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In today’s Wall Street Journal, George Melloan praises Tyler Cowen’s new book, Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero. A slice:

So Mr. Cowen’s book is timely, and his writing style is a refreshing contrast to the strident left-wing declamations that are so common today. He is calm and conversational, splashing cool water on the firebrands. He writes: “All of the criticisms one might mount against the corporate form—some of which are valid—pale in contrast to two straightforward and indeed essential virtues. First, business makes most of the stuff we enjoy and consume. Second, business is what gives most of us jobs. The two words that follow most immediately from the world of business are ‘prosperity’ and ‘opportunity.’ ”

Also in the Wall Street Journal is this editorial built around GMU Econ alum Mark Perry’s idea of “Equal Occupational Fatality Day.”

Gary Galles explains how subsidies doled out by government make people appear poorer than they actually are.

Shikha Dalmia offers a humane fix for the border crisis.

Insight from Kevin Williamson:

In our time, we have stood that [the correct understanding of trade] on its head, and as the merchants of the world bring the best of everything to our shores for our use and delight, our biggest worry is that they are not charging us enough money for their goods. These are dumb times.

Likewise, my intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy makes the case for free traders making a better case for free trade. A slice:

But here is the thing: as effective as free trade agreements have been at lowering trade barriers, there’s one way in which they have impaired the fight for a world of even freer trade. They suffer from the weakness of fundamentally being rooted in mercantilist misunderstanding.

Indeed, trade negotiations and the agreements that they produce rest on the mistaken belief that the ultimate benefit of trade is exports, while imports are the unfortunate but necessary price to pay in order to export more. The multilateral and bilateral trade treaties “worked” to make trade freer in practice because each government was willing to allow its citizens to import more as the necessary condition for persuading other governments to allow their citizens to do the same. Each government, in short, agreed to lower import barriers only as a means of increasing its country’s exports.

But this entire approach is backwards.


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