Gifts2: Economist Calls Christmas a “Deadweight Loss”

Did you know that Christmas in the U.S. is wasteful?  Not in the way that is numbingly obvious to most of us, but in a narrower and more technical way […]


A child is born, and its first cry goes right through you.  It changes you; and more it creates you.  Something that was latent and unrealized – a parent – […]

The Technology of Obedience: Corporate Research and the Invisible Hand

Is technology an independent force that evolves inexorably along a particular path – the path of best answers?  Or do the corporations that drive innovation steer it towards their own […]

Who Decides Who’s Sick?

Back when, Ralph Nader used to ask college audiences, “Who defines what a problem is in America today?” Who decides that tired hair, say, is a problem of epochal proportions, […]

The Strange “Economics” of Breast Milk December 1, 2006 By Jonathan Rowe You probably heard about the woman who was kicked off a Delta flight recently for breast feeding her daughter.  She was in a […]

Consumed by Commerce

How Commerce Consumed the Commons
Where the commons went, and how to get it back

Milton Friedman: Romantic

We tend to romanticize the opposite of what we don’t like, and in political economy the tendency reaches full flower.  To those who hate “the market,” the government is a […]

The Seed Gestapo and Third World Farmers

In my wife’s dialect of kari-ya, which is spoken on the island of Panay, in the Philippines, there is a word binhi, which refers to the grains of rice that are […]

Blue Commoners, and Abstractions in the Red Zone

The Red States/Blue State trope lost ground last week, at last. It never was what it seemed to begin with. As numerous writers have pointed out, the electoral divide is […]

Billboards in Space, Accomplices in Enclosure

The greatest ally of the corporate trespasser is our human tendency to forget.  So long as a violation lingers in the memory there is a possibility of doing something about […]