Is economic inequality a bad thing?
As an inevitable consequence of free enterprise, inequality is a phenomenon that naturally fluctuates over time and poses no real threat to society. It is the governments’ attempts to bring equality through dense regulation and wealth transfers that put at risk the West’s development and democracy.
GIS Dossier: Return of the Daddy State
The aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis have led to calls for a dramatic increase in the powers of government. Even the ubiquity of internet-based technologies and the populist backlash against political establishments have had the paradoxical effect of promoting centralization. Yet in both politics and economics, there is plenty of evidence that state paternalism is the wrong answer.
The subtle art of the minimum wage
The movement for significantly raising the minimum wage has gained momentum in many countries. Cities such as Seattle and Berlin have experimented with doing so, with mixed results. Countries can maintain stability by keeping poverty and inequality at bay, but policies that distort the economic environment need to be made at the local level to limit the scale of unintended negative consequences.
Outlook improves for Latin American economies
The economic news coming out of Latin America is finally somewhat positive. Stagnation seems to be turning into growth. However, most of this is due to a recovery in commodity prices. Underlying structural problems, especially inequality, persist. Sustainable economic growth in the coming years will require smart domestic policy choices and lowering barriers to intra-regional trade.
Opinion: Populists, demagogues and the French elections
The intellectually arrogant arguments against “populism” fail to consider that it is an important ingredient in any democracy. It is demagoguery that is dangerous. And there is plenty of that in France’s election campaign. With many of the candidates railing against “inequality” – a strength, not a weakness of mankind – only Francois Fillon, who supports free markets and an EU that acts as a fatherland of the fatherlands, has a realistic economic and social agenda.
Getting inequality wrong
Thomas Piketty captured something essential in the post-Lehman mood with his study of income and wealth differentials in the developed world. More’s the pity that his policy recommendations are misguided, in part because he missed the worst kind of inequality. During periods of economic crisis and slow growth, concerns ab...
El Salvador counts on international help to curb gang violence
El Salvador is Central America’s most densely populated country. With six million people and a gross domestic product of $25 billion, its per capita GDP is $4,100 – not bad for a country generally considered poor by international standards. In the region, only Costa Rica does much better. El Salvador’s potential for further development is strong, but it is being he...