Links: Adjuncts, materialism, the cost of parking, Zadie Smith, dictators, Robin Hanson, and more!

* “Travels in [Feminist?] Pornland,” in Granta and by Andrea Stuart.

* Mr. Money Mustache buys an Electric Car.

* “Adjunct vulnerability is at the heart of the safe space debate;” I actually have a different reading, and the title imperfectly reflects the deeper content of the article. The “safe space” debate and political correctness more generally is an overreaction to past ills (and real ills). Too much of an initially good thing can make the thing bad, and yet too few people point this out.

* “Non-materialistic millennials and the Great Stagnation,” or, how the smartphone in particular has replaced a lot of “stuff.” In 2007 Paul Graham wrote “Stuff,” which seems truer today than ever.

* “The High Cost of Residential Parking: Every time a new building includes space for cars, it passes those costs on to tenants.”

* Too many old people may explain stagnant economies and innovation.

* “Reading Jane Jacobs Anew,” an excellent piece and don’t be discouraged by the title.

* “Zadie Smith’s ‘Swing Time’—a successful return to her roots” (and much talk about Smith’s ambivalent relationship to the novel that made her name). I’ve tried White Teeth twice and given up each time.

* “Why People Fall for Charismatic Leaders: A new book explores how fear, uncertainty, and group psychology lead people to believe leaders who say false things.”

* “The Unintended Consequences of Law: How did the entire state of California price itself out of the market for entry-level home buyers?”

* Is Robin Hanson too far ahead of his time?

* “The Government’s Addiction to ‘Secret Law.’

* Parking Lots Are an Incredible Waste of Space. Here’s How to End Them.

* “It Could Happen Here: Democracy is facing setbacks around the world, but there hasn’t been reason to doubt America’s resilience—until now.” That’s part of the reason why this election has been uniquely dangerous.

* “Natural selection in our species during the last two millennia;” evolution has not stopped and modern life may actually accelerate it.

* “Will the United States become a nation of renters?” I find the relentless focus on property ownership bizarre, given all the drawbacks it entails, and indeed most of the people who seem to think it a good idea cannot even articulate the (many) drawbacks.

2 responses

  1. Re: renting versus buying, as I move into the second half of my 40s never having owned a home, I can see only two advantages relevant to my actual life: having predictable monthly housing costs long-term, and being able to do whatever you want with the property. We want to raise chickens, for example, but that’s a mess we can’t make here in a rented yard.

    I don’t think the 2008 economic crisis would have been quite as disastrous if more homebuyers had taken an honest look at their own finances and assessed their own unique needs rather than buy into the hype: You’ll be priced out forever! Only idiots rent! The tax benefits! The market always goes up! You can always rent it out! At least now that we’re a country with trillions in debt from student loans, credit cards, and mortgages, anyone who floats the “you can always borrow against it!” argument stands a good chance of being laughed out of the room.

    Like

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