"The History of Western Europe: Every Year"

A six-minute video showing the changes in political boundaries. By 1000 AD and even  more by 1300 AD it shows the zillions of polities in Western Europe that economists point to as a primary source of Western Europe's later prosperity. (If a ruler expropriated property or even taxed too much, another government was "just down the road".)

Decentralized government tends to be good for human beings and other living things.

"The Real Engine of the Business Cycle"

Amir Sufi and Atif Mian:

In a new study, we show that the credit-driven household demand channel rests on three main conceptual pillars. First, credit-supply expansions, rather than technology or permanent income shocks, are the key drivers of economic activity. This is a controversial idea. Most models attribute macroeconomic fluctuations to real factors such as productivity shocks. But we believe the financial sector itself plays an underappreciated role through its willingness to lend.

"The Applied Theory of Bossing People Around: Richard Thaler's prize isn't noble."

Deirdre McCloskey:

For Thaler, every one of the biases is a reason not to trust people to make their own choices about money. It's an old routine in economics. Since 1848, one expert after another has set up shop finding "imperfections" in the market economy that Smith and Mill and Bastiat had come to understand as a pretty good system for supporting human flourishing. . . .

Like with the psychologist's list of biases, though, nowhere has anyone shown that the imperfections in the market amount to much in damaging the economy overall. People do get across the street. Income per head since 1848 has increased by a factor of 20 or 30. It is a scientifically bizarre oversight, as though a geologist offered an alternative theory of plate tectonics without showing that her ideas do a better job of explaining the shape of mountains or the alignment of the continents.

A fine example of a pure economic rent

Kevin McHale:

“I remember after a game in Atlanta once, Larry looks at me, we’re having a beer, and he looks at me and says, ‘Can you believe they pay us to do this?’,’’ said McHale. “I started laughing and said, ‘They pay us. Plus we get free beer, which is a good deal.’ That’s how I felt about my entire career. I rode my bike to the gym every single day as a kid to play, and now they’re paying me to do something I went out of the way to do every single day of my life. I was always like, ‘That’s unbelievable.’’’

"How Europe became so rich"

Nice concise essay by Joel Mokyr on his work. Key sentences:

After 1500, Europe’s unique combination of political fragmentation and its pan-European institutions of learning brought dramatic intellectual changes in the way new ideas circulated. . . . Europe’s intellectual community enjoyed the best of two worlds, both the advantages of an integrated transnational academic community and a com­petitive states system.