Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Pure Theory

American Voters are Completely Out of Touch With Economic Experts

I recently ran across a remarkable survey of prominent US economists on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus package Obama passed at the beginning of his presidency. The results are striking for two reasons–they show a clear consensus among economists that the stimulus was a success, and they completely contradict popular opinion.

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Only 6% of Voters Know Anything

I am often told that I take too negative a view of the average voter, that people do not need to be experts to vote well or to have good political instincts. I am not the least bit troubled by these critiques. Why? Because I continue to stumble upon utterly depressing statistics. These statistics show that contrary to our optimistic inclinations or general idealistic hopefulness, the average voter is well and truly spectacularly ignorant. The one I wish to discuss today certainly blew my mind–perhaps it will blow yours.

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Americans Still Don’t Know What Sequestration Is

I haven’t been doing much writing about the US economy lately, in part because there’s been no substantive movement on the issue politically since sequestration went through. All we’ve gotten lately are some retread hopey changey speeches from Obama and threats of future government shutdowns from congressional republicans. Nonetheless, these are the first signs that we will soon be having more unproductive fights about the economy with potentially devastating consequences for growth, so I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled. And, lo and behold, I stumbled on a little poll from Gallup.

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Europeans and Americans

Now that my undergraduate degree in England is over, I’ve started to collate my thoughts regarding the essential distinctions between the European and American variants of civilization. Why do Europeans support universal health care while Americans do not? Why are Europeans more communal? Why are they more supportive of interventionist government policies? These are the sort of things I wish to ponder about today.

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Puritans and Libertarians

Within the hallowed halls of academia, there is a terrific and vibrant discussion about ethics and morality, about how we should conduct our lives and what the best way to live a good life is. There are utilitarians, contracturalists, rights theorists, all kinds of fun thoughts flitting about. However, amongst the wider population, this great conversation fails to penetrate. Among the wider population, the moral debate is a mere shadow of what goes on at the universities. Increasingly I observe a contest among young people in the public sphere between two equally simplistic, poor moral conceptions–the puritanical ideology, which is under decay, and the libertarian ideology, which is on the rise.

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