Links to what I’ve been reading.
Robert H. Frank:
After countless experiences like these, is it any wonder that many people believe that government is the problem and not the solution, as President Ronald Reagan contended in his first inaugural address? In the years since, increasingly harsh antigovernment rhetoric has dominated American public discourse: All taxation is theft! Starve the beast! Or, in Grover Norquist’s memorable words, we should downsize government enough to “drown it in the bathtub.”
Two reasons for subsidizing college education: one is fairness and the other is external benefits someone with a college degree supposedly provides society. We want everyone to have a fair chance at financial success, including potentially capable students from lower income families. We therefore subsidize talented lower income individuals. And we also want to realize the presumed external benefits that result from someone attending college who might not otherwise have attended without a subsidy.
Prometheus gave man fire, thankfully he didn’t charge every time man lit a match. Prometheus Labs in contrast wants to charge patients for a rule that says when to increase or decrease a drug in response to a blood test. Quoting Tim Lee:
The patent does not cover the drug itself—that patent expired years ago—nor does it cover any specific machine or procedure for measuring the metabolite level. Rather, it covers the idea that particular levels of the chemical “indicate a need” to raise or lower the drug dosage.
On my to-read list:
The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better. By Tyler Cowen. Dutton Adult; 128 pages; $12.95
A small book full of big ideas about the historic changes wrought through education and innovation. An American economist offers plenty to think about for readers of every ideological stripe.