Arnold Kling

The Exuberant Science

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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More examples of economics as the exuberant science. W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm argue that productivity growth enables us to afford more leisure, less pollution, and other elements of a "balanced life."

In the long run, we cannot afford any component of a balanced life -- be it consumption, leisure, easier workdays, safety and security, variety and convenience, or environmental cleanup -- that we donít earn by becoming more productive. When counting our blessings, we should first thank the economic system. Not federal agencies, not advocacy groups, not unions.

Virginia Postrel cites the work of Professor Sala-i-Martin, and reports,

Over the last three decades, and especially since the 1980's, the world's two largest countries, China and India, have raced ahead economically. So have other Asian countries with relatively large populations.

The result is that 2.5 billion people have seen their standards of living rise toward those of the billion people in the already developed countries ó decreasing global poverty and increasing global equality. From the point of view of individuals, economic liberalization has been a huge success.

Discussion Question. If economic liberalization is a simple solution, why is China a success and Argentina a failure?

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