In a piece on social desirability bias (our tendency to be in favor of things that sound good, while not actually doing them), Bryan Caplan asserts that Steven Landsburg would say something like this:
X being good is a reason to do a lot of X - not a reason to do more X.
I’m reminded of the reductio ad absurdum in Monty Python’s series of Dennis Moore sketches. Dennis is a highwayman who steal from the rich to give to the poor … until the rich are no longer rich, and the poor are no longer poor.
We see this a lot in things like policy proposals to help senior citizens financially. Except that seniors are the richest age group. But no one wants to make the distinction that helping Grandma a lot is not the same thing as helping Grandma more than we already do. Perhaps we ought to help Grandma a lot, but less than we actually do. It’s kind of ridiculous if you think about it: we’re so biased we can’t actually even ask if Grandma’s doing OK as it is.
It’s about what people thought sex was like when they barely knew what it was … pretty much in early middle school.
FWIW: I sometimes regale parents of children about how one of my kids got “the talk”: trapped with Dad in a truck driving cross-country, just after we’d gotten gas so there’d be no stops for a couple of hours. Madison, Wisconsin will never be the same for that kid.
BTW: I got lost in Madison during “the talk”. Apparently my focus was elsewhere too.
There’s an interesting idea here for teaching about technological advancement in macroeconomics classes. After thousands of years of a binary code being less efficient, along comes intentional transmission of signals with electricity requiring a brand new language with less characters. It’s a good thing the mathematicians were doing basic research without practical applications, instead of only learning what they’d need to know on the job.
I came across all 4 of these in local newspapers one sitting in early July.
I’m sorry that he died, but if it was me I would’ve had my name changed.
I live in rural southwestern Utah. We have polygamists around here, mostly from this guy’s hometown. They can have unusual names, but the last paragraph is a doozy.
I probably shouldn’t find amusement in a baby’s name, but I heard a preschooler called by the name “Remedy” last week too, so I guess it’s a thing. Then there’s this one’s three names:
Now for a little economics. I think many people who are not economists think that if you give a person an unusual name, that this is probably not helpful to their life prospects. At a naïve correlation level, this is true. But when you dig deeper, the story becomes more nuanced. It turns out that you and I aren’t prejudiced against odd names at all (at least in terms of the measurable financial outcomes of the person with the odd name). So why do people with unusual first names have worse lifetime financial outcomes? It turns out that it’s the skill set of the parents: parents possessing fewer valuable life skills to impart to their children are more likely to choose unusual names for them. So, in some sense, the damage is done before the name is chosen. Rand Dee had the good sense to choose more reasonable names for his children than Jay Sun, Brad Lee, Camn Ron, Kenn Dell, and Fred Rick … but it may not have mattered if they stayed in Hildale.
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