Beliefs and politics

Somewhere off in a different part of the internet, I’ve been getting stick for the following comment:

I guess what I’m trying to say is that liberals care about people too. We believe fervently in the power of individual decisions to bring about good outcomes for everyone. We see tremendous potential in human beings – potential that requires little more than freedom to express itself. We’re passionate about empowering people to run their own lives. All of these things are deeply idealistic and even quite beautiful.

Although the guy I’m arguing with is just a troll, his objection to my use of “fervently” gave me pause.

What I’d like to see is a Liberal Economist (just once) elaborate the evidential basis for their “fervent” beliefs. It is my considered observation that “fervent” anything rarely ends well for anyone.

He’s wrong, of course. Continue reading

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The right to a job? Let WINZ run the economy

In a discussion recently about defining Left and Right, someone offered the following distinguishing question.

“Does everyone have the right to a job?” Yesses to the left, Noes to the right.

(If that was you, please let me know so I can attribute it properly! I really must learn to include sources in my notes.)

As usual, I want a third option for answering that question. People who choose the “no sensible answer to this question” door are also revealing something about their beliefs.

Continue reading

Why are rugby world cup tickets so expensive?

Stuff last week ran a poll in their sports section that was guaranteed to get any economist excited. It asked, “What would you rate as a fair price for a mediocre seat at the Rugby World Cup final next year?”

Why is that exciting? Because, assuming “fair price” is the same as “willingness to pay” (WTP), the answers to this survey let us observe the demand curve directly. Continue reading