Winter Break is here. Omicron is threatening. Time to settle in at home and break out the board games.             Settlers of Catan is a strategy game where smart resource management and deal making wins the game. Unlike Monopoly, where winning is dependent on ruthlessly bankrupting your opponents in a zero-sum game, Settlers of Catan more closely exemplifies the free market and capitalism. In Catan, each roll of the dice produces resources for everyone, potentially increasing overall wealth for all players. Like international trade relations, there must be a balance between competition and cooperation, because resources are constrained and Continue reading Catan-nomics

Black Friday

Many believe Black Friday got its name because it is the time of year when traditional retailers moved from the red into the black because of their after-Thanksgiving sales, but the term Black Friday was first used to describe something completely different.             In September 1869 two robber barons, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, colluded to buy as much of America’s gold as they could in order to drive the price up. Then the two planned to sell it at a huge profit. Instead, they caused the stock market to collapse the next Friday, hence the term, Black Friday.             Continue reading Black Friday

Discounting, Explained

The climate policy landscape is shaped by the cost-benefit concept of discounting, where discount rates are an exogenous parameter in determining the rate at which governments achieve climate mitigation goals like decarbonization. Discounting refers to the present-value evaluation of a future event or a project with a long-run profile. That is, when a cost or benefit is in the future rather than in the present, those values are not directly comparable to present-day values and are discounted. To understand how discounting has led to insufficient climate action, an explanation of its technical operations is first necessary. Here, we offer an Continue reading Discounting, Explained

Shrinkflation and Skimpflation

Inflation is bad. Is it even worse than we think? The Commerce Department announced on October 29th, 2021 that inflation rose 4.4% in September, the fastest pace in thirty years. While it’s easy to ignore from an uninformed perspective, food and gas prices rising have hit consumers hard during the pandemic. Energy costs were up almost 25% and food prices were up 4%. But is inflation even worse than reported? Are the government statistics accurately capturing how bad inflation really is? There are actually other forms of inflation called Shrinkflation and Skimpflation, but these concepts are less well known and Continue reading Shrinkflation and Skimpflation

Public vs Private Ownership of Government: A survey of Dangerous Ideas in Three Parts (Part III)

Click here for Part I Click here for Part II Part III: ANARCHY To quote Michael Malice, “The black flag of anarchy comes in many colors” and also in his summation anarchy can be summarized by the simple statement that “you don’t speak for me”. The differing flavors of anarchy represent differing economic approaches in a governance that requires individual explicit consent. Anarchism of a socialist bent has been part and parcel of the modern anarchist movement since its rebirth in the early to mid 1800’s. This movement began in earnest in the 1880’s with the arrival of Yiddish speaking Continue reading Public vs Private Ownership of Government: A survey of Dangerous Ideas in Three Parts (Part III)

Epistemic Externalities: The Academic “Marketplace” Produces Intellectual Arrogance

            . Intellectual vices are commonly defined as personal attitudes or character traits that impede effective inquiry. In recent years, there has been increased recognition of the presence and proliferation of such vices globally in academia; however, discussion has been limited regarding the way in which the academic institution actively produces this result in part by incentivizing arrogant attitudes. Arrogance as a vice is defined by Roberts as “a disposition to infer illicit entitlement from a supposition of one’s superiority, and to think, feel, and act upon that claim” (2003, p. 243). Intellectual arrogance is specifically when the premise of Continue reading Epistemic Externalities: The Academic “Marketplace” Produces Intellectual Arrogance

Coconut Derived Potting Media Feeds Horticulture Industry Demand for a Sustainable Alternative, But at What Ecological Cost?

Tropical houseplants have increased in popularity as a U.S consumer good, with houseplant sales increasing by 50% simply in the last three years. Potting media is a necessary, complementary good to houseplants: any houseplant owner knows that having some potting soil on hand enables you to repot your growing plants at a moment’s notice, or refresh soil that has been depleted of its nutrients. Many indoor plants, such as Philodendron, Epipremnum, and Monstera, are epiphytic, which means that they grow best on other plants, such as trees. Their roots have evolved to grow on bark amidst the open-air; and thus, Continue reading Coconut Derived Potting Media Feeds Horticulture Industry Demand for a Sustainable Alternative, But at What Ecological Cost?