Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

International Affairs

Sin taxes: The ‘nudge’ that benefits terrorism

Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize for describe how even small economic incentives can affect behavior. One of those nudges, high “sin taxes,” has helped finance terrorism and organized crime. Sin taxes played some role in his winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences this week. Continue Reading...

The ‘nudge’ that separated families

Richard Thaler, the co-author of Nudge, has won the Nobel Prize for his contributions to behavioral economics. While he decides how best to spend his $1.1 million in prize money, less prosperous families are paying the price for government policies advancing economic paternalism. Continue Reading...

How Christopher Columbus helped bring the School of Salamanca to the Americas

Every Columbus Day gives rise to endless debates and recriminations over the impact of Christopher Columbus’ expedition upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas. No honest observer can dismiss the injustices perpetrated after Columbus’ landing (nor before it), but one benefit of his voyage has been forgotten: It inadvertently exposed the Americas to the School of Salamanca. Continue Reading...

6 ways economic freedom benefits the global poor

Even most critics admit the free market is the greatest wealth-generating system in history, but they say the poor benefit more from interventionist economic systems. In fact, economic liberty elevates the least well-off in more laissez-faire nations to a better position than those living in unfree economies based on such factors as average income, life expectancy, literacy, and other forms of personal liberty. Continue Reading...

Lord Acton on conscience: The light of freedom

In the public imagination, Lord Acton is often restricted to his ubiquitous aphorism about power and corruption. This is a pity, as the nineteenth century essayist, historian, and parliamentarian held wide-ranging views about liberty as well-developed as they were penetrating. Continue Reading...

How do Western nations rank on economic freedom?

The Fraser Institute released its annual “Economic Freedom of the World” report this morning. The free market think tank rates every nation based on its “degree of freedom in five broad areas”: Area 1:Size of Government—As spending and taxation by government, and the size of government-controlled enterprises increase, government decision-making is substituted for individual choice and economic freedom is reduced. Continue Reading...