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Some Non-Covid Links

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George Will rightly decries the pursuit of ‘equity’ over equality [2]. A slice:

Harlan’s Plessy dissent reflects modernity’s break with pre-modern politics. This break has had three components: Treating citizens as individuals rather than as members of collectivities (guilds, classes, etc.). Guaranteeing the equal rights of citizens in, and against, the state. And equal opportunity — all careers open to talents.

Art Carden reveals more of the marvels of free markets [3]. A slice:

Over the last few weeks, my kids and I have been watching a series called Made in a Day on Disney+. It’s a “how-it’s-made” program that dives into how, for example, Jack Daniel’s makes whiskey and how McIlhenny makes Tabasco sauce. Programs like these illustrate how it’s not just “whiskey,” and it’s not just “hot sauce.” According to the program, Jack Daniel’s uses a mix of corn from Alabama, barley from Montana, rye from Canada, yeast from Tennessee, and water from a nearby limestone cave. They don’t use just any corn, either: they use #1-grade corn. McIlhenny contracts with farmers around the world to grow a specific kind of chile. They use vinegar from Alabama. They started using their distinctive bottles when the founder was able to obtain overproduced cologne bottles that would dispense the sauce a drop or two at a time. Both companies age their products for years before they are bottled and shipped, and they are scrupulous about quality control. If they weren’t, their fickle and ruthless customers would punish them by taking their business elsewhere.

Bryan Caplan is impressed with a new essay by Richard Hanania [4].

Phil Magness reviews Elizabeth Catte’s new book on eugenics [5].

Bruce Yandle sensibly asks: “Are Google, Facebook, and Amazon so good at what they do that we must get rid of them? [6]” A slice:

If a firm offers goods and services that consumers voluntarily consider to be superior, as based on their patronage, and if in so doing they provide the same consumers with lower or no higher costs, and if that means that the former suppliers now shunned by consumers are struggling and therefore the count of competitors is falling, how can one argue that consumers are being harmed?

Liz Wolfe warns against cheering on Beijing’s crackdown on oppression of ‘Big Tech.’ [7]

Here’s how the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal opens a recent editorial [8]:

Americans may be richer than they think and less unequal than they’ve been led to believe. That’s the takeaway from a recent working paper by five economists from the University of Wisconsin and the Federal Reserve, which adds to standard wealth measures by including Social Security and pension guarantees.

Scott Lincicome reports that Biden rejects open trade at a factory that depends upon open trade [9]. A slice:

As I explain in a new working paper [10] on U.S. industrial policy (and as Cato scholars have explained for decades), “Buy American” rules are just another form of protectionism: they’ve been found [11], for example, to act as a barrier to entering the U.S. market and to raise domestic prices in the same way that a tariff does. Special provisions [12] in the rules, moreover, make them a particularly‐​generous handout for the U.S. steel industry (to steel consumers’ clear detriment). The restrictions also encourage foreign retaliation [13] against U.S. exporters, and, far from improving federal projects, routinely confound them (via higher prices, more paperwork, project delays, etc.). Indeed, according to one recent (and quite relevant for today’s purposes) study [14], “Buy American” restrictions tied to federal transportation subsidies raised the price of domestically‐​produced transit buses and discouraged the purchase of more efficient foreign‐​made buses, thus lowering the quality and use of public transit (frequency and coverage), increasing traffic congestion, and harming the environment.