May 22, 2019
Large U.S. companies slowed their investment in the first quarter of 2019, largely because of ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China. This is exactly what free-trade economics suggested would happen. When costs increase because of tariffs and uncertainty shadows the direction of trade policy, companies delay investment.
May 16, 2019
My colleague Wayne Crews has already slammed the White House for a first step towards government regulation of online speech in its “tech bias” complaints portal. It is interesting that the administration has followed the model of the problematic Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in simply collecting complaints as proof of problems with the industry concerned.
May 9, 2019
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, former publisher of The New Republic, argues in a long essay for The New York Times that the company should be broken up and regulated, and indeed that this would be the “American” thing to do.
April 4, 2019
In a bleak take on the sharing economy, Atlantic writer Alexis C. Madrigal says it has created a “servant economy,” where sharing economy platforms provide “low-paying work that deliver on-demand servant services to rich people.” He likens this to the domestic service prevalent before the Second World War. This take gets things almost completely backwards.
April 2, 2019
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s motto used to be “Move fast and break things.” Now that his company is under increased political scrutiny—and facing calls for breakup from both right and left—he has changed his tune to “move slowly and establish rules.”
March 26, 2019
This week The Economist endorsed European “tech doctrine”—a combination of antitrust, tax, privacy, and regulatory policies that is rapidly being imposed on a mostly American tech sector seemingly powerless to resist it. The magazine said, “If the doctrine works, it could benefit millions of users, boost the economy, and constrain tech giants that have gathered immense power without a commensurate sense of responsibility.” That’s a big “if.” American regulators should avoid this doctrine like the plague.
March 21, 2019
There is plenty of blame to go around for Britain’s current Brexit chaos. In a recent post, I pointed to how the Prime Minister’s handling of the withdrawal negotiations was simply incompetent, but at least some of the blame should now be handed over to the House of Commons, which has failed to produce a majority for any course of action.
March 1, 2019
One of the frequent objections posted by those who are concerned about free trade is that it leads to job losses. This is true. However, saying that free trade causes job losses does not tell us very much. In this post I will try to put trade job losses in context, and then examine what is probably the more important policy question—what to do for those who lose their jobs to trade?
February 28, 2019
One of the consistent problems with the Trump administration’s trade policy is an obsession with reciprocity—if goods aren’t treated exactly the same way as imports or exports in trade between two countries, then that is “unfair” to the U.S. This fundamentally misunderstands the nature of trade, which benefits from nondiscriminatory duties on the products of other nations regardless of what duties they themselves exact.
February 14, 2019
My colleagues have written elsewhere about the energy and environmental components of the “Green New Deal” proposals that have been enthusiastically agreed to by most declared Democrat candidates for the presidency and which are about to be debated in the Senate. In this post I will take a brief look at the “social justice” components of the proposed Deal, which cover issues such as monetary theory and labor and employment policy.