Tag: Free Market

Preventing the Next Southwest Airlines Meltdown


Congresscritters are making noises about forcing more government management of Southwest Airlines in response to Southwest’s Christmas meltdown. And alleged Transportation Secretary Buttigieg has sent a sternly worded warning to the CEO.

But as with so many things, the market is really a better disciplinary tool, and provides better incentives for Southwest to improve its performance, than what any government punishment, management, or incentive can provide.

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Matthew Hennessey, Wall Street Journal editor and author of Visible Hand, A Wealth of Notions on the Miracle of the Market, about how the principles of economics manifest themselves in our every day lives and how we can use that insight to better understand our personal and civic choices.


MI senior fellow and Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley joins Brian Anderson to discuss black economic progress before the pandemic and the free-market policies that contributed to it. His new book, The Black Boom, is out now.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

Member Post


Walter Williams: Many do not appreciate the fact that freedom and competition in both the marketplace and idea arena unleashed a level of entrepreneurism, risk-taking and creativity heretofore unknown to mankind. Look at the marketplace of ideas. The Nobel Prize has been awarded to 860 people since its inception in 1901. The prizewinner distribution: Americans […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

The Price of Panic (A Case Against Hoarding)


I bought toilet paper on Sunday. It wasn’t because I was panicky; we were out. Well, we weren’t exactly out, we were down to six rolls. But in a house of nine, including three 14-year-olds and a potty-training toddler, six rolls is as low as I like to cut it. So we needed toilet paper. The only problem was, toilet paper is too cheap.

My wife and I once had a debate about “price gouging.” I’d always lived under the assumption that to raise the price of a product in a time of panic was a moral sin. But is it? She was reading a book by Thomas Sowell and went on to explain how the free market has a mechanism for correcting the kind of panic buying we are witnessing this week. It’s not price gouging — if that’s what you choose to call it — but rather, the fair market price based upon the supply versus the demand. In other words, capitalism.

We’re seeing this play out with products that on a normal week go largely unnoticed; toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, water (in America at least) — these are not commodities. The manufacturing plants of Kimberly-Clark, Scott, Georgia-Pacific, and a dozen others are still churning out toilet paper at a steady pace. The distribution centers for Costco Wholesale are massive, and stocked with hundreds of pallets that will find their way to your store just as soon as the trucks and barges can carry them there. You may have to wait a few days, that’s all.

American Compass? No, I’d Rather Stay Lost.


A recent National Review article is titled “The Return of Conservative Economics.” When a politician or a political writer says his great new idea is “conservative,” grab your wallet and run the other way as fast as you can. Not only will it not be conservative, it will likely be daft — and accompanied by the force of law.  The NRO article is a perfect example of this.  It opens with:

Today we are announcing the formation of American Compass, an organization dedicated to helping American conservatism recover from its chronic case of market fundamentalism. In preparation, we have been perusing the mission statements of many of our nation’s think tanks. Nearly every group has one. Oddly, the right-of-center’s preeminent public-policy institutions all have the same one: to advance the principles of “limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty” or “free markets and limited, effective government” or “free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom” or “individual liberty, limited government, free markets” or “economic choice and individual responsibility” or “individual, economic, and political freedom; private enterprise; and representative government.”

Member Post


I’m curious to hear where Ricochet members stand on this issue.  I understand we have some Anarcho-Capitalists here, who believe that government is inherently evil.  We also have people who believe in fairly vigorous government regulation. I personally support government intervention when there is no reasonable alternative.  Many CEOs will either attempt to achieve and […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely


“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” These are the words of Lord John Dalberg-Acton, an English historian of the 19th century and namesake of the Acton Institute.

Co-founded by Rev. Robert A. Sirico and Kris A. Mauren in 1990 in Grand Rapids, MI, the Acton Institute has a unique mission among free-market think tanks. An ecumenical organization, Acton is dedicated to promoting a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.

Member Post


Gracy Olmstead of “The American Conservative” and other outlets has provided us with an interview with the not easily categorized Wendell Berry in today’s New York Times. Olmstead is someone I’ve read with pleasure over the last several years and have seen her work promoted here at Ricochet. One of the things that makes this […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

American-style Crony Capitalism: What Happens When Government Sorts Things Out


When President-elect Trump intervened to stop jobs at a Carrier air conditioner plant in Indianapolis from moving to Mexico, Vice President-elect Pence offered this justification: “The free market has been sorting it out, and America’s been losing.” (Not that the president’s intervention was a big win, turns out.)

Of course, one shouldn’t expect only winners when markets are sorting things out. Markets aren’t magic. Yet it’s hard to conclude that American-style capitalism hasn’t overall sorted things out pretty well for Americans. Since 1980, the US has added nearly 60 million jobs. And the CBO says middle-class incomes are up significantly, either by 28 percent or 42 percent (in real terms) depending if you are looking at income before transfers and taxes vs. after. Oh, and the United States continues to push the technological frontier. Europe would sure love to have its own tech titans such as Google and Amazon, not to mention all those tech unicorns. (By one measure, the US has nearly 100. Europe? Just 12.)

Then there’s the alternative to markets sorting things out. That would be government sorting things out. Some call that “central planning,” while others term it “picking winners and losers.” Maybe add “crony capitalism,” too, since that can be the result when government engages in “business friendly” policies such as “targeted exemptions from legislation, advantageous rules by regulatory agencies, direct subsidies, preferential tariffs, tax breaks, preferred access to credit, and protections from prosecution,” according to the 2014 working paper “Crony Capitalism, American Style.”

Mark Zuckerberg and Conservative Ideals


The hassling of Zuckerberg rankled until I was compelled to write a political post, something I have rarely done in almost a decade on Facebook. It’s been up for 15 minutes as of this writing. I foresee either regretting the post, or having it panned. Or both.

There is a Facebook-related issue that is bothering me, so I will opine on Facebook. I have only a surface knowledge of the concerns for which Mark Zuckerberg underwent Senate questioning. What I find disturbing is the optics of hauling in for grilling this private citizen who happens to own a hugely successful venture. In listening to some of the proceedings, I felt like senators were pandering to the public by addressing Zuckerberg as if he were a criminal over a couple of points: a.) a data harvesting practice that I’m sure is widespread over the Internet, and not just a Facebook problem; and b.) an alleged favoring of the left side of the political spectrum in censoring or promoting posts.

Member Post


(NOTE: The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, New Hampshire’s original free-market think tank, publishes a weekly email newsletter.  This week’s newsletter is a little rumination on partisanship. It’s posted below, in full, for your consideration.  If you enjoyed this essay, you can sign up for the free Friday newsletter here.)   Preview Open

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


The free market is the economic foundation of a free, pluralistic society. Laissez faire economics stands for the idea that the government should stand aside and let individuals do what they want or need to do. In America, we celebrate our democracy. But, the free market is often a more fitting way to way to […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Occupational Licensing Is a Whole Quilt of Crazy


Here’s a bit of trivia: New Hampshire’s tallest building was erected by a general contractor unlicensed by the state. Before you decide to avoid forever Manchester’s 20-story City Hall Plaza, you should know no building in the state, including every house, was built by a state-licensed general contractor — because New Hampshire doesn’t license general contractors. I’ll be focusing on New Hampshire here, but the crazy quilt of occupational licenses smothers opportunity in every state.

The state doesn’t license carpenters, auto mechanics, welders or asphalt layers either. Yet your home does not fall apart, commercial buildings don’t tumble down, roads don’t dissolve in the rain.

Hyperion Knight: Are Free Markets Good for the Arts?


Freedom Fest Panelist Hyperion Knight joins us at Whiskey Politics to discuss leftism in music and entertainment. Hyperion is a virtuoso pianist with a romantic touch whose recordings range from Beethoven and Chopin to Ragtime and Queen. In addition to regular appearances with orchestras across the United States, he has been a headline performer at Manhattan’s Rainbow Room and Entertainer of the Year for Silversea Cruises.

Member Post


Free Market Environmentalism for the Next Generation by Terry Anderson and Donald Leal (2015) of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) is a thorough update of a book they published in 1991. Considering I was in kindergarten back then, I feel like I have a decent claim to being part of the titular “next […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Mike Pence: “Free Market Has Been Sorting It Out, and America’s Been Losing.” Really?


Mike Pence CarrierDonald Trump yesterday warned that companies like Carrier “are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. Not going to happen. It’s not going to happen, I’ll tell you right now.”

When I heard the President-elect make that threat, I responded thusly on CNBC, calling the comments “chilling.” Money manager Doug Kass was even stronger: “I believe that speech was one of the most dangerous and reckless speeches I have ever heard from a President or President-elect.”

And nothing I’ve heard since then sounds much better. From the New York Times:

If You Think Trade Deals Have Ruined the American Economy, Reconsider


TradeIf you think America’s fundamental economic story over the past few decades is a narrative of decline due to bad trade deals — especially the North American Free Trade Agreement — then you must completely ignore economic consensus.

Some key paragraphs from the new CBO study on trade deals:

In CBO’s view, the consensus among economic studies is that PTAs [preferential trade agreements] have had relatively small positive effects on total U.S. trade (exports plus imports) and, primarily through that channel, on the U.S. economy. The effects have been small because the agreements were mostly between the United States and countries with much smaller economies and because tariffs and other trade barriers were generally low when the agreements took effect (see table below). PTAs have had little effect on the U.S. trade balance (exports minus imports) and have slightly increased flows of foreign direct investment, mostly by encouraging additional U.S. investment in the economies of member countries. As a result, the indirect effects of PTAs on productivity, output, and employment in the United States have also been small and positive. Empirical estimates support that view. But those estimates are uncertain and may be understated, because the effects of nontariff provisions are hard to measure and because issues with data keep researchers from identifying how PTAs affect the service sector. Most economic evidence suggests that the total number of workers directly affected by PTAs has been too small to significantly affect labor market conditions nationwide.

The Hidden Virtues of Income Inequality


Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship Escape features a private area for the wealthy named “The Haven.”

There is little doubt that income inequality is one of the great issues of our time. A new front has opened in the battle over whether the richer and the poorer should have differential access to various forms of common facilities.

Member Post


Senator Sanders did his doddering fool act last month or thereabouts & said, it’s unacceptable that some nobody country worth nothing in comparison to the accounting errors in the federal budget has faster internet than America. I know a bit about that country, because that country is Romania. Yeah, the internet speed is sweet unto […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.