Freedom’s Fair-Weather Friends

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

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

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”

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

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]

Economics for the Citizen, Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 There are four classes of behavior that can be called economic behavior. They are: production, consumption, exchange, and specialization. The discussion of ... [click for more]
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