October 16, 2018
The Competitive Enterprise Institute views most market failure rationales for government intervention as wrong, overstated, or unproven (or all of the above). The Competitive Enterprise Institute views most market failure rationales for government intervention as wrong, overstated, or unproven (or all of the above). That belief is very difficult to test, however, because government has seized control of the relevant resources and blocks the market discovery process.
May 31, 2017
February 9, 2017
Recently, we wrote a piece noting the turmoil over trade policy, suggesting that trade policy had gone astray—diluting the voluntary...
February 9, 2017most exciting in Super Bowl history. Moreover, some viewers have decided that Super Bowl LI is the first broadcast in recent history in which the...
December 20, 2016
As the old saying goes, the worst vice is advice. So with some trepidation, let me suggest two things that bright, idealistic members of the new administration should keep in mind.
The first arises when you're asked by your boss to come up with a solution to some controversial political problem. You analyze the situation and come up with an effective plan. Then, however, you pull back from the audacity of the proposal and think, “If I suggest that, people will laugh.” So you water down the idea. But then your boss (also a newcomer to his administration job) makes the same calculus, and so on up the chain of command to the individual who can actually implement the plan. By that time, the “solution” is just a mild variant of the status quo, and the senior decision-maker wonders why she should take on a difficult political fight for such a small gain.
Your role in the...
November 10, 2016
Trade: The core element of Trump’s rhetoric is that free trade has...
August 12, 2016Julian Simon Award – reaches his 83rd birthday today. His life gives us much to appreciate – one of the true gentlemen scholars of old, he is...
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...
March 16, 2016
Free traders have long promoted an expansion of the rights of the citizens of one nation to buy and sell to one another. The old GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) achieved much in reducing fees on imports and exports, but protectionists shifted to non-tariff barriers which have proven much harder to discipline. GATT developed rules that limited such protectionist efforts: the PPM (Processes and Production Methods) which specified that it was the item in trade—not the process or the production method used to make it—that could be restricted. Thus, we could limit a specific chemical or food but not the technology used to yield that product. Another was the SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary) rule which allowed restrictions on health grounds that could be scientifically validated.
The role of these rules was to create a barrier between the internal policies of a nation...
November 25, 2015
Thanksgiving is a day layered in tradition and myth. The standard story makes much of the creative efforts of our ancestors, the assistance provided by the friendly Indians (aka Native Americans) and the richness of the land and seas. That view is romantic, but obscures the fact that over half the original settlers died in the first year, bloody wars between the settlers and the Indians soon dominated the frontier, and that for the first three years, the “bountiful” earth provided little food to the starving colonials.
The Pilgrims were a highly religious group seeking to live as an extended family in a communal order. Initially they placed all farm lands into a “commons” which all would farm and harvest from collectively. That system goes back to tribal societies with strong cultural rules. Protestant culture, it turned out, ...