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Why Big Government is Bad News

Too many people see the federal government as a parent, entrusted with the responsibilities of handing out allowance and enforcing the rules. At least that was the view of Milton Friedman, the figurehead of the Chicago school of economics and the thinker who, according to the Wall Street Journal, “reshaped modern capitalism.”  According to Friedman, the […]

The Life-Changing Magic of a Great Disguise

You may think of magicians as entertainers at children’s birthday parties, or the characters in the Harry Potter universe. But historically, some magicians have had very serious jobs, including John Mulholland, who was on staff at the Central Intelligence Agency.  It makes sense if you think about it. Like magicians, spies need to do a […]

Don’t be a Victim

You’ve probably noticed that movies and stories have four main types of characters: the victim, the villain, the hero, and the guide. These are the same roles we tend to play in life. In fact, it’s possible you play all four kinds of characters every single day. What’s important to realize is that the role […]

What Bad Economists Always Miss

With high gas prices, rising inflation, and far-reaching ripple effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, economists around the world have been busy trying to sort out what’s next. They’re on the news, on social media, and in the newspapers of record all day, every day—and it can be hard to know who to believe.  As you […]

Where does Equality Come From?

The French economist Thomas Piketty says that history bends toward equality. Since 1820, life expectancy has been rising all over the world, along with literacy rates. A college education, which was once considered class privilege, is now accessible to almost everyone. Across the world, the average income has been multiplied by 10. But some of […]

Is Big Data Coming For You?

Welcome to the Big Data economy, where companies extract value from the study of how you behave online. The algorithms these companies use can be tools that help us google information or choose which show to binge on Netflix. But they can also perpetuate inequity and harm—and will divide the world if we allow them […]

A World Without Work?

Tech entrepreneur Jeff Booth is very worried about the future. Technology, by its nature, tends to drive prices down. In theory, that should be a good thing. But our economic structures weren’t designed for a society driven by low prices. Under current conditions, less jobs and less money would spell disaster. With the increasing technology […]

Money is a Collective Delusion

Long ago, societies relied on the barter system, where people paid each other in goods and services. These days, you can’t pay for Amazon Prime with chickens or sacks of grain, or buy a new phone with a stack of animal skins. Instead, we use financial instruments like cash and credit and debit cards. But […]

You Got Game

In competitive sports, an athlete’s mental game is as important as physical prowess.  Take golf, for instance. Leading sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella changed the game with his insight that a high confidence level and a calm attitude are the keys to elite play.  As with many other sports, golf instructors tend to focus on […]

Battling the Attention Crisis

Modern life has made it increasingly difficult to focus on a single task. We know that brain-powered activities like reading, meditating, and even daydreaming have high value. But be honest: when was the last time you successfully read anything for half an hour without checking your messages? If you feel like your attention span has […]

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