From Cavemen to Complex Economies – How Basic Tools Help Us Understand Economics

This year, Ethics and Economics Education of New England (E3NE) was kind enough to ask me to join Professor Jason Sorens and fifteen Merrimack Valley High School (MVHS) students to explore many of the great philosophical and economic ideas of history. In our first gathering, Professor Sorens and I began with what might have seemed an unusual topic, the Simple […]

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Specializing Is Best

All wealth comes from production and exchange: making and trading goods and services. The two are closely related: the more you trade, the more you’re able to produce. How does that work? Through the magic of specialization. When you trade, you’re able to specialize in your comparative advantage, that is, what you can do relatively cheaply compared to everyone else. […]

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Buying Local and Blocking Out the Sun


This week in Ethics & Economics Challenge, we read part of Frederic Bastiat’s satirical essay, “The Candlemakers’ Petition.” In it, the French “petitioners” seek a new law forcing everyone to block sunlight out of buildings. As a result of the law, people will have to buy lots of candles and candelabras, creating a “multiplier effect” that will result in more […]

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