Mitch Daniels Views Higher Education as a “Racket” (Health Care Too)

(p. A11) Mr. Daniels, 69, is the most innovative university president in America.
. . .
Mr. Daniels kicks off our conversation with a morality tale: “I’ll speak to an audience of businesspeople and say: Here’s the racket that you should have gone into. You’re selling something, a college diploma, that’s deemed a necessity. And you have total pricing power.” Better than that: “When you raise your prices, you not only don’t lose customers, you may actually attract new ones.”
For lack of objective measures, “people associate the sticker price with quality: ‘If school A costs more than B, I guess it’s a better school.’ ” A third-party payer, the government, funds it all, so that “the customer–that is, the student and the family–feels insulated against the cost. A perfect formula for complacency.” The parallels with health care, he observes, are “smack on.”

For the full interview, see:
Tunku Varadarajan, interviewer. “THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW: College Bloat Meets ‘The Blade’.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018): A11.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the interview has the date Dec. 14, 2018.)

James Gwartney Offers Advance Praise for Openness to Creative Destruction

Discovery, innovation, and dynamic change are vastly underappreciated by both economists and the general public. Professor Diamond explains how discovery and development of new products and lower cost production methods of the past 250 years have transformed our lives and promoted human progress beyond even the dreams of our ancestors. Further, these dynamic improvements are continuing today at an even more rapid rate. This book brings the what, why, and how of human progress alive, and it does so in an understandable and entertaining manner. It is a must read for both the scholar and interested layperson.

James Gwartney, Professor of Economics, Florida State University. Co-author of Economics: Private and Public Choice, Economic Freedom of the World, and other works.

Gwartney’s advance praise is for:
Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming June 2019.

Environmentalists Seek to Reduce Cow Burps and Ethanol

(p. A8) . . . a sweeping new study issued Wednesday [December 5, 2018] by the World Resources Institute, an environmental group . . . warns that the world’s agricultural system will need drastic changes in the next few decades in order to feed billions more people without triggering a climate catastrophe.
. . .
. . . the authors are not counting on a major worldwide shift to vegetarianism.
“We wanted to avoid relying on magic asterisks,” said Timothy D. Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton University and the World Resources Institute and lead author of the report.
. . .
The authors . . . pointed to possible techniques to reduce the climate impact of existing farms. For instance, new chemical compounds could help prevent nitrogen fertilizers from producing nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. And scientists are exploring feed additives that get cows to burp up less methane, another big contributor to global warming.
. . .
But, Mr. Searchinger said, many of the recommendations in the report, such as breeding new, higher-yielding crop varieties or preventing soil erosion, could also help farmers adapt to climate change.
. . .
. . . , the report’s authors call for a limit on the use of bioenergy crops, such as corn grown for ethanol in cars, that compete with food crops for land.

For the full story, see:
Brad Plumer. “Can We Grow More Food On Less Land? We Must.” The New York Times (Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018): A8.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 5, 2018, and has the title “Can We Grow More Food on Less Land? We’ll Have To, a New Study Finds.”)

The report summarized above, is:
Searchinger, Tim, Richard Waite, Craig Hanson, Janet Ranganathan, Patrice Dumas, and Emily Matthews. “Creating a Sustainable Food Future: A Menu of Solutions to Feed Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050.” World Resources Institute, 2018.