Thursday, June 10, 2010

Magic trick

In the current New Yorker, Laura Miller asks: "What's behind the boom in dystopian fiction for young readers?" Good question and I will leave it to others to decide how satisfying her answer is.

I am much too old to get my head around the young dystopians' worries. But I am greatly enjoying Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. I have no idea whether young dystopians would be moved by the historical record which establishes just how amazingly well off most young dystopians are. Ridley is a fine writer and if he cannot move the young dystopians, perhaps nothing can.

Why didn't I think of this way of describing comparative advantage? "It is common to find two traders that both think their counterparts are idiotically overpaying: that is the beauty of Ricardo's magic trick."