What I’ve been thinking about lately

How can you identify good teachers before you hire them? Could you or I design a written exam that would weed out the good teachers from the bad, or does the test medium make that task impossible?

How different would schools look if you designed curriculum to make students smarter, not more knowledgeable? Especially if you could teach students to overcome their natural cognitive biases.

Why has no one started a company hiring amazing teachers and getting them to teach video lectures to thousands of students at a time? We have the technology to make it work. I feel like teaching shoud be scalable, obviously you have to have someone watch the people in the classroom. Yet most people would reject this idea outright. If the teachers are good enough (if you're picking the best ones in the country) the kids will pay attention, even if he's thousands of miles away.

Economists teach Ricardian equivalence, the idea that when government spends money, someone must pick up the tab. Is it fair to vote to issue bonds now when the people who will pay off the bonds thirty years down the road are not yet old enough to vote on the matter? For that matter government borrowing Ricardian equivalent, or does it generate enough extra revenue to pay for itself later?

Does pessimism cause migraines?

Is it right, or desirable, that markets are so big now that one fake press release can wipe out $2.5 billion in net worth? The article is old but this happened again recently with a recycled United Airlines article.

Why do schools blow so much money on sports programs? Sports are meaningless. Yet if someone at your school can cure cancer, they've done amazing good for the world.

The University of Chicago in the 60's and 70's had the absolute smartest economics and finance people in the world - Milton Friedman, Myron Scholes, Friedrich von Hayek, Ronald Coase, Gary Becker, Eugene Fama, George Stigler, and more. Does such an amazing concentration of people exist in any field today? Could government get such a group to assemble (isn't this a public good)?

Portfolio theory suggests that it's very difficult to outperform the market as a whole, thus you should buy a whole bunch of index or no-load mutual funds and hold them for a long time. Yet when you buy an index fund you are buying a small portion of thousands of firms. If more and more people are buying index funds, is shareholder responsiblity/oversight diluted?

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