What Do iPhones and Pencils Have in Common?

Whether looking at the supply chain for a pencil or an iPhone 6, we see globalization because price system incentives create cooperation.

Ethical Dilemmas for College Endowments

The closer you look at ethical investing for university endowments, the more you see the tradeoffs. The headline coverage began when Stanford announced it would “not make direct investments in coal mining companies.” Explaining, Stanford’s President John Hennessy said, “Stanford has a responsibility as a global citizen…

One Reason That We Have Nutella

Inside a jar of Nutella you might have a little bit of the Ivory Coast, Turkey, Malaysia, the EU and the US. Processed in the EU, Turkey, Russia, Australia, North or South America, the cocoa and hazelnut spread is then…

Cost and Benefit: Is the Air Ever Too Clean?

Implying that we cannot put a price on environmental responsibility, Maine’s Senator Edmund Muskie (1914-1996) once said, “Can we afford clean water? Can we afford rivers and lakes…which continue to make life possible…?…These questions answer themselves.” A recent article in the…

The Price System: Can You “Pay What You Want?”

In selected cities, Panera Bread is letting you decide what to pay for a bowl of turkey chili. Knowing that that the firm will cover its costs and the rest will go to charity, many people are paying more than…

Election Economics: What To Know For The First Presidential Debate

Presidential debate moderator Jim Lehrer said there would be six 15-minute segments in the first presidential debate on October 3rd. Devoting the entire first half to “the economy,” he will also cover healthcare, the role of government, and “governing.” Like the…

More Recyling Matters

Aluminum recycling is in the news because of a break-up. Together, Alcoa and Novelis (owned by HindalCo, an Indian firm) had been collecting and recycling cans–40 billion last year. But no more. Now, competing for used cans, each firm will…

The Fed Debate

10 years ago, the future Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said to Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, “Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.” What won’t they…

Election Economics: Meeting Paul Ryan’s Economic Muse

People tend to ask, “Who??” when Friedrich von Hayek is named as Paul Ryan’s economic muse. Our purpose right now is to get to know some Hayek basics to see what Ryan brings to the Romney/Ryan candidacy. Austrian born, a…

Remembering Milton Friedman

Split down the middle, opinion about the US economy puts private initiative or government first. Those who place individual enterprise first believe most private income belongs to those who generate it. By contrast, government’s advocates see a growing share of private income as…