Category: Economics

Mike Rowe was recently criticized for his new partnership with Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries, whose philanthropy for conservative and libertarian causes routinely garners controversy, despite its tremendous fruits.

Rowe, himself an increasingly provocative figure, recently interviewed Koch on their core areas of collaboration, including work, the trades, cronyism, higher education, and criminal justice reform. 

Koch on the politicization of “work ethic”: (more…)

malthus-glasses1The doom delusions of central planners and population “experts” are well documented and refuted, ranging from the early pessimism of the Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus to the more fanatical predictions of Paul Ehrlich.

Through these lenses, population growth is a driver of poverty, following from a framing of the human person as a strain and a drain on society and the environment. As Michael Mattheson Miller has written, such thinking suffers from a zero-sum mindset wherein the economy (or any web of human relationships) is a fixed pie “with only so much to go around.” “But the economy is not a pie,” he explains, “Economies can grow, and population growth can actually help development. A growing population means more labor, which along with land and capital are the main factors of production.”

Yet even still, despite the range of agricultural and technological innovations, and the worldwide evidence of booming prosperity in highly populated areas like Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, the Malthusians of yesteryear are connecting their cramped imaginations to present-day concerns.

In an article at National Review, Kevin Williamson identifies this wrinkle, noting that the “new new Malthusians” are worried less about human impacts on natural resources and instead worry about the human costs of our own unbounded ingenuity: (more…)

Blog author: KHanby
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
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Economic Growth

Economic Growth in the U.S. has slowed down compared to historical averages according to recent reports from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Some are claiming that this is okay and that it is “normal” while there are others who disagree and understand that economic growth is essential to a prospering society.  This division among people on how they view economic growth also represents a division among the two major political parties on how they view economic growth.  Director of Research here at the Acton Institute, Samuel Gregg, recently penned an article for stream.org about the fundamental differences between the Democratic and Republican Party platforms on the topic of economic growth.

Gregg starts out by explaining the Dems position on economic growth and how they focus most of their economics on redistribution: (more…)

epipen_Approximately 1 in 50 Americans are at risk of anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction caused by such conditions as food allergies or exposure to the venom of bee stings. Fortunately, people at risk of anaphylaxis can get a prescription for an epinephrine autoinjector that goes by the brand name EpiPen. By self-injecting epinephrine at the onset of anaphylaxis they can be stabilized long enough to seek medical treatment.

In 2007, the cost was approximately $100 (the medicine in the injector costs about $1). But earlier this month the company that produces EpiPens, Mylar, raised the price 400 percent to $600. After an outcry from the public, Mylar announced it would introduce a generic EpiPen for $300. Because the FDA requires pharmacist to put an expiration date on the EpiPen of 12 months after the time of purchase, a new one has to be bought every year so patients have to pay hundreds of dollars a year for medication they may never even use.

Why are EpiPens so expensive? Because Mylar has a government controlled monopoly that prevents anyone else from making similar products. And yet, ironically, many economically uninformed people are blaming the rapid price increase on the free market. For example, as Sarah Kliff of Vox writes,
(more…)

Blog author: jballor
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
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Harold BermanIn his magisterial Law and Revolution, Berman includes these incisive observations in his conclusion:

Law is as much a part of the mode of production of a society as farmland or machinery; the farmland or machinery is nothing unless it operates, and law is an integral part of its operation. Crops are not sown and harvested without duties and rights of work and exchange. Machinery is not produced, moved from the producer to the user, and used, and the costs and benefits of its use are not valued, without some kind of legal ordering of these activities. Such legal ordering is itself a form of capital.

Berman offers this in part as a corrective to Marxist reductionism of everything to a materialist substructure. Thus, writes Berman, “Law is not only fact; it is also idea, or concept, and, in addition, it is a measure of value. It has, inevitably, an intellectual and a moral dimension.”

In a new video from TED Ed, Akshita Agarwal provides a quick lesson on Adam Smith’s “paradox of value” and the differences between “value in use” and “value in exchange.”

For Christians, there’s a crucial lesson here about the best way to meet human needs in the economic order, whether through trade policy, reducing price controls, or any number of other areas. Discerning “economic value” is a tricky thing, and free economies are a handy tools for working through these things in peaceful and productive ways.

But as Agarwal concludes, it also has implications for our everyday stewardship: (more…)

pessimism2Global poverty is on the decline. Technological progress is pacing at break-neck speed. Freedom and opportunity are spreading across the world. And yet our political classes and popular masses continue to preach of impending doom.

Why do we have so much pessimism in an age of such pronounced prosperity?

In a splendid essay for The Spectator on the “doom delusion,” Johan Norberg argues that, on the whole, there is actually great cause for optimism. Writing in a vein similar to thinkers such as Matt Ridley and Deirdre McCloskey, Norberg reminds us that, according to a range of data about poverty alleviation, economic growth, scientific discovery, and population growth, the present looks great and the future looks even brighter. (more…)