South Africa and Ending Apartheid: W. H. Hutt and the Free Market Road Not Taken

                  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

Poverty of Ethics without Economics: Bangladesh

by Mario Rizzo In a world where people’s ethical goals are intrinsic values we could easily argue, as did David Hume, that the values themselves are not subject to scientific analysis.  But, as things turn out, many of what people believe to be intrinsic values, and therefore ultimate goals, are not. They are intermediate ends … Continue reading Poverty of Ethics without Economics: Bangladesh

Bangladeshi Garment Workers and the Perversion of Ethics

by Mario Rizzo For the last few days the newspapers have been filled with stories about how western garment manufacturers will now insist on greater safety for the workers who make their clothes in Bangladesh. They will pay for renovations and reconstructions of the physical plants. What is more, the government in Bangladesh will raise … Continue reading Bangladeshi Garment Workers and the Perversion of Ethics

F.A. Hayek: His 114th Birthday

by Mario Rizzo Today is Hayek’s birthday. Much has been and will continue to written about him. When I look around at much of what passes for economics today, especially in the prestige circles, I cringe.  But reading his work always comforts me that something better is possible. And, in fact, there are many economists … Continue reading F.A. Hayek: His 114th Birthday

Emerging Hope in Greece

 by Chidem Kurdas The Greek economy continues to shrink. With the wider European debt crisis and slump hampering Greek recovery, the recession may persist through 2013.   Amid the grim news, however, there is a small sign that austerity measures are starting to work. This evidence is not widely known or reported.  I heard about it … Continue reading Emerging Hope in Greece

Dodd-Frank Starves Congo; Advocates Win

by Chidem Kurdas While I decided the financial regulation act Dodd-Frank is a gigantic dud after scanning its thousands of pages, I missed the bit on Congo that David Aronson brought to light in a NYT op-ed column this Monday. Activist-lobbyists apparently inserted into the act a requirement that public companies buying minerals from Congo show … Continue reading Dodd-Frank Starves Congo; Advocates Win

Japan Reveals Regulatory Trap

by Chidem Kurdas Once upon a time, people tried to explain the post-war “Japanese Miracle” of rapid growth. Then in the current century, the puzzle shifted to Japanese stagnation since 1990. The lesson from these two distinct phases of Japanese history is germane for current American policy. Chalmers Johnson’s influential book, MITI and the Japanese … Continue reading Japan Reveals Regulatory Trap

Medieval Capitalism

by Jerry O’Driscoll   Randall Collins is a distinguished sociologist and Weber scholar. In Weberian Sociological Theory (Cambridge University Press, 1986), Collins re-examines Weber’s contributions. It is a book favorable to Weber. In chapter 3, “The Weberian revolution of the High Middle Ages,” he employs Weber’s analysis to demonstrate that it was in medieval Europe that … Continue reading Medieval Capitalism

Egypt Best Case Scenario via Korea

By Young Back Choi and Chidem Kurdas Compared to the turmoil in the Middle East, South Korea appears to be an oasis of calm. But as recently as 20 or so years ago you could  still smell tear gas on the streets of Seoul. Violent demonstrations shook the city for decades—-making it look like Cairo … Continue reading Egypt Best Case Scenario via Korea

China Catch-Up and Two Freedoms

by Chidem Kurdas China is expected to produce more than Japan this year, thereby becoming the world’s second largest economy after the US.   Chinese annual output is only $5 trillion compared to American $15 trillion and per person income is only a fraction of the US, but it is clear that China is catching up. … Continue reading China Catch-Up and Two Freedoms

The Moral Paralysis of Obamacare

by Mario Rizzo   The perceptive Alexis de Tocqueville argued that Americans are not as keen on “free speech” as it may first seem. Before an idea or proposal is passed into law they will argue, use invectives, claim that proponents or opponents are bad people, and so forth. But after a law has been passed … Continue reading The Moral Paralysis of Obamacare

Virtuous Capitalism

by Jerry O'Driscoll  Over at the Austrian Economists, Steve Horowitz has posted a challenging statement and asked for reactions: "The great virtue of the free market is that it requires so little virtue to work effectively."  The thrust of the responses is that defenders of free markets have had little to say about virtue (at least since … Continue reading Virtuous Capitalism

Economic Development in Honduras

by Jerry O’Driscoll   The imbroglio in Honduras is political and constitutional, but also economic.  The underlying economic issue is what development model will be followed: that of the caudillo with its populist redistribution, or a free-market model.  The most solid reporting on the crisis as been done by Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady.  She … Continue reading Economic Development in Honduras

Neither Charity Nor Truth, Part 3: The Attack on Classical Liberalism

by Mario Rizzo   In this final installment of my analysis of the papal encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate I turn my attention to Benedict XVI's positive ideas on globalization.  (I put the encyclical section numbers in parentheses.)   Do not expect clear-cut statements or precise recommendations for policy. Do not even expect consistency. (There are actually … Continue reading Neither Charity Nor Truth, Part 3: The Attack on Classical Liberalism

Neither Truth Nor Charity, Part 2: Globalization and the Pope’s Discontents

by Mario Rizzo   Throughout Pope Benedict XVI’s enclyclical (“Caritas in Veritate”) he stresses that scientific knowledge is not enough when trying to determine appropriate government policies or even individual actions. This is quite true.   He fails, however, to appreciate in many specific instances and arguments the importance of the fact that that moral or ethical … Continue reading Neither Truth Nor Charity, Part 2: Globalization and the Pope’s Discontents

Neither Truth Nor Charity: The Destructive Influence of a Papal Encyclical

by Mario Rizzo   Recently Pope Benedict XVI issued a papal letter (“encyclical”) called “Caritas in Veritate” [CV] or “Charity in Truth” which is largely about economic issues relating to globalization. While there have been some commentaries on it, two prominent ones (here and here) in the Wall Street Journal do not reveal how truly bad … Continue reading Neither Truth Nor Charity: The Destructive Influence of a Papal Encyclical

Two interesting models of urban redevelopment

by Sandy Ikeda From the New York Times, “An Effort to Save Flint, Mich., by Shrinking It”: Instead of waiting for houses to become abandoned and then pulling them down, local leaders are talking about demolishing entire blocks and even whole neighborhoods. The population would be condensed into a few viable areas. So would stores … Continue reading Two interesting models of urban redevelopment

The mirage of the efficient city

by Sandy Ikeda I'm honored to be contributing a short essay to a Festschrift for Jane Jacobs.  Recently, the editor asked me to write an abstract.  The following is the result, which I would like to share with you: A city is not a man-made thing.  Rather, it emerges from the actions of its inhabitants, … Continue reading The mirage of the efficient city

Infrastructure: How the seen crowds out the unseen

by Sandy Ikeda So far I’ve come across no discussion of the consequences that the massive infrastructure spending touted in Stimulus Package I (there will of course be others) will have on what Nathan Glazer called “the fine structure of society” in the local communities it will impact. A new freeway, for example, might make … Continue reading Infrastructure: How the seen crowds out the unseen

Zimbabwe’s About Turn

By Chidem Kurdas In developed counties free markets are widely blamed for economic ills as governments take over banks and pundits favor nationalization. By a sad irony, the situation in Zimbabwe is so dire that even President Robert Mugabe appears to be making a concession toward the only way out—reestablishing free markets. Zimbabwe has the … Continue reading Zimbabwe’s About Turn

New York, the unfinished city

by Sandy Ikeda A friend from France, who is both an artist and an economist, on a visit to New York last year said she loves this place so much because every time she comes here she always finds it new and interesting. Well, couldn’t you say that about any great city? Apparently not. Thomas … Continue reading New York, the unfinished city

No Palazzo Chupi in Bedford Falls

by Sandy Ikeda (Photo by Erik J. Sommer) This is artist and film-maker Julian Schnabel's fantastical condo, "Palazzo Chupi," a multi-story, candy-colored “palace” planted onto an old garage in the West Village in Manhattan. More on this in a moment. But first I’d like to talk about the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. You … Continue reading No Palazzo Chupi in Bedford Falls