Ten Second News

The Solutions to Poverty and Unemployment Will Look Something Like This: An Interview with Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook is a friend of mine from college who let me interview her about her upcoming film, currently titled the Microlending Film Project. Rachel shot footage for Kiva – an awesome organization that has stoked the fires of entrepreneurship in Africa, Southeast Asia, and around the world, and is now stoking the fires of entrepreneurship here in…

We Need Countercyclical Spending, Not Counterintuitive Spending Cuts

Matt Yglesias points out once again that since we can borrow money at basically negative real interest rates, we should do it. We should do it to stimulate the economy, put money into infrastructure like high-speed rail, and get the beast chugging along again. Given that lower-than-projected growth is actually leading to an increase in…

The Flaws and Shortcomings of Ron Paul

Matt Yglesias on Ron Paul: After looking at his positions and statements, the most remarkable thing is that if it weren’t for his loud fanbase of self-proclaimed libertarians you wouldn’t really think this is the platform of a libertarian. He’s loudly trumpeting his plan to impose criminal penalties on women who terminate their pregnancies and…

The Affluent (and Downgraded, Debt-Laden) Society

The late preeminent liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith once complained in The Affluent Society that where Democrats once stood for an issue of great importance in emphasizing production, they lost that issue by misunderstanding why production was important.  For Galbraith, production was central to the modern American economy not to sustain impressive arrays of consumer…

Competition and Inequality

In my last post, Labour and the American Middle Class, I expressed my scepticism of the ability of unions to improve the incomes of the disadvantaged.  However, this still leaves the question of how the government can help those in need, apart from welfare. For me, there are two major paths that will help –…

Painting Conservatism Out of the Corner: A Review of William Voegeli’s Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State

Andrew Sullivan’s recent apologia—or, perhaps, obituary—of conservatism makes at least one very good point:  Modern conservatism has painted itself into a corner.  Concerning the poor and uninsured, for example, Mr. Sullivan rightly observes that “in a society that won’t let people die on the street, these are real and tough problems we cannot just wish…

Why We Disagree About Taxes, Entitlements, and Economic Theory in General

In a previous post drawing the distinction between procedural and substantive justice, I noted my objection to the idea that procedural fairness ought to be subverted in order to guarantee predetermined outcomes.  However—and although I predicted that most Americans would probably agree with me—I did not touch on the difficulty in refuting the intrinsic appeal…

Why don’t we treat free trade like global warming?

Belief in anthropogenic global warming is a sort of political signifier for American liberals – if you don’t think human activity is changing the Earth’s climate, they’re probably not going to take you very seriously. This is not because every leftist has independently verified the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings and concluded that people…

Anti-Intellectualism and Magical Thinking

A couple follow-up thoughts on DougJ’s response to my Little Republics post. First of all, I think the charge of anti-intellectualism is a little off the mark. I have absolutely nothing against intellectuals or experts in any field (or at least most fields). Here’s my position in a nutshell: experts and intellectuals should be utilized…

Progressives vs. Libertarians

I really think the two sides in this argument – the libertarians on the one hand and progressives on the other – simply have a very hard time understanding truly where the other is coming from. For instance, I think many libertarians simply take for granted that corporations will act in their own self-interest, and…

Carson’s Rejoinder to Kuznicki

by Kevin Carson I read, with appreciation, Jason Kuznicki’s thoughtful review of my book Studies in Mutual Political Economy. He begins my noting that the book is, as the title suggests, a series of studies rather than “an exhaustive treatment.” Given that the area I had to cover was so broad, and that the most recent previous attempts…

A farewell to supply-side economics

Writing in National Review, Kevin Williamson lays waste the ‘magical thinking’ of supply-siders and the notion that somehow tax cuts will completely pay for themselves. There’s a great deal of really excellent stuff in the article, but here’s a good bit: When the Reagan tax cuts were being designed, the original supply-side crew thought that…

Nicholas Capaldi and the Red Tories (because when we talk about Blond we do so in triplicate)

I’ve given Phillip Blond another chance at convincing me of his vision but alas I find his final product rather incoherent at the end of the day. Writing in The American Conservative, Nicholas Capaldi touches on a number of the reasons why Blond’s vision is less than compelling. Blond, writes Capaldi, describes “what a new…

Auserity Measures

Via National Review, here’s an interesting article on Lithuania’s belt-tightening response to the financial crisis: Faced with rising deficits that threatened to bankrupt the country, Lithuania cut public spending by 30 percent — including slashing public sector wages 20 to 30 percent and reducing pensions by as much as 11 percent. Even the prime minister, Andrius…

Weak Become Heroes

Via Sociological Images is this pretty awesome “pro-capitalist” propaganda cartoon from 1948: The Miller Center of Public Affairs (my employer) is holding a conference on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and as such, I spent most of my Monday night at a work-related dinner with prominent IR scholars and Cold…

How do those Northern Europeans do it?

Responding to Ross Douthat’s latest column, Jamelle raises an interesting question: And finally, I wonder how Douthat explains away Northern Europe’s high economic growth rates and robust welfare states? I’m no economist, but I think this has something to do with the fact that government in Northern Europe, while large, is effectively limited and rather…

the unintended consequences of economic populism

“POPULIST, n. A fossil patriot of the early agricultural period, found in the old red soapstone underlying Kansas; characterized by an uncommon spread of ear, which some naturalists contend gave him the power of flight, though Professors Morse and Whitney, pursuing independent lines of thought, have ingeniously pointed out that had he possessed it he…