Edwin Cannan: Author of “The Wealth of Nations”

May 5, 2015 by · Comments Off on Edwin Cannan: Author of “The Wealth of Nations” 

By Samuel Phineas Upham

Edwin Cannan was an economist from Britain who wrote “The Wealth of Nations.” The book, published in 1904, helped to set the tone for what economists today call “the tragedy of commons.”

Cannan was a professor at Oxford who inherited a fortune that allowed him time to be something of a professional philosopher. He dabbled around London, learning how the economy worked and how its individuals invested and profited from those workings.

Cannan’s work didn’t draw much scrutiny during his lifetime. He’d attempted criticisms of Marshall and Keynes, but neither had really fallen on enthusiastic ears. He’d also written a host of works, none of which were well-received.

The trouble was that Cannan’s ideas were not very popular, almost stinging in their honesty. Cannan articulated an idea first put forth by Garret Hardin. He argued that when people acted according to their own self-interest, they could have catastrophic effects on the group. Except that Cannan’s version put a twist on this idea. He argued that the higher an area’s land values, the more public works that area was likely to have and therefore the lower quality of the workforce that area was likely to attract. If taxation is high, there is more money left over for subsidies. This distorts the value of a location. Are taxes high because the city has high property values, or are values high because the city requires higher taxes?

Cannan was considered a classical liberal, something akin to a modern day libertarian. He might not argue for smaller government, but he recognized the benefit of allocating public money.


Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Twitter page.

Grit and Grunge: Safety Precautions When Evaluating Upholstery Damage

May 4, 2015 by · Comments Off on Grit and Grunge: Safety Precautions When Evaluating Upholstery Damage 

Reupholstering isn’t reserved for musty antiques or quirky relics. All furniture endures wear and tear, and sometimes unusual circumstances can lead to large tears or dents that need touching up. However, DIY work isn’t all fun and games, some kinds of furniture can be dangerous to work on if you aren’t cautious. Wooden parts can splinter or swell, losing structural integrity; metal can rust and lead to punctures and cuts. Even upholstery foam, Canada-esque in its unassuming nature, can be a danger if left to collect mold and allergens.

Waterworld

If you are re-upholstering furniture after inclement weather, you will have several health issues to worry about. Flooding can ruin furniture in minutes and leave moisture deep inside, causing mildew and mold. Be sure to avoid breathing in toxic air and allergens when opening cushion covers. Sometimes only the covers will be salvageable, but don’t throw the filling away immediately. Take quick measurements before disposal and order custom cushions that fit the salvaged upholstery.

Twisted Metal

Furnishings that are intended for outside storage and use tend to be much sturdier, and use materials such as metal which can corrode over time. You should carefully assess all outdoor furniture both visually and physically. Note rust and other concerns, and consult an expert if the furniture seems unsafe. Try not to stress-test metal furniture yourself. Use weights or pressure to check questionable joints and supports. Furniture outside is exposed to far more pollutants, so it may be more likely you will need custom outdoor cushions to replace old dingy ones.

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