Monday, April 23, 2012

Food blogging

1. Ryan Murphy, and then Gene Callahan, and then Ryan Murphy on signalling and organic and local food. I've never cared all that much about organic food, but I do pretty consciously buy local food when I can, and I try to ascertain the conditions that my meat and seafood lived under (although I'm less good about doing that consistently). What always amazes me is that the people who have the strongest opinions about my buying behavior always seem to be those people who are... well... not me. I have to agree with Gene. What exactly is Ryan signaling by analyzing what we do in the grocery store! I have a genuine preference for buying locally. I don't think it's signalling, because like Gene says I can't imagine who I'd be signaling to (that's kind of a critical element of a signalling model!). I think it's more likely to say that I'm being anti-cosmopolitan, but that doesn't seem right either because I don't think twice about being cosmopolitan in other areas and I regularly talk about the benefits of trading freely and widely. The most likely thing is that I think these sorts of exchange relations build a sense of local community that is (1.) meaningful, and (2.) clearly not antagonistic to a wider sense of cosmopolitanism.

2. And here's a good recipe from a food-blogging friend of ours that we tried  yesterday morning. The bacon we used was local (because said friend brought it special and left it with us on Friday), but the eggs were not (cause I bought them earlier). Although, since there's a lot of chicken farms on the eastern shore they probably were local anyway.


  1. What is the economic value of having the freedom to choose how you spend your money in the private sector?

  2. Daniel Kuehn: Speaking of your choices on food, and speaking of social values like cosmopolitanism, what do you make of the concept of "Identity Economics"? Economists like George Akerlof, Rachel E. Kranton, and Bruno S. Frey, are on the push to include things like happiness and identity in the economic analysis of decision-making.

    1. I haven't read the book yet (and actually I still need to read Akerlof's book with Shiller!), but this all seems right to me. Happiness is already pretty well incorporated isn't it? That's usually what we are thinking in terms of when we talk about preferences, right?

      But it's also true that constructing an identity informs a lot of how we interact with the world - including, certainly, our purchases. Sounds right to me.

  3. Well, you could argue that efforts to measure cardinal utility and ordinal utility, which are descendant of Jeremy Bentham's hedonic calculus, would be an instance where economics has tried to incorporate happiness into its domain.

    However, efforts to measure happiness in those terms haven't amounted to much, as far as I can tell. I don't know much about Bruno S. Frey's work, but he seems to be deeply pushing happiness research in economics by borrowing techniques from the discipline of psychology.

    As for Akerlof and Shiller's Animal Spirits, I think it's a good book, but there are some faults in that book that you need to bear in mind whilst reading it. I agree with this review on, which recommends it for purchase despite such faults.

  4. Man, I always write so late on this stuff! Thanks for the plug -- were y'all aware that I'm totally nutty about sustainable fishing and humane farming? It's going to make being poor while Z is in school very difficult.


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