As you probably know if you follow the news, a man named Martin Shkreli in charge of a startup firm called Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to a drug called pyrimethamine (brand name Daraprim), used in the treatment of AIDS and malaria, and announced that he was jacking up its price from $13.60 to $750. Massive outrage resulted, which has echoed through social media for the past week.
Pyrimethamine is long since off patent. It is not difficult to manufacture, and sells che... (more)
One of the fun parts about learning economics is realizing how broadly it can be applied. Once you understand the basic logic of scarcity, opportunity cost, and the rest of the economic way of thinking, all kinds of social phenomena are open to explanation.
The economic way of thinking might explain some recent changes in how people find their way into romantic relationships. These changes affect marriage, divorce, and infidelity.
A group of artists have won a landmark victory over the Happy Birthday song. A California judge ruled that the copyrights to one of the world's most popular melodies is invalid. As a result, Happy Birthday enters the public domain while a multi-million dollar licensing business is destroyed.
Starting today everyone is free use “Happy Birthday” without having to pay a license fee, as a California federal court ruling just entered the popular song into the public domain. ... (more)
In every economic exchange, both sides benefit, each from his own individual, personal perspective. That's because each trader gives up something he values less for something he values more. Thus, at the moment of the trade, each of the traders is better off than he was before the trade. The standard of living of both traders has been improved by the simple act of trade.
Every dictator knows that a continuous state of emergency is the best means to justify tyrannical policies. The trick is to keep the fictitious emergency from breeding so much paranoia that routine activities come to a halt. Many have discovered that its best to make the threat external, intangible and ultimately, unverifiable. In Orwell's 1984 the preferred mantra was "We've always been at war with Eurasia," even though everyone knew it wasn't true. In its rate decision this week the Federal Re... (more)
Once again the Fed’s bite has failed to live up to its bark. Despite months of expectations that it would finally raise rates for the first time since 2006, the Fed continued to sit on its hands while pointing to some unspecified date in the future when all the economic and financial stars will align in a way that makes a 25 basis point increase appropriate. Am I the only one getting bored by the repetition?
Just like it has in prior statements, the Fed’s Open Market Committee pai... (more)
We seem to be panicking about China's economy. Let's pause and look at some of the facts.
First, consider the short-term concerns that sent shock waves across the world. Unlike the United States, where very developed capital markets are connected to the economy at large, in China the linkage is less strong. Even so, what has really happened to the stock market over there? The Shanghai Composite Index has dropped from 5,166 in June of this year to 3,005 as I write this--about 4... (more)
The other day I was having coffee with a new friend, a retired businessman who customized luxury cars in California. I mentioned I had recently retired from owning an investment firm and had many years of study of economics, especially Austrian Economics.
As so many people I have met before him, he said, "I really don’t understand economics and always have been confused by it."
To which I surprised him with, "Of course you understand economics; it is the thought pro... (more)
Today the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, Canada, released the 2015 Economic Freedom of the World report (pdf) and it's bad news for the United States, where economic freedom is falling. The U.S. ranks only 16th in economic freedom... (more)
After nearly 20 years of wrangling over what is and is not legal under California's 1996 Proposition 215 medical marijuana law, the state legislature has passed a set of bills designed to bring order to the chaos.
After working with Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on acceptable language, the Assembly and the Senate Friday passed Assembly Bill 243, Assembly Bill 266, and Senate Bill 643. The session ended at midnight.
If, as expected, Gov. Brown signs the bills int... (more)
So many skyscrapers are being built right now that there has emerged a shortage in the special glass panels that forms the exterior of most modern skyscrapers.There are more than 100 skyscrapers currently under construction that are designed to be over 1000 feet tall with the tallest one designed to be 1000 meters tall. With all this construction under way there has emerged a shortage of the specialized glass panels that form the exterior of most modern skyscrapers. This probably means that prod... (more)
Why are the global elite buying extremely remote compounds that come with their own private airstrips in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the planet? And why did they start dumping stocks like crazy earlier this year? Do they know something that the rest of us don’t? The things that I am about to share with you are quite alarming. It appears that the global elite have a really good idea of what is coming, and they have already taken substantial steps to prepare for it. Sadly, most... (more)
Shortly after the PBoC's move to devalue the yuan, we noted with some alarm that it looked as though China may have drawn down its reserves by more than $100 billion in the space of just two weeks. That, we went on the point out, would represent a stunning increase over the previous pace of the country's reserve draw down, which we began documenting mo... (more)