Nov 29, 2011

Some interesting links with comments: Cuba, Ethics, Pinker, and "In Time"

  1. This is a blog from Cuba you should check out. It is Yoani Sánchez's who is in the list of FT top 100 Global Thinkers. It is translated into twenty languages and for a good reason. This is the Spanish version. She is trully impressive, not just because of her 180,000 followers in Twitter but for her fresh view on the Island and her lyrical, almost poetical, description of current transformations taking place in Cuba. This is one of her most recent articles on the difficulties of doing journalism in Cuba.
  2. This is an interesting short piece that argues in favor of a code of ethics in economics. It also claims that it is a good thing to teach different approaches of economics. There has been some discussion recently on the important issue of ethics in economics. I previously had a link to a new paper on this issue. This book is becoming really popular on this issue as well, take a look at the editorial reviews in the link. (HT: Andrés Álvarez Castañeda.) 
  3. This is an interview with Stephen Pinker on what makes us cooperative. His arguments focus on the importance of rationality and in realizing the benefits of cooperation.  His ideas are similar to Amartya Sen's idea that rationality is probably our only hope to generate a peaceful order given the cultural and religious differences in the world. Pinker's analysis is also similar to Seabright's on the realization that the division of labor brings more benefits than costs (although Pinker does not mention "division of labor" in the interview. In short, we have rationally realized that cooperating is better than fighting. Pinker also talks about his abandoned anarchism.   
  4. The movie In Time presents a modern Robin Hood. Good movie to discuss the issues of political philosophy, microeconomics, macroeconomics, immigration etc. The issue that there are strict borders among different areas calls one's attention. One can pay his way out, if one has the money. We don't really know if this is a government policy, or if this is enforced because of the lobbing of people who live in richer neighborhoods. Most economists would disagree with the immigration borders. The best way to make income more equitable across regions is to open the borders. To be fair, the movie present one side of the "business-man" to make the main character  look like more of a "good guy." I plan to use the movie for a microeconomics class next semester (thanks to Kwei Quaye-Foli for the question).  

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