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David D. Friedman

David D. Friedman - 2018-02-14 - Original post - cached version
I recently attended a Jewish wedding, part of which was the signing of the ketubah. At one point the Rabbi commented that in the old days the ketubah would specify how many chickens and goats the groom was paying the bride's father for his daughter, whereas this modern ketubah stated the promises...
David D. Friedman - 2018-02-09 - Original post - cached version

I'm planning a speaking trip this April. Since currently it is two weeks and only three or four talks I thought I would see if anyone else was interested. Current plans are:

Students for Liberty, Belgrade, April 13-15
Sofia, Bulgaria, April 21st
Capitalist Party of Norway, Oslo...

David D. Friedman - 2018-01-23 - Original post - cached version
I'm going to be speaking on "Market Failure: An Argument For and Against Government" at 11:15 A.M. on Saturday, February 3rd, at the Freedom Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. In the past I have put up notices like this for speaking trips abroad. Would readers find it useful if I made a general practice...
David D. Friedman - 2018-01-17 - Original post - cached version
I have discussed in several earlier posts my project for a collection of short literary works that contain interesting economic insights. The current version is up for comments, with several pieces added, several comments added or expanded.  My guess is that it will end up as a web page rather...
David D. Friedman - 2018-01-14 - Original post - cached version
I retired at the end of last year and have been cleaning out my office, which includes dealing with long runs of a variety of journals–AER, JPE, JLS, JEP, JLE, ...  . I hate to throw them out but I don't have much use for them at present or adequate free bookshelf space. Is there anyone out there...
David D. Friedman - 2017-12-30 - Original post - cached version
A very long time, I had a colleague and friend who I concluded was only an economist in working hours. Having come across another example more recently, I thought it would be worth explaining the concept. Suppose there is some issue on which economics implies a straightforward conclusion, but an...
David D. Friedman - 2017-12-24 - Original post - cached version
There are two problems with using Bitcoin as a substitute for conventional currencies. One is that transaction costs are high; I gather there are some proposals to solve that. The other is that its value is very unstable. So far that has been a plus, since the value has mostly gone up. But in...
David D. Friedman - 2017-12-10 - Original post - cached version
Intellectual property in digital form is easy to copy and easy to share, which makes enforcing copyright law against it difficult, often in practice impossible. Thus the shift of Intellectual Property—music, books, movies—to digital makes it much more difficult for copyright law to serve its...
David D. Friedman - 2017-12-10 - Original post - cached version
I consume a lot of soda, mostly Coke Zero or Diet Coke–enough so that I buy it in two liter bottles. I enjoy sometimes switching to the cherry version of the drink for variety. Unfortunately, Cherry Coke Zero is not available in two liter bottles in this part of the country.  I have found a...
David D. Friedman - 2017-11-24 - Original post - cached version
I get quite a lot of friend requests on Facebook, most of which I decline. I thought it would be worth explaining why here, in the hope that some of the people who want to friend me also read my blog. All of my FB posts are public, open to everyone. So the only effect of friending someone is that...
David D. Friedman - 2017-11-24 - Original post - cached version
In one of Lois Bujold's books, a character is changed from female to male via a high tech medical procedure. In Karl Gallagher's Torchship series, sex change operations are treated as routine options–one minor character has changed f to m in order to be physically qualified for a preferred military...
David D. Friedman - 2017-11-23 - Original post - cached version
I got home very early this morning from a two week speaking trip in Brazil. I recorded four of the talks and they are now webbed, along with powerpoints and a video of one talk that someone else recorded. My talk in Rio was live streamed but I have not yet figured out where on the web it is. A few...
David D. Friedman - 2017-10-28 - Original post - cached version
The solution to the present problem of North Korea seems obvious–we should have invaded them a little more than a decade ago, just before they developed nuclear weapons. It looks like the modern version of the lesson of Munich: Britain and France should have opposed Hitler early, when he was still...
David D. Friedman - 2017-10-28 - Original post - cached version
I have just come across a fascinating piece, a lecture on Newton by Keynes, delivered posthumously by Keynes' brother and largely based on Newton's unpublished papers, apparently totaling about a million words. The central thesis is that Newton's "unscientific" work was just as careful and logical...
David D. Friedman - 2017-10-20 - Original post - cached version
A few days ago I spent some seven hours attending a meeting of the San Jose City Council. I was there to speak against a proposed gun control law, but there were other interesting things in the meeting. One of them was a discussion of the Evergreen Senior Homes Initiative, a ballot measure proposed...
David D. Friedman - 2017-10-15 - Original post - cached version
As I have mentioned here before, one of my current writing projects is a collection of short works of literature that have interesting economic insights. In a conversation yesterday at an SSC meetup, someone mentioned a Conrad story that sounded as though it would fit in very nicely. Unfortunately...
David D. Friedman - 2017-10-09 - Original post - cached version
Some recent comment threads on Slate Star Codex, my favorite blog, have dealt with the always lively issue of gun control. One standard argument is "we know gun control laws work because the U.S., which has relatively few restrictions, has a much higher homicide rate than countries such as Canada...
David D. Friedman - 2017-10-09 - Original post - cached version
I have made tentative arrangements for another European trip. At the moment it looks like four or five talks in two weeks, so I could squeeze in a few more, hence this post. Current schedule: April 14th, Belgrade April 21st, Sofia April 28th, Norway Sometime between those dates possibly Poland...
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:

Introduction

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
Videos
...

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...

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