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OpenMarket: Property Rights

  • Virginia's Uranium Mining Moratorium Should Be Buried, But What About Property Rights?

    January 16, 2013
    The earth below the United States contains 5 percent of the world's known recoverable uranium deposits. More than a quarter of U.S. uranium is found in southern Virginia at Coles Hill near Chatham in Pittsylvania County. The two uranium deposits at Coles Hill are valued at $7 billion and together constitute the seventh largest deposit in the world. Yet all of it is still in the ground. Over 30 years ago, Virginia placed a moratorium on uranium mining in the state. This prohibition was to be lifted once the state went through the arduous process of drafting uranium mining regulations. Unfortunately, Virginia never got around to writing the rules and the "temporary" ban is still in place. The property owners at Coles Hill and some outside investors formed a company in order to...
  • The Constitution And Broad First Amendment Freedoms Are Obsolete, Say Left-Leaning Judges And Constitutional Law Professors

    January 4, 2013
    The progressive Georgetown University constitutional law professor Louis Michael Seidman argued Monday in The New York Times that we should just ignore the Constitution and its limits, since it led to the "fiscal cliff" (a combination of painful tax increases and long-overdue spending cuts that would have cut the federal budget deficit in half). “As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its...
  • Settlement: FTC Ends Google Antitrust Investigation

    January 3, 2013
    Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cleared Google of accusations of "Search Bias," and inappropriately harming rivals. The investigation lasted nearly two years. CEI released a statement today, "Web Users Dodge Bullet as FTC Closes Google Probe." Google rivals naturally object, but those protests are revolts against the objective reality that people like Google. The FTC did secure certain concessions from Google, which will alter how it presents bits of information, such as that from review sites such as Yelp (a criticized practice it was already modifying in some areas); and Google will make it easier for firms to advertise across other...
  • Myths About Thanksgiving

    November 26, 2012
    The first Thanksgiving didn't usher in a time of plenty for the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims continued to confront the specter of starvation until they ditched their collective farming practices in favor of individual property rights, which finally brought them prosperity by increasing incentives to produce and manage farms wisely. Property rights were also a feature of many Native American cultures, contrary to later claims that Native Americans had no concept of property rights (claims first invented by those who dispossessed them, and later repeated by radical environmentalists who sought to depict property rights as an institution peculiar to white settlers). I debunk some of these myths at this link.
  • Italy Shoots The Messenger... And Its Legal System In The Foot

    November 12, 2012
    Italy’s legal system, already deeply unfriendly to business, has sunk to a new low this week. In the town of Trani, prosecutors requested to charge five Standard & Poor’s officials with “aggravated and continuous market abuse” because they announced the reasons for S&P’s downgrade on Italian sovereign debt three days after the announcement of the downgrade itself in May 2011. Prosecutors claim this delay created unnecessary market volatility and investor flight. But it seems more like a case of shooting the messenger. It’s no secret European governments revile the credit raters for communicating to markets Europe has been living beyond its means for quite some time. Look no further than the bombastic rhetoric against the credit raters and the European...
  • Italy's Greatest Economic Threat: Italian Politicians

    October 29, 2012
    Italian ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told news sources last week that his party -- Popolo della Libertà -- would soon decide whether or not to revoke support for the current technocrat government headed by Prime Minister Mario Monti. Berlusconi’s threat against the Monti government represents why implementation of his polices won’t induce Italian recovery and why financial markets forced him out of office in the first place. His condemnation of Monti’s policies is also indicative of the broader reform-cowardice problem within the entire Italian political establishment. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="329"] Silvio's...
  • Don't Blame Capitalism for Washington State's Liquor Privatization "Failure"

    July 24, 2012
    There is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system ~Milton Friedman Proponents of privatizing Washington State’s liquor sales said that such a change would benefit consumers, businesses, and the state coffers. Ending the state monopoly on liquor, they said, would increase the number of places where alcohol could be purchased and reduce prices as retailers competed for patrons. However, upon looking at what has happened since liquor sales were privatized in the state, some voters are beginning to regret their support of the initiative and doubt the benefits of private enterprise.  Along with the increase in the places Washington State residents can buy liquor, residents saw significant increases in the prices of alcohol. As a...
  • Billions of Tax Dollars Spent Raising False Hopes Among Homeowners

    July 24, 2012
    The Obama Administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) gave "banks $1,500 bonus payments and servicers $1,000 bonus payments for each loan modification they processed. This system encouraged mortgage servicers to approve temporary 'trial' loan modifications, even as they continued the foreclosure process against borrowers. Ultimately, after collecting the bonuses, they would deny permanent mortgage modifications," notes the Washington Examiner, citing the findings of Neil Barofsky, a former special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Barofsky's "damning indictment" of this waste of taxpayer money is...
  • Google and Antitrust: Economic Liberty in the Balance

    June 21, 2012
    Way back when the DOJ brought an antitrust suit against Microsoft in 1990s, Milton Friedman had this to say to The Wall Street Journal:
    "We've gradually come to the conclusion that, on the whole, [antitrust] does more harm than good." Antitrust laws, he says, "tend to become prey to the special interests. Right now, who is promoting the Microsoft case? It is their competitors, Sun Microsystems and Netscape."
    Unfortunately, this tendency for antitrust to become prey for special interests continues today.  Antitrust law is supposed to be...
  • Norfolk, Virginia, While Abusing Eminent Domain To Seize 78-Year-Old Business, Attempts To Silence Free Speech

    June 18, 2012
    I'm a month behind on this story, but something terrible is underway in Norfolk, Virginia, that should disturb all Americans who value property rights and free speech. Central Radio Company, which first opened 78 years ago and has been at its current location of 1083 West 39th Street for 50 years, is currently under siege. First officials at the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority attempted to seize their property in order to transfer it to Old Dominion University, which currently has no specific site development plan for Central Radio's property. The owners of the company, Bob...

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