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A Quick Note on Displacement and Morality

America has a lot of internal migration. She also has limits on housing supply. The upshot is that sometimes, high-wage internal migrants displace the locals. Lefties have gotten very upset about this in recent years, decrying “gentrification”. But that leaves us with a bit of a puzzle: if gentrification is so bad for natives, why…

The Laws of Law

Over the the last four to five hundred years, something very special has happened: Law won. In America, we tend to see the law as the dowdy chaperone of the frontiersman. We see her sensible office shoes following in the spurred footsteps of the cowboy, pushing the roughnecks and cavaliers further and further across the…

No, the Logic in Dobbs does not Reverse Obergefell

[Note: the post below is a legal argument for why the logic in the Dobbs opinion does not overturn Obergefell or Griswold and the other cases defended by “privacy rights”, despite some cheeky rhetoric in the opinion. I wrote it because I saw smart people, including Erwin Chemerinsky, who said that it would. This seemed…

The Post that was Promised

In my last post I said that real wages for a given class of income have fallen in hyperdense cities since 2000 due to rising rents, and that professional class real incomes there are much lower than in other cities. If you haven’t read that one, read it first because here I’m just going to…

A Tale of Two (Maybe Eight) Cities

American life has gotten worse for the young professional classes since 1995-2000. Here is how we know. In a simple model of rational agents maximizing consumption, the direct implication is that life elsewhere has also declined. This simple model is basically correct. Let me explain: People have to choose between living in a hyper-dense city…

Ranked List of All Books I Read Since 2020

Ding-dong, booklist! Like last year, this is a purely objective ranking of the books I read in Anno Domini 2021. The original languages are (English) Greek, French, Russian, Italian, Latin, and Pirate. The forms include the novel, the play, history, philosophical essays, and self-help. The chronological range is slightly more than two thousand years. Naturally,…

Amtrak Sucks; Publics are Terrible at Choice.

The other day, I spent $312 dollars on a short distance train ticket. This is because the congress of the United States is a scoundrel and a thief. Let me explain. Every year, Amtrak makes a loss and has to be subsidized by the federal government. However, one part of AmTrak lessens the blow: the…

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that America exists. America was created in quite a bloody way, like all countries (except Belgium) and like all the great American states that predated it, but today we’re a rich happy country that’s nice to live in. People have been down on America recently, and are even feeling bad about…

Oh the Humanities!

There’s an old quote, I think from Megan McArdle, that media criticism dominates blogging, and the reason is because it’s easy. I am about to indulge in some media criticism. Forgive me; my only defense is that the medium being criticized is almost philosophy, and criticism of philosophy is almost philosophy itself, so this is…

How Far can Bentham Carry us?

What is the good life? From that, what is the right way to live? One might propose that both of those questions have more or less the same answer. That is: the good life is having something we are going to call “happiness” and the right way to live is to cause the most happiness…

How the Woke were Awoken

[Edit: Looking back on this, I think I undersell the role of the internet in fostering distrustful and anti-institutional politics. It has such a tendency to pull back hoods, and outrage is the handmaiden of virality. So, take the below as a hypothesis for why one distrustful politic emerged where it did, not a general…

I Come to Bury Tests, not to Praise Them

The University of California just announced it will be going test blind. That means, even if you submit ACT or SAT scores; they’re going right in the shredder. Some people are very upset. Obviously, the first order effect is that they will be more easily able to discriminate against Asians without running afoul of Proposition…

What isn’t regulatory arbitrage?

If you were walking down the street in New York, Boston, or London in 1985 after having been in the rainforest since 1970, a number of things would jump out at you.  Put aside for the moment that in New York, you would notice that everything had gone to seed, while in London you would…

Against Monty Hall

The Monty hall problem is easy and simple, and does not deserve the deep confusion it has engendered. I am going to explain the problem, its two solutions, and the situations where they are true, such that a child could understand, in the span of 700 words (two pages of print). Starting… Now. You are…

Against Thiel

Call me crazy, but I think Democracy is probably a good thing. There are clever theories for it’s not. Burke and Hobbes, Polybius, Plato; it may have even  been the Take that Cancelled Socrates. I don’t think this is insane; senators tend to be a lot less annoying than congressmen, and part of this is…

Three Theses on Housing

The Northeastern housing market is weird in a lot of ways. By, “Northeastern” I mean, “anywhere that land value is most of the cost of housing”. So: New York, Boston, DC, California, Chicagoland, Cascadia, Connecticut, New Jersey, and increasingly Pittsburgh, Austin, and Miami. These are not normal markets. They are usually described as, “high cost…

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I write this blog for my own pleasure. I don’t see why you would want to read it, but if you do, make sure not to get upset.

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