Tag: Free Markets

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Net Neutrality Gave Us Shadow Banning


Where are the liberal free speech advocates? Conservative thought is being silenced. Silicon Valley’s powerful programmers are hiding voices with which they politically disagree by using statist-like media restrictions not dissimilar from North Korea. Kim Jong Un approves. Just this week we saw two new examples:

Project Veritas latest investigation demonstrates Twitter’s shadow banning of conservative accounts:


Make America Safe Again, Free-Market-Style

Hundreds of passengers wait in the TSA security line at Nashville International Airport. (James R. Martin / Shutterstock, Inc.)

“Why do you always say that we have failed miserably when it comes to handling terror threats?” The question was offered in a less-than-sober setting by an adjunct professor in political science, and even though all in attendance were at varying stages of drunkenness, my reply was sober. “United and American Airlines are still in business.”

“What the hell does that have to do with anything?” was the incredulous reply from the economics professor at the table, as he re-lit his cigar. I nearly choked on my scotch, as I replied, “It’s a good thing you have tenure, darling. Seriously? Please, tell me, how much is it for a flight to London on Pan-Am or TWA.”


Candidates, Keep Your Hands to Yourselves

Michael Woodruff / Shutterstock.com

Hillary Clinton delivered a major speech earlier this week, focused on Donald Trump’s credibility on economic issues. She warned that his policies and brash leadership would result in major economic problems. “Just like he shouldn’t have his finger on the [nuclear] button, he shouldn’t have his hands on our economy,” she said. Clinton is right and correctly identified Trump’s economic strategy as potentially disastrous. Ricochet contributor James Pethokoukis recently wrote about Moody’s analysis of Trump’s plan, which predicts Trump’s high tariffs will trigger a recession lasting longer than the Great Recession. Taking all of Trump’s policies into consideration, Moody’s also forecasts large deficits, government borrowing, and labor shortages to contribute to the economic slump. A heavy handed protectionist agenda punishes businesses and consumers alike through high taxes, constrained trade, and restricted access to consumer goods. Ironically, the ostensibly nationalistic economic plan would be bad for American business and for the American people. Trump should not have his hands on the economy.

And neither, of course, should Clinton. Implementation of just one of her centrally-planned proposals – transitioning the entire supply of US residential electricity to solar energy – would be enough to send the economy into ruin. The plan would cost untold billions of dollars, money that neither the government nor the private sector has for an inferior energy technology. Worse than the financial cost, it would push the entire country onto an intermittent and unreliable energy source, such as solar, resulting in regular, widespread blackouts all across America. The ensuing economic disruptions would be so great it would be nearly impossible to quantify. Suffice it to say, every aspect of modern life — personal, professional, and everything in between — depends on access to reliable sources of electricity and energy. Economic policy that jeopardizes the existence of 21st century life as we know it is beyond absurd, it is horrifying.


After We Kill Free Trade, Are We Next Going to Smash the Machines?


pethokoukis_04042016-e1459784418581There has been plenty of upside for America from more free and open trade. A new Economist piece cites many of them: For consumers, lots of things — including clothes and home furnishings — cost the same as they did 30 years ago. Overall, China trade specifically boosts spending power by $250 a year for the average American, with lower-incomers benefiting more. Offshoring and outsourcing low-wage assembly have also boosted the productivity and wages of high-skill workers, with the design (right here) and manufacturing (over there) of many Apple products being the classic example.

But there have been downsides, too. New research finds that some American communities whose manufacturing jobs moved to Asia never really recovered. Jobless rates stayed high, worker earnings depressed. Many displaced workers never moved or found work in less-trade affected sectors as economic models had predicted. They just got stuck. But if you listen to some presidential candidates, you would think that trade has been the primary driver of the decades-long decline in manufacturing employment. If they are right, then reversing course might bring jobs back. But that economic assumption appears wrong. From The Economist:


Against Crony Capitalism


From the Against Crony Capitalism blog. (Highly recommended, by the way. I wish the Ricochet Establishment could get Nicolas Sorentino to write for Ricochet. On his blog he mostly just posts things from elsewhere, but sometimes he writes an article of his own.) Today, people living in Bucharest, Romania have access to much faster Internet […]

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“They Become Disgusted With our Manner of Life”


Castalia Ohio, bike ride of Labor Day 1998 - where a War of 1812 captivity story began.Some of us on Ricochet have been wondering how to teach people to prefer the liberty of free markets to the security of socialism. Others have been lecturing us about how capitalism has made life fantastically better for humans.

Each time one of these discussions comes up, I wish people here knew more about Indian captivity narratives — the true ones, that is. These stories have been popular in North America since the late 1600s, though not always been viewed as essential knowledge.


Teach a Bangladeshi Widow How to Artificially Inseminate a Cow…


640px-A_village_women_in_BangladeshLast week, I spitballed an idea for a “Freedom Kit” to be sold to the emerging poor. It would provide them with basic amenities, additional security, and some of the means to help them grow into something more like the middle class. Unsurprisingly, members had a number of excellent suggestions about the idea and for the contents of the kit. Among other things, I’m now persuaded that directly subsidizing the kit would be a mistake, and that it’d probably be much smarter to think of it as a store where products along these lines could be sold but chosen entirely by the customers. (Yes, it’s almost as if people in the third world might know what’s good for them better than some jerk in Massachusetts with a keyboard).

Regardless, such kits (or such products) only make sense for people who’ve already climbed out of the worst dregs of poverty and have at least a little disposable income. As things currently stand, that excludes about 700 million people around the world who earn less than $1.90/day (a common benchmark for abject poverty). The number of people earning so little has dropped dramatically in recent decades: down from 1.9 billion people a quarter of a century ago, when the world had 40 percent fewer people. However, much of that progress took place in China and East Asia, which appears to have been the low-hanging fruit. Helping those last 700 million folks out of poverty is likely to be more difficult.


The Roaring Success of Chick-fil-A in New York City


Remember when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that Chicago would not welcome a certain chicken sandwich restaurant? Or when Boston Mayor Tom Menino wrote a letter to that same company’s president saying that there was “no place for your company” in Boston? Good times. But in spite of liberal outrage over an executive expressing his views on marriage and sexuality, the hateful bigots at Chick-fil-A have opened a restaurant in Manhattan. And each day the line to enter winds down the sidewalk.

Just another success story the Mainstream Media won’t tell you.


I, Computer


Pasted image at 2015_10_15 07_38 AMI am a Macbook Air—the ordinary 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 machine familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.

Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.


The United States of Awesome: America Still Leads in Innovation and Economic Dynamism


The Economist looks at the challenge advancing technology like sharing platforms poses to left-wing politicians, using France as an example. Check out the fun fact at the end of the paragraph, which is really the main reason for the post:

Emboldened by books such as “The Second Machine Age”, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, France’s economy minister, Emmanuel Macron Macron and his friends are grappling with how to rewrite the rules of equality and welfare for the digital economy, which hollows out the salaried middle, spreads freelance work and sidelines union-backed incumbents. What, they ask, will the left have to say when driverless cars make unionised taxi-drivers redundant? Or about legal working time in an Uberised economy where freelancing prevails? Such questions may seem otherworldly to those handing out flyers and treading pavements to try to stave off electoral defeat today. But the workplace shake-up is on its way faster than Mr Hollande can perform a pirouette on economic policy. Nearly 25% of Europe’s workforce is not salaried. Mr McAfee reckons that half of today’s jobs will in time be automated out of existence. And France is ripe for disruption: mergers aside, the youngest firm in the CAC 40, the main stock index, was founded in 1967.