A curation of some of the most thoughtful content on the web
1. The Use of Knowledge in Society
F.A. Hayek | American Economic Review
One of Hayek’s most insightful essays on the economic problem that society faces. Hayek argues that economic planning must be done, that we cannot get aay from, however the open question is how the planning will be done. Will planning be done by a single centralised agent using expert knowledge or will be it be done in a decentralised manner where decisions are distributed across individuals using their local knowledge and prices. Hayek answers a decentralised market system because of the different kinds of knowledge involved in society and the role of prices in communicating information. A lengthy but worthwhile read.
The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate “given” resources – if “given” is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these “data”. It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge not given to anyone in its totality.
2. What does it look like to “turn on” a gene?
Alla Katsnelson | Knowable Magazine
An interesting article that introduces readers to some of the intricate processes that are involved in producing proteins from DNA. They focus on the first steps required in making a gene – transcription factor proteins binding to enhancer and promoter DNA sections.
Consider that, uncoiled, the DNA in a human cell would run a meter or two long. The nucleus is about 5 to 10 micrometers in diameter, so the packaging of our genome is akin to stuffing a string that could wrap 10 times around the Earth inside a chicken egg, Liu says. Researchers are just starting to tackle how this coiling and looping affects gene transcription. For one thing, they suspect it could help explain how enhancers can influence a gene’s activity from a great distance — because something far away when DNA is stretched out may be a lot closer when the genetic material is bundled up
3. Thomas Sowell’s Inconvenient Truths
William Voegeli | Claremont Review of Books
A look at one of Thomas Sowell’s central idea regarding race – unequal outcomes and racial disparities on certain measures does not necessarily mean racial discrimination. It is the air we breathe that whenever there are racial disparities in income, wealth, or employment then the culprit is nothing other discrimination
Other than discrimination, what could account for such disparities among groups? A fair summary of Sowell’s work since his third book, Race and Economics, was published 43 years ago, would be reality—economic, historical, and anthropological. Sowell is profoundly skeptical of the pat idea that every disparity constitutes prima facie evidence of injustice and oppression. Any such assumption, he argues, disregards the myriad ways that human variety and freedom generate widely divergent outcomes.
4. What is the purpose of life? Classical and Contemporary answers
Jennifer Frey | Thomistic Institute
An excellent podcast that contrasts contemporary and classical answers to what the purpose of life is.
5. Inconvenient Truths on Gender inequality in STEM: How differences in choices explain disparities better than the discrimination narrative
Tsholofelo Pooe | boammaaruri
My research essay that deep dives into the causes of gender inequality in STEM. I argue that differences in choices influenced by differences in abilities, ability patterns, interests and preferences explain disparities better than discrimination