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Date: Saturday, 13 Sep 2014 10:10
Noah Smith puts it well:

most of our arguments are over things like Obamacare, or antipoverty programs, or financial regulation-- issues on which reasonable people can and do disagree. If you’re uncivil in this sort of situation -- if you call your opponent an idiot, or a liar, or a nastier name simply because you think his or her argument is bad -- you’re basically being overconfident. You’re assuming that there’s essentially no chance that you’re in the wrong, so it’s in the public interest for you to rail against your opponent and score points with the crowd. If you do this, there’s no chance that you yourself will learn anything from the encounter.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 17:37
A friend sends the following puzzle.  Find the X that fits in this sequence:

16  06  68  88  X  98

For those who don't get it, I will post a hint in a few days.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 08 Sep 2014 15:44
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Sunday, 07 Sep 2014 06:35
I much enjoyed this article by Steven Pinker.  An excerpt:

It seems to me that educated people should know something about the 13-billion-year prehistory of our species and the basic laws governing the physical and living world, including our bodies and brains. They should grasp the timeline of human history from the dawn of agriculture to the present. They should be exposed to the diversity of human cultures, and the major systems of belief and value with which they have made sense of their lives. They should know about the formative events in human history, including the blunders we can hope not to repeat. They should understand the principles behind democratic governance and the rule of law. They should know how to appreciate works of fiction and art as sources of aesthetic pleasure and as impetuses to reflect on the human condition.

On top of this knowledge, a liberal education should make certain habits of rationality second nature. Educated people should be able to express complex ideas in clear writing and speech. They should appreciate that objective knowledge is a precious commodity, and know how to distinguish vetted fact from superstition, rumor, and unexamined conventional wisdom. They should know how to reason logically and statistically, avoiding the fallacies and biases to which the untutored human mind is vulnerable. They should think causally rather than magically, and know what it takes to distinguish causation from correlation and coincidence. They should be acutely aware of human fallibility, most notably their own, and appreciate that people who disagree with them are not stupid or evil. Accordingly, they should appreciate the value of trying to change minds by persuasion rather than intimidation or demagoguery.

I believe (and believe I can persuade you) that the more deeply a society cultivates this knowledge and mindset, the more it will flourish. The conviction that they are teachable gets me out of bed in the morning.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 14:12
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 11:56
In the Business & Money category:

Source
 
And in all books:

Source

To users of my favorite textbooks: Thank you!  Have a great semester.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 11:21
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 18:11
Here is a list.  By the way, six are at Harvard, more than any other school.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Saturday, 23 Aug 2014 13:41
Click here to read my column in Sunday's NY Times.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 10:58
I will be speaking at the annual conference of the National Economics Teaching Association, which this year is being held on Thursday, November 6th and Friday, November 7th, 2014 in San Diego, CA.  If you want to consider attending, click here for more information.
 
You can potentially win a free trip to the conference, as well as some cash, by entering this contest.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Saturday, 09 Aug 2014 13:55
In The New Republic.  A tidbit:
Only very extreme scenarios, where every wealthy individual does all of the following at the same time can lead to the sort of explosive inequality dynamics Piketty fears:
  1. Marries someone at least as wealthy or bequeaths all wealth to one child.
  2. Consumes very little.
  3. Avoids paying most taxes.
  4. Contributes little to charity or politics.
  5. Invests optimally while avoiding Bernie Madoff and his ilk.
And it is hard to imagine why anyone would care about the existence of such an inbred, self-denying, and politically-removed class, if it could ever exist.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Sunday, 03 Aug 2014 08:11
Larry Kotlikoff's comment on Paul Krugman's debating style in my previous post reminded me of an email I received earlier this summer:

Hi Professor Mankiw,
 
I'm an entering graduate student at [withheld] and a long-time reader (reading your blog when I was in high school introduced me to and got me interested in economics). I was reading Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions and stumbled upon a passage that immediately reminded me of you, and your debates with Professor Krugman. I think it accurately describes a lot of disputes I've seen among intellectuals.
 
If you're familiar with the basic premise of the book, you can skip this paragraph. If you aren't (or need a refresher) Sowell creates a spectrum of political visions. At one end, there is the unconstrained vision, which sees a more malleable human nature in which the reason of experts has great efficacy in solving society's problems. At the other end, there is the constrained vision, which sees man's reason as inherently limited to narrow fields, with the best social progress coming through less deliberate and more evolutionary means. Sowell would see you as closer to the perfectly constrained vision, and Professor Krugman as closer to the perfectly unconstrained vision.
 
Here is the passage that reminded me of your debates with him. I think you'll see what I mean:
 
Sincerity is so central to the unconstrained vision that it is not readily conceded to adversaries, who are often depicted as apologists, if not venal. It is not uncommon in this tradition to find references to their adversaries' "real" reasons, which must be "unmasked." Even where sincerity is conceded to adversaries, it is often accompanied by references to those adversaries' "blindness," "prejudice," or narrow inability to transcend the status quo. Within the unconstrained vision, sincerity is a great concession to make, while those with the constrained vision can more readily make that concession, since it means so much less to them. Nor need adversaries be depicted as stupid by those with the constrained vision, for they conceive of the social process as so complex that it is easy, even for wise and moral individuals, to be mistaken -- and dangerously so. They 'may do the worst of things without being the worst of man,' according to Burke. (pg 59-60)
 
You may have already​ seen this and had similar thoughts, but if you hadn't, I thought you would find it interesting.
 
Best,
[name withheld]
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Saturday, 02 Aug 2014 18:34
From Larry Kotlikoff. A noble effort that is likely to be in vain.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 07:25
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 14:35
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Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 23:26
The Financial Times headline: Piketty findings undercut by errors.
Update: Piketty responds to the FT.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 14 Jul 2014 10:59
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Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 06:34
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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NFF   New window
Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2014 07:37
Sorry that I have been out of touch with regular blog readers.  I have moved to Nantucket for the summer, and the weather here has been too great to spend much time in front of a keyboard.  (The three best reasons to be a professor: June, July, and August.)

The past few days I have been attending the Nantucket Film Festival.  I have had a chance to see some great movies before they are in general release.  Two are worth mentioning: Arlo and Julie, a small quirky comedy/mystery that is a bit Woody Allen-esque. Also, Happiness, a documentary about a boy and his family in Bhutan. 

This morning I am off to see Begin Again, which won the award for Best of Festival.
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 23 Jun 2014 17:11
Author: "Greg Mankiw (noreply@blogger.com)"
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