Does the world need more people? [Article]

Judge Richard Posner answers his own question: “I am dubious.”

Maybe children are actually an “inferior” good, valued most by poor people either because the children of the poor work to augment family income or because the family lacks the resources for such child substitutes as expensive cars, clothes, homes, entertainment, and travel. Increasingly in the wealthy countries both spouses work, increasing the opportunity costs to both parents of raising children.  …

There is no necessary connection between population and economic growth. The sharp decline of Europe’s population because of the Black Death is thought to have increased per capita incomes significantly by reducing the ratio of people to arable land, resulting in improved nutrition.

Viewing humans as economic “goods” is ________ (fill in the blanks with your own answer).

Posner on business ethics [Article]

Posner dissects the concept of free-market self regulation, & business ethics (to me, the term is an oxymoron) – and lays it bare for what it really is

Competition is doubtless essential to the efficient production and distribution of goods and services. But it is not an antidote to unethical practices by producers and distributors.

The question is whether his advocacy for more regulation is actually a solution at all?

Automation, Employment, & Skills [Article]

Judge Richard Posner articulates his views on automation & its impact on employment while Prof Gary Becker reckons that the future is dismal for workers with few skills. If you are concerned about your future or worried about the future that your kids face, have a read:

Because of automation, outsourcing, and more efficient management practices, the demand for lawyers is down, forcing many lawyers either to drop to lower rungs in the profession’s ladder or to leave the profession entirely for work in types of job which their human capital specialized to the practice of law has less, or maybe no, value to employers.