Alex Tabarrok Quotes

 

Education is the key to the future: You’ve heard it a million times, and it’s not wrong. Educated people have higher wages and lower unemployment rates, and better-educated countries grow faster and innovate more than other countries. But going to college is not enough. You also have to study the right subjects.

— Alex Tabarrok

Patents are like fertilizer. Applied wisely and sparingly, they can increase growth. But if you apply too many chemicals, or make patents too strong, then you can leach the land, making growth more difficult.

— Alex Tabarrok

The term ‘natural resources’ confuses people. ‘Natural resources’ are not like a finite number of gifts under the Christmas tree. Nature is given, but resources are created.

— Alex Tabarrok

I utterly reject the view that the Third World is doomed to poverty and starvation. Not only is this wrong, I think this attitude verges on the immoral, like thinking that slavery is an unalterable facet of the human condition so why bother doing anything about it?

— Alex Tabarrok

A lot of people say that India has been held back by its democracy. But let’s remember that, despite being a poor country, India’s democracy meant that its government never let millions of people starve.

— Alex Tabarrok

I think modern television shows, with their intricate plots, are stimulating our minds. This is one reason IQs have been going up.

— Alex Tabarrok

Democracy is an experimental system. I like it when states try out new ideas. I think we ought to expand, not contract, our federalist system.

— Alex Tabarrok

The first thing you learn when you’re blogging is that people are one click away from leaving you. So you’ve got to get to the point, you can’t waste people’s time, you’ve got to give them some value for their limited attention span.

— Alex Tabarrok

Writing on the blog, you want to get attention and make strong claims. In academic work, that often doesn’t pay, so sometimes it’s a little bit difficult going back and forth to navigate these differences.

— Alex Tabarrok

Television is much more complex, brain-challenging and involved than it used to be. It’s almost impossible to watch a television show from 15 years ago; it’s just too boring. I think modern television shows, with their intricate plots, are stimulating our minds. This is one reason IQs have been going up.

— Alex Tabarrok

People get used to more complex forms of entertainment, and they become bored by simpler forms. Television has become more complex in order to feed our demand.

— Alex Tabarrok

Well-roundedness comes not from sitting in a classroom but from experiencing the larger world.

— Alex Tabarrok

Our obsessive focus on college schooling has blinded us to basic truths. College is a place, not a magic formula. It matters what subjects students study, and subsidies should focus on the subjects that matter the most – not to the students, but to everyone else.

— Alex Tabarrok

Going to college is neither necessary nor sufficient to be well-educated.

— Alex Tabarrok

The obsessive focus on a college degree has served neither taxpayers nor students well. Only 35 percent of students starting a four-year degree program will graduate within four years, and less than 60 percent will graduate within six years. Students who haven’t graduated within six years probably never will.

— Alex Tabarrok

College has been oversold. It has been oversold to students who end up dropping out or graduating with degrees that don’t help them very much in the job market. It also has been oversold to the taxpayers, who foot the bill for subsidies that do nothing to encourage innovation and economic growth.

— Alex Tabarrok

People used to think that more population was bad for growth. In this view, people are stomachs – they eat, leaving less for everyone else. But once we realize the importance of ideas in the economy, people become brain – they innovate, creating more for everyone else.

— Alex Tabarrok

The only way to thrive is to innovate. It’s that simple.

— Alex Tabarrok

It used to be that almost all innovation came from the U.S. and a small number of other developed countries. That’s no longer the case, and as China and India grow, it’s changing even more. Expect a lot more Chinese and Indian Nobel prizes in the future.

— Alex Tabarrok

It would be really great if I discovered a cure for cancer, but it would only be a little bit less great if my neighbor did. So I am pretty happy when my neighbor becomes wealthier, better educated and more innovative. I feel the same about China and India.

— Alex Tabarrok

When the FDA forces an old drug off the market, patients have very little say in the matter. Patients have even less of a say when the FDA chooses not to approve a new drug. Instead, we are supposed to rely on the FDA’s judgment and be grateful. But can the FDA really make a choice that is appropriate for everyone? Of course not.

— Alex Tabarrok

Conservatives have long argued, correctly, that ‘fine-tuning’ the economy is a chimera, but that argument seems to have disappeared from the conservative handbook.

— Alex Tabarrok

Today it is evident that we have two political parties: the Tax and Spenders and the No-Tax and Spenders. Neither party is fiscally conservative. Is there no room at the inn for an honest conservative? A conservative who makes the case for smaller government on its merits and not just as the fallback option when fiscal bankruptcy threatens?

— Alex Tabarrok

More retirees, longer life expectancy, larger benefits, and fewer workers – these trends have meant substantial increases in the payroll tax. Since the social security program began, the payroll tax has increased more than 500 percent.

— Alex Tabarrok

As far as wages are concerned, the only difference between immigration and birth is that birth takes longer.

— Alex Tabarrok

America has the highest standard of living of any major country in the entire world. To maintain and enhance that standard of living, America should continue to embrace those qualities which have made America great: openness and dynamism. Openness to new technologies, new ideas and new people is America’s greatest source of strength.

— Alex Tabarrok

There is no right to a job or a wage rate, but there is a right to move from one country to another in search of a better life. This is the point of view of Thomas Jefferson, John Locke and other great supporters of the natural rights tradition in America.

— Alex Tabarrok

Capitalists work hard to produce what consumers want. Artists who work too hard to produce what consumers want are often accused of selling out. Thus, even the languages of capitalism and art conflict: a firm that has ‘sold out’ has succeeded, but an artist that has ‘sold out’ has failed.

— Alex Tabarrok

Hollywood wants its heroes to be virtuous, but it defines virtue in a way that excludes any action that is self-interested. If virtue means putting others ahead of self, then it’s clear that most people, let alone most capitalists, aren’t very virtuous.

— Alex Tabarrok

Like many works of literature, Hollywood chooses for its villains people who strive for social dominance through the pursuit of wealth, prestige, and power. But the ordinary business of capitalism is much more egalitarian: It’s about finding meaning and enjoyment in work and production.

— Alex Tabarrok

Michael Moore didn’t have to worry that anyone would misinterpret the title of his film, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story,’ because in Hollywood, no one loves capitalism. That’s too bad, because Hollywood is one of capitalism’s greatest successes.

— Alex Tabarrok

I encourage everyone I know to sign an organ donor card, but if someone doesn’t want to sign, that’s his or her choice. If someone isn’t willing to give an organ, however, why should that person be allowed to receive an organ?

— Alex Tabarrok

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