Back in 1973

In 1973, I became an adult (age 18), able to legally drink alcohol and vote in elections. It was an eventful year. The military draft was ended and a peace treaty was signed with Vietnam. Five days before the draft was abolished, abortion was made legal with the support of the religious right:

When Roe was first decided, most of the Southern evangelicals who today make up the backbone of the anti-abortion movement believed that abortion was a deeply personal issue in which government shouldn’t play a role. Some were hesitant to take a position on abortion because they saw it as a “Catholic issue,” and worried about the influence of Catholic teachings on American religious observance.

Shortly after the decision was handed down, The Baptist Press, a wire service run by the Southern Baptist Convention — the biggest Evangelical organization in the US — ran an op-ed praising the ruling. “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision,” read the January 31, 1973, piece by W. Barry Garrett, The Baptist Press’s Washington bureau chief.

“Religious bodies and religious persons can continue to teach their own particular views to their constituents with all the vigor they desire. People whose conscience forbids abortion are not compelled by law to have abortions. They are free to practice their religion according to the tenets of their personal or corporate faith.

The reverse is also now true since the Supreme Court decision. Those whose conscience or religious convictions are not violated by abortion may not now be forbidden by a religious law to obtain an abortion if they so choose.”

Garrett reassured his readers that the decision had been made not by “a Warren type or ‘liberal’ Supreme Court,” but “a ‘strict constructionist’ court, most of whose members have been appointed by President Nixon.”

In the Middle East, young ladies wore miniskirts:

It was a glorious time to be alive. Progress seemed inevitable, as liberalism was on the march all over the world. And then the right struck back . . .

And look at where we are now.

You can think of post-1970s changes are reflecting “religion”, but that’s a pretty vacuous concept. Cultures change, and religion just goes along for the ride.

In 1973, the US supported Israel in its war with Egypt. In retaliation, OPEC jacked up oil prices 4-fold. The flood of revenue (indirectly) supercharged terrorism (and nuclear ambitions), and made Iraq and Iran into rogue states. That led to the first Gulf War, and then 9/11, and then the second Iraq War. Terrorism and war led to refugees from the Middle East, and fueled suspicion of Muslim immigrants in America and Europe and Muslim residents in India and China. That led to Trump, Orban, Le Pen, Salvini, Brexit, etc. And the anti-Muslim atrocities in India and China.

I’m not anti-Israel, but maybe we should have just stayed out of the Middle East. Or maybe (probably?) that would have made no difference.

PS. Read Colin Thubron’s account of traveling through Lebanon on foot in 1967. And then weep for what we’ve lost.

PPS. Or you can read about China in 1973, and think about how much better things are today, “despite” the fact that China is more religious today than in 1973. But then 1973 in China is a really low bar.



27 Responses to “Back in 1973”

  1. Gravatar of marcus nunes marcus nunes
    29. December 2020 at 11:16

    “In 1973, the US supported Israel in its war with Egypt. In retaliation, OPEC jacked up oil prices 4-fold.”
    That was just the excuse they wanted. In reality prices were jacked up because of the ongoing (since 1966) US inflation, that “devalued” the constant dollar price of an oil barrel!

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    29. December 2020 at 12:17

    Marcus, That’s possible, but oil prices rose even in real terms.

  3. Gravatar of Spencer B. Hall Spencer B. Hall
    29. December 2020 at 13:21

    1973? It began earlier, in Dec. 1965.

    The Federal Reserve, under Chairman William McChesney Martin Jr., re-established stair-step case functioning (and cascading), interest rate pegs (like during WWII), thereby using a price mechanism (like President Gerald Ford’s: “Whip Inflation Now”), and abandoning the FOMC’s net free, or net borrowed, reserve targeting position approach (quasi-monetarism), in favor of the Federal Funds “bracket racket” in 1965 (presumably acting in accordance with the last directive of the FOMC, which set a range of rates as guides for open market policy actions).

    The Fed allowed the banks to usurp its “open market power” by not acting – by ignoring the dynamics of money creation.

    I.e., the Fed once again, began using interest rate manipulation as its monetary transmission mechanism, targeting nominal interest rates and accommodating the banksters and their customers whenever the banks saw an advantage in expanding loans (in 1955 rhetoric, refilling the “punch-bowl”).

    By using interest rates as the monetary transmission mechanism, the Fed has actually pursued a policy of automatic accommodation. That is, additional and costless excess reserves were made available to the banking system whenever the bankers and their customers saw an advantage in expanding loans.

    The effect of tying open market policy to a fed funds bracket was to supply additional (and excessive) legal reserves to the banking system when loan demand increased. Since the member banks had no excess reserves of significance, the banks had to acquire additional reserves to support the expansion of deposits, resulting from their loan expansion.

    The member banks, lacking excess reserves (clearing balances), would just bid up the federal funds rate to the top of the bracket (which was typical) thus triggering open market purchases, & soon a multiple volume of money was created on the basis of any given increase in free-gratis legal reserves (not a tax), larger monetary flows, M*Vt or AD, higher rates of inflation – and higher federal funds rates, more open market purchases, etc.

    This combined with the rapidly increasing transaction velocity of demand deposits (the end of gate keeping restrictions, financial deposit innovation, e.g., daily compounding of interest), resulted in a further upward pressure on prices. This is the process by which the Fed financed the rampant real-estate speculation that characterized the 70’s.

    Thus again, the Fed is ignoring Bagehot’s dictum where the discount rate is made a penalty rate (beginning in Jan 2003). And the banks flaunt the Central Banking rule that borrowing should not be used for profit (sold back into the interbank or secondary market).

  4. Gravatar of Spencer B. Hall Spencer B. Hall
    29. December 2020 at 13:34

    During the U.S. Golden Era in Capitalism (not optimized), the annual compounded rate of increase in our means-of-payment money supply was about 2 percent. The nonbanks grew faster than the commercial banks (which made Citicorp’s Walter Wriston jealous), and thereby a higher percentage of savings was utilized (through direct and indirect investment) and was also FSLIC and NCUA insured.

    And during this same period, 1955-1964, the rate of inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index, increased at an annual rate of 1.4 percent. Unemployment averaged 5.4 percent.

    Things ended in 1965. That’s when the commercial banks began to outbid the non-banks for loan-funds (resulting in disintermediation of the thrifts).

    What you can take away from George Baily’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” is varied meanings and thus different applications. The fact is that the U.S. Golden Era in Capitalism was where small savings were pooled, expeditiously activated (put back to work), and government insured – in the Savings and Loan Associations, Mutual Savings Banks, and Credit Unions. I.e., money velocity accelerated during this prosperous period (simply by activating monetary savings).

    Economist John O’Donnell said of the U.S. Golden Era in Economics: “increased money velocity financed about two-thirds of a growing GNP, while the increase in the actual quantity of money has finance only one-third. In other words, the ratio of the money supply to GNP has fallen.

    Government polices underpinned targeted real investment, aka, “the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, the G.I. Bill was created to help veterans of World War II. It established hospitals, made low-interest mortgages available and granted stipends covering tuition and expenses for veterans attending college or trade schools”

  5. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    29. December 2020 at 14:36

    In 1973, the US supported Israel in its war with Egypt. In retaliation, OPEC jacked up oil prices 4-fold. The flood of revenue (indirectly) supercharged terrorism (and nuclear ambitions), and made Iraq and Iran into rogue states. That led to the first Gulf War, and then 9/11, and then the second Iraq War.


    An interesting, but somewhat naïve and immoral look at history.

    In fact, the US government at the time was quite anti-Israel. Golda Meir knew about the planned war of aggression by the Egyptians and Syrians, but she did not undertake a much needed preemptive strike this time, because Kissinger threatened her that in such a case there might be no US support at all.

    Another fact: Kissinger waited until the very end, when Israel’s existence was seriously in doubt, when Egypt refused a cease-fire, and when Meir told Kissinger that Israeli loses were so severe that Meir authorized the assembly of nuclear warheads on missiles bombers.

    So yes, there was a “choice” for Kissinger in the end, between logistical support and nuclear war.

    Another point:
    I thought until now that, from a purely economic point of view, dollar inflation and the Vietnam War were the real cause of the cartel’s increase in oil prices. No?

    Israel was just a welcome excuse, as always.

    Another point:
    If it is so extremely easy to make so much more money as you claim, why didn’t OPEC raise prizes much sooner. Are they a bit stupid? Didn’t they have power before that?

    Another point:
    If it is so extremely easy to make so much more money through trade and if Iran is a rogue state, as even you now admitted, and if a “flood of revenue supercharges terrorism and nuclear ambitions,” which it really does, we saw it with Iran after the sanctions were lifted, then it makes even less sense that you want to lift Iran sanctions.

    It would be really dandy if you would argue coherently and comprehensibly regarding world politics for once.

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    29. December 2020 at 16:53

    Christian, You said:

    “If it is so extremely easy to make so much more money as you claim, why didn’t OPEC raise prizes much sooner. Are they a bit stupid? Didn’t they have power before that?”

    Given that you haven’t provided an answer, I’m not sure what your point is.

  7. Gravatar of sarah sarah
    29. December 2020 at 17:08

    When did “the right strike back”?
    The United States has increasingly descended left. Its become so left wing that each one of JFK’s proposals would be labeled “alt right”.

    What you see today – in terms of cultural decline – is the direct result of moral relativism, and the rejection of lockean ethics.

    Free speech is no longer allowed under the totalitarian left. A lack of manners is a result of the totalitarian left and the rise of ultra liberal hiphop that markets sex and drugs. The liberal left believes we shouldnt be allowed to discipline children. Teachers today get fired for disciplining students. These are left concepts that lead to bad outcomes. The US spends more dollars than any nation, yet the average student cannot do basic algebra.

    Amazing, considering in the 1950s my grandmother would be hit by the teacher if she spoke out of turn, showed up to school with her tits hanging out, or failed to pay attention in the classroom. It was a rough, disciplined, environment that taught people self respect & respect for others. That is why it was a nice place to live.

    Look at the way people dress today, compared to the 1950s. Look at peoples nasty body’s today. That is all a result of the left.

    The left doesnt believe in anything. In fact, the left chides those (mostly religious) who do believe in a core set of principles.

    And that is why you hate Trump. Because Trump brought back the rugged individualist. He brought back discipline. He brought back values rooted in a core set of beliefs – american beliefs — and is unwavering to the end.

    Its the radical babyboomers that destroyed the nation the greatest generation built.

    Just look at your dress. You cannot even where a suit properly. These are common sense things all children should be taught. Instead, they are told to play video games.

  8. Gravatar of Thomas Hutcheson Thomas Hutcheson
    29. December 2020 at 18:27

    If there was ever an argument for an optimal tariff, OPEC in 1973 was it.

    I wonder if we might not have short-circuited Mid East conflict, if (in addition to trying to break OPEC) we’d made non-support for conservative madrassas and mosque a condition of aid to Saudi Arabia and no “settlers in the Occupied territories as a condition of aid to Israel.

  9. Gravatar of Market Fiscalist Market Fiscalist
    29. December 2020 at 19:12

    1973 was probably the last year of the 1960’s.

    As Danny in Withnail and I said (

    ‘Politics, man. If you’re hanging onto a rising balloon, you’re presented with a difficult decision – let go before it’s too late or hang on and keep getting higher, posing the question: how long can you keep a grip on the rope? They’re selling hippie wigs in Woolworths, man. The greatest decade in the history of mankind is over. And as Presuming Ed here has so consistently pointed out, we have failed to paint it black.’

    I recommend that movie, BTW

  10. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    29. December 2020 at 20:32


    very interesting, I did not know that the religious right at the time supported Roe, and with perfectly valid reasoning too.

    As usual your commenters mostly miss the boat on what your post was mainly about, i.e. cultural shifts drive “religion” and whatever passes as “right” or “left”. Not the other way round.

    I don’t miss the world of 1973 that much. My personal 1973 memory is, seeing pictures of Pinochet’s atrocities, aged six. The cold war, awful hot wars and coups everywhere on the planet.

    But I miss the 70s spirit dearly. I grew up taking those liberal mores, sexual freedom, freedom to dress, what have you, as a given. I thought that was just the way the world was. In the 70s in West Africa, you couldn’t tell who was Muslim or Christian or Animist when you went to a bar. Everybody dressed and drank the same.

    What’s strange is this. Economically, the world went towards much more individual freedom since the 70s. There was no gig economy, unions were strong, corporations must have felt like government bureaucracies. There were much government regulations, in any country. All this is much better now.

    But in terms of personal and lifestyle choices, it seems much more like the stuffy 50s now, a period I haven’t lived through but that’s how it appears to me. Only difference is that today, there’s not one but two orthodoxies, the right and the left. Both have strict requirements on what opinions you are allowed to have lest you’re being ostracized. That’s really the difference today – in the West, you can lose your job over an opinion or an offhand remark. In many non Western countries, you can lose your life. And with surveillance, it’s not getting any better. As the 70s were called a period of peak anonymity, we now head towards peak surveillance. Anonymity means privacy but also some danger. You won’t necessarily be known or helped. Surveillance means safety, but also hypocrisy. No one can fulfill society’s sprawling standards to perfection.

    I suppose in economics, freedom was accepted as a way to maximize output. But it seems it was too much to bear to let people take their own decisions in their private lives too.

  11. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    29. December 2020 at 20:36


    I agree that the whole Middle East story was more complex but I don’t think the details matter, e.g. on the Yom Kippur war. The more the US meddled in the Middle East, the more it became a target for petrodollar fuelled animosity, including terrorism. The waves just went higher until culminating in 9/11. And that had nothing to do with Iran. Iran was a special case, since the US had meddled there since the 50s and Iranians of any stripe, no matter how anti Mullah, have a solid hatred for US interference there. Not to mention that Iran has little to do with world wide terrorism. Iran mostly meddles politically in the Middle East through Hizbollah in Lebanon and Yemen and of course in Iraq. You could see almost all of Iran’s meddling as Machiavellian machinations in the service of national defense. Iran does in the Middle East what Putin does around Russia – create buffers, support local allies, support wars of nuisance. It is, ironically, using a religious pretext for foreign policy aims, not the other way round. And outside the Middle East, I don’t see them pushing Shia Islam either.

    This is very different from the expansionist, world-wide, ideology-driven anti Western terror that Scott alludes to. That terror was either political (PLO etc) or had to to with radical Sunni Islam. It was petrodollars that financed the world wide spread of Salafism / Wahhabism. It was about fighting a modern interpretation of Islam. That includes the murder of modern Qur’an translators etc. So that is the crux of the matter.

    Interestingly, for me with an interest in Africa, I see US missionaries and evangelicals as the chief culprits of hypocrisy there, for example the explosion of radical homophobia and the like. In the 70s there was none of that really, except for your garden variety prejudice. It wasn’t political. I blame US led evangelical missionaries for making it political in Africa.

  12. Gravatar of xu xu
    29. December 2020 at 21:42

    This is a good post.

    You point to the 1970’s, and indeed the 70s was a great time. But why?

    Because government was smaller.
    Because companies were not allowed to outsource American jobs to the lowest bidder.
    Because we were all Americans, despite our race, religion, or whether we leaned left or right.
    Because people had values!
    Because we still believed in individualism or collectivism.

    You make it sound as if the left is the answer to this. The left is the cancer and the cause. The right is also a cancer if it goes too far. But Trump has never gone that far to the right. Cruz is further right then DJT.

    And Paul is arguably right of both.

    None of them are Hitler.

    But they do believe in the inalienable, which the left refuses to acknowledge.

    When you have a degradation of culture. When you attack absolutism – whether that absolutism is grounded in religion, or grounded in Kant, it matters not. What matters is the universal is respected.

    My problem with the left is they seek to destroy the universal, and by doing so they create a vacuuum where only utility or the maximization of that utility matters. Hence, sending everyone’s jobs abroad for a little extra profit margin. Why do you think the top 1% has so much more? Well, they pay less labor now. Utilitarianism is a cancer to society. It’s a prop for Marxism.

    When you destroy absolutism, and everything is relative, people become corrupt. Stop trying to destroy religion. Religion is not the problem. The left is the problem. At least Southerns treat each other with respect. At least they believe in core principles that are rooted in kantian principles. The ten commandments are universal.

    Take away values and you are left with money, tits, ass, and big dicks. That is what life revolves around when you have no core principles.

    Not a nice world to live in.

    Go to Vietnam today. People are angry. Angry at others, angry at themselves. And the only thing they talk about is money. That is what Marxism gave them.

    That is why it is so surprising that you consistently vote for apparatchiks like Biden, when it is TRUMP that is fighting back and seeking to uphold the very values that defined this nation. Values rooted in Kant, absolutism, natural rights.

    Ever since Woodrow “BIG TIME LOSER Wilson, we’ve become this freak show of a nation. Theodore Roosevelt was the last Individualist — at least trump is trying to bring it back. He’s trying to get America out of these foreign wars. He’s trying to get America back to its roots.

    And instead of standing up for those values – libertarian values – you try to destroy it by propping up the CCP and Biden.

    It’s bizarre.

  13. Gravatar of henry henry
    29. December 2020 at 21:55

    Unlike most of you, I’m actually old enough to remember the 70s.
    In the 70s, you could start a business without red-tape.
    The consolidation of industry has only increased the size of special interests. And those companies, by design, make it really difficult for anyone else to get into the arena.

    For example, one needs 100sqmt’s just to open a pharmacy. One cannot sell generic drugs unless they have three full time pharmacists. What startup can afford such costs? CVS can. You and I? probably not.

    People used to sell real-estate, then the politicians said everyone who sells a home must have a license.

    People used to sell financial services, then the government said we need to have “special licenses” that today cost in the millions of USD.

    People use to offer clothes, but the bigger stores now create vertical supply chains (I think it’s vertical, I’m not an economist) where they produce their own, and sell their own.

    Downtowns became ghost towns. Walmart and the Big Box Store became the new normal.

    This killed mom and pops. More people had to sell their labor. Life got a whole lost less interesting, and a whole lot worse.

    Outsourcing and red tape not only killed jobs, it destroyed communities. It destroyed lives.

  14. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    29. December 2020 at 22:08

    “ Cultures change, and religion just goes along for the ride.”
    Religion is affected by culture but I don’t think it’s accurate to say it goes along for the ride. The Salafi movement, for example, is clearly a Reactionary religious movement.

    I agree that Islamist terrorism led to a rise in nationalism in the West and Asia, but the rise in terrorism I think was caused more by the fallout from the Cold War than the Yom Kippur War.

  15. Gravatar of Brett Brett
    29. December 2020 at 23:46

    What happened with the evangelicals was that the conservative wing of them eventually took over and interwove itself with the conservative movement and Republican Party, and they more or less drove out almost all of the liberal evangelical folks. There was a good article about it a while back about how the conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention carried out a pretty effective take-over of the leadership in the 1980s and enacted conservative rules, including banning women from the pastorate.

  16. Gravatar of Tim Worstall Tim Worstall
    30. December 2020 at 02:34

    Not wholly sure that I’d class Kabul (ie, Cabul) as Middle East but otherwise yes.

  17. Gravatar of Spencer B. Hall Spencer B. Hall
    30. December 2020 at 05:33

    The 70’s was where the administered prices were validated.

    The Distributed Lag Effect of Money:

    “Monetary and fiscal policy changes, for example, may take six to eight months to have a noticeable effect; then it may take twelve to eighteen months for the policy effects to work through the economy.”

    What is wrong with this analysis?

    Same thing that was wrong with Friedman’s.

  18. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    30. December 2020 at 05:40

    It is fun to take a walk down memory lane —-and Scott points to the scenery which appealed to him the most. I had entered grad school in Columbia that year—-to study political philosophy of all things. I was incredibly naive. The only thing I learned as an undergraduate was that “going into business” was for weirdos and America was not the good country I was brought up to believe.

    I had no prior image of NYC but it felt rough and tumble to me. Mean Streets and Taxi Driver fit the bill. I did not know we were in an inflationary recession in NY. I knew, but it had no meaning to me. I got buried in abstractions—-from political realism to existentialism.

    My goal was to be a professor! So I could stay in school forever. I am surprised at Scott’s comment on Egypt and Israel. Those short skirts were worn in Israel and its borders, Lebanon and maybe even Iran. While I do believe it when he says he is not “anti-Israel”——it would be better if he did not feel the need to say it. I won’t give a history of Israel or the Jews in Europe—-but just as we seem to have at least some form of a possible longer term peace he is sorry we ever went there in ‘73. What about in the late 40s.

    I go back and forth on what is different today. I do recall many, myself included, thinking Reagan was a bit “mad” because of his belief in the evil of communism and the goodness of America. The hatred the left media had for Nixon had no ideological component ——but it was there.

    But it is different today. It is more vicious. Even as the left always said we were totalitarian too——-Marxist crap—-today it appears too many hunger for control and power. But I am not a “realist”. I believe certain ways——-basically freedom in the corny old way of the Federalist papers are far superior than other ways—-like the Left today.

  19. Gravatar of Spencer B. Hall Spencer B. Hall
    30. December 2020 at 07:51

    L.J.P. “The various price indexes will of course register an immediate change in response to a change in the price of such an important commodity as petroleum, where the price change was “administered” or was the consequence of a change in monetary flows.

    If monopolistic powers “administer” an upward shift in a price, the long-term effect will not be inflationary, but will be deflationary unless monetary flows “validate” these specific price changes.

    The OPEC-manipulated increase in oil prices in 1973 and subsequently would have had a depressing effect on the economy had not these higher prices been validated by an expansion in monetary flows. Money flows actually overcompensated, resulting in high levels of inflation and double-digit interest rates.

    The apparent sequence of events might suggest that inflation was caused by OPEC and similar forces. In any specific situation, the monetary authorities might respond to business price policies. But such was not the case here. The inflation that seemed to follow OPEC’s coming had its roots in monetary policies and commercial banking institutional changes that began in the early sixties.

    There was an excessive expansion in M-1 when the FED adopted the federal funds rate as a day-to-day guide in its open market operations. The catastrophic increase in the transactions velocity of demand deposits also dates from the early sixties as a consequence of the introduction of the negotiable CD, the transition from hand-held clerical processing to electronic processing, the reduction of float, and REG. Q ceilings bracket creep, etc.

    The changes enabled and induced business and the public to transfer transaction’s balances from demand deposits into time deposits.
    Time deposits largely became auxiliary money, and the transactions velocity of demand deposits rose from 35 in 1964 to 186 in 1981.

    Because of the highly inelastic demand for most petroleum products in the short-run, any upward administration of prices deals the economy a “double whammy”. For example, the coefficient of demand elasticity for gasoline was 0.15%, i.e., a 1% increase in price is associated with a 0.15% decrease in the quantity of gasoline purchased. That is to say, raising prices increases total revenue; decreasing prices reduces total revenue.

    If that conclusion seems obvious, it isn’t. In the demand schedule of all products and services, there is an elastic segment. At some level, an increase in price reduces total revenue, and vice versa.

    If, during the upward spiral of oil prices, MV had not increased, there would have been a massive diversion of purchasing power from non-petroleum products. The whole country would have experienced, in varying degrees, the depression that afflicted the automotive industry.

    To say, therefore, that falling oil prices will bring down prices and interest rates, and that rising oil prices are inflationary and will increase interest rates, is to ignore the fact that inflation is primarily a monetary phenomenon.”

  20. Gravatar of rr rr
    30. December 2020 at 09:37

    Totally agree. Our current obsession with the middle east is destructive. In the 70s there was at least a valid concern that the Soviet Union could gain control/influence over what were absolutely critical oil supplies. That simply isn’t the same concern now. I’m not anti-Israel either, but I find it insane that we have politicians who refer to it as “our most important ally”. How stupid it that?
    I also think it’s ridiculous that we care about the balance of power between Saudi and Iran, or that we consider one of those counties and enemy and the other an ally. We should normalize relations with Iran in exchange for a freeze on their nuclear program and get the hell out of the middle east.
    I’m also pro miniskirt.

  21. Gravatar of Laura Laura
    31. December 2020 at 08:15

    Ah-ha, thought it was a proposition universally regarded that the oil embargo was about the closure of the gold window.

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. December 2020 at 11:20

    Market, Yeah, “the 60s” were 1963-1973.

    mbka, Yes, there’s a new puritanism today.

    Carl, If people want to promote a reactionary ideology, they’ll either invent or hijack a religion to make it possible.

    Tim, Ha! You Brits used to classify even Turkey as “the Orient”.

    China and Japan are the Far East; Afghanistan is the Middle East. 🙂

    rr, You said:

    “I also think it’s ridiculous that we care about the balance of power between Saudi and Iran, or that we consider one of those counties and enemy and the other an ally.”

    Exactly, they are both bad regimes.

    Laura, Both nominal and real oil prices soared. Inflation only explains the nominal increase.

  23. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    31. December 2020 at 20:31

    I think you underestimate the depth of the religious impulse. Throughout modern history people have turned more to religion in times of cultural turmoil. You answered mbka by pointing out that puritanism was on the rise, then answered me that the Salafis were just hijacking Islam. Why aren’t the Salafis just the extreme end of that puritanical trend?

    Anyway, it’s New Years Eve and I wanted to thank you for another enjoyable year of your blogging. Happy New Year.

  24. Gravatar of Spencer B. Hall Spencer B. Hall
    1. January 2021 at 06:38

    Friedman wrote “First Principles” on the E-$ market in July 1971.

  25. Gravatar of Spencer B. Hall Spencer B. Hall
    1. January 2021 at 06:44

    re: “Throughout modern history people have turned more to religion in times of cultural turmoil”

    The escalating murder rates are a math equation, related to income inequality.

  26. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    2. January 2021 at 15:02

    @Spencer B. Hall
    In response to your comment I did a little research on the Gini/murder rate and gini/ terrorism correlations. They seem robust at least on first review. I haven’t seen the numbers for times of war and pandemics. And, we seem to be going counter to trend in the US since the 70’s. And it doesn’t mean that there aren’t ties between materiel envy and religion.
    Anyway, food for thought. Thanks.

  27. Gravatar of Kevin Kevin
    1. February 2021 at 02:44

    I feel compelled to mention that a person doesn’t have to be religious or a theist to see the obvious problems with abortion’s legality. It’s not worth parsing through all of the legal arguments, but there are many that do not support upholding Roe v. Wade. Given that we have a government, surely there is a compelling interest in protecting the right to life? Surely, people who believe in non-aggression cannot defend abortion. In instances other than rape, the mother of the fetus has invited the occupation of her womb through her own decision-making, and must necessarily care for the resulting life. The fetus is not merely some “parasite” that shows up through happenstance. Unless her life is being threatened, pregnancy is a foreseeable result of deliberate behavior and if we have a state for ANYTHING, it ought to protect the lives of the most vulnerable.

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