The Resurrection is the key event of Christianity. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then Christianity simply wouldn’t exist as a religion. I have elsewhere discussed the contradictions in the crucifixion narrative and how claiming Jesus died for our sins doesn’t make any sense, so today being Easter Sunday, I thought I’d investigate whether the core of Christianity is actually true. Did Jesus really rise from the dead or is it just a myth? Continue reading “Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?”
Irish politics is in a great state of flux. Nothing is quite certain and the positions keep changing. After being fairly rigid and predictable since 1932, it was burst apart in the earthquake election of 2011 and things have yet to settle back into place. Every opinion poll shows the sudden rise or fall of another party, but failing to add much clarity to the situation. This is why the Meath East by-election is useful as it allows us to take stock of the situation and give us a rough idea of where things stand and what direction Irish politics is heading. Continue reading “Meath East And The Future Direction Of Irish Politics”
One of the central features of religion is prayer, yet it is something that doesn’t make any sense. While praying seems like a natural and harmless action, if you think through the logic of it, you realise that it is neither possible, probably or desirable. The only reason the laws of the universe function is because prayers are unanswered, a point even religious people subtly acknowledge. If prayers were answered, the world would be a chaotic, unstable and illogical place. Continue reading “What’s The Point Of Prayer?”
One thing about most discussions of the free market is that they never mention location. It is enough that firms exist; it is presumed that if they offer a good product and a good price consumers will come to them. However, the business world treats this very differently. Great attention is paid to location (there’s even a show named after it) and business people are well aware that a couple of yards can make or break a business. Location changes the way we view competition, instead of focusing on whether or not there is a national monopoly, we should realise that almost all firms are to some extent monopolies in their area. Continue reading “The Importance Of Location”
Advertising is a hugely influential part of society and business yet it is never mentioned in traditional economics. In neo-classical economics, firms do not advertise. This is not a trivial omission because advertising has an enormous effect on the market. Roughly $500 billion dollars was spent on advertising in 2011. Nor is its omission a simple mistake. Rather it is deliberate because once you examine advertising, you see what an enormous distorter of the market it is. Continue reading “Economics Of Advertising”
One of the most glaring omissions from modern economics is the complete absence of any mention of power. Textbooks describe a world where everyone is equal and no one has power to influence others to benefit themselves. Norbert Haring and Niall Douglas make a huge contribution to correcting this omission by discussing the importance of power relations in economics and during the financial crash in their brilliant book, Economists And The Powerful. They show how power got removed from the economics discourse for ideological reasons, the power and influence of the financial industry, the corporate elite, how the economy is best described as monopolistic competition, how the money supply is controlled by banks, how the labour force is shaped by market power and how the government is manipulated by corporate interests for their own gain. It is a superb book that I highly recommend.
There are few debates that economists take only one side in and trade is one of them. Textbooks argue that trade creates prosperity always and everywhere. Students are required to answer questions on the benefits of trade and the costs of protectionism. There is a strong attempt to give the impression that all economists support free trade and the debate is only between those who understand economics and those who don’t. What is strange about all of this is how shaky the foundations for this belief are. It is mostly reliant on the “Law” of Comparative Advantage, which as I shall discuss, has some very significant flaws. Continue reading “Challenging Economics – Theory Of Comparative Advantage”
I decided to study economics because I wanted to change the world. I wanted to improve people’s lives, particularly the poor and powerless. I wanted to find solutions to the present crisis so that the scourge of mass unemployment no longer haunts us. What I got instead was completely different. My economics textbooks did not deal with important issues like unemployment, recessions and debt. In fact, they barely mentioned them. Instead they are filled with nonsense that has more to do with pushing a free market ideology than describing how the world really works. The Economics Anti-Textbook brilliantly takes apart the mainstream textbooks and their flawed arguments. It clearly and concisely debunks the mainstream myths contained in microeconomics textbooks. It is one of the best economics book I have ever read and essential for any economics student.
Some people claim that the Great Famine was an act of genocide committed by the British Empire against the Irish people. This theory is most popular among Irish-Americans (who strangely enough are more nationalist than people from Ireland) and on the internet, though it has little if any credence in Ireland. It has been booted out of conspiracy theory land after one of the most respected Irish historians; Tim Pat Coogan supported the allegation in his new book, The Famine Plot. Continue reading “Was The Irish Famine Genocide?”
A friend of mine complained that I didn’t fully understand libertarianism so he recommended “The Machinery Of Freedom” by David Friedman (Milton’s son) (available as a PDF here). This book is well-respected within libertarian circles. It takes a specifically anarcho-capitalist position (my friend is an anarchist) but it spends a great deal discussing libertarianism first. To say I didn’t like the book would be an understatement. It was atrocious. It was a horrendously argued book that relied on straw man arguments, ignoring the middle ground, a complete absence of evidence and mainly stating positions without even attempting to defend them. The only praise I have for the book is that it is mercifully short and easy to read. Continue reading “The Worst Book I Ever Read”