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Samuel Gregg reviews Zongyuan Zoe Liu’s Sovereign Funds: How the Communist Party of China Finances Its Global Ambitions. A slice:

While industrial policy is conceptually flawed and is proving dysfunctional in China, Western governments must nevertheless decide how to deal with Beijing’s SLFs in global markets. Certainly, the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency gives America a grip on what Lui calls “the plumbing of the global financial system” that China cannot presently match. She also argues, however, that Beijing’s SLFs could give it “an asymmetrical capability” in global markets, should it decide to deploy the funds aggressively as a form of soft power.

David Henderson reviews Jennifer Burns’s biography of Milton Friedman. A slice:

Moreover, she notes, strands of his thinking in his other writing at the time suggest that he had never bought into Keynesianism. In a 1944 book review published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, he wrote that “the Keynesian saving–investment theory which has had such vogue in recent years” was “unbelievably simple. Yet simply unbelievable.” Burns also uncovers a 1940 letter he wrote to his mentor and later Federal Reserve chairman Arthur Burns (no relation to Jennifer) in which he reported on a road trip to visit Rose’s family on the West Coast. Friedman noted that Southern California “gives you the feeling that the frontier is not yet gone and makes you feel like telling the stagnationites to come out and take a look.” “Stagnationites” refers to the view, which many Keynesians and Keynes himself held, that the economy could stagnate for lack of private investment opportunities. Friedman clearly did not buy into that view.

GMU Econ alum David Youngberg explains that “investors make houses more affordable, not less.”

Robby Soave warns that the ban on TikTok “is a blueprint for more social media censorship.” A slice:

Various dubious arguments have been deployed against TikTok, but Congress’ stated prime motive to force its divestiture is that the app’s Chinese owners are beholden to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and thus having their tech on so many Americans’ phones is a dire national security risk. The CCP is an authoritarian menace, and there is some evidence the Chinese government pressures TikTok to censor content about Tiananmen Square and the religious sect Falun Gong, and criticism of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Of course, the U.S. government has also pressured American tech companies to censor content on social media. Thanks to the Twitter Filesthe Facebook Files, and other independent investigations, we know that multiple federal agencies instructed social media platforms to take down content relating to Hunter Biden, COVID-19, and other subjects. When 
President Biden decided the companies had been insufficiently deferential to his pandemic-related diktats, he accused them of killing people and threatened to take action against them.

If Congress really wanted to do something about government censorship of content on social media, legislators could rein in the feds. Instead, they are singularly focused on TikTok, which has responded with a lawsuit.

Timothy Taylor shares insights from Maristella Botticini on the emergence of markets for insurance in 14th-century Italy.

Matt Ridley writes that “solar farms are taking us back to the dark ages.”

My GMU Econ colleague Robin Hanson ponders the stuff of romantics.

GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino makes clear that pollution was not reduced because of the Chevron doctrine. A slice:

It has nothing to do with the Chevron doctrine. The Chevron doctrine said that when statutory language is ambiguous in cases on administrative law, courts must defer to the agency’s interpretation of the statute. It was small businesses and individuals, often with cases that had nothing to do with the environment, who were pushed around by administrative agencies without being able to get relief from a federal judge. Now they will have a chance at relief because courts will be able to interpret the law, as the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act say they must.

That doesn’t threaten the environment. It just threatens arrogant government agencies.