Opinion: The primacy of politics is a dangerous dogma
Even after the fall of Communism, the vision of a planned and controlled society is alive and well. By putting politics first, however, the idea that human affairs must be managed centrally and bureaucratically necessarily limits individual rights and freedom of choice. In the end, it simply substitutes tyranny for liberty.
Millennials and democratic socialism
Millennials are increasingly supporting socialism as a remedy for today’s political and economic ills. Just 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, some might be surprised by this turn of events. A lack of academic rigor, cultural shifts and modern economic trends may all have contributed to the trend. So far, socialism has always ended in failure. Could the millennials’ version be different?
Fake problems, real dangers
The hysteria over inequality continues to grow, with calls for higher taxes and more regulation. None of that will achieve what should be the real goal, however: reducing poverty. To do that, entrepreneurs and innovators need to be freed from burdensome red tape and interventionist governments reined in.
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...