Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Publications, May

I'm back to spreading my writing around a little more, after some weeks with a heavy focus on covid-19 and AIER.

Hands-down the coolest thing that happened this month was that I was cited, by name in the Financial Times! In an article about cities and the coronavirus, Camilla Cavendish in her column at the FT named me and linked my Sweden-article from a few months back:

Because of it, I was cited in a whole bunch of echo sites in numerous languages. My poor monitoring service went bananas.

Otherwise, here's a round-up of published material:

  • [2] The Rousseauian Myth of a Passenger Pigeon, where I discuss the iconic environmental-decline story of the Passenger Pigeon - the vast natural bounty of North America that mankind in its hunt for forests and riches destroyed. Apparently, that's not the full story! The passenger pigeon was, when colonists started to notice it, an "outbreak population" - a symptom of an ecosystem in complete disarray, as the previously dominant species on the continent (Native Americans) had been eradicated with disease and with colonial warfare. Nothing was left to keep a check on passenger pigeons, and so they multiplied unsustainably. 
    • [4] 'Matt Ridley on Innovation', my review of the great Matt Ridley's latest book How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom. No words left: just read it. 
    • [5] 'Governments Don’t Have Magic Wands To Ward off Asymmetric Information', where I discuss some reasons for why the "asymmetric information bogeyman is a pretty weak concept. 
    • [6] 'There Will Be No New Bitcoin Man', where I attacked some ideas that prominent bitcoiners often advance. In the Brave New World that bitcoin will remake from the ashes of fiat money bubbling central banks (yes, sarcasm), we will 1) spend less, save more, and use debt less carelessly, 2) be much less bothered by price uncertainty and so be happy to have prices for rents or our wages fluctuate as do portfolio balances:
      "bitcoiners believe that if we just had a better monetary regime, fallen men would see the errors of their fiat ways and reestablish some long-lost monetary Eden"
    That strikes me as unlikely. Fiat monetary regimes are to blame for many things, but not those (or at least not single-handedly). 
    "meat is not the greatest threat to the climate; meat is not a uniform category of emissions, strictly dominated by vegetarian (or vegan) diets; livestock are not a horror, easily and prudently replaced by fields of soy and corn. But ideologues have no patience with nuances like that. It’s “go vegan” or “go home.” It doesn’t matter much what the facts are, as long as The Cause is advanced."
      "If you want to be the one to make decisions about the use of a resource, we have an established system for that: tradeable property rights; If you want to decide whether a plot of land is farmed, deforested, or subdivided for real estate, you must first buy the land. If the archeologists and activists and Aboriginal tribes value the site more than the money offered, giving up the dough is a great gain for them.
    Altogether a pretty good month, with quality and breadth, over quantity concentrated to single outlets. 

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