Monday, April 20, 2009

Quotes of the day

BusinessWeek's cover story this week, "What Good Are Economists, Anyway," slams the economic industry for failing to predict and explain the economic crisis, which is weird because that's exactly what any non-economist could say about the business journalism industry.--Derek Thompson

Small cars simply are not as safe as bigger cars, and they can't be made safer by yelling at people who insist on believing in the laws of physics. ... Even hybrids rely at least in part on making the car lighter. On the other hand, running a massive uncontrolled experiment on the global climate seems kind of dangerous too.--Megan McArdle

I say that Americans make extravagant use of medical procedures with high costs and low benefits. But that is only a social problem to the extent that we socialize it.--Arnold Kling

I can only report that The End of Poverty, narrated throughout by Martin Sheen, puts Ayn Rand back on the map as an accurate and indeed insightful cultural commentator. If you were to take the most overdone and most caricatured cocktail-party scenes from Atlas Shrugged, if you were to put the content of Rand’s “whiners” on the screen, mixed in with at least halfway competent production values, you would get something resembling The End of Poverty. If you ever thought that Rand’s nemeses were pure caricature, this film will show you that they are not (if the stalking presence of Naomi Klein has not already done so). If you are looking to benchmark this judgment, consider this: I would not say anything similar even about the movies of Michael Moore.--Tyler Cowen

...the U.S. by far remains the world's leading manufacturer, producing goods valued at a record $1.6 trillion in 2007 — nearly double the $811 billion produced a decade earlier. For every $1 of value produced in China's factories [in 2007], America generated $2.50. Not bad for a country that doesn't produce anything anymore.--Stephen Manning and Harold Sirkin

But there’s a downside [to the elimination of polio]: job loss. How many workers, who played by the rules, lost their jobs as a result of this development? People who built wheelchairs and crutches, who helped manufacture iron-lung machines, and who specialized in nursing polio victims – many of these people were thrown out of work by the product supplied by Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin. Some of these workers surely found comparable alternative employment quickly. Others took longer to do so. And probably some others were obliged to accept jobs at much lower pay. Maybe some of these workers never found new jobs.--Don Boudreaux

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