Economics: Theories Vs. Stories

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The story of Laffer’s Curve is almost mythical in economics; allegedly, the equation was conceived by economist Arthur Laffer over a dinner discussion, and written on a napkin. With him were future politicians Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Although Laffer concedes that it’s not entirely true, the perfect circumstances, as detailed in the story, are what Robert Shiller believes allowed Laffer’s ideas to become widespread. Shiller believes that narratives are powerful tools that can influence economics, accelerating the uptake of new theories compared to narrative-less stories. Read full article here

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The Women Who Built Grunge

Despite being acknowledged as the “Godmother of Grunge”, Tina Bell is rarely included in the history of grunge music. Women in general are hardly ever mentioned in music history unless they’re close to famous male musicians. Looking back at Tina Bell, music journalists often leave her out of Bam Bam, the band that she fronted, wrote music for, and co-founded with her husband. When she is mentioned, it’s in relation to Kurt Cobain, who was said to have been a fan of Bell and her band before founding Nirvana. Read full article here

History

The Severed Head and the Soviet Space Plane

A skull for a space plane: Is that a fair trade? Ptichka, the last spacecraft from the Soviet Buran project, was supposed to inspire generations of Russians. However, it now lies dilapidated in the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which now belongs to Kazakh billionaire Dauren Musa after he bought the company that owned it. He’s willing to trade Ptichka back… for a skull. But not just any skull; he wants the skull of Kenesary Kasymov, the last Khan of Kazakhstan, which was given to Russia by a rival khanate in the 1800s. Read full article here

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