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Michael Strain reports that “America is a global manufacturing powerhouse.”

Jonathan Adler writes insightfully about Chevron deference and what its burial does and doesn’t mean for the reach of the administrative state.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board applauds a court ruling against the FTC’s recent attempt to ban non-compete clauses. A slice:

The FTC this spring issued a 570-page rule prohibiting most employment agreements that restrict workers from joining competitors or starting their own firms for a specified duration after leaving. The agency says such contracts constitute an “unfair method of competition,” which are forbidden under the Federal Trade Commission Act. Not so fast.

As Judge Ada Brown explains, a “plain reading” of the law “does not expressly grant the Commission authority to promulgate substantive rules regarding unfair methods of competition.” The law instead lets the FTC hold administrative hearings and issue cease-and-desist orders against businesses charged with unfair methods of competition.

Historian Gordon Wood explores “the genius of the American founders.” Two slices:

America’s revolutionary leaders — by English standards, minor gentry at best — worked hard to adopt the new liberal characteristics that had come to define what it meant to be truly civilized — politeness, taste, sociability, learning, compassion and benevolence — and also what it meant to be good political leaders: an aversion to corruption and courtier-like behavior. These enlightened and classically republican ideals, values and standards came to circumscribe and control their behavior. Life became a theater, and the leaders became actors and characters. Jefferson was obsessed with politeness, and it became the source of much of his success in life. Washington always acted as if he were a character on a stage.

The revolutionary leaders thus committed themselves to behaving in a certain moral, virtuous and civilized manner. The intense, self-conscious seriousness with which they made that commitment is what ultimately separates them from later generations of American leaders. But that commitment also sets them sharply apart from the older world of their fathers and grandfathers. They sought, often unsuccessfully but always sincerely, to play a part, to be what Jefferson called “natural aristocrats” — those who measured their status not by birth or family, but by enlightened values and benevolent behavior.


These provincial peoples were ambivalent about being part of the British Empire. Proud of their simple native provinces but keenly aware of the metropolitan center of civilization that was London, the North Americans and the Scots each had the unsettling sense of living in two cultures simultaneously. Although this experience may have been disturbing, it was at the same time stimulating. It helps explain why North America and Scotland became remarkable places of enlightenment and intellectual ferment in the English-speaking world during the late 18th century. Scottish intellectuals such as David Hume, Adam Smith, Francis Hutcheson, Adam Ferguson, John Millar and Lord Kames matched if not exceeded the American Founders in brilliance and creativity.

Living so close to what they regarded as savagery and barbarism, the Scottish and North American leaders felt compelled to think freshly about the meaning of being civilized. In the process, they put a heightened emphasis on learned and acquired values at the expense of the traditional inherited values of blood and kinship. Contemptuous of the pretension and luxury of metropolitan England, they enthusiastically adopted the new, enlightened 18th-century ideals of gentility and public service.

John Phelan tells of the first British election – held in 1847- after the repeal of the corn laws.

Issac Willour rightly admires Glenn Loury.

Kimberlee Josephson is no fan of ESG ‘investing.’

GMU Econ alum Vlad Tarko summarizes important lessons found in the work of the late Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom and her husband, Vincent Ostrom, on self-governance. A slice:

Government solutions of any kind, including the task of setting up property rights regimes, always come with the danger of government abuse and therefore the problem of getting the incentives right. As James Madison famously put it: “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself” (Federalist #51). If a government is strong enough to curb private violence and solve various social dilemmas by forcing everyone to contribute their “fair share” (hence eliminating free riding), it is also strong enough to abuse its power over those it governs (Buchanan 1975; North, Wallis, and Weingast 2009).

The Ostroms thought the concept of self-governance is helpful precisely for trying to pinpoint the conditions under which governments are more likely to solve problems rather than make matters worse. As Vincent Ostrom (1997) has argued, the stakes of this debate are high: “Democratic societies are necessarily placed at risk when people conceive of their relationships as being grounded on principles of command and control rather than on principles of self-responsibility in self-governing communities” (p. 4).