With inflation running at a four-decade high, it’s time to reconsider the idea that the economy will benefit if corporations sacrifice their bottom lines in favor of environmental, social and governance considerations. The truth is that diverting corporate attention away from long-term profitability depresses output and raises prices.
In 2019 the Business Roundtable, an association of large companies’ CEOs, abandoned its longstanding dedication to the idea that the “purpose of a corporation” is to maximize shareholder value. Instead, the group argued, businesses should follow a “multistakeholder” model. If corporate management gave a shifting set of ESG concerns priority over long-term profit maximization, the roundtable believed, firms could create “an economy that serves all Americans.”
It hasn’t panned out that way. When companies focus solely on maximizing profits, their principal aim is to produce more at lower cost. Admittedly, some profitability strategies—such as constraining supply—are at odds with maximizing output. But that’s impossible without an organized and powerful monopoly. Even companies with great monopoly power lose that power over time as competitors arise. In a competitive market, corporations serve themselves and consumers by making more for less.
To avoid being what James Buchanan called normative eunuchs, we may consider another factor: personal responsibility, which is inseparable from the ethical belief in equal and sovereign individuals. In this perspective, each individual adult (or voluntary family grouping) must make his own trade-off between, on the one hand, the joy and learning benefits of having and rearing children and, on the other hand, the opportunities that must thereby be forgone. Time and other resources are limited.
And how did our forebears, who were poorer than us, do it? Anyone today who is willing to be, net of child care, as poor as our forebears were could raise as many children as they did with as little help from Big Brother as they had. This remains true despite changes in relative prices between their time and ours; for example, housing and domestic servants have become much more expensive relatively to domestic appliances and robots, which have become much cheaper (they previously had an infinite price).
If you’re looking for proof that teachers unions don’t care about the interests of schoolchildren, you can find it in the impoverished Bronx neighborhood of Soundview. A school building on Beach Avenue has been shuttered for almost a decade, and the United Federation of Teachers is suing to keep it closed.
On Aug. 22, a new charter high school, Vertex Academies, will begin classes here. In the local school district, only 7% of students who enter ninth grade are ready for college four years later. For black students, the figure is 4%. The new school promises to deliver “a high-quality education to 150 minority students from low-income backgrounds” in its first year, says founding principal Joyanet Mangual.
Vertex will use the premises of the defunct Blessed Sacrament School, where Sonia Sotomayor was valedictorian in 1968. When the school shut down in 2013, the justice declared herself “heartbroken.” Her mother had scrimped and saved to send her there: “She watched what happened to my cousins in public school, and worried if we went there, we might not get out,” Justice Sotomayor told the New York Times.
Yet he and Ms. Mangual take heart from the parents who have flocked to Vertex in search of “salvation” for their children. Many of them are first-generation immigrants, such as the Hispanic gardener at the school’s playground who doesn’t speak a word of English. He brought his eighth-grade daughter to Ms. Mangual and pleaded for her to be admitted to Vertex. The girl had to fill out all the forms, much as Ms. Mangual did for her own father when he was applying for jobs 20 years ago. These immigrants have “come to the United States,” Mr. Rowe says. “Even if they’re living 10 to a family, by hook or by crook, their kids are going to do well.” Assuming the teachers unions don’t get in their way.
I was never a fan of Abenomics for reasons that are probably not hard to deduce. That said, it’s useful to contrast NPR’s depiction of Shinzo Abe’s legacy in their assassination coverage (“divisive,” “ultranationalist”) with NPR’s generally reverential obituary for Fidel Castro, which buried any hint that he was a mass-murdering Marxist autocrat to the bottom of the article and even cast it as a “debated” part of his legacy.
It’s long past time to cut off any and all tax dollars from this dumpster fire of a news outlet.
There is still considerable debate about whether mask mandates in the K-12 schools limit transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in children attending school. Randomized data about the effectiveness of mask mandates in children is still entirely lacking. Our study took advantage of a unique natural experiment of two adjacent K-12 school districts in Fargo, North Dakota, one which had a mask mandate and one which did not in the fall of the 2021-2022 academic year. In the winter, both districts adopted a masks-optional policy allowing for a partial crossover study design. We observed no significant difference between student case rates while the districts had differing masking policies (IRR 0.99; 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.07) nor while they had the same mask policies (IRR 1.04; 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.16). The IRRs across the two periods were also not significantly different (p = 0.40). Our findings contribute to a growing body of literature which suggests school-based mask mandates have limited to no impact on the case rates of COVID-19 among K-12 students.