Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?

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?”

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Meath East And The Future Direction Of Irish Politics

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”

What’s The Point Of Prayer?

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?”

The Importance Of Location

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”

Economics Of Advertising

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”

Economists And The Powerful

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.

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Continue reading “Economists And The Powerful”

Challenging Economics – Theory Of Comparative Advantage

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”