disobedience

INTRODUCTION I have no doubt that there is a “real” Constitution. Randy Barnett makes a good case for it: Under our system, the Supreme Court has the last word on whether a statute challenged as unconstitutionality will be upheld or nullified. But it does not have the power to change the written Constitution, which always […]

Fascism with a “Friendly” Face

This is the core meaning of fascism: Fascism is a system in which the government leaves nominal ownership of the means of production in the hands of private individuals but exercises control by means of regulatory legislation and reaps most of the profit by means of heavy taxation. In effect, fascism is simply a more […]