Production Possibility Frontiers: Entering (and Exiting) a Discovery Void

After technological innovation multiplies, might the pace of discovery slow down? Think of the history of antibiotics. Starting with the Sulfa drugs that were first discovered during the 1930s, the new antibiotic timeline is congested until 1962. Yes, recently, new antibiotics classes were introduced.…

The Significance of the Frisbee

The story of the Frisbee begins in a backyard during a Thanksgiving dinner in 1937. Fred Morrison and his girlfriend Lucile “Lu” Nay were tossing a  popcorn-tin lid when they switched to a cake pan because it had better aerodynamics.…

Would Adam Smith Have Supported a Higher Minimum Wage?

Because it would be wonderful if we all knew Adam Smith, I was delighted that President Obama quoted him in a recent speech. However, Smith’s relevance to a minimum wage boost is a bit of a leap. Discussing economic mobility, the…

Do You Like the GDP?

Having just come across the “Better Life Index,” I started thinking about Ed Koch, a former mayor of NYC who often asked everyone, “How am I doing?” Here are some thoughts about how to measure how well we are doing. The…

Aspirational Pecans

Our story starts with the walnut. Loved in China, and always cheaper than pecans, during 2007, suddenly, the walnut became relatively expensive. Following the law of demand, Chinese consumers bought fewer walnuts and more pecans. And that was when they…

A Very Good Teaching Company Course

Driving to and from NYC, I have been listening to Part 2 of “America and the New Global Economy,” a Teaching Company course. Interesting in every way, the professor, Timothy Taylor, combines a general economic overview with great specific stories…