Economics Travelogue #6

2 minute read


I began working for Independent Institute (no longer The Independent Institute) last week here in Oakland, and the experience so far has been a real eye opener. Only 17 days into June, and I have already traveled the full length of the continental United States, have made tons of new friends, eaten all sorts of tasty ethnic food, and am working for one of the most established think tanks/publishers on the economic and political 'right.'

A glimpse of Alameda Island, the area where I am staying

At Independent Institute, I am helping with the re-branding of the Institute and reorganization of its website. Without going into too much detail, Independent is releasing a series of videos as a part of a larger campaign for outreach and informing younger audiences on government spending. When that happens, I will publish those videos here. Besides the rebranding, I am working with the other research fellows on completely reorganizing how Independent categorizes its articles and blog posts online. As Independent is over 25 years old and has been online for the past ten, there are thousands upon thousands of articles/events/news releases/etc in the website's 60+ current categories. After this summer, the research fellows will have squeezed them into only 13 parent categories. If that sounds like a lot of reading, that is because it is.

Research fellows at work...

The spat of entropy known as my work space

Besides the mountains of articles being thrown at me, I have also done some more reading myself. I just recently finished Douglass North's Structure and Change in Economic History, which I will be writing a review on soon, and have picked out new books. Making up that list is Lawrence H. White's The Theory of Monetary Institutions, Philip Wallach's To the Edge: Legality, Legitimacy, and the Responses to the 2008 Financial Crisis, and Christopher Coyne's After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy. If that sounds impressive, let me assure you, it is not. North's book was definitely a challenging read (for good reasons), but these new books are much simpler in comparison, and altogether number up to less than 600 pages of literature. What is nice, however, is that I am starting to get a much stronger grasp of neoclassical theory, and of the smaller nuances that underpin it.


In between my personal reading and work at Independent, the other fellows and I have managed to explore much of the peninsula and its related cities. San Francisco, Alameda, and Oakland are beautiful and diverse cities in their own ways, and California, as a whole, is treating us well with its beautiful bay weather. Rarely does it feel a degree above 75, and the nights are always cool and chill. On top of the beautiful weather, I have managed to try lots of different ethnic restaurants here, tasting cuisine from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Arabic in general (Halal), and India. It is a struggle to watch my food intake when I am surrounded with this type of temptation, but I manage. Barely.

Garlic and Pepper Chicken

Chicken Kebab with Naan, Chutney, and a salad.

Spicy tuna hand roll (the best sushi I have ever had)

Altogether, the first week and half has been great. I am enjoying my time out here in Alameda/Oakland, and am staying occupied doing things I love. I miss my family and friends back home, but at least the time is flying as quick as it seems possible over here. Till next time.

Some pictures I took while in San Francisco