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Archive for February, 2008

Remark of Last Week

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on February 11, 2008

“And when rational individuals face a miserable set of choices…they cannot do better than pick the best of a bad lot. We will not solve social problems if we pretend that they are caused only–or mostly–by the mad, the stupid, and the morally degenerate. But nor should we shrug our shoulders and declare that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. I hope that this book will show that although people tend to make smart choices, it is possible to offer them better ones.”

Tim Hartford, from his insightful and engaging new book The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World. Hartford, a Financial Times columnist and editor and formerly an economist for the World Bank and Royal Dutch/Shell, draws on recent and important research from economics, psychology, sociology, and history to explain the social-scientific logic behind problems ranging from gambling and annoying coworkers to racism and political instability. As they say, read the whole thing.

At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen is hosting an online book forum about The Logic of Life. Cowen gave the book as favorable review, as did Nobel Prize winners Gary Becker and Tom Schelling.

Note: posting will continue to be light due to a combination of a heavy workload and some ill health the past two weeks that put me behind on said work (don’t worry, it’s not anywhere near as bad as the bizarre and debilitating intestinal infection I had a year ago). There may be a few more short or pre-written pieces like this, but mostly I’ll be busy. Have a nice week everyone!

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Remark of Two Weeks Ago

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on February 11, 2008

Many people are holding out the hope that the government can somehow substitute for the pharmas, bolstered by the ludicrous claim that the government really discovers all the drugs. This is arrant nonsense; government-funded research discovers targets that might someday turn into drugs, if the Big Pharma chemists can: find a molecule synthesis can be economically mass produced; keep the molecule from killing rats, mice, dogs, or humans; get the molecule into a form that does not have to be directly injected into the bloodstream; tweak the molecule so that the liver doesn’t immediately chew it into pieces that no longer affect your target; and shepherd the entire thing through years of clinical trials. That’s just off the top of my head; research chemists will undoubtedly have more.

Megan McArdle, as part of her excellent continuing series on pharmaceutical companies and US policy regarding them.

Posted in Economics, Politics, Random Thoughts | 1 Comment »