Facts, Values, Economics, and Experience

Economists like to think of much of their work as a scientific description of the world, free of moral or ethical content. The people who write and think about ethics and economics are engaged in normative economics, while those who describe the world as it is practice positive economics.

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry’s fictional novel, Jayber Crow, provides a number of interesting passages that relate well to the major themes of this blog. Jayber is the barber (and church janitor) in Port William, the fictional small Kentucky town that serves as the setting for most of Berry’s fiction.

Economics and A Theory of Moral Sentiment

Making the case that economists should actually read Adam Smith

Adam Smith and 'those who live by profit'

In Adam Smith’s classic book “The Wealth of Nations” he argues that the production of a country can be divided into three parts: the rent of land; the wages of labour; and the profits of stock.


Loneliness increases ones mortality risk by about as much as smoking, and twice as much as obesity. Loneliness has also been rising the U.S., doubling from 20 percent in the 1980s up to 40 percent today.

What I Believe

An account of my view on religion at the time of writing. Also gets into relativism/universalism and what it means for something to be true.

What is Education For?

STEM often (at the undergraduate level) teaches a certain type of thinking, which is a very effective and practical way to solve problems. STEM fields seek answers, while the humanities focus first on training students to ask the correct questions, and to take an extremely broad view of any problem. A lot of damage has been done by narrow, practical solutions. The technology we have is an engineering marvel, and the economic abundance we possess is a tribute to the efficiency of solving practical problems. And yet for all our abundance we still have massive poverty and environmental degradation, as well as a society that is becoming increasingly polarized, distrustful, and distant.

Market Norms are crowding out Social Norms

Market norms differ from social norms and our society has been moving in the direction of embracing market norms even in non-market arenas.

Race in the United States

I do not know what happened between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. No one does. A great deal, however, is known about race in the United States. If, as media reports continue to say, this case raises questions and starts a discussion about race then surely the place to start is with those who have already been asking and answering questions about race for a long time.

Citizens in a Market Driven State

As the state become increasingly market-driven, the meaning of citizenship is changing. From Disciplining the Poor: As the state is privatized, so too are the social problems of the citizenry.