Do market trades actually increase human well-being?

One of the most foundational assumptions in modern economics is that freely agreed upon trades benefit both parties. This seems reasonable, since if one party is getting swindled they are free to back out of the deal. Unfortunately, human interactions don’t work out that neatly. Let’s start with an example from Dan Ariely’s book Predictably […]

Market Norms are crowding out Social Norms, and society is poorer as a result

Imagine you are going over to a friend’s house for a nice dinner. You want to show appreciation for the lovely meal they’ve prepared for you, and you have a few options. You can offer to have them over for dinner in the future. You can bring a bottle of wine or a six pack […]

Citizens in a Market-Driven State

As the state become increasingly market-driven, the meaning of citizenship is changing. From Disciplining the Poor:  As the state is privatized, so too are the social problems of the citizenry. Matters of shared consequence, once addressed through public decisions about how to organize collective life, are recast as personal problems to be solved through rational […]

Robots will take all of our jobs. But who will benefit from their work?

Artificial intelligence is quickly mastering tasks like teaching, driving, writing, and medicine that were once safely the domain of humans. As this trend continues it will bring major economic changes. Technological advance could result in unemployment and misery if handled incorrectly, or unprecedented leisure and prosperity if handled well. This is not a new dilemma, […]