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.
February 1, 2019
The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that the economy is continuing on a steady course, at least as far as employment goes. Wage growth is stronger than the trend of the last few years, which may be the result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowing employers to pay their workers more.
January 16, 2019
When Rory Broomfield and I were examining the prospects for Britain leaving the European Union in 2014-16, we recognized that there was no easy way out. No off-the-shelf solution existed apart from the “Norway model,” which suffered from much the same problems that full membership of the EU inflicted upon Britain. Britain had become so entangled in the EU system that it amounted to a Gordian Knot incapable of being unraveled.
January 4, 2019
Today’s jobs numbers were a surprise to everyone—312,000 jobs added in December was almost twice the consensus view of economists of 176,000. Strong wage growth was also present, as was a welcome return of working age adults to the labor force (which likely contributed to a slight uptick in the unemployment rate). Black men remain one of the main beneficiaries, with a historically low unemployment rate.