Economics is sometimes associated with the study and defense of selfishness and material inequality, but it has an egalitarian and civil libertarian core that should be celebrated.
The way to make the world a better place, through your eating, is simply to eat a bit less meat. Local is sometimes good, sometimes bad. But even when it's good, its environmental impact is relatively small compared to other possible improvements.
I think as individuals, people overrate the virtues of local food. Most of the energy consumption in our food system is not caused by transportation. Sometimes local food is more energy efficient. But often it's not. The strongest case for locavorism is to eat less that's flown on planes, and not to worry about boats.
France has not only built a bureaucratic barrier against American culture, it has constructed a notorious intellectual case against it as well. The French spend hundreds of millions of dollars subsidizing film production, extend interest-free loans to designated filmmakers, and have placed quotas not only on imports but on television time.
The iPhone is made on a global scale, and it blends computers, the Internet, communications, and artificial intelligence in one blockbuster, game-changing innovation. It reflects so many of the things that our contemporary world is good at - indeed, great at.
At least in the United States, most economic resentment is not directed toward billionaires or high-roller financiers - not even corrupt ones. It's directed at the guy down the hall who got a bigger raise. It's directed at the husband of your wife's sister, because he earns 20 percent more than you do.
In chess, computers show that what we call 'strategy' is reducible to tactics, ultimately. It only looks creative to us. They are still just glorified cash registers. This should make us feel uncomfortable, whether or not we think computers will ever be good composers of music or artistic painters.
Often, economists spend their energies squabbling with one another, but arguably the more important contrast is between our broadly liberal economic worldview and the various alternatives - common around the globe - that postulate natural hierarchies of religion, ethnicity, caste and gender, often enforced by law and strict custom.
Economics evolved as a more moral and more egalitarian approach to policy than prevailed in its surrounding milieu. Let's cherish and extend that heritage. The real contributions of economics to human welfare might turn out to be very different from what most people - even most economists - expect.
What I would like to vote for is a candidate that is socially liberal, a fiscal conservative, broadly libertarian with a small 'l' but sensible and pragmatic and with a chance of winning. That's more or less the empty set.
When you look at the actual data on technological innovation, one thing you see is that what I call the 'low-hanging fruit' has been exhausted. So radio, flush toilets, electricity, and automobiles - a lot of very basic inventions - have spread to almost all households.
A bad or mediocre meal is more than just an unpleasant taste, it is an unnecessary negation of one of life's pleasures - a wasted chance to refine our palates, learn about the world, and share a rewarding experience.
Sports is remarkably cognitive. I think it's underrated just how smart it is. Actually, if I had more time, I would spend more time with sports. Watching it, reading about it, I think it's oddly underrated.
In the early stages of negotiation software, on your smartphone, there may be programs that listen to the pitch of a voice, or that test for stress. You'll just ask the program, 'Was he lying? Was he eager to do business with me?' Maybe the computer will be right sixty per cent of the time.
I think higher ed in the U.S. is fairly healthy, and by global standards it dominates, and it makes people more productive. But a lot of our K-12 is a disaster. And the single most important reform would just be to fire the worst ten or 15 percent of teachers in the lot, and we would have massive improvements.
If we want to improve American food and make it much cheaper, we should deregulate the food trucks and the other street vendors, provided they meet certain sanitation standards. Many cities have already moved down this path, and people are not keeling over with salmonella.
In truth, it's not the shareholders of the American International Group who benefited most from its bailout; they were mostly wiped out. The great beneficiaries have been the creditors and counterparties at the other end of A.I.G.'s derivatives deals - firms like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale, Barclays and UBS.
Most restaurants in most cities, including Washington, are at a sort of mid-level. They're somewhat trendy, or they have some sort of gimmick, or they're somewhat expensive. And they make a lot of money off drinks. I tell people don't go to most of them, unless your goal is just to socialize.
I'm not a vegetarian. But I think people who are vegetarians, they are actually more virtuous than the rest of us. I think they should be admired.
The 'low' quality of many American films, and of much American popular culture, induces many art lovers to support cultural protectionism. Few people wish to see the cultural diversity of the world disappear under a wave of American market dominance.