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OpenMarket: Business and Government

  • Do We Want Corporations to Be Society’s Moral Referees?

    September 11, 2020
    The New York Times is observing the 50th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s famous article “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits” by inviting 22 experts to react via an online symposium. The diversity of criticism reinforces Friedman’s points that everyone wants corporations to do the “right” thing, but we no more agree on what is right in corporate life than we do in political life.
  • Socialism, Nationalism, and Political Control: Iain Murray on The Remnant

    September 10, 2020
    My colleague Iain Murray had a fascinating conversation this week with The Remnant’s Jonah Goldberg about his excellent new book, The Socialist Temptation. One of the most interesting points they cover, which we generally take for granted in daily conversations about politics, is how socialism is really defined.
  • Don't Let Feds Become Investing's Sheriff of Nottingham

    September 3, 2020
    Investing company Robinhood and its signature smartphone app have taken off in popularity in the last several months. According to Bloomberg, Robinhood has “catapulted ahead of its online brokerage rivals” and attracted more than 3 million clients in the first four months of 2020 alone. With this increasing profile, of course, comes increasing scrutiny.
  • Retro Review: William H. McNeill - Plagues and Peoples (1976)

    September 2, 2020
    William McNeill was one of the 20th century’s leading big-picture world historians. Interconnectedness is a major theme of his work. Plagues and Peoples applies McNeill’s interconnectedness emphasis to disease as an engine of world history. What can we learn from how other societies have dealt with plagues? What were mistakes we can avoid? What things worked that we can adapt to our own time?
  • Retro Reviews: Azar Gat with Alexander Yakobson - Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism (2013)

    September 1, 2020
    Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism is the rare book that makes the reader see the world differently, permanently. It provides a magnifying lens that, when properly held, can bring into focus important details on world history; modern history; why countries exist in the first place; and on today’s in-progress political realignment.
  • Are Scandinavian Countries Socialist?

    August 25, 2020
    Are modern Scandinavian countries actually socialist? This question must be asked because it is a common rhetorical device of “democratic socialist” politicians to wave away objections about the horrors of past socialist regimes by saying that all they want is to be like Scandinavia.
  • Demise of ESG Investing Overstated

    August 24, 2020
    The Department of Labor’s recent notice of proposed rulemaking on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in pension fund investments has received a lot of responses. One that seems to be common is that the department’s rule would represent some kind of major attack on—or even “death knell” for—ESG investing itself. Those criticisms are overstated.
  • The Socialist Temptation: Why Don’t People Remember the Horrors of Socialism?

    August 14, 2020
    Why are people still attracted to socialism when its history is plain for all to see? One reason is that those who proclaimed the dawn of real socialism will say that the state failed because it was never real socialism in the first place.
  • Observations from the Tech Antitrust Hearing

    July 30, 2020
    This post collects some observations from yesterday’s lengthy House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law hearings with the chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. In short, committee members addressed a lot of things they shouldn’t have, and did not address some things they perhaps should have.
  • Cheers to Department of Labor for Protecting Retiree Investments

    July 29, 2020
    At the end of last month the Department of Labor published a new notice of proposed rulemaking on the investment choices that private pension fund managers are allowed to make on behalf of their beneficiaries. The most proposed rule would clarify when it is possible to use environmental, social, and governance considerations when investing on behalf of pension fund beneficiaries.


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