Tyler Cowen, Poetry, American Decline, Sartre, Writer's Block, Julius Caesar

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The End Of Asymmetric Information

Alex Tabarrok & Tyler Cowen | Cato Unbound | 6th April 2015

Sensors and reputation systems allow buyers to know what sellers know, principals to know what agents know, and vice-versa. Akerlof's arguments have been overtaken. Any interested party can have access to information about product quality, worker performance, the nature of financial transactions. "A large amount of economic regulation seems directed at a set of problems which, in large part, no longer exist" (4,760 words)

Poetical Misprints

Jonathan Law | Dabbler | 6th April 2015

A poet “can survive anything but a misprint”, said Wilde; but misprints are quite common in poetry, and may improve the poem. Anthony Thwaite's edition of Philip Larkin's Collected Poems includes three errors in a single poem of twelve lines, Long Sight in Age. "If the language of poetry depends crucially upon surprise, then the word that slips into a poem by sheer fluke will look and act as if it has a perfect right of abode" (1,300 words)

Britain’s Obsession With American Decline

Gideon Rachman | Financial Times | 6th April 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Who says America is doomed to decline as a world power? The most influential proponents of that thesis are a bunch of Brits at Ivy League universities — Paul Kennedy at Yale, Niall Ferguson at Harvard and Ian Morris at Stanford. Perhaps they do have the right combination of knowledge and detachment to see America's future; or perhaps they are assuming too readily that what happened to Britain will happen to America (890 words)

Americans And Their Myths

Jean-Paul Sartre | Nation | 23rd March 2015

Extract from Sartre's 1947 essay, republished in the Nation's 150th anniversary issue. Full text in PDF here (http://thenation.s3.amazonaws.com/150/archive_articles/1945-1955/americanstheirmyths.jeanpaulsartre1947.pdf) . "Americanism is something outside of the people, something presented to them; they struggle against it or they accept it, they submit to it or reinvent it, they give themselves up to it or make furious efforts to escape from it; in any case it remains outside them, transcendent, because they are men and it is a thing." (500 words)

What Exactly Was Joseph Mitchell Doing?

Thomas Kunkel | Publishers Weekly | 3rd April 2015

Joseph Mitchell showed up for work each day for 30 years at the New Yorker, drew his pay, and published nothing. His writer's block began in 1964 and lasted until his death. He socialised with colleagues, sat in his office and typed, but his perfectionism got the better of him. William Shawn didn't seem to mind. Mitchell's early writing had done so much to establish the New Yorker that the magazine would always be in his debt (1,500 words)

Chronicle Of A Death Foretold

Nick Owchar | LA Review Of Books | 5th April 2015

In The Death Of Caesar, Barry Strauss reconstructs the first great political assassination, the stabbing of Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate in 44BC. "It was an intentionally public act. The conspirators (perhaps 60 or more) staged the murder as carefully as a theatrical production. Precisely because it took place in the Senate, it would appear to have been done not as a plot but on behalf of the country” (2,300 words)

Video of the day: Stephen Fry Explains Aristotle

What to expect: How to live a good life; narrated by Stephen Fry, script by Nigel Warburton (2')

Thought for the day

When the final result is expected to be a compromise, it is prudent to start from an extreme position
J.M. Keynes

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