As governments around the US struggle with the contentious question of when to relax stay-at-home orders, social distancing laws, and the closures of non-essential businesses and venues, it is worthwhile to consider the question of the extent to which these measures are legal under the US constitution. I submit that they are not. The first … Continue reading Social distancing laws violate the Constitution. I support them anyway.
I have now spent nearly 1.5 years in China. I thought it fitting that I take some time to try to remember the things that were shocking to me when I first arrived, before everything becomes normalized to me. You Can Turn Around Wherever the F*** You Want Without question one of the most shocking … Continue reading Peculiarities of China
There's an idea that I've been tossing around in my head for quite some time, and I wanted to start laying the groundwork for putting into text. The gist of the idea is this: we're probably too late to stop the worst of climate change. Therefore, does it not behoove us to at least consider … Continue reading Embracing the Anthropocene
Marginal Revolution has an interesting discussion on the question here. A highlight: if the average nondemocracy in their sample had transitioned to a democracy its GDP per capita would have increased from $2074 to $2489 in 25 years [...] If we want countries to adopt democracy, twenty percent higher GDP in 25 years is not … Continue reading Alex Tabarrok on “Is Democracy Doomed?”
I recently had the opportunity to watch the Korean film "Default" (Gukgabudo-ui Nal) (2018). The film models itself quite transparently on "The Big Short" (2015), aiming to be a behind-the-scenes tell-all about the lead-up to the Korean chapter of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. To the extent that I knew far too little about this … Continue reading An Economic Policy Film Review: “Default”
The way in which the issue of GMOs is framed drastically influences opinions on the subject. If we take GMOs broadly to mean their common implementation in the context of corporatized, chemical-heavy, monocultured agribusiness, few people are strongly in favor of these systems. However, if we take GMOs narrowly to mean the simple fact of … Continue reading The Irrationality of GMO Opposition
I recently engaged in the following conversation about the nature of stories and truth. Others' comments in quotes, mine unquoted. All have been edited for readability and style. "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story" I strongly dislike this idea. Reality is enchanting and amazing. Things happen in history and … Continue reading Stories and Truth – a Rivalry?
What are Deepfakes? Fake videos that are too good for most people to tell apart from the real thing. These have long been used for entertainment, but it is clear the dangers that these can pose to the political and informational system. Unfortunately, we have to start treating videos with as much skepticism as we … Continue reading The Challenge of Deepfakes and the Need for Institutions
Ask yourself this question: which survived longer, China, or Rome? The conventional answer is China, of course. By why is that the conventional answer? Is that not just a story we tell ourselves? Why do we say that China is 2000 years old, but that the Roman Empire fell 1500 years ago? China was conquered … Continue reading On the Relative Longevity of Chinese and Roman Civilization
Nevada is probably about to pass the National Popular Vote Compact, meaning that it will give its electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote for president. This reform is a necessary one for the benefit of democracy. A snide retort that I saw to this news is "Tyranny of the Majority...". This … Continue reading Electoral College Reform