How The World Works in The Atlantic is the best article on economic theory I’ve read in ages. Granted, I don’t exactly go out of my way to read articles on economic theory, but that’s largely because most of them exhibit the blindness cataloged in this article. Certain (mostly American) economic theories have somehow taken on the aura of absolute truth. It is drummed into us that free markets always optimize; what’s best for the individual is best for everyone; protectionism is bad.
Food riots are in the news. Meanwhile, the New York Times talks about the fact that food prices for Americans, as a fraction of income, are almost at an all-time low; and that Americans waste 27% of the food available. This is one respect in which I have been unable to “go native”. I don’t remember exactly what my mother said to me as a child. I remember being told about starving children.