The great economist Thomas Sowell is closing down his syndicated column. Here’s his last one. A slice:
Most people living in officially defined poverty in the 21st century have things like cable television, microwave ovens and air-conditioning. Most Americans did not have such things, as late as the 1980s. People whom the intelligentsia continue to call the “have-nots” today have things that the “haves” did not have, just a generation ago.
Speaking of (classical) liberalism in the early part of a century, here’s my colleague Pete Boettke. Here are Pete’s opening paragraphs:
So 2016 is limping to an end with an assassination of an ambassador, another “inspired” attack on innocents at a Christmas market, and the formal election of a master crony-capitalist to the office of the presidency of the United States. We have angry tweets, mean tweets, and self-congratulatory tweets defining our age. But our age requires something different.
The liberal project must be reconstructed for a world divided by ethnic, linguistic, religious, nationalist, and economic class. The liberal project has always been an evolving project, not fixed in time. It has taken on different meanings at different historical junctures. Now is no different, and to do the necessary reconstruction, there must be no divide between the humanities and the social sciences. Philosophy without economics is daydreaming, and economics without philosophy has no purpose, and both without politics are sterile intellectual exercises.
My colleague Chris Coyne’s latest paper is on the dangers lurking in the “protective state.” Here’s the abstract:
James Buchanan’s protective state emerges at the constitutional level and protects the core rights of citizens via internal security, contract enforcement, and defense against external threats. This paper focuses on the potential for the protective state to produce anti-liberty outcomes. I identify five specific channels through which the activities of the protective state may yield anti-liberty results. They include: (1) interpretation in an open-ended system, (2) institutional changes within constraints, (3) the centralization of state power, (4) the emergence of coercion-enabling human capital, and (5) the emergence of coercion-enabling physical capital. These channels are endogenous to the legitimate operations of the protective state and do not require any nefarious motivations by those involved.
Arnold Kling reads Bill Easterly’s latest essay (and you should, too).