By Amy Willis
Until this week, I hadn’t heard of Pokemon Go (I know, I know…But I was on vacation last week.) But apparently, not only is everyone playing it, it’s also “everything that is wrong with global capitalism.” Seriously? The analogy to the bowling alley, for example, I find weak. I doubt all bowling alleys and bowling-related service appeared simultaneously, just as I’m sure Pokemon Go will spawn entrepreneurial opportunities for teenagers in the coming days. And growing regional inequalities? Falling interest rates and slow growth? Hmmm…What do you think?
Markets are characterized by competition, right? Well, not according to this piece in The Guardian. According to the author, “…the belief that the best ideas will always succeed is rather like the faith that unregulated financial markets will always produce the best economic outcomes.” While I’m not interested in the Flat Earth “conspiracy,” this did call to mind one of my favorite articles by Ronald Coase, “The Market for Goods and the Market for Ideas.” For more on Coase, and on his better-known articles, check out this EconTalk episode with Don Boudreaux, this article by columnist Pedro Schwartz, and this EconTalk episode with Coase himself. What’s your favorite from Coase’s oeuvre?
I finally watched both parts of Free to Choose Media’s new documentary on Adam Smith. Emily Skarbek gave a nice account of the film here this spring. Overall, I’m impressed- though more so with the first hour than the second. The first gets more into questions of moral philosophy, as suggested in this LIVE EconTalk episode with Jim Otteson (also featured in the Free to Choose film) and Nobel laureate Vernon Smith. The second hour was a lovely defense of free trade and globalization, but left me wanting a bit more, well, Smith. Have you seen it? Thoughts?
Finally, and for a bit of fun (sort of), this article flashed across my Facebook feed a lot this week. I actually read it. Not sure what this suggests about my potential for going viral…But I do hope you read the links here! 😉