My talk at Arlington Public Library

6:00 p.m. – Food Trucks Open for Business
7:00 p.m. – Lecture, Q&A with the Author

Arlington Public Library
1015 North Quincy Street
Arlington, VA 22201

RSVP at the Event Page.  It’s an excellent library!


I agree with the excellence of that library.

my kids heartily second that...though my daughter said she'd rather "do homework" than go listen to an "economist." [note to self: do not sign her up for 'take your kids to work day' either.]

That little brat needs a good spanking, lol. Here in the Philippines the kids are quiet, respectful, and street smart. That's because they don't grow up mollycoddled. A good beating is what US kids need. Speaking as a non-parent who nevertheless is soundly booked in parenting theory.

If I spare my daughter the indignity of a "Lean In" circle I will have done my job...she's more likely to need a "Chill Out" circle like her mom. While she did approve of the cheerful cover art, I know she would not appreciate how picky eater kids are panned in the book. I am going to keep up my quiet campaign to interest her in the Dunlop cookbook...kind of like all my stealth economics lessons.

Tyler, what makes that public library excellent?

I don't think comment-questions to the proprieter of the blog get answered very often, so here's my response - Haven't been there in 10 years, but used to live a few blocks away in Buckingham Village - what I remember is good architecture on the inside, lots of natural light and picture windows, looking out on playing fields on one side and lots of trees on another side, a big separate area, almost the size of a separate area, for beginning readers, for older patrons a reference section similar to a small liberal arts college, including the standard and expensive dictionaries for the classical languages (ie, Latin, Lewis and Short, Oxford Latin Dictionary), most sections of the Dewey decimal system had good coverage of solid academic books of the last 30 years and more, so that, I imagine, PHD students in most areas could find several relevant books that they had not seen or examined before, great selection of art books (a couple on real painters like Titian, lots on more famous real painters like Raphael and the usual crew of super-celebrity artists), several hundred books in the more common foreign languages, interesting librarians who recognize that you don't necessarily want to talk about Dan Brown, current periodicals included things like the American Economic Review (?), and several actual science magazines (beyond Scientific American), lots of tables, walking proximity to several good restaurants and coffee shops, extensive parking. There was the usual post-Warren-court problem with misanthropic vagrants and an ammoniac smell, but there were never too many at once.

I recently attended a talk where a nominally free market guy criticized food trucks for unfairly competing against bricks and mortar restaurants. There was a litany of issues raised by the speaker including the fact that trucks get an unfair advantage, do not have capital expenses, and don't pay as many taxes. What is the response to such a critique?

The use of the word "unfair" is deceptive, and your talker was not a free market guy. When craigslist and ebay came along, the Washington Post classified section was unfairly burdened with high capital costs and property taxes. Adapt or die, welcome to the free market.

I understand where you are coming from but there seems to be a more physical dimension than the Craiglist analogy suggests. If I follow your line of reasoning correctly the food truck would have every right to park in front of the bricks and mortar restaurant and roll up his or her window. The fact that the city of Boston, at least, regulates the location of where these trucks can go (usually afar from business districts) confirms the argument made by my speaker. I agree food trucks offer more choices but the issue isn't that clear cut and the owners of b & m can't be discounted.

It's a great library, except for the handful of vagrants hanging around at any given time.

Now economists have been called a lot of things over the years, but referring to them as vagrants is a bit strong..

lol - thank you for this

I thought libertarians hold that the government can't do anything right. So how can a public library be excellent? Or does "public library" in America mean a library open to the public and not a library funded by the state?

I love public libraries and as a libertarian I hold that sometimes government does small things right.

I thought libertarians hold that the government can’t do anything right

You should examine your thinking more carefully.

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