Bryan Caplan

Bryan Caplan Image

Dr. Bryan Caplan 

had another successful year. Publicity for the New York Times Bestselling Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration continued apace.  Most notably, PBS ran a full 8-minute segment on the book in June, hosted by Paul Solman.  Caplan’s recurring public debates on “Capitalism versus Socialism” also paved the way for his appearance on NPR’s hour-length panel on “Capitalism: What Is It?” opposite socialists Vivek Chibber and Kristen Ghodsee.

Caplan’s main project this year has been writing a second non-fiction graphic novel on housing regulation, tentative titled Build, Baby, Build: The Science and Ethics of Housing.  The script and storyboards are now about two-thirds done, and his new illustrator, Ady Branzei, has finished drafts of about eighty pages.  This book will introduce readers to the last two-decades worth of research on the immense economic damage of zoning and land-use policies.  As Caplan will explain, these policies do not merely greatly inflate the cost-of-living in America’s most desirable locations; they also sharply reduce workforce productivity by discouraging migration to high-productivity regions of the country.  His hope is that a graphic format will “make seen the unseen” – to help readers appreciate the massive economic benefits of housing deregulation.  Caplan has signed a contract with the Cato Institute to publish the book; if successful, this will be the first in an entire library of Cato educational graphic novels, each of which he will write or edit. 

Caplan also continued writing a new academic book, Poverty: Who to Blame.  Poverty combines economic philosophy with economics, sociology, psychology, social work, history, and anthropology to answer some timeless questions, including “Why does poverty persist?,” “Who is morally responsible for poverty’s continued existence?,” and “What, if anything, can be done about it?”  The book begins by reviving and defending the classic distinction between the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor.  Then it will apply the distinction to the real world, focusing on bad economic policy in the Third World, immigration restrictions (and housing regulation) in the First World, and irresponsible personal behavior around the world.  He has now finished the introduction, chapter 1, and much of chapter 2.

Last, Caplan has launched an ambitious project to publish eight new books collecting his best blog posts from 2005-present.  The tentative titles: Labor Econ Versus the World: Essays on the World’s Greatest Market; Voters as Mad Scientists: Essays on Political Irrationality; How Evil Are Politicians?: Essays on Demagoguery; Don’t Be a Feminist: Essays on Justice; You Will Not Stampede Me: Essays on Non-Conformism; Self-Help Is Like a Vaccine: Essays on Living Better; You Have No Right to Your Culture: Essays on the Human Condition; and Pro-Market AND Pro-Business: Essays on Laissez-Faire.  Other collections of blogged essays have been doing well lately, most notably the five-volumes released by Less Wrong, and Caplan is hoping this market continues to flourish.  Typesetting on the first volume, edited by the University of Chicago’s Jack Pfeffercorn, is already underway.


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