Well folks, another year has come to a close. Like 2020, I spent most of 2021 hunkered down in front of my computer doing research, trying to forget the craziness of the outside world. The result was over 150,000 words spilled on this blog.
Before I get to the top posts of the year, I thought I’d briefly discuss my writing process. Since I started this blog, the trend has been for me to write more long-form content. In 2019, my posts averaged 2,200 words each. By 2020, that was up to 2,900 words. This past year, the average post was 3,700 words — the length of a short scientific paper.
While I admire writers like Cory Doctorow who are able to pump out rapid-fire commentary, that’s not me. I think slowly (at least when thinking in words). I am also not a natural writer.
Noam Chomsky claims to have an incessant stream of words running through his head. And based on his prolific writing, I don’t doubt him. But my brain rarely contains words. Instead, it mostly contains pictures. For that reason, the majority of my posts are written around charts. I make the figures first, usually quickly and with great enjoyment. Then I start what is for me the more difficult task: explaining to other people what I have done.
I’ve been told that I am good at explaining complicated analysis. And if that is true, it may be because I am not a fast writer. It’s rare for me to see the path from A to B the first time through. Usually the writing path emerges only after many failed attempts have been eliminated.
Case in point was this year’s most popular post, ‘The Truth About Inflation’. As usual, I did the analysis quickly based on pictures that popped in my head. But the commentary came together only after much trial and error. Fortunately, the result seems to have struck a chord.
And speaking of chord striking, I am always surprised about which posts are popular and which posts are duds. Here were the 10 most-read posts of 2021:
- The Truth About Inflation
- The Rise of Human Capital Theory
- The Deep History of Human Inequality
- Radically Progressive Degrowth: Reducing Resource Use by Eliminating Inequality
- How the Labor Theory of Value Emerges from Egalitarianism
- The Ritual of Capitalization
- Free Speech For Me, Not You
- Living the Good Life in a Non-Growth World: Investigating the Role of Hierarchy (Part 2)
- The Half Life of a Spotify Hit
- Living the good life in a non-growth world: Investigating the role of hierarchy
Thanks for reading Economics from the Top Down this year. I have loads of content planned for 2022. (Many of the charts are already made, and are waiting for me to start the slow task of explaining them.)
Thank-you also to my patrons. Your generosity shows that paywalls are not the only way to earn a living.
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