Above a certain level of income, the relative value of material consumption vis-a-vis leisure time is diminished, so earning a higher income at the cost of working longer hours may reduce the quality of your life. More importantly, the fact that the citizens of a country work longer than others in comparable countries does not necessarily mean that they like working longer hours. They may be compelled to work long hours, even if they actually want to take longer holidays.
I used to joke that I came to England - not to the U.S. where most Koreans go - because I like Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.
Patent monopoly creates a lot of problems. It allows the patentee to charge the maximum to consumers. This may not be a problem if the patented product is a luxury item, like parts that go into a smartphone, but can violate basic human rights if it involves things such as life-saving drugs.
Gone are the days when the upper classes were terrified of the angry mob wanting to smash their skulls and confiscate their properties. Now their biggest enemy is the army of lazy bums, whose lifestyle of indolence and hedonism, financed by crippling taxes on the rich, is sucking the lifeblood out of the economy.
When we assess the impact of technological changes, we tend to downplay things that happened a while ago.
A lot of things that we cannot buy and sell in markets used to be totally legal objects of market exchange - human beings when we had slavery, child labour, human organs, and so on. So there is no economic theory that actually says that you shouldn't have slavery or child labour because all these are political, ethical judgments.
To put it bluntly, there isn't one economic theory that can single-handedly explain Singapore's success; its economy combines extreme features of capitalism and socialism. All theories are partial; reality is complex.
People always think they're in the middle of a revolution while they tend not to realize the enormity of a change that has happened in the past. The telegraph was a revolution, but who looks at it that way these days? The telegraph sped up the transportation of messages over long distances by a huge factor.
The economy is much bigger than the market. We will not be able to build a good economy - nor a good society - unless we look at the vast expanse beyond the market.
It is one thing to tell the citizens of some faraway country to go to hell, but it is another to do the same to your own citizens, who are supposedly your ultimate sovereigns.
The truth is that the free movement of goods, people, and money that developed under British hegemony between 1870 and 1913 - the first episode of globalization - was made possible, in large part, by military might rather than market forces.
I am one of the most successful economists, according to what markets tell us, though most of my professional colleagues, who are much keener to accept market outcomes than I am, would dismiss me as a crank or - the worst of all abuses among economists - a 'sociologist.'
In the 19th century, a lot of people were against outlawing child labour, because to do so would be against the very foundations of a free market economy: 'These children want to work, these people want to employ them... what is your problem? It's not as if anyone has kidnapped them...'
If we are really serious about preventing another crisis like the 2008 meltdown, we should simply ban complex financial instruments unless they can be unambiguously shown to benefit society in the long run.
Very often, the judgments by ordinary citizens may be better than those by professional economists, being more rooted in reality and less narrowly focused.
Instead of reading a paper, we now read the news online. Instead of buying books at a store, we buy them on-line. What's so revolutionary? The Internet has mainly affected our leisure life.
Charities are now working to give people in poor countries access to the Internet. But shouldn't we spend that money on providing health clinics and safe water? Aren't these things more relevant? I have no intention of downplaying the importance of the Internet, but its impact has been exaggerated.
The invention of the printing press was one of the most important events in human history.
As someone from a developing country, I have a problem with rich countries thinking they can tell us anything, simply because they are giving money.
Why do tax havens exist? Because rich countries allow them to. If the U.S. came down on tax havens in the same way they come down on countries that trade with Iran and Cuba, we'd have no tax havens in the world.