Capitalism? Nah

Bryan Caplan’s EconLog post, Diseases of Poverty: Neglecting the Obvious is worth a read. He points out that solutions proposed on the Wikipedia entry for diseases of poverty focus on redistribution, rather than best proven solution:

It’s almost like the last two centuries never happened.  Quick recap: During the last two hundred years, living standards exploded even though the distribution of income remained quite unequal.  How is such a thing possible?  Because total production per person drastically increased.  During this era, no country escaped dire poverty via redistribution, but many escaped dire poverty via increased production.  And while the effect of moderate redistributive policies on growth is unclear, there is no doubt that populist and socialist movements determined to “tackle the inequitable distribution of money, power and resources” and “change the way that society is organized” sharply retard growth.

Why is football so popular?

From Marginal Revolution blog: Why is football more popular than ever?

I’ve wondered this myself. Lots of interesting theories on that post. I love a good cause-and-effect discussion.

I think there’s something to the fantasy football-scarcity-timing explanation.

Fantasy Football and football pools draw people together and cause people to be more interested in the results of not just their home team but of their team. I know personally when I’ve been involved in this way, I paid more attention. But, that can’t be all of it. As some pointed out at Marginal Revolution, other sports have fantasy leagues and pools, as well.

Scarcity: With fewer games and a more regular schedule than other sports, it’s easier to plan social events around games. Each game also carries more weight.

Timing: Football has timed itself well to have little competition. Sunday afternoons in the fall and early winter aren’t usually that busy. Not like Sunday afternoons in summer that can be filled with vacations, lawn work and home improvement projects.

I think these things, at least, don’t hurt football’s popularity.

But, I think there’s only one real explanation. Just cuz. Why was Angry Birds popular? Why were baggy clothes replaced with more form fitting clothes? Why do we say, “hashtag”?