Friday , January 21 2022
Home / Tag Archives: Political Economy

Tag Archives: Political Economy

Escalation and Obedience

Airports and airlines, governed by federal law, never relaxed their mask mandate, even for the fully vaccinated.  Yet if you actually fly nowadays, you’ll notice plenty of scofflaws on the ground and in the sky. Which raises a big question: What exactly is the punishment for failing to wear a mask? Until you board the plane, the punishment is simply: An authority orders you to put on your mask.  Once they’re out of sight, you can safely remove your mask until another...

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Should You Trust the Local Left?

Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s new governor-elect plans to end the state-level mask mandate, but will not impose a mandate ban on localities: After his inaugural ceremony on Jan. 15, Youngkin said he will not mandate masks and vaccines but–unlike some Republican governors–he will not attempt to block localities from implementing their own requirements. “Localities are going to have to make decisions the way the law works and that is going to be up to individual decisions...

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The National Greatness Fraud

On the Versailles Palace, transformed into a museum in the 1830s by the “King-Citizen” Louis Philippe, stands the inscription À toutes les gloires de la France (“To All the Glories of France”). Many rulers in history have illustrated, some more savagely than others, a truth that American conservatives seem to ignore: “national greatness” is a propaganda device for subjecting individuals to the reigning power. On Law & Liberty, our sister website, James Patterson...

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What’s Wrong With Social Mobility

In and of itself, social mobility is far from ambiguously good. Imagine a society of 10 individuals ranked by income from the poorest, No. 1, to the richest, No. 10. Assume that a good government (the one you would prefer) jacks up the income of No. 3 to between that of No. 6 and No. 7, putting its favorite in the 6th income slot. No. 3 has now become No. 6; No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6 have all fallen down one slot. The government could increase social mobility more if,...

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The Latest James Bond plus Buchanan and Tullock

Inspired by Graham McAleer’s review of the new James Bond, No Time to Die, I streamed the film from Amazon Prime Video. Ever since with my young sons decades ago I watched James Bond films, I have always liked them for the action and the guns, although I now find Jason Bourne more congenial and more realistic. On Law and Liberty, our sister website, philosopher McAleer writes under the title “James Bond, Christian Knight”: During the Enlightenment, David Hume sought...

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Infrastructure All the Way Down

I have argued on this blog that the best practical definition of infrastructure is “whatever the government wants to pay for because it benefits from the expenditure.” The adoption by the House of a $1-trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill reinforces this argument. (See Gabriel T. Rubin and Eliza Collins, “What’s in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill? From Amtrak to Roads to Water Systems,” Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2021.) The standard argument for public...

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Democracy and government spending

It is sometimes claimed that governments overspend due to pressure from the public. That may or may not be true, but in Hong Kong the reverse seems to be happening.  As it becomes less democratic, spending is rising: Hong Kong’s renowned fiscal reserves are at risk after the city’s opposition-free legislature approved record public expenditure over the past year, analysts have warned. . . . Following Beijing’s overhaul of the electoral system that barred “unpatriotic”...

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You Had Two Jobs

I’ve long been critical of local government.  Yes, local officials are “closer to the people.”  And yes, moving to a new town is a lot cheaper than moving to a new state or a new country.  Yet local governments are still far inferior to for-profit businesses. Recently, however, I’ve realized that I’ve been too generous.  The two main things that local governments do are: 1. Provide K-12 education. 2. Regulate construction. And on reflection, local governments do both...

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The Abused Friend of My Enemy Is My Friend

When I play Sid Meier’s Civilization, as I have thousands of times, I have an eccentric strategy. When other civilizations demand tribute – or just attack me with without provocation – I give them what they want. I sue for peace. And then, I propose an alliance. The AI almost always accepts the offer – and the subsequent alliance is almost always fruitful.  It’s almost as if the programmers never imagined that anyone would try my self-abasing approach.  Sure, humans...

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The Simplicity of Our System of Government

An interesting essay in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal suggests, if we go farther than the author, that “the simplicity of our system of government,” although a worthy ideal, has become a mere historical memory if not a propaganda tool for the democratic Leviathan. The story is about Andrew Jackson who, before his death, refused to be buried in a marble sarcophagus believed to have once contained the remains of a Roman emperor. The idea had been advanced by U.S. Navy...

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