The KC Bloggers' Forum
By Arnold Kling
The videos are here. When you follow the link, you can watch Tyler and/or scroll down to choose other speakers.
In terms of recommendations for videos to watch, I thought that Bryan and Megan gave the must-see presentations. Tyler’s presentation helps explain the tack I took–I basically was trying to re-tell his story with a different spin.
Here is my talk. About 2/3 of the way into it, I try to illustrate a point by dancing. One critic pointed out, “It didn’t look like dancing. It looked like you were just jumping around.” That same critic said she had no idea that I was trying to do the same dance as this chap. Unfortunately, looking at the video of by talk, I would say that my wife’s remarks were on target.
What I was trying to illustrate is that it is possible to have an enjoyable life without earning and spending a whole lot of money. If health care and education are the areas where costs are growing, and if their marginal benefits are in doubt, then if you just get your basic needs met and focus on the enjoyment you get from the stuff that is not so expensive, you can do pretty well without a ton of money.
This means that people might get to be fairly picky about working. If you don’t need the money so much, then it is easy to rule out taking jobs that you see as low-status or unpleasant. But as people make those choices, that will cause social tensions. Here in Missouri, the big story is that the state is refusing to extend unemployment benefits, even though that means turning down Federal money. If work becomes somewhat optional, then the question of how willing the steady workers are to be taxed to support less-steady workers is going to become increasingly important.
Michael Mandel pointed out that the large increase in household debt is not consistent with the basic necessities becoming easier to afford. I have to agree. Something to chew on.