Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

No More Noma

No More Noma Eating is a necessity and can be a great pleasure.  It also has a symbolic dimension in every culture.  In the long history of European civilization, going back at least to the Romans, it has been a form of status distinction, allowing the elites at the top to display their separation from […]

Extending Capital to Nature, Reducing Nature to Capital

Extending Capital to Nature, Reducing Nature to Capital The Biden administration has announced it is inaugurating a program to incorporate the value of natural resources and ecological services into national income accounts.  The New York Times article reporting this development predictably portrays the response as divided between two camps: on the one side are environmentalists, who think […]

Herb Gintis, 1940-2023

Herb Gintis, 1940-2023 Peter Dorman @ Econospeak My dissertation chair, Herb Gintis, died yesterday in Northampton, Mass.  We didn’t stay in touch after I graduated—our interests and perspectives diverged—but I will always appreciate what he gave of himself at a difficult time in my life. After my first dissertation went awry (don’t ask!), Herb, who […]

The Political Economy of Effective Altruism

The Political Economy of Effective Altruism by Peter Dorman @ EconoSpeak Back in the day, I used to give talks on child labor.  I would always begin by saying that boycotts and shaming of corporations, while understandable as an emotional response, were unlikely to do much for the world’s children.  This was because very little […]

The Anti-Racism of Fools

Peter Dorman at Econospeak The Anti-Racism of Fools Antisemitism has long been intermingled with movements against injustice and elite control.  This is because the most widespread image in the mind of antisemites is the existence of a secretive cabal of Jews who control global finance and promote liberal-sounding ideas only because it serves their nefarious […]

Patagonia: Life Imitates Theory

“Patagonia: Life Imitates Theory,” Econospeak by Peter Dorman  When Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, completed the transfer of that company’s ownership to an environmental trust fund, it was front-page news across the country.  It came as something less than a shock to me, however, because I had described a very similar structure in a paper I […]

In Ukraine, Use the Weapon the Russians Can’t Match

In Ukraine, Use the Weapon the Russians Can’t Match It’s nowhere near as expensive as it sounds, and much more humane: offer every Russian soldier who defects $100,000 and the right to settle in any EU/North American country of their choice.  It might not work, especially if Russia uses deadly force against soldiers who lay […]