Intellectual boxing matches

Source: Flikr Creative Commons I moderated a discussion list on macroeconomic history back in the late 1990s. I volunteered because I thought it would be fun and I’d learn something.  And I did, until a few members started flaming each other, encouraging more participants to join in, and ruined the entire enterprise for me.  It seemed to me then, and now, that participants enjoyed engaging in a … [Read more...]

Railroad lessons for the new Panama Canal

  The New Panama Canal: A Risky Bet takes a detailed look at how construction and technological problems plague the project. This passage caught my eye: In simple terms, to be successful, the new canal needs enough water, durable concrete and locks big enough to safely accommodate the larger ships. On all three counts, it has failed to meet expectations, according to dozens of … [Read more...]

No, we shouldn’t go back to the gold standard

Source: Flikr Creative Commons I usually wake up to the sound of NPR's Morning Edition. Today, I got a rude awakening hearing the story, "Trump Favors Returning To The Gold Standard, Few Economists Agree."  Jim Zarroli does a nice job presenting the issue in a calm, "on the one hand, on the other hand" manner. I'll be more blunt: going back to the gold standard is a terrible idea.  I wrote … [Read more...]