by Edward Chancellor* Once upon a time, there was a factory in the Soviet Union that made nails. Moscow set quotas on nail production. When the quotas involved quantity, the factory churned out many small, useless nails. When Moscow realised its error and set a quota by weight instead, the factory produced big, equally useless … Continue reading THE TYRANNY OF METRICS, Jerry Muller, Princeton, 220 pp.
by Edward Chancellor* China’s economy has long defied the doom-mongers. In place of their ominous critique, a more constructive view of economic management in the People’s Republic has surfaced. Beijing, we are told, has found the right balance between state and market forces, and is best positioned to exploit exciting new technologies, such as big … Continue reading China’s Great Wall of Debt, Dinny McMahon, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 288 pp.
by Liya Palagashvili A couple months ago, a judge ruled in favor of Seattle’s ordinance that will allow ridesharing drivers to engage in collective bargaining agreements. The ordinance has granted the labor union, Teamsters, the right to represent drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft. Under current U.S. labor laws, the National Labor Relations … Continue reading Rigidity and Flexibility: Unions in the On-Demand Economy?
by Edward Chancellor The collapsed UK construction firm’s problems may look idiosyncratic. But its problems with “onerous contracts” were exacerbated by a balance sheet stuffed with intangible assets and ultimately shaky assumptions. These issues are not peculiar to Carillion. Large corporate failures provide interesting insights into what’s been going on in the business world. Enron, … Continue reading Bankrupt(cy) Thoughts: Carillion’s Flaws Are Common to Many
by Gunther Schnabl The European Central Bank will increase the overall volume of its bond purchase program to 2,550,000,000,000 euros by September 2018. The main refinancing rate will remain at zero. Mario Draghi has stressed that this policy shall continue until inflation picks up sustainably (which is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future). The … Continue reading Hayek’s Work Helps Explain the Link between Ultra-loose Monetary Policy and Political Instability
by Taiki Murai and Gunther Schnabl Similar to the credit unions in the US, the goal of the Japanese Shinkin banks is the promotion of the sound development of the regional economy. The members of these non-profit cooperatives are small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as natural persons from the respective regions of Japan. The … Continue reading The Japanese Shinkin Banks Turn Away from the Regional Economy
by Sebastian Müller and Gunther Schnabl Massive losses for Germany’s former catch-all parties (CDU/CSU and SPD) and record gains for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) have caused turmoil in Germany’s political landscape. The tumbling leaders Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz keep affirming that good policies were simply not explained sufficiently. They blame globalization and … Continue reading The European Central Bank Drives the Political Polarization in Europe
by Jerry O'Driscoll* The U.S. economy has been growing slowly but steadily since the trough of the Great Recession in June 2009. Deep recessions are typically followed sharp recoveries. Not so this time. More recently, there is the mystery of low inflation. The Fed’s preferred inflation measure, the core PCE index, has consistently fallen short … Continue reading Fed Policy and Velocity’s Dance
by Jerry O'Driscoll* For many years, pundits have been predicting the demise of cash for payments. Currency is bulky, dirty, subject to theft, etc. Making change at the point of payment is time consuming. The rise of e-commerce will surely bring about the demise of cash. Cash is passé. Nothing could be further from the … Continue reading The Truth about Cash
by Gunther Schnabl* The European Central Bank (ECB) continues buying securities. By the end of 2017, the balance sheet is expected to have further grown by about 800 billion euros. This corresponds to a growth rate of 20 percent per year, while real growth of the euro area is expected to be only 1.5 percent. … Continue reading Inflation Is Not Measured Correctly
by Taiki Murai and Gunther Schnabl[*] In the second half of the 1980s, 13 Japanese city banks climbed into the group of the world's largest banks, boosted by a domestic speculation boom. With the bursting of the Japanese financial “bubble” in the early 1990s, a gradual decline followed. Since then, the Japanese city banks have … Continue reading The Bank of Japan Creates a State-Led Monopolistic Banking System
by Gunther Schnabl* The Brexit and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump were unexpected and were followed by a search for explanations. Subsequently, the common view spread that globalization is at the root of the frustrations of more and more people who are susceptible to strong nationalist statements from populists. This is surprising because … Continue reading Globalization Alone Does Not Produce Losers!
by Pablo Duarte* Venezuela is in deep political and economic crisis. According to Reuters – quoting a leaked document from the Venezuelan Central Bank – output fell 19% and prices increased 800% during 2016. Even though the “Socialism of the 21st Century”, the political program initiated by former President Hugo Chavez, has been losing support … Continue reading The Venezuelan Crisis and the Political Costs of Reforms
by Andrea L. Tapia-Hoffmann* Rafael Correa was inaugurated as President of Ecuador in 2007. He joined forces with Chavez to promote the idea of a so-called "Socialism of the 21st Century" in Latin America. After Chavez’s death in 2013, Correa became the self-proclaimed leader of the movement. Because the new socialism has led to severe … Continue reading The Socialism of the 21st Century is on its Way out!?
by Gerald P. O’Driscoll, Jr. I have been reading Central Bank Governance & Oversight Reform, edited by John H. Cochrane and John B. Taylor. It is a conference volume of unusually high quality with all the discussions of presentations included. I plan to write more about the book later, but to highlight one chapter here. … Continue reading The Fed’s Institutional Design
by Liya Palagashvili Earlier this summer, de Blasio attempted to cap the number of Uber and other ride-sharing drivers in New York City. Although he ended up dropping the proposal, the event itself serves as a wonderful pedagogical illustration of public choice insights. Here’s an excerpt from my op-ed on this: What can we learn … Continue reading Lessons from the Uber-de Blasio Showdown
Jerry O’Driscoll The Association of Private Enterprise Education will hold its annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 3rd to 5th, 2016. This year’s conference theme is Capitalism: Free-Market or Crony? Papers are welcome on that topic, as well as other topics relevant to market economies. That list certainly includes Austrian economics, Public Choice, etc. … Continue reading APEE: Call for Papers
by Alexander Czombera* If there is one single law in economics then it is that markets tend to equilibrium. Or, to align this with Grove’s law (“Technology will always win. You can delay technology by legal interference, but technology will flow around legal barriers”), the free market will find its ways, whether in white, grey … Continue reading Zimbabwean Currencies: Condoms, Sweets and Paper Money
by Richard M. Ebeling* The public eulogies marking the passing of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95 on December 5, 2013 have refocused attention on the long struggle in South Africa to bring about an end to racial discrimination and the Apartheid system. Forgotten or … Continue reading South Africa and Ending Apartheid: W. H. Hutt and the Free Market Road Not Taken
by Jerry O’Driscoll For the month of November, Cato Unbound features an essay by me on “The Fed at 100.” Over the course of a week, there will be comments by Larry White, Scott Sumner and Jerry Jordan. I will respond to these as appropriate. “End the Fed” has become a political slogan. Long … Continue reading Instead of the Fed