Thanks a Thousand

For Thanksgiving I read a book about giving thanks, A. J. Jacobs’s, Thanks a Thousand. It begins like I, Pencil (which Jacobs discovers half-way through his book) and I, Rose:

It’s a Tuesday morning, and I’m in the presence of one of the most mind-boggling accomplishments in human history. This thing is so astounding in its complexity and scope, it makes the Panama canal look like a third grader’s craft project.

This marvel I see before me is the result of thousands of human beings collaborating across dozens of countries.

It took the combined labor of artists, chemists, politicians, mechanics, biologists, miners, packagers, smugglers and goatherds.

It required airplanes, boats trucks, motorcycles, vans, pallets and shoulders.

It needed hundreds of materials–steel, wood, nitrogen, rubber, silicon, ultraviolet light, explosives, and bat guano.

It has caused great joy but also great poverty and oppression.

It relied upon ancient wisdom and space-age technology, freezing temperature and scorching heat, high mountains and deep water.

It is my morning coffee.

Jacobs then sets out to thank everyone–which he soon finds is impossible, so he limits to a thousand people–who contributed to getting him his morning miracle. From the obvious, the barista and the coffee growers to the less obvious, the manufacturers and designers of the coffee lid and the NY water department, Jacobs sets out to offer thanks, giving the reader some interesting background along the way (“New York water is tested 2.2 million times a year.” “According to one estimate, pallets account for more than 46 percent of US hardwood lumber production.”).

Jacobs is also good on the importance of gratitude. Being mindful of and thankful for the things we ordinarily take for granted can make for a better life. He asks philosopher Will MacAskill what he is grateful for. “Sometimes I’m just thankful I have arms.” Yes.

Jacobs sometimes forgets, however, that the value of gratitude is more in the giving than in the receiving. He thus confuses gratitude with charity. But gratitude is neither payment nor alms. It’s nice to be recognized and thanked but thanks don’t make the world go round.

I ask Andy whether it feels good that the coffee in his warehouse brings joy to millions of people. Andy looks at me, his eyebrows knit. It’s as if I just asked him if he enjoys being a Buddhist monk who mediates ten hours a day.

“Well let me ask you this,” I say, “What are you thankful for?”

“My paycheck,” he says, laughing.

I like Andy. Andy understands that working solely for the sake of others can be demeaning and degrading. Andy is working for himself and his loved ones and more power to him. Beyond a few special relationships, to make doing for others one’s primary motive is undignified and subservient. Humans are not worker ants eager to die for love of their Queen. Each person’s life is their own.

The true marvel is that despite the fact that most people are not living for others we can still all live together harmoniously. As I like to put it:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the coffee brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.


Yes -- and I wish that 18-22 year old women sitting in "college" classes would understand that "it is not from the benevolence of the [nurse and school-teacher (their anticipated "careers")] that we expect [any future at all], but from their regard to their own [children]."

everything about this is sexist

This guy is just some angry divorced dude working out his problems in the comments here. Let him rant.

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'It is my morning coffee.'

And if he had been drinking his morning coffee in 1600 overlooking the Bosporus, here are some of the things that would not have been involved -

No combined labor of artists, chemists, mechanics, biologists, miners, or packagers (by most meanings of the term).

It would not have required airplanes, trucks, motorcycles, vans, or pallets.

It would not need hundreds of materials.

And if he was drinking his coffee in Ethiopia recently, that list would not be all that different, actually.

'Andy understands that working solely for the sake of others can be demeaning and degrading. '

Coming from a parent, well, what can one say? Except that Prof. Tabarrok probably did not do anywhere near the same amount of demeaning and degrading work that the mother of his children did. Making one wonder what he thinks of that womane - though who knows, maybe she asked him for a paycheck, thus ensuring his respect and demonstrating that money is what makes the world work, not something like an occasional special relationship. So special that essentially every single human being that has ever lived has benefitted from it, which cannot be said for the wonders of the market economy.

In 1600 there certainly were miners. Regardless, the morning coffee wouldn't have involved as much complex industrial machinery, but it would have involved sailors (hundreds of them), navigators (not the same thing), ship builders, folks to provide rations for the ships, folks to make the mechanisms for roasting and grinding the coffee, etc. Not to mention the folks making the sacks to hold the beans, or the diplomats/managers establishing international relationships that allowed these trades to happen. Still thousands of people.

The point remains: Even apparently simple, straight-forward things in a free market involve untold, often incalculable numbers of people (at least, they're difficult to count), all working for their own benefit, using the end-user as a means rather than an end. And the result is that we all benefit. Basically, it's another way of describing the division of labor in a market economy.

I'm not sure what to make of your rambling final paragraph. I think you misunderstand the concept of a special relationship--that you consider "special" to be a global, not a local, term. That's a pretty serious error.

His final paragraph demonstrated that he is an ass with an agenda and is willing to misinterpret and misrepresent others to advance it.

But are you really surprised that a post on gratitude went right over clockwork's head? The man (presumably?) is a daily illustration of biting the hand that feeds you.

Good catch on the miners - yes, plenty of Turkish coffee making equipment involved metal.

'The point remains: Even apparently simple, straight-forward things in a free market'

Interesting that you feel that the Ottoman Empire represents a free market.

'all working for their own benefit'

Well, apart from the slaves - of which the Ottoman Empire had quite a number, many of whom were available to do the necessary work of preparing a morning cup of coffee overlooking the Bosporus. And of course, slavery was the way that the sugar was cultivated in the New World, after its discovery. Admittedly, one can justifiably say that it was the market that provided those slaves.

'that you consider "special" to be a global'

We all have mothers - I'm guessing that the point that our mothers (and one can assume most mothers of most children throughout the entirety of human history) spent a significant amount of time 'working solely for the sake of others' was simply too obscure for this comment section.

"I'm guessing that the point that our ... spent a significant amount of time 'working solely for the sake of others' was simply too obscure for this comment section."

I get what you're saying. You have completely and intentionally missed what I was saying. My point is that "special relationship" means unique relationships FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN QUESTION. You are dishonestly attempting this phrase to mean some global sort of "special relationship", in a thinly-veiled attempt to straw-man the argument.

This has nothing to do with your point being obscure. This is me disagreeing with you. If you can't understand how someone can understand what you are saying and still find it flawed, there's no point in further discussion with you.

I won't bother responding to the rest of your "arguments". You quite obviously are merely inserting anything you wish in place of my actual statements, and I feel no obligation to address refutations of points I've never made.

Ah yes, another commenter covered in prior's inept bile.

'intentionally missed'

Let us see if you can do better explaining what I have missed.

'My point is that "special relationship" means unique relationships FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN QUESTION.'

Except, to repeat, this is what Prof. Tabarrok wrote - 'Beyond a few special relationships, to make doing for others one’s primary motive is undignified and subservient.' Of course, if you believe that Prof. Tabarrok is completely ignoring the fundamental role of mothers in human society, you won't get much argument from me.

'You are dishonestly attempting this phrase to mean some global sort of "special relationship"'

Do you actually have a mother, or actually raised children? The woman who bears, feeds, and is involved in raising a child is both unique as an individual, and universal as embodying a function that encompasses the entirety of human history.

'I feel no obligation to address refutations of points I've never made'

I start out with talking about drinking a cup of coffee in 1600 overlooking the Bosporus, and you respond in the end about how the free market was essential to this process. It wasn't, particularly in light of the fact that many of the people involved in what you described as occurring in 1600, such as the people making things in the Ottoman Empire, were slaves.

You lost clockwork, get over it.

I to like Andy. I like Andy's honesty. I also really like teachers who would do it for free and MD's and RN's etc. who would do it for free. I'd guess Alex feels similarly, what would make you think otherwise?

The beloved invisible hand which delivers both our breakfast and our children's cocaine. The market is neutral, it can deliver positive benefits or disastrous consequences. Respecting it is wise, worshiping it is foolish.

It is not from the benevolence of the pusher, the smuggler, the pimp or the human trafficker that our crazy neighbors expect their weekly bacchanalia, but from their regard to their own interest.

My neighbor grew up in Poland under communism. He wanted better clothing for himself and his family, so managed to find some in a city somewhere. He got more than he needed because his friends wanted the better clothing. He sold them clothes with a markup.

It was illegal, he left the country because he saw no way he could improve his future or that of his children.

It isn't neutral. That is like saying the desire to eat is neutral. The communists weren't neutral when they outlawed the market.

Price gouging during emergencies is not unique to Mississippi, just after the Rodney King riots I got a knock on the door from the LAPD since I had sold some food--at cost mind you--to some neighbors and they (or somebody who was passing by, not clear) had the gall to complain, when there was severe food shortages and I gave up my food to help them. I think it was a practical joke, but it was annoying that they had to call the police for their 'gag' (these neighbors had loud sex and I complained once to somebody they knew, so that's why I think it was a gag type retribution). The LAPD --who arguably should have been catching crooks--cautioned me and nothing further came of it. About that same time the black major of LA--Tom something or another, Bradley?--instituted water rationing (which I also ignored and got cautioned for) when farmers in California were growing rice in the desert. Welcome to socialist AmeriKKKa!

Bonus trivia: Orange County, CA --a diehard free marketeer county in or around Long Beach--defaulted on their bonds! LOL.

Why not? The risk of default should have been priced in.

Well.....yeah. The free market doesn't presume to set anyone's priorities; it's up to the individual to do so. You can find pretty much anything you want; it's up to you to pick and choose what you want.

The alternative is to have someone ELSE choose what you want. Who would you trust with that? Even if you would happily submit to the choices of some individual, that individual will change over time (none of us are immortal), and history has shown that eventually someone who disagrees with you will gain power. Do you really want Trump making these choices for you? Or Sanders?

Every morning I marvel at the obscene luxury that is a shower. Good way to start the day.

Yes, finding an American style shower that delivers 40 psi of hot water is hard to do outside the USA (even in the developing world that has lots of rain forest weather, due to lack of dams, the rainwater simply goes into the groundwater or to sea). However, I managed to do something close in our country house in the Philippines with a tankless hot water heater and an impeller pump and well. Took a lot of engineering to get it to work right (weird siphon effects, too complicated to explain here, it's trade secret, that's how these well diggers make their money).

As for giving thanks, it's important to give recognition, check out this incredible guy (his "Yum!" restaurants really took off under his watch, he's a fan of constant experimentation with the menu).

Novak was born in Beeville, TX in 1952. His father was a government surveyor, marking latitudes and longitudes for the nation's mapmakers and would move the family to the next location about every three months. By the time Novak was 12, he had lived in 32 trailer parks in 23 states. Novak says the "nomadic" childhood experiences taught him how to be a better leader and helped him succeed. Novak received a bachelor's degree majoring in journalism with an advertising minor from the University of Missouri

Novak is Co-Founder, retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yum! Brands, Inc. (CEO from 1999 to January 1, 2016).[9][10] During Novak’s tenure at Yum! Brands, the company doubled the number of restaurants to 41,000, market capitalization grew to almost $32 billion from just under $4 billion and it was an industry leader in return on invested capital.

In 2016, Novak launched OGO (O Great One!) Enterprises,[7] the "world's first recognition brand" on a mission to convince people of the usefulness of recognizing what others have done and close what he has dubbed the "global recognition deficit." Novak believes recognition creates an energized work force and inspires people to do great things.[8] He also wrote O Great One! A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition.

'Yes, finding an American style shower that delivers 40 psi of hot water is hard to do outside the USA'

Especially the kind that run out of hot water in the middle of a shower. It is pretty difficult to find that kind of shower in Germany.

I've never found one in the US, so Germany must have worse ones than here. Like everything else German.

Well, I guess you missed out on the doubtful benefits of a typical Northern Virginia suburban development with its built in hot water tank per home, townhouse, or apartment built in the last 5 decades or so. Including all of the places my siblings live in (not just in Northern Virginia, admittedly).

Lucky you.

Twasn't luck that drove you from a perfectly good country to a shithole.

Here is a Sufi story.

A man takes a tour of a quarry, where many men work hard cutting stone.

He asks the first man, what are you doing? The man replies, I am cutting stone.

He asks another man, what are you doing? He replies, I am feeding my family.

He asks still another man, what are you doing? He replies, I am helping to build a cathedral.

All are doing the same work for the same pay. The different attitudes make all the difference.

I think we are healthier when we think of ourselves as being involved in projects larger and more important than ourselves. Don't tell the Ayn Rand-ites.

Neat how you know what motivations are good for everyone. Its not a secret to the "Ayn Rand-ites" that people like you think your motivations are superior to everyone else's.

What makes free enterprise work is that the second guy still gets what he wants (to feed his family) even if he is an atheist who could give a fuck about a cathedral.

B.B. believes that people who don't think like him are nothing more than selfish jerks, and he does not care to discover otherwise, lest it ruin his highly-valued sense of inherent superiority.

He's going to live a miserable life.

"He's going to live a miserable life."

You would know.

True enough. But without the third man, or at least his equivalent doling out pay, free enterprise builds no cathedrals.

If we think cathedrals are thing worth having, then our praise of "Andy" (to stand in for the guy who just wants to collect his paycheck), has to be at least somewhat circumscribed. To believe that capitalism can yoke unwilling workers, like cattle, to worthwhile projects against their own judgement is wise, to think that material self interest is enough to produce all things worth producing less so.

Its not material self interest that im celebrating, its self interest in general. The neat thing about the Sufi story above is that all three men's motivations are worthwhile.

Do Sufi's tell stories about building a Cathedral? Really? Yeah. Sure.

Nice virtue signalling, BB, we know you know what is best for us.

The neat thing about strict individualism is that it allows you to engage in your "something larger and more important than yourself" activities, while it allows the Objectivists to engage in their selfish improvement of their own lives.

More troubling: If we accept that there is something "larger and more important" than our own desires, we have to have some means to select it. The cathedral example inherently presents an answer to this problem--the priest decides. Or maybe it's a king, or a committee. Regardless of who it is, they have no way of knowing our individual circumstances, yet presume to set our priorities. At best, it means misery for some; at worst, see the worst aspects of the Reign of Terror in France.

It is theorized that one of the drivers of the 'Hillbilly Elegy' type malaise that is fueling the opioid and suicide problems in the heartland and Midwest (really everywhere) is this lack of belief in something "larger and more important". Pure strict individualism doesn't seem very sustaining to most people. For some, sure, and let them have it. But most of us need purpose outside ourselves to give life meaning, even if it's just one's own children.

I will agree with the need - which is really part of universal human nature - for people to feel a longing that what they are doing means something, is part of something bigger - what Neal Stephenson calls a sense of story to their lives. It's part of being human.

That's a fair point, but on the other hand, individualism lets you choose that purpose/meaning. I for one, have no desire to perform any labor on behalf of the Catholic Church, for example, but it wasn't all that long ago in many countries, no one would have had a choice in the matter.

No doubt, I certainly don't want to replace a lack of higher purpose with a forced one. But it is the bottom line problem with modernity in affluent countries. What should we all find meaning in? It doesn't have to be the same thing for all of us. As I said, for some there's no need for it at all. But for most there is.

The easiest and most common is having children. But even that is declining in the affluent (and really entire) world.

I'm not sure I buy that theory, on two counts. First, drug use has always been high in those regions--moonshine, for example. Second, I'm not sure they have a culture of individualism, Folks I've met in those areas (especially the hard drug-users) tend to be more geared towards clans than the individual.

The rotary press dunnit. Starting about 1822 with the inventor magazine schematics and mechanical drawings became widely available, then came parts standardization with industry order books. Trade group journals were strong by 1870.

Once steam and rotary press were combined then industrialization was available to every garage mechanic.

Somewhat in the same vein, Daniel Okent wrote one of my favorite baseball books, Nine Innings -- an apparent stream of consciousness touching on the astounding variety of people needed to bring you even the most run-of-the-mill Major League game.

Ooops, it's Daniel Okrent. (Haven't had my coffee yet!)

Thanks. I will check it out.

"Andy understands that working solely for the sake of others can be demeaning and degrading."

My first thought is, who does the laundry in your house? I hope the Tabarroks do not operate on an internal piece rate economy.

Branching out from there, I wonder if you participate in any kind of religion, and if you hope your pastor is in it for the money?

Basically a whole lot of the world runs on non-financial motivation.

I mean why doesn't the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff demand $5 million a year? Why would a guy assume he did, as his motivation?

I think we accept that service members have other motivation.

That's it! A very practical solution - everyone will work just for the love of humanity. And then just take what they need from the common production. What could possibly go wrong?

"My first thought is, who does the laundry in your house?"

In the very same paragraph Alex makes clear he is not referring to work done for family and friends with the line "...Beyond a few special relationships"

Also, do you have the impression that pastor's are volunteer workers? I can promise you that is not the case.

It may be that the JCS could make more money elsewhere, but at a shade under $200,000, he is not starving.

It's almost as if people have different, complicated motivations for the things they do.

'Beyond a few special relationships'

Except as less than perfectly illustrated above when talking about mothers, those 'few' special relationships encompass pretty much the entirety of human history, including those tens of thousands of years where the idea of a market would be meaningless.

We do not exist because of the free market, nor because our mothers avoided the demeaning and degrading work of working solely for the benefit of someone else.

"My first thought is, who does the laundry in your house? "

That's a willful misreading. Alex contrasts 'working solely for others' with 'working for himself and his loved ones'. Doing your family's laundry clearly falls in the second category. And nor does performing paid work primarily for the paycheck in any way preclude other kinds of activities (hobbies, volunteering) done for other reasons and without pay. There's also no reason to think he disapproves of people choosing occupations for a mixture of monetary and non-monetary rewards.

"There's also no reason to think he disapproves of people choosing occupations for a mixture of monetary and non-monetary rewards."

I think a lot of people missed this.

Its a weird point then - even Communists and indentured servants get salaries, so who exactly does he exclude?

I will answer once for everyone above.

Alex did attempt to contrast between his atomic family and the entire rest of society. That is why I went from there to church, to the commitment and sacrifice of our military. If you look around today, I think you will see much more than "atomic families against the world."

But more generally I hope you're all aware of the research on family strength and civil society. Atomic families are good, and extended family safety nets are better. But I have heard it argued that when family relationships become too clannish they actually stand in the way of strong societies and nation building.

Anyway, as I say, look around. I think you will see that people are different, and different people choose different careers based on different ratios of altruism and self-interest.

'Alex did attempt to contrast between his atomic family and the entire rest of society.'

Not really, though one is welcome to have that interpretation from what he actually wrote - 'Beyond a few special relationships, to make doing for others one’s primary motive is undignified and subservient.'

Basically, even Prof. Tabarrok has to deal with the reality that basically every one who has been either a child or a parent is fully aware of just how those 'special' relationships are actually fairly universal, shared by essentially all humans through human history.

'Beyond a few special relationships, to make doing for others one’s primary motive is undignified and subservient.'

This was the bridge too far, and it is odd coming from a principal of Marginal Revolution University.

Thank you for your service, Alex.

(And thank you Sal Khan, and Jimmy Wales, and many more.)

Yes, and you are either too stupid to get Tabarrok's point (that personal relationships like family are not what he's talking about) or intentionally polluting and mistaking it to be an asshole. So which is it, are you stupid or an asshole? Obviously you could be both.

'that personal relationships like family are not what he's talking about'

Except that 'personal relationships' (which is not what he wrote, by the way - apparently, friendship is something else basically excluded in Prof. Tabarrok's scheme) are not involved in the biological reality of bearing children. A reality that predates the market by tens of thousands of years. A market that would not exist without all of that demeaning and degrading work.

OK, both. Noted.

"'special' relationships are actually fairly universal, shared by essentially all humans through human history."

So you're arguing that there are no special relationships, and that every relationship between any person ever is the same as the relationship between a mother and a child? And therefore everybody is altruistic and nobody acts in their own self-interest?

Even if that is your actual point (which is a very dumb point), why does it matter? The fact remains that a lot of people *think* they are acting in their own self-interest, and the results are still positive for the world when that happens. So your point (which no-one buys anyway) is inconsequential and you can shutup now.

Or to put it differently, "climate scientists are only in it for the money" might be a somewhat limited vision of motivations and the world.

Indeed: they probably want political power too.

Have you never met anyone who worked to satisfy their own curiosity? To develop skills or knowledge out of love for some subject? To search for truth?

If you have missed, or avoided, those people all your life .. that strikes me as a loss in itself.

And it must limit your ability to believe anyone. How do you know if you need that operation, if the doctor and that Presbyterian hospital, are just in it for the money?


Maybe I should have skipped the above. No one really believed this "scientists lie about climate for big bux" b.s. - it is just marching orders.

It is the lie *you* have been conscripted to tell.

This comment is a unique brand of stupid.

Well, arguing against complete stupidity is hard. It is like swinging at air.

I mean, what is the underlying generality that dearieme is proposing?

That we should simply reject any science we feel .. well that's kind of it ..

We should reject any science we feel an objection to?

And anyone who doesn't buy in to the arbitrary rejection of science is being arbitrary?

Hell of a logical framework you got there.

Ah, yes.

The science of dismantling nuclear power plants as fast as possible while screaming about carbon emissions.

Tell us more, Dr. Science.

That is a policy difference, separate from the science.


As always, you miss the point.

If it were about science, then we have a technical solution ready to implement.

If it’s more akin to abortion and a sacred vs profane mindset, then the appeal to Science TM is a red herring.

The anti-abortion people don’t make the leap to free IUDs for the poor; the climate hawks refuse nuclear power.

Same bullshit. Religion, not science.

Dumb answer.

Climate change is a multiple variable problem, to say the least. There are consumption patterns. There are energy sources. There are carbon efficiencies of fuels. There are user side efficiencies. There are carbon sinks.

There are no silver bullets, and to say "anyone serious must use my silver bullet" is particularly asinine.

By the way, if you are serious about nuclear, are *you* going to outlaw internal combustion cars?

Probably not, because it is probably just a canard.

FWIW, Scientific American's Sept. 2018 issue has several articles which attempt to explain why it is that we've evolved into the "collective welfare conscious" species that we are. (I found their arguments (and evidence (and theories)) unpersuasive, hand-wavy and logic chopping; but maybe that's just me...(not that SciAm is known for its presentation of rigorous arguments...) but perhaps a place to start) Although I gotta say, if this is the best thinking on the subject, perhaps there is good evidence for the existence of God.

It is easy to see in broad strokes, by comparing humans to other species which spend their life and greater isolation.

This same ''in regards to their own interest'' mindset that we can use to create a better society. Make a system where a better society is in any one-individual's self-interest. Solution: nationshares. When every citizen owns resellable shares of equity in their commodified society/State, they will suddenly all care about the same thing: the market value of those nationshares. Just stipulate that most of your wealth has to be in these nationshares and they become the primary and universal focus of the entire country.

When every citizen owns resellable shares of equity in their commodified society/State, most will sell and spend. some will buy and save and soon things will be back to normal.
How many will it be necessary to kill to get the resellable shares?

One, they would only sell if the society sucks to invest in. Two, only the ones who don't care about society will sell. Three, there would be a minimum nationshare mandate; nationshare-holders wouldn't be allowed to sell below a certain amount, like 90% unless they left the country first.

>Each person’s life is their own.

And yet you believe that their bodies are property of the State, to be seized upon death by default, unless people "opt out."

So... your sincerity is in question.

And you believe corpses are equal to a life, so your intelligence is not in question. We know it's lacking.

that's why we hate Canada
идти увидеть Джон Прайн 3 декабря в маяк театра 2124 Бродвей в Нью-Йорке, Нью-Йорке.

он поднимет вам настроение

Commerce is just formalized communication. It facilitates people evaluating their own preferences and communicating them clearly and in commonly accepted units of measurement. Communication and exchange are essential for human relationships. There are some relationships wherein the give and take is negotiated without the aid of market trappings, lovely. But if you've ever done something for someone at great cost to your self that turns out not to be valued by the other person the way your prior predicted, you've wasted human capital which is demeaning and degrading and many other undesirable things.

I once flew home for Christmas and it was cheaper to fly into LaGuardia. My mother lived much closer to Newark. She picked me up at the airport graciously but asked me to fly into Newark next time. She basically told me picking me up at the cheapest airport was more expensive for her than I may have realized and implicitly asked me to justify her increased cost or change my process to externalize less. All economics. I thanked her for the ride and the communication.

Families trade all the time. If doing this tacitly breaks down, appealing to an economic framework explicitly often helps.

Too much moralizing in these comments.

May any power listening save us from sophomoric discussion of the fulfilling meaning of human life with economics professors who are, on the general record of their output, woefully inadequate to the task.

Tabarrok's blog post about that morning cup of coffee struck me as a contrast to Cowen's blog post about gene editing. Which is more important: coffee or gene editing. People will believe anything, including gene editing. I know coffee (I have coffee every morning) and I believe gene editing is ridiculous, about as ridiculous as block chain. All those comments to Cowen's blog post pretty much confirmed the commenters' belief they came from the right gene pool. I don't know about gene pools or which ones the commenters came from, but I do know a good cup of coffee. Made and enjoyed at home not in some fabricated coffee shop with over-sugared, over-priced coffee.

so if a sumbody u know has a fatal/degenerative genetic disease that can be fixed by gene editing
how cum gene editing is ridiculous?
no comas los doritos de naranja tóxica.
Pruebe el taco de desayuno de curry de cabra infantil yoga.

Nice. Bought. I don't want to scare anyone, but I also pray in the morning.

A. J. Jacobs should be most thaanksful for those who pay him so much money he can afford the indulgence oof having coffee in the morning thanks to the actual production of workers paid far less than he for producing and delivering goods that can be consumed.

Nothing A. J. Jacobs produces is consumed. At best it's rented momentarily. Yet he's paid far more than any of those in the value chain that delivered the coffee, any of them missing in the chain means no coffee.

As more fossil fuels are burned, the farmer tending the bushes and picking the fruits may cease production due to higher temperatures and drying conditions stopping the bushes from prroducing fruits. Then no coffee gets produced with that flavor profile.

Or a government is elected that rejects traditional farming in favor of mining that rips apart the mountains, removing the native people's by force in the process. After all, copper, iron, etc, are not consumed, but rented for a few weeks to decades depending on being in tin cans or autos or machines. Much more profit in renting metals than renting land that produces fruits that become coffee or pure cold streams that become Pacific Salmon.

Some measured, reasonable thoughts.

I'm thankful I didn't suffer whatever childhood trauma Alex suffered or inherit whatever sociopathic gene he inherited so I don't find a life of service to others to be demeaning.

Wow. An economist suggests people should be thankful for the market system that has brought untold prosperity and convenience to billions. And ungrateful commentators prove that they can not only take all of this for granted, but they can use the advanced electronic tools other self-interested people have created to crap all over the person who dares remind them of the benefits they take for granted. With a surprisingly few exceptions. Thanks Alex for casting your pearls despite the abundance of ungrateful non-self-interested swine populating this little commentariat.

I'll drink a coffee to that.

I also pray as soon as I always wake up in the morning. Cheers!

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