36 Comments

This is a great introduction to you, and not too long!

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founding

Arnold,

Over the years, you have been the most reliable public intellectual, analytically and normatively, across a diverse range of "shocks," which disoriented and divided observers; e.g., the financial crisis, the pandemic, sanctions, and crypto.

You have a rare ability and commitment always to write clearly and incisively about complex matters -- helpful to experts and non-experts alike.

You deeply engage a remarkable range of disciplines -- economics, philosophy (esp. epistemology), anthropology, evolutionary psychology, sociology, history -- in your quest to understand human interdependence, institutions, cooperation, and conflict.

You remind people, by example and by the FITs criteria, always to ask: Am I intellectually honest, even with myself? And what might change my mind?

Your comments section reflects your example.

And you generously encourage anyone who hopes to emulate these epistemic virtues.

Thank you!

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Mar 12, 2023Liked by Arnold Kling

Thank you. Very fine links, just starting the 90+pages of macromemoir, delicious to read. (No one uses delectable anyways)

One of the non-paying newbees (paid sub of Razib+Erik Hoel - recommended: https://erikhoel.substack.com/p/publish-and-perish

Scott Alexander is the Michael Jordan of FIT, but the marginal value of the 5678th payer may be, err, marginal).

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I rarely find someone who shares my mixed set of philosophies. I have stopped trying to categorize or label myself. My beliefs are so much more complex than one ideology and your understanding of the world seems to closely match mine. I enjoy reading your posts but often wonder what it is all good for since the leftist agenda train barrels forward undeterred. Maybe you have addressed this. Btw, I became a fan through the three languages book. I started a local discussion group of local women who knew each other but were politically in different positions. I shared from your book, but discussion was ultimately doomed. I learned a lot about how ingrained people are in their ideologies. I am very interested in open minded exchange it's hard to find.

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“...we were always doomed to lose at nation building.” Really? Invariably? I’d agree that our record is quite spotty these past sixty years. But is there not some natural instinct in the “big brother” to lend a hand to the “little brother?” It’s obviously much more complicated than that but “nation building,” economic development, etc. is not something you’ve discussed much in the many years (going back to the early days of Russ Roberts’ EconTalk podcast) that I’ve followed you. It would be worth exploring, particularly as it relates to your perceptive interest in human interdependence. Thanks and keep up the great work.

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Arnold - Thanks so much for being here. I read some of your pieces referenced in other writings but subscribed after your conversation with Russ Roberts a few months ago. This was a nice intro that went beyond that offered by interviews on podcasts: As an anecdote, a result of your post today was knowledge of your Three Languages work such that I recognized the reference in Lorenzo Warbys post today .. hence, I just acquired a copy (on audible). I’ve also discovered several other writers referenced in your daily links. If I had 50 lives, at least one would be dedicated to the life, observations, and work of Arnold Kling. For now, I’m doing my best. Cheers,

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Thank you for this. Now I know why I’m such an Arnold Kling Fanboy.

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"I am old. Born in 1954, I have vivid memories of the 1960s." Hell, I was born in 1947 so am really old . . . and have vivid memories of the 1950's, which really were the happiest of days in and for this country. I have been following your commentary haphazardly over the years, wherever I happened upon it, usually in an aggregation site. Great to have it in one place.

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Thanks for taking the time to do this. I *always* find something interesting in your links to consider messages even though I don't read all of your notes. Among the best qualities of substack is the content filter it provides when you find the right brains to do the filtering for you.

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" I say, “Markets fail. Use markets.” I think that markets will usually correct failures more quickly and more effectively than government. "

It's comments like that which make liberals, big govt fans, and out-right socialists think they are right. It ignores all the situations where there isn't an obvious market solution that doesn't involve a lot of govt intervention if not total govt operation. Candidates include:

Air pollution limits

Water pollution limits

Electric distribution

Sewer systems

Water supply

Flood control

Roads

Police

Fire protection

Courts

National defense

Etc

Some of these might have a market solution I'm not aware of and it's likely govt can use markets as a tool to address some of these but I'm pretty sure that leaves plenty of areas where markets can't do it alone, sometimes not at all.

Note: When I read Basic Economics by Sowell what stood out to me were the times he ignored the issues that could not be easily addressed using his economic philosophy. For example, how do we provide healthcare to those who can't afford it? Crickets. How do we properly incentive healthy lifestyle that reduces healthcare cost while not making insurance unaffordable to those who aren't healthy? Crickets. Who pays the high costs for those who are born with bad health? Crickets How do we keep healthy people from skimping on health insurance until they aren't healthy or keep insurance companies from dropping or raising rates on people who become unhealthy? More crickets.

Lots of issues aren't easy for government or for markets.

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I came on-board to learn more about the brewing financial crisis, but I feel as if I lack some basic knowledge about how banking and the financial industry operate. If anyone has reading recommendations to get me started, please share...

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Another, older style list of some of Arnold's work is on his old but not rotten website:

https://arnoldkling.com/

I've enjoyed reading and mostly agreeing with Arnold for some 20+ years, from his EconLog & ASKblog. I hope more of the new readers try to contribute more thoughts in the comments. A great trait is to say something substantial about an issue, but clearly not trying to be complete -- so there's room for others to add what they think might be missing, as well as disagreeing if they think they have a better idea.

Great links with good thoughts.

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Never lost me, been reading you since at least 2010 and never regretted it though almost did with some of your COVID stuff ala to this day, and probably forever, I'll be disappointed how many people I've read and respected for decades found religion in a foxhole as if prior to that they were simply pandering to an audience the entire time or were simply cowards; both of which partially disillusioned me and left me with the taste of fraud in my mouth. I'm still here though lol.

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It's a good moment to say how much I appreciate this substack (as one of your legion non-payers!). I would however pay if you were to write something of depth on organisational behaviour.

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Your statement: "I identified Paul Krugman in his NYT columns as modeling how not to think (and he knows better, which makes it all the more painful to watch)" makes me think I may not be insane. I always viewed him as being more pure political with internal assumption that large governmental bureaucracy had "God" like properties of making wise decision, not just self-interest institutional decisions.

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founding

Great post! Like many others here, I appreciate your intellectual honesty and humility and your willingness to be a contrarian. Your posts are always insightful, pointing me to things that I had not seen or thought about. Wonderful!

And definitely worth being a paying subscriber!!

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