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David D. Friedman

David D. Friedman - 2019-06-14 - Original post - cached version
 Suppose you are a professional academic who wants to publish a journal article in order to improve your chance of getting an offer, getting tenure, getting a raise. One way to do so is to produce and write up research that provides support for a novel theory. One problem is that, if the theory is...
David D. Friedman - 2019-03-25 - Original post - cached version
I have a file drawer full of research projects that I at some point started and then abandoned. Since I am unlikely to ever get back to them I thought it would be worth describing some here in the hope that someone else, earlier in his career, would be interested in reviving them, perhaps for a...
David D. Friedman - 2019-02-24 - Original post - cached version
Some time back, my wife and I published our medieval cookbook, How to Milk an Almond, Stuff an Egg, and Armor a Turnip. In addition to making it available as a paperback on Amazon, I also put a pdf of it up on my web page for anyone who wanted to download. It recently occurred to me that it would...
David D. Friedman - 2019-02-19 - Original post - cached version
According to news stories based on statements by Andrew McCabe, he tried to arrange to remove Trump via the 25th Amendment. This raises two puzzles: 1. Under the 25th Amendment, the VP plus a majority of the cabinet can temporarily suspend the power of the President. But the next step is for the...
David D. Friedman - 2019-02-11 - Original post - cached version
I am in the process of recording my first book, The Machinery of Freedom, which I plan to make available on Audible and iTunes. So far I have recorded parts I-III, which include all of the contents of the first edition, and the recordings are now on my web page for comments. If you notice any...
David D. Friedman - 2019-02-09 - Original post - cached version
One point I have not seen discussed in comparisons between Vanessa Tyson's accusation of Justin Fairfax and Christine Ford's of Brett Kavanaugh is the reason that the more recent accusation is also much more likely to be true.  For any given woman to invent such a story is quite unlikely. That...
David D. Friedman - 2019-02-04 - Original post - cached version
A thought on inequality, based in part on a point in The Bell Curve. The authors argue that one effect of a meritocratic system is an increase in assortative mating. It occurs to me that the same effect would be expected from any change that increased the range over which individuals sought...
David D. Friedman - 2019-01-24 - Original post - cached version
The nice thing about the shower in the hotel room where I recently spent a few days was that the enclosure was quite long, long enough so that towels hung up at one end of it were a safe distance from the shower head at the other end. Also, and more important, long enough so that I could use the...
David D. Friedman - 2019-01-22 - Original post - cached version
I recently attended an event at which Bill Weld, who was the vice presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party in 2018, spoke. I learned two things:

1. He is not a libertarian

His solution to the problems of technological unemployment was some sort of government retraining program.  His...
David D. Friedman - 2019-01-17 - Original post - cached version
Legal Systems Very Different from Ours, mostly by me but with one chapter each by Peter Leeson and David Skarbek, is now available on Amazon, both as a paperback and as a kindle.  One of the nice things about current publishing technology is that revision is pretty much costless. So if any of you...
David D. Friedman - 2019-01-11 - Original post - cached version

The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still the richest families in Florence 

is the headline of a story describing some interesting research in economic history. I have not read the article it is based on but, assuming the report is correct, its conclusion is that there is a close...
David D. Friedman - 2019-01-11 - Original post - cached version
My new book, Legal Systems very Different from Ours (with one chapter by Peter Leeson and one by David Skarbek), appears to be available on Amazon now as a paperback (meaning that I haven’t actually gotten a copy), and I’m in the process of using Calibre to turn it into a Kindle. One tricky bit...
David D. Friedman - 2018-12-02 - Original post - cached version

I mentioned, here and on FaceBook, a new addition to my very small collection of economics jokes, not jokes about economics but jokes that teach economics. Enough people were interested so I decided to post all six of them:

1. Two economists walked past a Porsche showroom with an...

David D. Friedman - 2018-11-30 - Original post - cached version
I am nearly finished with Legal Systems Very Different From Ours and am in search of a cover. There seems to be general agreement that my ideas for what to put on the cover, discussed in a previous post don't work, so I am looking for something better. The book consists of thirteen system...
David D. Friedman - 2018-11-29 - Original post - cached version
I have a very small collection of economics jokes, not jokes about economics but jokes that teach economics. It just occurred to me that there is another I should add: An economics professor is in a car driven by one of his students; she asks him to put on his seat belt.

"Why do you want me to...

David D. Friedman - 2018-11-26 - Original post - cached version
It looks as though some scientists in China have produced two infants from ova edited using Crispr. The objective was to disable a gene associated with vulnerability to AIDS. A good deal of the commentary on the report is negative, with talk of eugenics and risking the human gene pool and such. I...
David D. Friedman - 2018-11-21 - Original post - cached version
The central facts of the current Catholic crisis appear clear. By the time Francis became Pope, it was well known in Vatican circles that Cardinal McCarrick had engaged in extensive homosexual activity with young adult seminarians. The previous Pope had, on that account, restricted McCarrick's...
David D. Friedman - 2018-11-08 - Original post - cached version
My prediction of the election outcome was wrong—it turned out about as the polls predicted. On the other hand, I got my preferred outcome, with the House controlled by one party, the Senate by the other, making it less likely that Congress would do things.

The one negative outcome was the...
David D. Friedman - 2018-11-06 - Original post - cached version
I expect that the polls will turn out to be wrong—but I do not know in which direction. Politics has changed enough in the past two years so that rules for predicting outcomes based on past experience, such as those for identifying likely voters, can no longer be trusted.  If the polls are wrong...
David D. Friedman - 2018-11-06 - Original post - cached version
It is the natural question to ask on the night before the election. The emotional answer is that I want the Republicans to do better than the polls predict. Humans naturally see the world as us vs them and while Trump doesn't fit very well in my picture of us, the Democrats are pretty clearly them...
David D. Friedman - 2018-11-05 - Original post - cached version
I currently have plans to be on the east coast twice,  to speak at the annual ISFL get together in D.C. on January 19th and at Saint Vincent college in LaTrobe, PA, on March 13th. I don't think either event is open to outside guests, although I don't actually know. The reason for this post is that...
David D. Friedman - 2018-10-27 - Original post - cached version
Some years back, I put up a contest here for a cover for the third edition of The Machinery of Freedom, and ended up with what I think is the best cover I've ever had. I am now just about to self-publish another book, Legal Systems Very Different from Ours, and it too needs a cover. The central...
David D. Friedman - 2018-10-16 - Original post - cached version
Early in her career, Elizabeth Warren listed herself in an online database used for law school recruitment as a minority law professor. At several later points in her career she was described by her university as a Native American law professor, presumably because she told them she was. Her...
David D. Friedman - 2018-09-12 - Original post - cached version
One of the kitchen tools I often find useful is a probe thermometer. You put the probe in the loaf of bread (or cut of meat) in the oven, run the cable it is attached to out the oven door to the main part of the thermometer and can see the internal temperature of what you are baking without opening...
David D. Friedman - 2018-08-22 - Original post - cached version
I am mostly finished with Brothers, my third novel, a sequel to Salamander. My editor is worried that the beginning is too slow. One possible solution to that problem is a prolog, a brief passage at the beginning not part of the main plot. I have written two very different ones and would like to...
David D. Friedman - 2018-07-14 - Original post - cached version
A correspondent from Turkey informs me that he can no longer access my web site. I have no trouble accessing it from the U.S., so my guess is that it has been deliberately blocked by the Turkish authorities. No idea why. I can't remember ever discussing Armenians, Kurds, or Kemal Ataturk either...
David D. Friedman - 2018-05-21 - Original post - cached version
As I mentioned recently, I'm looking for a cover for my third novel. A number of artists are interested, which gets me thinking about what a cover should be. From the standpoint of the author, the obvious answer is to show a scene from the book, preferably one that is dramatic and has something to...
David D. Friedman - 2018-05-17 - Original post - cached version
I am almost finished with Brothers, my third novel, and since I plan to self-publish I need a cover. My first novel was commercially published; the publisher (Baen) got a cover I liked done by a professional. For my second novel I used something I found online, with the permission of the creator...
David D. Friedman - 2018-05-16 - Original post - cached version
There is an interesting article in the New York Times on the pattern of health expenditure and longevity in the U.S. The author's thesis is that both were about the same as in other developed countries until 1980 and that since then  expenditure has grown much faster and longevity more slowly than...
David D. Friedman - 2018-05-14 - Original post - cached version
Having enjoyed my recent European trip and almost recovered from the jet lag, I am now thinking about another one. I have an invitation to speak in England sometime between October 1 and December 14th. England is a long way from California, so if I go I will want to combine it with other talks in...
David D. Friedman - 2018-03-28 - Original post - cached version

My schedule is now definite.

4/13-15 Belgrade: ESFL Feud Law,  
Liberland event Reputational Enforcement 

4/17 Prague Feud Law. Video of the talk 
4/19 Bucharest Market Failure—An Argument Both for and Against Government (my talk starts about 17:31)
4/21 Sofia: Bulgarian...

David D. Friedman - 2018-03-22 - Original post - cached version

It looks as though the schedule for my talks is:

4/14 Belgrade: ESFL
4/17 Prague hosted by Institute of Cryptoanarchy and Paralelní Polis
4/19 Bucharest
4/21 Sofia: Bulgarian Libertarian Society
4/24 Budapest
4/26 Maastricht: MSFL
4/28 Oslo: Capitalist Party...

David D. Friedman - 2018-03-21 - Original post - cached version

I have completed a draft of Brothers, my third novel, the sequel to Salamander, and am looking for beta readers. Both books are fantasies of the sort where magic is a science.

Beta readers may, but need not, have read Salamander. I am interested in how well the sequel works both for those...

David D. Friedman - 2018-03-05 - Original post - cached version
I have been trying to work out the details of my speaking trip next month, complicated by issues of how to get from point A to point B in Europe. The current fixed points are the three weekends: April 13-15 ESFL Belgrade April 21 Sofia April 28th Oslo I have at least tentative invitations to...
David D. Friedman - 2018-03-02 - Original post - cached version
I retired at the end of last year and have finally finished clearing out my office. In the process I found a number of interesting things, including a printout of a book on transport economics that I wrote thirty some years ago when teaching a course on the subject but never published and thought...
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...

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