Economics

Profiting from Misfortune

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Amid the shrieks of price gouging as hurricanes ravaged the Gulf coast were a few voices of good economic sense. They correctly pointed out that when supplies of vital goods are disrupted, nothing matches the price system for restoring normalcy as quickly as possible. It does so by encouraging ... [click for more]

Economics for the Citizen, Part 8

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 Economic theory is broadly applicable. However, a society’s property-rights structure influences how the theory will manifest itself. It’s the same with the ... [click for more]

Freedom’s Fair-Weather Friends

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In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, some members of Congress are talking about passing a national law against price gouging. One problem should stand in their way: there is no objective definition of “gouging.” Whatever the law says will therefore be arbitrary and unfair. The 20 states that forbid gouging ... [click for more]

Why Payola Doesn’t Matter

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New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has recently leveled a $10 million fine against Sony BMG for payola, a practice in which radio producers are paid for promoting certain songs. Why the fine? The argument against payola is that music lovers are ... [click for more]

Unchaining Africa

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Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa’s Future by George Ayittey, (Palgrave/Macmillan 2005); 483 pages; $35. So much promise, so little progress. Populated with creative people and filled with natural resources, Africa, one might think, should be a global powerhouse. Instead, the continent ... [click for more]

Africa Needs Freedom, Not “Aid”

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Politicians are never more dangerous than when they are thinking, “We’ve got to do something!” Take the just-adjourned G8 meeting in Scotland. The rulers of the most advanced economic powers (and Russia, go figure) met with the intention of looking as though they were doing something to end poverty in Africa. ... [click for more]

Productivity and the Wealth of Nations

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The Power of Productivity by William W. Lewis (University of Chicago Press 2004); 323 pages; $28.00. “Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves,” Benjamin Franklin said. We might, in a similar vein, explain the key message of William Lewis’s book The Power of Productivity by saying, “Watch the ... [click for more]
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