The Naked Sale

The pervasive problem of absence of information on sellers admits only of a government fix. Only government can extract seller information and present it to consumers in a way that maximizes consumer welfare. Buyers can try to unite, but sellers will never volunteer information. Only an agent wielding the scissors of the law can lay […]

The Numeracy of Thought

For the humanist, the mathematical rubber hits the road of thought when she understands that almost all of her supposedly qualitative thought, particularly as it relates to the economy, involves ranking or statements of magnitude. “Invading Iraq set the country back to the stone age,” for example, is the statement that Iraq now has fewer […]

Progress

When other stars were reached, their civilizations were found to be in various stages of partial industrialization, at levels roughly comparable to those enjoyed on earth in the 18th century.  Further examination revealed that this had been brought about in all cases by government fiat. It was for this reason that the stars had failed […]

Confidence

You think you have made a discovery and are filled with joy.  Later, you discover that you were wrong, but the mistake eventually leads to a genuine insight, accompanied not so much by euphoria as satisfaction.  Confidence seems to hold these steps together.  Believing you have discovered gives you the mental power for actual discovery.  […]

The Confidence of Metaphor

Metaphor lives in film today more than in literature.  Father Berrigan writes that he and his brother stand like the fences of abandoned farms. Like it.  Why didn’t he just write a poem about the fences of abandoned farms? Because he feared that no one would get it. It is much easier to imagine a […]

Flattening is the Point

Akira Kurosawa placed his cameras as far as possible from the action in Ran, using zoom lenses to capture it, creating the illusion of a two dimensional world. I sometimes thought that perspective and the illusion of three dimensionality make Western painting superior to all other painting.  But that is crass. Three dimensionality is our […]