What I’ve been reading

by on September 23, 2014 at 1:46 am in Books, Uncategorized | Permalink

Ruth Towse, Advanced Introduction to Cultural Economics.  She remains the definitive presenter of this material.

I very much enjoyed Ian Leslie’s Curious, a polyglot look at being…curious.

Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  A moving and vibrant novel about an Australian in a prisoner of war camp in WWII and his escapades surrounding that time in his life.

Edward D. Kleinbard’s We are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money is a well-done progressive take on the expenditure side of fiscal  policy.

Andrea Louise Campbell, Trapped in America’s Safety Net: One Family’s Struggle.  A good anecdotal but also analytical study of how means-tested welfare programs can make life very difficult for the poor.  Recommended.

1 dan1111 September 23, 2014 at 4:11 am

From the Amazon blurb for Curious:

“Just when the rewards of curiosity have never been higher, it is misunderstood, undervalued, and increasingly monopolized by a cognitive elite. A ‘curiosity divide’ is opening up.”

There is no great stagnation in discovering inequality!

2 dan1111 September 23, 2014 at 4:14 am

How can curiosity be monopolized? Is it possible for a minority to want to find out about things so hard that they use up all of the desire to know stuff? Oh wait, actually I am not able to wonder about that, since I’m not part of the cognitive elite.

3 dan1111 September 23, 2014 at 4:18 am

Darn those philosophers, sitting around thinking about the meaning of life! It’s their fault that I can’t think about where I left my car keys. The 1% are at it again.

4 mofo. September 23, 2014 at 10:11 am

you laugh, but 1% of the population control %47 of the world’s curiosity.

5 Go Kings, Go! September 23, 2014 at 10:55 am

Curiosity has a higher rate of return than absentmindedness so the disparity is growing.

6 Brian Donohue September 23, 2014 at 9:28 am

I bought it, although I fear the people who would benefit most from this book will not deign to read it.

The idea of a monopoly on curiosity by some ‘cognitive elite’ or other is ridiculous, of course.

7 Stubbs September 23, 2014 at 10:45 am

How do escapades “surround” “that time in his life”? Are they like a movie-indian raiding party?

8 AB September 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

What makes Curious polyglot?

9 yo September 23, 2014 at 11:51 am

How well does Amazon affiliate marketing pay?

10 mulp September 23, 2014 at 1:20 pm

“Andrea Louise Campbell, Trapped in America’s Safety Net: One Family’s Struggle. A good anecdotal but also analytical study of how means-tested welfare programs can make life very difficult for the poor.”

The bias in this as seen by conservatives is that this means welfare should be eliminated because it keeps people poor.

And that’s why Obamacare is evil, single payer is evil, mandated buying of health insurance is evil, no insurance rating and no denial policies are evil.

To the conservative, Marcella Wagne is to blame and needs to suffer the consequences for getting t-boned by a drunk and not having insurance. Further, if she had insurance, once the term of the insurance was up, she should suffer the consequences of her choice to not cure her injury completely instead having permanent paralysis, but being denied further health insurance. Her husband and child need to suffer for failing to leave her in the woods to be eaten by a bear.

Note, in the “leftist” States, this is not required: “Marcella and Dave first had to spend down their assets.” Most people don’t immediately think of financials from the beginning, but her husband should have filed immediately to split their assets and finances and taken sole custody of his child. His wife would then be completely destitute, but he and his child would not be financially responsible. In some States he would need to kick her out, get a divorce, etc.

But after all, when society places everything on the individual without society sharing the risks, its every person for themselves, screw love and family, money dictates all decision making.

After all, a non-means tested Medicare for All, a non-means-tested child care, etc would only promote everyone choosing to get t-boned and paralysed to get more free medical care and have more time away from their children who are in child care so they can lounge in a hospital or lay in bed in pain.

11 Mesa September 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Here’s Kleinbard on rent seeking:


So, I get the rent seeking argument. But where is the no investment in citizens argument. We spend much more than anyone on public education per capita and on health care.

“There is something about the U.S. that is unique, and it’s not its markets, which are largely indistinguishable from those of other countries. No, it’s the comparatively parsimonious investments the U.S. makes in its citizens.”

Is this true?

12 libert September 25, 2014 at 1:41 am

I don’t know the answer to your question, but I can simply point out that Expenditure != Value. See healthcare.

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