David D. Friedman

David D. Friedman - 2017-09-22 - Original post - cached version
I debated him at the Young Americans for Liberty national convention on anarchism vs minarchism. I unfortunately did not record the debate, and YAL didn't either.  It occurred to me that, since nowadays practically everyone has a smartphone which doubles as, among many other things, a recorder,...
David D. Friedman - 2017-08-23 - Original post - cached version

A very long time ago, I wrote some computer programs to go with my price theory textbook. The idea, in each case, was to do something on the computer that could not be done on paper. My favorite was a program I called curvedraw, which let you draw a total cost curve freehand on the computer. As...

David D. Friedman - 2017-06-19 - Original post - cached version

Two cities I have enjoyed visiting and hope to visit again. They are quite a long distance apart and in many ways very different, but they have one thing in common. In both cities, all the architects are crazy.

Not, however, in the same way. Shanghai architects are science fiction crazy...

David D. Friedman - 2017-06-19 - Original post - cached version
It has been very hot in San Jose the last few days. One solution is air conditioning, which we have and sometimes use. The other is to open the windows in the evening, when it cools off, close them in the morning. Sometimes–last night, for instance–that cools the house faster than air conditioning...
David D. Friedman - 2017-06-15 - Original post - cached version
I have just webbed the first draft of the project I have been discussing here, a collection of short works of literature that contain economics with some brief comments by me. Most of the works are available online, so I could do it as a collection of links without first getting copyright...
David D. Friedman - 2017-06-14 - Original post - cached version

I have just webbed the latest draft of the book I have been writing. To give you a quick idea of what's there, here is the table of contents:


1.      Imperial Chinese Law
2.      Romani Law
3.      The Amish
4.      Jewish Law
5.      Islamic Law...

David D. Friedman - 2017-05-21 - Original post - cached version

For people interested in attending, here is the list of the open talks:

Gothenburg, Sweden, May 24, 18:00 CEST "A World of Strong Privacy: Anarcho-Capitalism Online" Allégården, Södra Allégatan 4, Gothenburg Facebook link    Stockholm, Sweden, May 25, 17:00 "The Confederation of Liberal...
David D. Friedman - 2017-05-15 - Original post - cached version
A  link in a recent post on my favorite blog took me to a piece on a recent article from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. It describes a procedure which appears to reverse aging in mice. These are early results, they might be wrong, there might be currently unknown problems, and we...
David D. Friedman - 2017-05-14 - Original post - cached version
My younger son writes, among other things, fiction set in the world of super heroes and super villains. This morning he pointed me at someone else's work in that genre, a novella: Interviewing Leather. I read it. The narrator is a reporter working for a Rolling Stone equivalent in a world with...
David D. Friedman - 2017-05-02 - Original post - cached version
My recent posts here have dealt with my current project of putting together a book of short works of literature that have interesting economic ideas embedded in them. I've gotten suggestions both here and in response to emails that I sent to people who I thought might help. Some of the suggestions...
David D. Friedman - 2017-04-30 - Original post - cached version
At least since I successfully used this blog to get a design for the cover of the third edition of my first book, I have been intrigued with the idea of using the internet as a way of collecting ideas and information. My current project, described in my previous post, is an obvious candidate. I...
David D. Friedman - 2017-04-16 - Original post - cached version
In two previous posts I described my current project to put together a collection of works of literature that teach economics. Inspired in part by comments to those posts, I now have almost half a book's worth and am looking for more. Here is the current list, not necessarily in what will be the...
David D. Friedman - 2017-04-03 - Original post - cached version
A while back, I put up a post about an idea for a book, a collection of works of literature that taught economic ideas. Thanks to comments on that post, my list has expanded from two works to four, with a few other possibles. The purpose of this post is to make what I am looking for clearer and ask...
David D. Friedman - 2017-03-27 - Original post - cached version

Both of the courses I am teaching this year are being video recorded and webbed. It occurred to me that some of my readers might find one or both interesting.

Economic Analysis of Law
Class Page
Book: Late Draft in HTML  Page Images with Virtual Footnotes

David D. Friedman - 2017-03-17 - Original post - cached version
I recently came across a news story which struck me as a good example of how to mislead people, probably for political purposes, without saying anything that was not actually true. The title was "Watch out: Mammals shrink when Earth heats up, study says." The story reported evidence that, at a...
David D. Friedman - 2017-03-11 - Original post - cached version
Certainly there will be taxes that relate to automation. Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d...
David D. Friedman - 2017-03-10 - Original post - cached version
I just came across a letter I wrote to Edith Efron in 1978 on the anarchist/minarchist controversy. It occurred to me that others might find it interesting. I don't remember if she ever answered it. 

But then, I also don't remember writing it.
David D. Friedman - 2017-03-10 - Original post - cached version
One possible interpretation of Trump's actions is that he is ignorant, stupid, impulsive and thin skinned. During the campaign the obvious implication, which many drew, was that he had done and would continue doing stupid things that would lose him the nomination or, if he somehow got the...
David D. Friedman - 2017-03-09 - Original post - cached version
 [Warning: This post assumes the reader understands the Principle of Comparative Advantage. Those who don't will find an explanation here.] Assortative mating is the pattern of like partnering with like. A standard example is the tendency of men with college degrees to marry women with college...
David D. Friedman - 2017-03-06 - Original post - cached version
It looks as though I will be giving a talk in Moscow on May 30th. If I am going to come that far, I might as well give more than one talk. Is anyone in that part of the world interested? Looking at flights to Moscow, they seem to typically go through London, Paris, Frankfurt, or Istanbul, although...
David D. Friedman - 2017-03-04 - Original post - cached version
I recently gave and graded a midterm exam on the application of economics to law. On one problem a number of students made the same interesting mistake, interesting for two reasons. It illustrates one of the ways in which it is easy to misunderstand economic ideas. And it points to a conceptual...
David D. Friedman - 2017-03-03 - Original post - cached version
After answering the exam questions you know the answers to you still have time left. You spend the rest of your time answering  questions you do not know the answers to, in the hope that something you write will fool the professor grading the exam into thinking you know the answer, at least in...
David D. Friedman - 2017-02-18 - Original post - cached version
I have just read a fascinating article describing how political campaigns, most recently the Trump campaign, use the internet, social media, AI, and related technologies to target and influence voters. Assuming its account is accurate, what it is describing is what political campaigns have long...
David D. Friedman - 2017-02-18 - Original post - cached version
My current nonfiction writing project, which I have been working on for some years, is pretty close to complete—with luck I will be sending it to my agent by the end of the semester. That raises the question of what I should do next. One possibility is a second edition of either Hidden Order or Law...
David D. Friedman - 2017-02-16 - Original post - cached version
The standard story on insider trading is straightforward. I have knowledge that implies that a stock is going to go up, so I buy it. The seller sells because, absent that knowledge, my offer is more than he, and presumably most of the rest of the market, thinks the stock is worth.

There is a...

David D. Friedman - 2017-02-16 - Original post - cached version
It looks as though I will be speaking in Brazil on the 10th and 11th of November. I expect I will want to spend at least a week in the country, given the time and effort of getting there and back, so was wondering if anyone else was interested in having me give a talk. An honorarium is nice, but...
David D. Friedman - 2017-02-09 - Original post - cached version
It is a book I want someone to write. The three groups are in many ways similar, in many different. Each has, for substantial parts of its history, been effectively self governing, imposing its own rules on its own people with or without the permission of the government over it. Each has created...
David D. Friedman - 2017-02-09 - Original post - cached version
There are two possible approaches to explaining odd things Trump does. One is to assume that he is stupid, crazy, erratic. Early in the campaign that looked like a plausible explanation. After he won twice contests everyone expected him to lose, first the nomination and then the election, it was...
David D. Friedman - 2016-12-16 - Original post - cached version
A Trump advisor named David Friedman has been announced as his choice for ambassador to Israel. At least one news story on the event had my picture and I have just gotten an invitation from the Indian embassy to a Hanukkah event. Not me. But the Picture is
David D. Friedman - 2016-12-11 - Original post - cached version
A few weeks ago I had a debate on anarchy with James Scott, a writer whose books I find interesting. Robert Ellickson was moderator cum participant. It has now been webbed. I have read two of Scott's books. One, The Art of Not Being Governed, is about the existence of extensive stateless areas in...
David D. Friedman - 2016-12-11 - Original post - cached version
Recent news stories claim that Russia attempted to influence the U.S. election in favor of Donald Trump. How accurate the claim is I don't know. What seems clear is that the reaction of Americans is that doing that is wrong, cheating, meddling in our affairs. That is why, during the election, the...
David D. Friedman - 2016-11-20 - Original post - cached version
An advantage of the present system that I have not seen discussed is that it reduces the problem of vote fraud. Stealing votes is easiest in a state dominated by a single party, the sort of place where the Republican poll watchers probably work for the Democrats or vice versa. With the electoral...
David D. Friedman - 2016-11-19 - Original post - cached version
A Still Better Shower

The conventional controls for a shower or sink consist of one for hot water, one for cold. Getting your preferred mix is a process of trial and error adjustment, repeated every time you take a shower or wash your hands. An improved version, now fairly common, has one...
David D. Friedman - 2016-11-13 - Original post - cached version
1. The Nightmare. A wild man who offends all our allies and enemies and everyone else and declares war on Kyrgystan to punish it for being too hard to spell. 2. Promise Keeper/Paladin of the Right.  Trade barriers up, immigration down, many illegals expelled. Everything the government was doing...
David D. Friedman - 2016-11-10 - Original post - cached version
This was not my least bad among the possible electoral outcomes. But now that it has happened, it is worth looking at whether anything good might come of it. I see three possibilities:

1. Trump might turn out to be better than I expect. Judging by the campaign, he is a skilled demagogue with no...

David D. Friedman - 2016-11-09 - Original post - cached version
I have been saying for some time that the least bad outcome there is any reasonable chance of getting from this unfortunate election is Hilary Clinton in the White House but both houses of congress held by the Republicans. It occurred to me that one possible way of getting there would be if Trump...
David D. Friedman - 2016-11-04 - Original post - cached version
I am currently working on a book on legal systems very different from ours, one chapter of which deals with the Plains Indians. One of my sources is an account by someone who was captured by Comanche, spent three years as their slave, and eventually escaped. It contains a description of some...
David D. Friedman - 2016-11-02 - Original post - cached version
Quite a long time ago, I published an article on the legal system of 18th century England. On paper, it was our legal system–indeed, where our system came from. But there were no police, no public prosecutors, and criminal prosecution was almost entirely entirely private, usually by the victim or...
David D. Friedman - 2016-11-02 - Original post - cached version
I recently gave several talks at Southeast Missouri State University, and videos have now been webbed:

For a class on the principles of microeconomics.

For a class on contemporary legal issues On what economics has to do with law For a reading group on "Free to Choose"

A couple of days...

David D. Friedman - 2016-11-02 - Original post - cached version
One of the new chapters for the third edition of The Machinery of Freedom discusses the question of how a stateless society might defend against a state, which I regard as the hardest problem for such a society.  One of the possibilities I raise is having people voluntarily train and equip...
David D. Friedman - 2016-09-26 - Original post - cached version
In a recent FaceBook exchange, the question came up of why I object to the omission from most talk about AGW of the benefits from milder winters. I ended up sketching an approach to the question of whether increased mortality from hotter summers was more or less than decreased mortality from milder...
David D. Friedman - 2016-09-18 - Original post - cached version
A recent post discussed the effect of climate change on the food supply. I now have a little more information.

I start with the table from Lobell et. al. 2011 which I showed in my previous post:

The issue was the effect on food supply, so it matters how much of each crop is...

David D. Friedman - 2016-09-10 - Original post - cached version
I recently had an experience both rare and pleasant, a civil and informative argument about climate on FaceBook. It was started by One of the commenters, although not prepared to defend the hysterical tone of the posted piece, was willing to argue that climate change was making the global food...
David D. Friedman - 2016-08-21 - Original post - cached version
Suppose you are planning to move–across town or across the country. One consideration in deciding exactly where to move to is the price of housing. With a little effort, you can probably find average house prices in different cities you are thinking of moving to, but that isn't quite the...
David D. Friedman - 2016-08-15 - Original post - cached version

We are currently visiting with my wife’s mother in Cleveland. Yesterday my daughter went for a walk and got mugged near Case Western Reserve University. She was not hurt but lost her purse and contents, iPhone and iPad.

   She reported the incident to the police, came home and used...
David D. Friedman - 2016-07-22 - Original post - cached version
Someone comes up with a drug, or a technology, that gives the user perfect recall, the ability to rerun, in full detail, any part of his life. How would it get used? One possibility is for self-education. Observing selected past experiences with a fifty year old mind and seventeen year old eyes...
David D. Friedman - 2016-07-22 - Original post - cached version
In 1964, Fact magazine published an article whose headline was "1,189 Psychiatrists Say Goldwater Is Psychologically Unfit To Be President." It included a variety of detailed and unflattering diagnoses of the Republican candidate for president by psychiatrists none of whom had actually examined him...
David D. Friedman - 2016-07-10 - Original post - cached version
I recently spent a few days in London and was struck by several features of current London culture:

1. Several times, younger passengers on the Tube (subway) offered me their seats. I have grey hair but do not appear (and am not) particularly feeble. I would be mildly surprised to have the same...

David D. Friedman - 2016-07-09 - Original post - cached version
One result of the British vote to leave the EU has been a revival of calls for Scotland to leave the U.K. Doing so is considerably more attractive if combined with EU membership. That raises the question of whether, if Brexit were followed by Scottish secession, the EU would be willing to let the...
David D. Friedman - 2016-07-09 - Original post - cached version
Much of the discussion of the recent British vote to leave the European Union takes it for granted that the result will be less free trade for the U.K. While that is possible, so is the opposite result. Britain can still negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU, as several non EU countries have...


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