Category Archives: Economics

THE REJECTION OF THE WHIG THEORY OF HISTORY.

THE REJECTION OF THE WHIG THEORY OF HISTORY. When I was a college student some fifty years ago, the Whig Theory of History seemed to be dominant. This wikipedia entry defines the theory as: “an approach to historiography that presents … Continue reading

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WAS IT A GREAT MISTAKE FOR HUMANS TO BECOME FARMERS?

WAS IT A GREAT MISTAKE FOR HUMANS TO BECOME FARMERS? Professor James Scott has a new book out, AGAINST THE GRAIN, A DEEP HISTORY OF THE EARLIEST STATES, in which he argues that the discovery and adoption of agriculture by … Continue reading

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CREATING A SMELL FOR A HOTEL.

CREATING A SMELL FOR A HOTEL. Scott McCartney had an article in the Wall Street Journal (November 9) about efforts hotels are making to create a pleasing smell to associate with their brand. McCartney quotes the description of the Holiday … Continue reading

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HOW AN AIRLINE CUT COSTS.

HOW AN AIRLINE CUT COSTS. Nick sent me a link to this article on the Gizmodo site by Tom McKay about how: “Switching its in-flight magazine Hemisphere to a lighter variety of paper that saved an ounce a copy has … Continue reading

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MY EFFORTS TO REPLACE A SET OF STEPS.

MY EFFORTS TO REPLACE A SET OF STEPS. Salvataier’s essay about building things with his brother brought back memories. There came a summer when my mother decided that my brother Elmer and I could and should replace some steps to … Continue reading

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BUILD A SET OF STEPS.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BUILD A SET OF STEPS. One of Katja Grace’s initial observations is that: “Inventions are usually more ingenious than they seem”. She links to this blog post by John Salvatier, who supports the proposition … Continue reading

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SOME PROPOSED EXPLANATIONS FOR WHY IT TOO SO LONG TO INVENT ROPE.

SOME PROPOSED EXPLANATIONS FOR WHY IT TOOK SO LONG TO INVENT ROPE. Katja Grace received a large number of proposed answers to her question. She summarized them here three days after she posed it (link via Marginal Revolution). The first … Continue reading

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WHAT IF I HAD HAD TO INVENT ROPE?

WHAT IF I HAD HAD TO INVENT ROPE? I have said for years that if human progress had required that I invent rope or the wheel, it would never have happened. Technological progress has depended on people who are “handy”, … Continue reading

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WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG TO INVENT ROPE?

WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG TO INVENT ROPE? Katja Grace posed a great question here on her Meteuphoric blog (December 28, 2017): “One of the biggest intuitive mysteries to me is how humanity took so long to do anything. … Continue reading

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ALGORITHMS SENDING TRAFFIC TO BUSY STREETS.

ALGORITHMS SENDING TRAFFIC TO BUSY STREETS. Rick Paulas describes here what is happening to traffic all around the country: “All that extra traffic down previously empty streets has created an odd situation in which cities are constantly playing defense against … Continue reading

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