Understanding basic economics is crucial for all libertarians. No other field offers as clear and irrefutable a case for liberty. Indeed, statism draws much of its support from the public’s flawed understanding of economics. Even libertarians are occasionally led astray by flawed economic reasoning. A friend recently brought a book designed to combat such flaws to my attention: Geoffrey E. Wood’s Fifty Economic Fallacies Exposed.
Over at Forbes.com, Reihan Salam had something rather unexpected but very welcome to say about the CEO of a major corporation:
That the success of the Kindle is good news for Amazon should go without saying. But it represents a remarkable environmental advance as well. The publishing industry in the U.S. felled roughly 125 million trees and generated vast amounts of wastewater. And, of course, physical books have to be transported by trucks, which generate carbon emissions, exacerbate congestion, increase traffic fatalities and cause wear-and-tear on already overburdened roads. One assumes that Bezos didn’t have the environment foremost in mind when he pushed the Kindle concept forward, yet he’s arguably done more to fight climate change by threatening hardcovers and paperbacks with extinction than any number of environmental activists.
Salam goes on to argue that Amazon will ‘win the internet’ through the Kindle and its rapidly growing ebook sales. I don’t know about that. What does it mean to ‘win the internet’? He only considers Facebook as a rival. What about Google? Android and ChromeOS are poised to dominate the mobile phone and tablet pc markets, putting Google into direct competition with the Kindle. Then there’s Google Search, Books, Voice, Gmail, Docs, Maps, Chrome browser, TV, and so on and so forth.
But bravo to Salam for daring to recognize in public the (probably unintended) positive environmental externalities of business decisions and technological innovation driven by profit-seeking amidst market competition — indeed, for daring to rank them on par with or above that of ‘altruistic’ environmental activists.
Cross-posted at Is-Ought GAP.
I’ll admit: for the last 3 years or so I’ve become an Apple fanboi. My first computer in 1984 was an Apple II+ clone–a Franklin Ace (unfortunately, Apple was able to use copyright law to get this competition squashed). But after that I was in the PC world, for almost 20 years. Until about 3 years ago. I was tempted to get a MacBook but was leery of the change. Finally my wife got a Macbook and one thing led to another–I now live a blessedly PC free world except for the one remaining PC I still have to use at work–and I have plans for that one too. Now I have iPods, iPhones, iMac, MacBooks. I guess I’m a fanboi except I don’t pretend that Macs don’t crash–all my computers crash. They are all too complex not to. People who say their computers don’t crash are either lying or don’t really use them. (Linux-fans–please don’t pester me. I’m glad the market has diversity and tinkerers like you have something you can tinker with. I have two degrees in electrical and computer engineering but I just want a computer that works–a nice tool I can use. I also prefer automatic transmission cars even though I know how to use a stick shift.)
So naturally I could not resist getting an iPad. I had ordered the 3G version which does not arrive till later this month. But finally the temptation to get one won out so I persuaded my wife to let me get a wifi version for her and my son. After all, I told her–we all read books. One won’t be enough! On the other hand, we won’t need two 3G models! Whoever is traveling for work can take the 3G one, I said. So, I nabbed one Monday morning at a local Apple store. [Keep reading…]