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The false statements of NBC news anchor Brian Williams that were exposed earlier this year have led some memory researchers to announce a "teaching moment." They argue that we should not be too hard on people who don't remember things well because they are doing what many humans do. Memories are imperfect. Economist Richard B. McKenzie agrees that this is a teaching moment. But these memory researchers, he argues, are teaching the exact wrong lesson. Read on.
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Arnold Kling

The Regulator's Calculation Problem

Arnold Kling
April 6, 2015
This month, Arnold Kling reviews Friedman and Kraus's Engineering the Financial Crisis, discussing the problems with the Basel accords leading to the 2008 financial crisis, as well as the problems of economic regulation generally. He closes with optimism regarding the possibility of the emergence of a competitive regulatory system.
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FEATURED COLUMNS

AN ECONOMIST LOOKS AT EUROPE

Pedro Schwartz

Housing Bubbles... and the Laboratory

Pedro Schwartz
April 6, 2015
In this month's column, Pedro Schwartz examines the role of asset bubbles in fluctuations in the business cycle. He takes readers on brief tours of the efficient market hypothesis and the Austrian and Keynesian schools before lighting on the area in which he finds the most hope--experimental economics in the style of Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith.
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THINKING STRAIGHT

n the second part of his examination of Irrelevant Inequalities, Anthony de Jasay argues that the "backstairs and barroom nonsense" surrounding discussion of inequality today remains irrelevant, as such inequality simply cannot be the result of exploitation. Even as billionaires "use up" resources, government redistribution seldom brings benefits to the lower income quintiles. Indeed, de Jasay argues that if left in their own hands, the "resource costs" of the rich lead to capital accumulation, benefiting all. He closes with some modest praise for Thomas Piketty, while simultaneously arguing that Piketty's inequality is also irrelevant "because there is nothing left to be unequal to."
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