The Mudd

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Professor, What’s Another Name for Pirate Treasure?

It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, and here’s my annual plug to visit The Mudd’s witty homepage — more than a laugh a minute — and also to check out Peter Leeson’s excellent work s on piratical organization, The Invisible Hook.

Here’s the gist:

The idea of the invisible hook is that pirates, though they’re criminals, are still driven by their self-interest. So they were driven to build systems of government and social structures that allowed them to better pursue their criminal ends

If you don’t have time to read the whole book today, you can read one of the many favorable reviews instead.   For the more scholarly version, check out Leeson’s original Journal of Political Economy piece.

Canine Therapy at The Mudd

An important message from Librarian Pete Gilbert:

Stressed out by finals and the end of the school year? Need a study break? Join us for Canine Therapy 2012! Monday, June 4, 2:00-3:00pm on the Library Plaza. You’ll feel better for it…

The econ department will be sponsoring a large, championship-quality dog.

The New Palgrave Encylopedia of Economics, Redux

While dredging through Steven Landsburg’s excellent, yet interminable, chapter on perfect competition, we took a brief break to contemplate the Austrian critique paused to think about some of the Austrian critiques of the competitive model.   To wit:

The trouble with the concept from the Austrian point of view… is that it describes an equilibrium situation but says nothing about the competitive process which led to that equilibrium. Indeed, it robs the firm of all business activities which might reasonably be associated with the verb ‘to compete’ (Hayek, 1948). Thus, firms in the perfectly competitive model do not raise or lower prices, differentiate their products, advertise, try to change their cost structures relative to their competitors, or do any of the other things done by business firms in a dynamic economic system. This was precisely the reason why Schumpeter insisted on the irrelevance of the concept of perfect competition to an understanding of the capitalist process.

That passage, of course, is from The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, which is one of the fabulous economics resources offered through The Mudd.

Having trouble with the Principal-Agent Model? Wondering about empirical work on the make-or-buy decision?  Need a quick primer on health economics or the ins-and-outs of the logit model?   This might be a good starting place.