June 24, 2016
The massacre in Orlando was a tragic reminder that we’re at war—against hate, against extremism, and against intolerance. Although there are many contributing factors to today’s war on terror, history can show us how political and religious disagreements are far more likely to lead to violence than the ostensibly rapacious arena of business competition. Specifically, if you look at the hundreds of years of religious conflict that Europe once endured, there are some interesting lessons that can be learned about how nations can foster tolerance.
Now-liberal Europe once endured centuries of religious conflict. Voltaire, an early champion of the market economy as well as religious toleration, argued that passions of any sort can lead to violent outcomes. Mankind, he argued, is made for action. The challenge is to transform that...
June 17, 2016
June 15, 2016which set of numbers you prefer (the link goes to the Energy Department’s own numbers), they will cost somewhere between $110...
June 9, 2016
May 31, 2016
CEI recently released a pair of papers by Iain Murray and me about economic inequality. The first encourages activists to ask the right questions: think about flesh-and-blood people, not ratios. The second paper seeks to answer the right questions. Our main focus is on effective poverty reduction policies. But it is also important to know which policies don’t reduce poverty, so policy makers can avoid them. We mention two in our paper: minimum wage hikes and increased collective bargaining.
The arguments against both are similar: they have tradeoffs. Some workers benefit from a higher minimum wage, and many union members benefit from higher union wages. But their benefits come at a cost.
Workers pay for minimum wage increases in the form of reduced hours...
May 25, 2016
In serendipitous timing, the Institute of Economic Affairs in London released a new study this week entitled “Never Mind The Gap: Why we shouldn’t worry about inequality.” Authors Ryan Bourne and Christopher Snowden look at the facts and figures about inequality in the UK and conclude that “the trends do not conform to the story of unprecedented or spiraling inequality that are frequently implied in the media.”
They also point out that attempting to intervene in market functions to reduce inequality means accepting “more poverty or less wealth overall provided the distribution is more narrow,” which is the point Ryan Young and I also make in “...
May 25, 2016
Economic inequality is one of today’s defining issues. How to address it? Iain Murray and I offer an unconventional approach in a new two-part CEI study, released today. The first part frames the issue. The title sums it up well enough: People, Not Ratios: Why the Debate over Income Inequality Asks the Wrong Questions. The second part, The Rising Tide: Answering the Right Questions in the Inequality Debate, outlines a concrete policy agenda to make the poor better off.
Anti-poverty activists routinely fret about the ratio between a CEO’s salary and her lowest-paid employee’s, or how the top one percent’s ratio of national income compares to the bottom one percent’s. Instead of mathematical ratios, we encourage activists to focus on human beings. Again,...
May 11, 2016
Left-wing economist Thomas Piketty is treated like a “rock star” by many progressives for giving a veneer of legitimacy to the economic myths they cling to. But his false claims about economic history are refuted by readily available facts and figures (such as historical data you can find in the tables at the end of federal budgets submitted in recent years by presidents such as Obama).
Economist Robert Murphy recently debunked Piketty’s false assertions about the Great Depression. In his wrongly acclaimed book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Piketty made the following...
April 15, 2016
This has been a good week for capitalist backbone. As Kim Strassel discusses in the Wall Street Journal today, we’ve seen two high profile cases of the CEOs of large, prominent company give spirited defenses to the role of their firms in society. General Electric’s Jeff Immelt and Verizon’s Lowell McAdam both hit back against the charge that their firms were “...
April 14, 2016
Another CEO of a big American company has spoken up about the charge that he and his employees are “destroying the moral fabric” of America. Lowell McAdam of Verizon, in a post at LinkedIn, answered the charges (also addressed recently by General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt) that his company doesn’t pay the appropriate amount of tax, doesn’t invest in the U.S., and, specifically in Verizon’s case, is trying to force inappropriate concessions on the unionized portion of its workforce.
Today – as we have over our...