Median Voter Guy

January 9, 2020

Duped: Truth-Default Theory and the Social Science of Lying and Deception (2020), Tim Levine. Gladwell's Talking to Strangers used truth-default theory and noted on Twitter when this book came out. Lots of useful content, although a somewhat annoying read. Levine focus...

December 2, 2019

Veblen goods are luxury products (services also apply) where quantity goes up with price, contradicting the usual interpretation of supply and demand. They are named for Thorstein Veblen, an iconoclastic economist best known for The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899),...

November 23, 2019

After a couple of weeks of House impeachment hearings, what stands out to me is the professionalism of the foreign service officers (also Col. Vindman); political appointees and politicians, not so much. The foreign service officers consistently were articulate and dem...

November 11, 2019

An article in the paper ("A Reverb Epidemic" by Thi Nguyen) caught my attention, considering "radical polarization." Politics jumps out first, with people seemingly having extreme (and possibly outrageous) positions from both left and right; however, all kinds of topic...

November 8, 2019

After Talking to Strangers, it's time to reread Gladwell's earlier books and add some analysis. A basic characteristic of Gladwell's books is developing theses that are not a thing; seemingly no one in their right mind would thing "talking to strangers" meant much of a...

November 2, 2019

The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir (2019), Samantha Power. Detailed memoir of her life, parts of it relevant to a MVG perspective. She proved to be a risk taker, even when in government surrounded by a risk-averse culture. She talks about (US) core values, includin...

October 31, 2019

Becoming (2018), Michelle Obama, interesting and inspirational memoir by the former First Lady. She grew up in a working class home in South Chicago to become a beloved person (by most people) in America and around the world. As she put it: "I had nothing or I had ever...

October 23, 2019

Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation & What We Can Do About It (2019), Richard Stengel. Stengel was managing editor of Time and asks by Obama to become Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (during the Cold W...

October 14, 2019

Wall Streeters: The Creators and Corruptors of American Finance (2017), Edward Morris. Covers 14 men with influence on 20th century banking. (Not the list I would use, but some interesting insight). The book gives only a partial understanding of modern banking and leav...

October 9, 2019

After South Park was banned by China for criticism on censorship, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone issued the following "official apology":

Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democr...

September 18, 2019

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About The People We Don't Know (2019), Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell is on my list to read as soon as a new book comes out. The title sounded uninteresting, but once again he develops an interesting thesis for why this book is a m...

September 9, 2019

My blinders hypothesis is still alive and well. I'm an accountant, but much of my training is in economics (plus I have a masters degree in econ). Economist number one is Adam Smith, an 18th century Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, famous for self-interest, the invi...

September 7, 2019

Reading the Sunday editorials, I was struck by the gratuitous insults using a single modifier, usually an adjective. It started with a George Will essay using "gimmick" and "pandering," an easy way to slap down whatever liberal position he focused on. It's easy and fru...

August 17, 2019

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception (2015), George Akerlof and Robert Shiller (AS), considering behavioral economics while evaluating free markets. Standard economic models make unrealistic assumptions about how people behave and, in part,...

August 15, 2019

In today's column "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Rent-seekers" Will attacks Chicago restaurants as rent seekers, which he defines as "private factions manipulating public power to enhance their profits." Actually, rent seeking is a broader economics term for...

Please reload

  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon

© 2016 Gary Giroux