So, what is Noahpinion anyway?

Well, I’m Noah Smith, and Noahpinion is my newsletter blog (meaning it’s a regular column that you get in your email inbox, but which you can also read on the web or in the Substack phone app. Noahpinion is mostly about economics, but sometimes about other stuff like technology, geopolitics, and culture. Basically, there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in the world, and I want to explain as much of it as I can. I want to keep you informed, and if possible, entertained as well. And because my training is in economics, I tend to come at things from an econ angle.

Noahpinion puts out about 5 posts per week. In general, 3 of those posts will be free for everyone, and 2 will be paywalled — that is, you have to be a paid subscriber to read them. If you’d like to become a paid subscriber, here’s a button that will let you do that:

Why should I become a paid subscriber?

If you really like reading Noahpinion, of course, then you should become a paid subscriber in order to read all the articles. Or if you just like my general outlook and approach, and you want to support my work, that’s another reason to get the full subscription! If you really love Noahpinion, you can even become a “founding member”, or give a gift subscription to someone else.

I really appreciate all my paid subscribers, since it’s because of them that I can do this as a full-time job instead of a hobby! In the near future, I plan to come out with some more features that are for paid subscribers only, including more interaction and discussion. I want my paid subscribers to be a community where we can discuss interesting stuff.

Who is Noah Smith?

Basically, I’m just a guy who writes about economics. Blogging has been my hobby for about 12 years; before that, I was an economics PhD student at the University of Michigan, then an assistant finance professor at Stony Brook University, then an economics columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. I left Bloomberg in late 2021 to do blogging full time. Before doing my PhD, I grew up in Texas, studied physics in college, and lived in Japan for three years.

I currently live in San Francisco with my two pet rabbits, Cinnamon and Constable Giggles. This is me:

What is Noahpinion’s general outlook, philosophy, and political orientation?

I think my first job as a pundit is to analyze the world. I believe that society is more effective when everyone understands the facts a little bit better; we don’t all want the same things, but when we have a more accurate understanding of the choices we face, we can at least arrive at some kind of compromise that we can live with. And often there are big opportunities that we as a society don’t take because many of us don’t realize those opportunities exist.

A big example is technology. Noahpinion is explicitly a techno-optimist blog, meaning that I believe technological innovation is going to be more important and transformative — and usually, though not always, better for the human race — than most people realize. The recent advances in vaccines that helped us get through the Covid pandemic, and the advances in green energy that promise to help us avoid the worst of climate change, are cases in point.

In terms of politics, I’m a pretty standard center-left liberal; I don’t think America needs a revolution, I just want everyone to have enough food and housing and health care and a decent wage and basic dignity. I love America, and I want America to be an inclusive nation — meaning that I want every American to feel a sense of ownership and belonging in their own country. Economically, I think the U.S.’ biggest problem is a failure to build material abundance — we don’t build enough housing, our health care is way too expensive, and we aren’t building green energy fast enough.

Globally, I’m very worried about the worldwide trend toward authoritarianism, which is a threat both domestically and abroad. It’s up to the U.S. and our allies to resist the authoritarian temptation at home, even as we band together to resist encroachment by illiberal powers abroad.

I also believe that rabbits are an underrated pet, and more people should check them out.

What are some examples of Noahpinion articles?

Here are a few of the most popular Noahpinion articles (or as we call them in the blog world, “posts”). I think these give a good overview of my style and approach:

1. “The third magic”: A post about whether AI can discover things that science can’t

2. “Why Sri Lanka is having an economic crisis”: In which I explain the basics of emerging-market crises, of which Sri Lanka’s recent crisis is a classic example

3. “The end of the system of the world”: Explaining U.S.-China decoupling, and why this will reshape the global economy

4. “The elite overproduction hypothesis”: Laying out the theory that some of the unrest of the 2010s was caused by disappointed educated young people

5. “Interview: Patrick Collison”: In which I interview Stripe founder and CEO (and Noahpinion subscriber) Patrick Collison

Can I see some pictures of your pet rabbits?

Absolutely. I was hoping you’d ask! This is Cinnamon:

And this is Giggles:

Anyway, that’s about it. Looking forward to having you on board!

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Economics and other interesting stuff


Noah Smith 
Econ blogger