China has a lawless government

There’s rarely a day when China isn’t featured prominently in the news. Once upon a time, most of that coverage was about China’s rise out of poverty. Now, however, greater attention is being given to some decidedly negative developments. Continue Reading...

Lord Acton on true liberalism

Early last month there was a great debate over the question “What is Liberalism?” on the Free Thoughts Podcast. The debate was between Helena Rosenblatt, professor of history at City University of New York and Daniel Klein, professor of economics at George Mason University. Continue Reading...

The Chicago Black Sox and baseball’s rule of law

Sports have already been an Acton topic in the past week, so another sports story can’t hurt: 100 years ago this month was the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds, infamous ever since for the “Black Sox” scandal, in which eight members of the heavily favored Chicago team accepted money from gamblers to throw the series to Cincinnati. Continue Reading...

Rule of law crumbles — again — in Latin America

It’s no secret that most of Latin America has struggled for a long time with the idea, habits, and practices of rule of law. When one consults rankings such as the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom (which measures for rule of law), it’s a depressing picture, despite notable exceptions like Chile. Continue Reading...

Minority views? Priceless

There’s something in our DNA to feel threatened by ideas that challenge our own. History is haunted by tragic examples of the suppression of minority views, whether it be Athens killing Socrates (399 BC), the Roman Inquisition’s placing Galileo under house arrest for advocating heliocentrism (1632), Nazi book burning (1933), or the persecution of many thousands of academics during the Cultural Revolution (1966). Continue Reading...

2019 G20 Summit: Tariffs and forbearance

As world leaders from a select group of the largest national economies meet in Osaka at the end of this week, they face increasing volatility and uncertainty around some of the basic principles and institutions that bring together their various peoples in the global marketplace. Continue Reading...

Why looting is the worst kind of theft

The Mongol ruler Genghis Khan once asked his generals, “What is the greatest happiness in life?” When they answered that it was going hunting on a spring day while riding a beautiful horse, Genghis said they were wrong. Continue Reading...

Should credit-card interest be capped at 15%?

Democratic presidential primary contender Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have unveiled a plan to cap credit-card interest rates at 15%: Under the “Loan Shark Prevention Act,” the annual percentage rate applicable to any extension of credit would not be allowed surpass 15% on “unpaid balances, inclusive of all finance charges” or “the maximum rate permitted by the laws of the State in which the consumer resides.” Consumer debt, and credit card debt in particular, is something many Americans struggle with and both the amount of total debt as well as the interest rates have escalated in recent years: The median credit-card interest rate was 21.36% as of last week, compared with 12.62% a decade ago, according to Creditcards.com. Continue Reading...