I have been reading Thomas Cathcart’s, “The Trolley Problem or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge”. This is one of two popular book length accounts of this well-known problem in ethics. It’s a fun read that taught me a lot about utilitarianism and its problems. Many books on moral philosophy are dull and dense – this isn’t that.
Articles from Harry Clarke
I enjoyed and (I hope) personally profited from Roy Baumeister & John Tierney’s Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. The link gives a better book review than I could hope to write but this a special book.
It is incorrect to simply say (as Clive Hamilton does) that Chinese purchases of Australian homes disadvantage Australians because local consumers have to pay more for their homes. The error lies in considering only the consumer surplus losses to local consumers but not recognising the gains in seller surplus to local sellers and the latter must be larger.
I am going to a talk organised by ACIl Allen Consulting tomorrow on “Counting the Costs of Alcohol”. The main point made in their initial discussion paper is that some people believe the gross costs of alcohol should be targeted while others think that only the external costs should be included. This is a very old debate so I hope something new comes out.
I get The Guardian weekly and, over recent months, it has run an excellent serious of articles on global water (especially groundwater) shortages. I know a bit about the situation in China and India but the problems faced by California and the Middle East are also huge. The situation is grim and could lead to military conflicts.
Bob Solow comments on Greg Mankiw’s defence of the “1%” ers and Mankiw replies. I think Solow wins the day – most of the big fortunes these days stem from the finance sector and from trading. It is not from super-marketing, deal-making types like Steve Jobs (Mankiw’s hero) although even there are spivy oh so American traits.