The surprising Human Development Index of Cuba

[Post adapted and translated from Spanish] Cuba has an HDI of 0.815, the second highest in all Latin America, just behind Chile. Actually, 0.759, the ninth highest in Latin America. We could wonder why this is possible, given the island's sociopolitical regime. Does castrism work? First, the reason there is a correction in the first paragraph is that the often quoted HDI of 0.815 takes into account a GDP figure that is wrong. So there's one reason why the HDI is lower than it seems, to begin with. You can a…

The paradox of Cuban GDP

[Translated from Spanish] The calculation of Cuban GDP is, surprisingly, a contentious issue. There are those who say that Cuba is one of the richest countries of Latin America, and there are those who say that the Cuban economy is mediocre. Who is right, and what causes this divergence? Let's look at Cuban GDP per capita according to the World Bank. According to this measure, Cuba would have a GDP per capita in 2000 constant dollars of about 5400$. This places Cuba into the 'middle class' of Southamerica: …

Suicide, fast and slow / Book Review: Every Cradle is a Grave (Sarah Perry)

Sarah Perry, contributing editor of Ribbonfarm, and killer risotto maker (no joke, check the book), wrote a book about suicide and antinatalism some years ago. It hasn't got much attention, which makes it an excellent choice for one of my blogposts, following my policy of not writing about what others are writing about. The book I'm about to review deals with suicide and antinatalism, the philosophical view that bringing more people to the world is immoral. In my review I will only cover the first part. Alt…

Brief announcement

I'll be in two events in the coming weeks, if anyone wants to say hi (just leave a comment or something): Effective Altruism Global Oxford (EAGx Oxford), from the 18th to 20th of this month in Oxford. Adam Smith Institute's Forum, the 3rd of December, in London. That's all. Comments from WordPress Ethon 2016-11-09T20:56:11Z Hi Artir 2016-11-09T21:05:06Z Bae, come over Ethon 2016-11-09T22:56:37Z La pela es la pela. Artir 2016-11-10T16:08:15Z Català havies de ser

The Soviet Union: Productive Efficiency

[Part of the Soviet series] How efficient was the Soviet Union at producing stuff? Why? This post has its origin in reading two articles, that you can find here and here, that among other things, claim that the Soviet Union was, contrary to common knowledge, efficient: Around the time of the Soviet collapse, the economist Peter Murrell published an article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives reviewing empirical studies of efficiency in the socialist planned economies. These studies consistently failed …

Optimal diet

What is the best possible diet you can have? It depends. There are many criteria that we can use to determine what "best" in "best diet" means. Each of them will give us an optimal diet. We can then try to see what happens when we try to optimise according to more than one. The criteria I'll consider are: Price Nutritiousness Taste Cooking time One optimal diet for price is eating just rice, for a whole month, or something like that. Obviously, that is not sustainable. The diet with th…