TCS Daily : September 2004 Archives

Latest Episode of the Kyoto Soap

Despite opposition from leading scientific and economic advisors, Russian President Vladimir Putin has told key ministers to sign off on the documents necessary for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the State Duma may approve it in the next... Read More

Economics for Ecologists

In 1968 I had the immense good fortune to work with Garrett Hardin, a distinguished ecologist. His Science article, "The Tragedy of the Commons," is the most reprinted article in the magazine's history. Together, Garrett and I produced a... Read More

Loopy Links

You are about to learn of a beverage so dangerous, that we must ban or restrict its sales, or at least enact tax penalties on it to deter consumption. Here's what the research shows: • Every American who drinks... Read More

Sympathy for the Undecided

"Who are these undecided people, and why do they bother to vote?" -- Stephen "VodkaPundit" Green While I am not undecided myself, I do not share the VodkaPundit's disdain. In fact, I am downright sympathetic with undecided voters. My... Read More

Realist or Idealist?

In the 2000 Presidential Election, George W. Bush campaigned as a strict foreign policy realist -- vowing to stand for America's "national interest" and positioning himself in contrast to the perceived excesses of Clintonian "nation-building". Bush's common-sense Read More

Europe's Man for All Seasons

"We, the people," the opening line of the preamble of the US constitution, is one of the world's best known political sound bites. These three words instantly project the Founding Fathers' aspiration; the Constitution should speak the voice of... Read More

The Attack on One Man That Was Bigger Than the Clash of Civilizations

An American serviceman was ambushed last month. This ambush was especially noteworthy because it did not occur in Iraq or Afghanistan; it occurred within the borders of the United States. PFC Foster Barton, recipient of the Purple Heart, was... Read More

Win One for the Consumer

Last May, the European Commission concluded that Microsoft Corporation broke EU competition law and fined the US software giant €497 million. It also ordered Microsoft to disclose to competitors information concerning Windows OS and to offer a version of... Read More

How Would a Computer Pick the Prez?

TCS contributor Douglas Kern's recent article ("President Elect - 2004") regarding the success of Commodore 64-era political game President Elect 1988 in predicting elections prompted a search by TCS staff for the designer/programmer of that game, Nelson Hernandez Read More

Danish Good Sense: Calories In, Calories Out

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) recently reported that a soft drink per day doubles the risk of women getting type 2 diabetes. The online news story featured a doctor who argued that both men and women jeopardize their health... Read More

Baseball and Circuses for the Poor

Games and circuses once were provided by government. How better to satiate the desire of the Roman masses than to entertain them in the Arena? Today government builds stadiums to attract sports franchises for the same purpose. But the... Read More

Indonesia's Wrong Path

During her failed election campaign, President Megawati Soekarnoputri promised, if re-elected, to "create" more jobs. While this promise may have been based upon what was thought to be good electioneering, it reflects a poor understanding of economic realities. As Read More

Matters of Mind and Matter

As oil nearly reached the $50/barrel milestone yesterday, the stock markets sold off in response. To explain the selloff, pundits cited oil's impact on corporate profits, along with expensive oil potentially crimping the buying habits of consumers. One potential.. Read More

Who Are These People?

Oh, sure, you've got your single-issue voters who simply can't be swayed. Pro-lifers will either vote Republican, or stay at home. Folks who support gay marriage as their One Big Thing will do the same, only for the Democrats.... Read More

A Dangerous Way to 'Hide'

I hope you'll all forgive me if I reveal that I've never really understood all these stories of President Bush hiding in the Air National Guard. I don't mean Dan Rather getting tripped up by men in pajamas, other... Read More

'X' Marks the Spot

As I write this, contestants are preparing to launch (quite literally) their efforts to win the Ansari X-Prize. According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne (which I think could fairly be called the favorite in... Read More

All For The Company

Any reader of business newspapers (and his dog) knows that most European economies suffer from long-term structural recession, high unemployment, stiff labor markets, heavy burden of taxation and a number of other obstacles to growth. One might therefore expect... Read More

People Vote, Machines Don't

The controversy generated by the close outcome of the 2000 presidential election prompted Congress into passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). This historic measure authorizes $3.8 billion and change to "fix" an ailing voting system. That money... Read More

Intellectual Property and Developing Countries

Much press attention has focused on the negative connotations of adopting intellectual property standards in developing countries, as many are to do shortly according to the WTO's Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Agreement (TRIPS). Criticism generall Read More

Reform Revolution

Editor's note: This marks the first of a series of "Letters from Brussels" by TCS Europe Editor Craig Winneker. BRUSSELS -- If the European Union could choose a snappy Latin motto, it might be something like, "In Inertia Securitas".... Read More

A Trillion Lies

The New York Times' recent attack on President Bush's Social Security privatization plan reveals the paper's ignorance of Social Security economics. The Times' editorial board claims that creating private Social Security accounts would result in transition costs e Read More

Where This Angell Should Have Feared to Tread

No one would pay much attention to the views of an economist with respect, say, to the causes of heart disease. Why then are prominent physicians accorded prime-time attention when they pontificate on the economics of pharmaceutical development? That... Read More

Ensuring Internet Innovation

This may seem like the best of times for the broadband Internet. Yet there are ominous smoke signals coming out of Washington and several state capitals. For all the recent press coverage of broadband and voice over IP, there... Read More

You Call This Health Insurance?

"Even though most health care and most health insurance were provided privately, the U.S. health care system developed into a regulated, institutionalized market, dominated by nonprofit bureaucracies. Such a market is very different from a truly competitive market Read More

About That National Intelligence Estimate...

The important thing about the now infamous National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is not so much what it says, but rather what it reveals about how different politicians might use it. On Sunday, Secretary of State Colin Powell told... Read More

Mr. Rifkin's Pipe Dream

Professional worrier Jeremy Rifkin's pronouncements always remind me of the characterization by one-time Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas B. Reed of his political opponents, "They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human know Read More

A Bomb and a Wake-Up Call

The September 9 bomb attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta, killing ten Indonesians, has blown a gaping hole in Indonesia's already stuttering economy. Indonesia had begun to celebrate its trouble-free parliamentary and presidential elections this year as si Read More

What's the Role of Business in the Modern World?

In his new book, "The Role of Business in the Modern World", published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, David Henderson challenges the notion of "corporate social responsibility" (CSR), which many people believe to be the next logical and desirable... Read More

The Risk of an Anti-Development Trade Round

Countries join the World Trade Organisation to commit to reducing barriers to trade. Yet in the rhetoric of making trade fair, two key messages are lost: that a country benefits most from cutting its own barriers, and that if... Read More

Is Disengagement the Wisest Choice?

The softening of a US-backed, UN security council resolution aimed at prodding the Sudanese government into improving conditions in Darfur came as no surprise to those familiar with the ugly realities of international oil interests in Sudan. China, who... Read More

Good-Bye, Joan

My sister died at 7:15 p.m. on Aug. 29, three months shy of her 58th birthday. Her struggle reveals both the good and the bad about American health care. She had struggled with cancer for more than a year.... Read More

Rigor-Free Research

Forget the anecdotes and assumptions. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, federal education dollars are supposed to fund only programs proven effective by "scientifically based research." That's spotlighting a problem: A lot of what passes for education research.. Read More

Explorer, Scholar, Soldier, Spy

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) was, in his own words, "a blaze of light without a focus." He was a soldier, undercover agent, and diplomat for the British Empire, an explorer who sought the sources of the Nile,... Read More

Sparring with Libertarian Doves

When I dashed off the TCS article "Flying with Libertarian Hawks" that afternoon in late August, I didn't necessarily expect it to be published -- much less to bring down the wrath of so many libertarians. Since then, I've... Read More

Delusions of Moderation

Elizabeth Whelan and Henry Miller present themselves as the voice of sweet reason on embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR) in a recent TCS piece. They reject the hyperbole of both sides of the contentious debate. Unlike some other proponents of... Read More

NGO Nonsense

The egregious Christian Aid, which still claims to be a charity, having long ago become an NGO (though, naturally, with charitable status) has launched a new campaign against free trade. In a way that raises questions about the supposed... Read More

Choosing Life

"Remember us for life, O King who desires life, and inscribe us in the Book of Life, for your sake, O Living God." So reads the liturgy of the Jewish High Holidays -- Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year... Read More

There Is No Spoon

Watching Dan Rather twist in the breeze this last week was like watching the creepy little bald boy in The Matrix assure Neo: "There is no spoon." And reading Rather's defenders, you get the feeling they share Neo's quizzical... Read More

The Escalation of Income

"...of the vast increase in the well-being of hundreds of millions of people that has occurred in the 200-year course of the industrial revolution to date, virtually none of it can be attributed to the direct redistribution of resources... Read More

Our 'Ally' Egypt

In this Olympic year, a new record has been achieved in a popular international sport: bashing America. A survey of six Arab countries in June by Zogby International found that 98 percent of Egyptian citizens have an "unfavorable attitude"... Read More

The NAM You Should Worry About

The so-called Non Aligned Movement (NAM) recently held its 14th Ministerial Conference in Durban, South Africa and produced resolutions and statements with regard to world peace and aid transfer from rich countries to poor countries that are at the... Read More

Top Ten Tips for Bush

1) Grant Dan Rather a live interview. Facing down Dan will make you look strong but forgiving, and it will also keep the forgery meme alive. Keep the interview live, however, to avoid creative CBS editing. 2) After giving... Read More

Are We Safer?

Forget the polls. The electronic market maintained by the University of Iowa's College of Business, which makes you put your money where your opinions are, was showing Sunday that George W. Bush had become a 3-2 favorite to beat... Read More

I Shoulda Had a V-8

In September 1914, just 90 years ago, the makers of a very good American car made a dramatic leap from good to great. That was when Cadillac, which had already established a reputation in the luxury field with its... Read More

Fairy Shrimp vs. Man

A wide-body jet with 300 passengers lumbers westward on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport toward the ocean on its takeoff roll. About halfway down the runway, the captain pulls back on the yoke and the airliner pokes... Read More

What Happened to 'Compete, Not Retreat'?

Certainly neither candidate or party has a monopoly on the right course for future public policy, but at least in one area -- international trade policy -- supporters of free trade and more open, competitive markets (including the U.S.... Read More

What Do Steve Williams and Dan Rather Have in Common?

Steve Williams is the lucky stiff who now possesses the ball that Barry Bonds knocked out of the park on September 18th -- his 700th home run. Believe it or not, a few pajama-clad internet weirdoes question the authenticity... Read More

Politics and the Debate Over Stem Cell Research

Hot-button health issues during this frenetic political season include spiraling health care costs, importation of drugs from foreign countries, and the feds' war on obesity. Rapidly heating up is the controversy over stem cell research. On one hand, we... Read More

Is More Always Better?

John Kerry recently told the AFL-CIO that, if elected, he intends to do something about executive compensation: "I am very concerned about runaway executive compensation. Today, the average CEO makes more than 500 times what the average worker makes,... Read More

VoIP In Your Hands

For the last hundred years the home telephone was the gray flannel suit of home electronics -- consistent, reliable, functional and aggressively boring. With the rapid rise of the mobile phone, many industry prognosticators sounded the death knell for... Read More

Future Shock, for America?

If, as many suspect, the 21st century ends up being the Asian Century, two movies from 2004 will be remembered as early auguries. The first film bodes poorly for the US; the second film bodes well for Asia. In... Read More

Learning Economics

"So long as economists mutter about incomprehensibilities and seem to be ordering up policies that normal people resent while telling us all how good these policies really are for us, sure, normal people are going to shun economists. Why... Read More

Book 'Em

Is it true that you can learn everything you need to know about America by studying shopping? Probably not, but it sometimes seems that way. What it's telling me right now is that some people are letting their political... Read More

The Regional Leader?

World empires have risen and fallen, but East Asia as a whole has never been subsumed within any of them. It has always been an area of competing cultures and disparate rates of development. Japan came close with its... Read More

Learning From the French

France is hardly the most popular nation in the U.S. just now, but the French have something to teach us about how we honor our nation. My two favorite cities in the world are Paris and Washington, DC, perhaps... Read More

The Mutual Fund Scandals -- One Year Later

Hidden on page C15 of last Monday's Wall Street Journal was a retrospective of sorts on the mutual fund scandals. One year after obscure terms such as "market timing" and "late trading" exploded into the public conscience, it appears... Read More

The Blogosphere and the Pajamaheddin

A week or two before the issue of the supposed National Guard memos on President Bush's military service came up, I speculated on this site about the emergence of a new cyber-public in response to the discrediting of many... Read More

Is Saudi Arabia Holy Soil?

Last week -- that is, just over three years after the atrocities of September 11 -- the U.S. government, for the first time, listed Saudi Arabia as a "country of particular concern" on issues of religious freedom. The State... Read More

Where Next?

After exposing the CBS-held documents about President Bush's National Guard service as forgeries -- "Rathergate" -- it is only natural to wonder and speculate about how blogs will continue to act as a supplement and fact-checker to Big Media... Read More

Are There No Second Acts?

In any cycle of boom and bust, there are, of course, the larger-than-life personalities and egos that define the era. For the Internet-fueled technology boom of the 1990's, investment banker Frank Quattrone was, for many, the most visible symbol... Read More

How Serious Is Indonesia About Prosecuting Islamic Terrorists?

Back in late July, Indonesia's Constitutional Court declared invalid the use of two retrospective anti-terrorism laws to convict 32 Islamic militants over the role in the Bali bombings in 2002. The first law was a catch-all anti-terrorism measure, while... Read More

Hawks and the Presidency

Author's Note: I am an undecided centrist swing voter. This article is the first in a two-part series. I intend to write first in favor of John Kerry and second in favor of George W. Bush. The second article,... Read More

What Exactly Are the Global Warming Models Saying?

It's fright month for adherents of global warming who, following upon Russia's failure to meet the Sept. 6 deadline for signing a global treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions, apparently want to scare the public at large to pressure... Read More

Is There a Place for Turkey in Europe?

The EU's long awaited progress report on whether Turkey meets the so-called Copenhagen Criteria -- i.e., a stable democracy, respecting human rights, the rule of law, and the protection of minorities -- is coming very soon. It's important because... Read More

What Does a Body Good?

The debate over obesity triggers all sorts of odd confrontations, contradictions, and alliances. One of the more interesting discussions to emerge of late involves soda and dairy, and which of either is or isn't contributing to the obesity problem.... Read More

Putin at War: Unscripted

Three days after the tragedy of Beslan ended, we sat for over three and a half hours with Vladimir Putin. Between picking up the pieces of the worst Russian terror attack to date and planning a massive power consolidation,... Read More

Health in the Balance

News flash! New artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT drugs) will, and pesticides (including DDT) may, henceforth play greater roles in the global battle against malaria. Thus spoke World Health Organization and U.S. Agency for International Development off Read More

The Alliance Builder?

As coverage of the Swift boat veterans and the Bush national guard stories enters a phase revealing as much about the media as it does the candidates, let's take a moment to remember how who did what 30 years... Read More

No Ads Please, We're Europeans

European governments are obsessed with the health of their citizens, and rightly so. Apart from spending hundreds of billions of euros annually on treatment and long-term care, most governments also spend considerable sums on preventive medicine by promoting healt Read More

In Defense of the President's Environmental Record

While the environment remains at the bottom of the priority list for US voters, a number of factions continue nevertheless to flail wildly at the President on his green record -- claiming that his administration's work on the environment... Read More

The Quantum Bleep

Quantum mechanics, the physics of the extremely small, is notoriously hard to visualize, but it could provide the material for a great film. Such a film would sketch out the counterintuitive phenomena and philosophical implications of the subatomic realm.... Read More

Don't Reinvent the Intel Wheel

Ever since the release of the 9/11 Commission's final report, official Washington has been abuzz with talk about how best to reform the nation's intelligence-gathering capabilities. Most of the talk has centered around the creation of a post for... Read More

Day -- After Day After Day After Day -- of the Locusts

In my high school biology class I recall the fascination with which I used to dissect locusts. The animal rights lobby might not like allowing kids to cut up dead stuff but it really brings home basic anatomy --... Read More

Low Esteem? Or Contempt?

Dan Rather is hanging tough. "We stand by our" blah, blah, blah... We all know the drill just before the anvil drops. As in "He's the best manager this ball team's ever had and I hope he'll be around... Read More

When Liberals Demand Irrefutable Evidence

Old documents are suddenly revealed that, given their nature and the timing of their production, they have a "rabbit-from-a-hat" flavor. Technological questions arise about whether the documents can possibly be authentic as dated. A huge national scandal involving Read More

What Women Want

A high-ranking British woman doctor, Professor Carol Black, president of the Royal College of Physicians, has warned that the British medical profession is shedding the prestige in which it was once held. She ascribes the diminution of respect to... Read More

It's the Fitness, Stupid

Consumers were left more confused than ever when the media reported on two obesity-related studies from the Journal of the American Medical Association last week. One seemed to find it was more important to be fit than thin for... Read More

Journalistic Balancing Act?

A new study published in the journal Global Environmental Change (see here for a press report) argues that, by adhering to the journalistic standard of balance when reporting on global warming, prestigious American newspapers have introduced an "informational bias Read More

The Third Way to Happiness

So-called "happiness research" has been discussed at length recently with economist and TCS contributing editor Arnold Kling writing and blogging about it, and economist Tyler Cowen responding at his blog. That exchange, and the mention of a new book... Read More

Why the Tariq Ramadan Controversy Matters

Tariq Ramadan is a 42-year old Arab Islamic philosopher, born in Switzerland and teaching at the University of Fribourg. He was recently invited to Notre Dame University, in South Bend, as Henry B. Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict, and... Read More

China's Olympian Nationalist Vision

If Sydney was the best games ever, and Athens provided "unforgettable, dream games", what can the world expect of Beijing in 2008? Is there a risk that, in celebrating through the Olympics China's rapid emergence as the world's second... Read More

Hayek Smiled: Why Blogging Works

If Nobel Prize winning economist F.A. Hayek had been watching last week as bloggers spontaneously responded to fraudulent documents aired by the program "60 Minutes", he would've grinned in humble satisfaction. Hayek's work centered on the effectiveness of spontan Read More

Too Good to Check

Back in the dim past, when I was a pup reporter, a revered veteran passed along some advice: "Never over-report a good story." In other words, if you get a tip about a terrific tale, don't do too much... Read More

Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Global Warming

This year's active hurricane season is sure to bring out those who point to severe weather events as evidence of global warming. Never mind that the National Hurricane Center has been warning for many years that the U.S. coast... Read More

Saving Marcia Angell From Herself

Has capitalism got you down? Are you feeling oppressed? I've got the book for you: Marcia Angell's The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to do About It. In less than 300 pages, Angell... Read More

What Dan Rather and the Carter Center Need to Learn

Last week, independent analysis cast doubt on claims made by two prestigious information-gathering organizations. One incident you are probably familiar with. The community of bloggers presented credible evidence that documents used by CBS to support a news story Read More

Bobos in Baghdad

"The gradualists argue that it would be crazy to rush into terrorist-controlled cities and try to clean them out with massive force because the initial attack would be so bloody there'd be a debilitating political backlash. ...the weight of... Read More

Backdoor Tax

Tax harmonization reared its ugly head again last weekend as the European Union's finance ministers gathered in a plush Dutch seaside resort to discuss Europe's pressing economic matters. On this occasion many of the matters discussed were routine, but... Read More

All Night

I have always liked middle-of-the-night eateries -- little islands of light and warmth and coffee where insomniacs and travelers and those who work the "graveyard shift" can find a temporary home. One of the ornaments of civilization is an all-night... Read More

Another Postrel Moment

I'm a big fan of Virginia Postrel's work, not least because it seems to resonate with things that happen in my everyday life. Now I notice that her latest New York Times column seems to have eerily predicted a... Read More

I Read the News Today, Woe Boy...

Journalism -- the business or practice of producing news -- is undergoing a sea-change, but it's hard to detect because we're in the midst of it. (Sometimes it's hardest to see what's before one's eyes.) The old model of... Read More

Redenominating the Won is No Big Deal

Several options are being considered by the South Korean central bank relating to the local currency that includes changing the denominations or issuing higher-value banknotes. This would involve introducing either a note worth 100,000 Won or to reduce the... Read More

Dialing for Dollars

Venture capitalists -- the "rock stars" of the late 1990s who brought you the likes of Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and Google -- are back in business. There may no longer be the same end-of-the-millennium-type froth that existed five years... Read More

The Amazing PLUTO

The initial press of Allied troops and equipment onto Normandy's beaches starting on D-Day, June 6, 1944, had to be supplemented with soldiers and supplies until Fortress Europe was liberated, nearly a year later. The U.S. Army had estimated... Read More

Polishing the Education Stone

Don't know much about geography. Don't know much trigonometry. Don't know much about algebra. Don't know what a slide rule is for. What I do know: one and one is two . . . Sam Cook's "Wonderful World" lyrics... Read More

Hurricanes and Global Warming: Is There a Link?

I could see this one coming. The other day a lady in my department saw me and said, "Well, George, with all these hurricanes it's pretty clear that global warming is happening, right?" I think Jane was just being... Read More

A Modest Plea for Pollution Control

It is now a well-accepted principle that governments can, through central regulatory control, protect us from whatever it decides is "pollution." The word pollution is not a scientific term; pollution is whatever the people who control discourse on this... Read More

Will Thai Tiger Roar Again?

Thailand, Southeast Asia's second most powerful economy after Singapore, has started to show signs of weakness amid rising oil prices, constant outbreaks of bird flu virus and ongoing violence in the southern part of the country. Most analysts are... Read More

Drugs and Race

The first ethnic heart medicine is coming. That different groups of people are prone to certain diseases and react differently to the same medication is well known in medical research. Scandinavians have a higher tendency towards developing schizophrenia, while... Read More

Round-Tripping to China

When it comes to China's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the reality may be more awesome than the myths. Especially over the past decade, the reported inflows of FDI into China have stood out while other destination countries have faced... Read More

Pill, Anyone?

Americans are no strangers to using chemicals for altering their mental state. No, we don't mean marijuana or ecstasy for recreational purposes, but rather good old No-Doz caffeine tablets -- or just a pot of coffee -- to stay... Read More

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Co-Opt 'Em

Bloggers have exposed the probably forged Bush National Guard documents that CBS used in its attempt to discredit the President. Although the old media treats bloggers and Internet commentators as unworthy pajama-clad interlopers, they should instead draw on the.. Read More

Changing School Choice Strategy

The near irrelevance of the Maginot line made it painfully clear that defensive assets are only as good as their correspondence with the coming attack. When faced with an enemy in an entrenched, well-defended position, it is best to... Read More

Right From the Beginning, Left at the End

"The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or 'The Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?" -- April... Read More

With Stem Cells, No More Broken Hearts Club

Former President Bill Clinton may be looking at a 2004 calendar and wondering why he's in pain from heart bypass surgery that seems positively medieval. First the surgical team opened his breastbone with an electric saw. They then cranked... Read More

The Sim of All Fears

It's Trading Spaces meets No Exit! It's Christopher Lasch Kabuki Theater! It's a Seinfeld episode without the jokes! It's "Puppet-Time -- With Erich Fromm!" Well, actually, it's The Sims -- Electronic Arts' best-selling computer game simulation of existential angs Read More

Getting to Health Care for Tomorrow

"Many of our most fundamental systems -- the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training -- were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow." -- President George W. Bush This was easily my favorite line from the... Read More

Is Keynes a Good Substitute for Marx?

China has overcome some of the economic disasters of an obsession of its leaders with Marxist-Leninist communism. Despite abandoning ideology for pragmatism, Beijing has adopted a new but equally discredited set of economic theories and policies. Class struggle an Read More

Presidential Head Games

Medical innuendoes are starting to fly in the Presidential campaign. Rumors about George Bush's drug abusing past are circulating again, and former Dukakis aide, Susan Estrich suggested in a syndicated column that Bush is unfit for office because he's... Read More

VoIP and Internet Freedom

There's a secret factor in the remarkable success of Google and other online powerhouses like eBay,, and Apple's iTunes music store. It's also a key reason voice over IP promises to deliver so much innovation and cost savings... Read More

Islamic Terrorism's Broad Front

Can it be a coincidence that in the week leading up to the anniversary of 9/11, Islamic terrorists strike in Southern Russia, and then in Jakarta, Indonesia, against an Australian target? The answer is no. It is a reminder... Read More

Blogs v. 60 Minutes

The CBS news program Sixty Minutes II ran a story on September 8th bringing to light a set of memos which purported to show that when President Bush was in the National Guard he failed to obey orders. Liberal... Read More

Patriot Games

Contrary to John Kerry's claims, critiques of his policies and platform do not necessarily constitute an attack on his patriotism. Early this year, as the Democratic primary season kicked into high gear, and it became clearer and clearer that... Read More

Terror, Technology and Financial Markets

The news that Al Qaeda terrorists have been casing U.S. financial institutions comes as little surprise to economists. The financial sector is widely recognized as the heart of the U.S. economy. Business activity requires enormous flows of cash, and... Read More

Ownership Society Will Determine Victory

The greatest political and demographic shift over the past twenty years was not the number of new Spanish speaking residents, but rather the number of individuals who owned shares of stock. In the 1996 elections, pundits spoke of soccer... Read More

Buchanan Mellows

Has Patrick Buchanan come back to the fold of mainstream American conservatism? His new book, Where the Right Went Wrong, would almost make you think so. He covers the themes of his previous three books -- The Great Betrayal,... Read More

Paul Ehrlich vs. the IPCC

God save Paul Ehrlich, patron saint of lazy hacks (coff, coff) the world over. He appears to be incapable of opening his mouth without providing a comment suitable for refutation and derision in a thousand articles, his latest being... Read More

Hating the Producers

"the United States spends more on health care than any of the other OECD countries spend, without providing more services than the other countries do. This suggests that the difference in spending is mostly attributable to higher prices of... Read More

Shop Til You Drop

"The last time I have seen such queues was in the communist era in Poland," said my friend about the line she has to wait in every Saturday in German supermarkets. She goes shopping, like most working people, at... Read More

Kerry Way Ahead in New Poll

At last, some good news for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry! A new poll, using a huge sample of 34,330 people, shows Kerry is favored by 26 percentage points over the incumbent president, George W. Bush. The survey, which... Read More

The City That Raised Itself From the Dead

This wasn't Galveston. Floridians were hit hard by Tropical Storm Frances, but at least they saw it coming. Back in 1900, the people of Galveston didn't. We'll get back to that later. In this day of Doppler radar, "hurricane hunter"... Read More

A Rare Success Story

It's been exactly a year since New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer charged mutual funds were cheating customers by giving special deals to hedge funds and other large clients. The scandals that followed were shocking and unprecedented and threatened... Read More

Another Kind of Blowback

Terrorists choose as their soft target a school containing dozens of children. After demonstrating that they mean business by killing a security guard and murdering several students, they proceed to hold the rest of the school hostage. In the... Read More

Flying with Libertarian Hawks

And covenants, without the sword, are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all. -- Thomas Hobbes Is it possible for one to be libertarian about policies at home and neo-conservative about policies abroad? After... Read More

Time for a Taiwan Straits FTA

The absurdity of the idea of war in the Taiwan Straits only becomes clear when intolerability of the economic cost is considered. While there is talk aplenty of the prospect of war over Taiwan from hawks and political opportunists... Read More

Why Regulate Insider Trading?

The Washington Post recently reported on the considerable attention the SEC and Justice Department are devoting to enforcement of the insider trading laws. Who can forget the recent high profile case against Martha Stewart, which is only the very... Read More

Zell and the Converts

Long before the twin towers were brought down by diabolical promoters of an ideology in 2001, another tower, representative of the great accomplishments in Western culture, had crumbled after an attack from within. Some of the hijackers aiming the... Read More

30 Day McDiet: Results Are In

Over the past few months I've written several short commentaries on Morgan Spurlock's movie, "Super Size Me" -- the documentary about how Mr. Spurlock ate (or rather overate) at McDonald's for 30 days and gained upwards of 25 pounds. I... Read More

In the Beginning...

"I'm gonna soak up the sun. Gonna tell everyone to lighten up." -- Sheryl Crow NASA's Genesis probe has been soaking up the sun for the better part of the last three years, although it doesn't have much of... Read More

Sims Rules for a Complex World

A while back, I speculated that videogames were good for children. My focus there was primarily violent computer/videogames (and porn!), but on further reflection I think that even non-violent videogames just might be helping America's kids. I came to... Read More

The Market State President

One of the most intriguing aspects of President Bush's convention acceptance speech last week was his rhetorical embrace of the Market State, a concept fleshed out by Phillip Bobbitt, a former director of intelligence in the National Security Administration... Read More

Thinking Outside the Tank

New European Union countries will soon celebrate a half-year of membership in the bloc. It's a good time to consider what has been the impact of EU membership on think tanks -- and on the economic and social changes... Read More

Unfit to Compete

Competitive companies plus a competitive state. That's the required equation for a country to be a leader in the post Cold War global economy. A failure to grasp this reality will keep a country out of the economic elite... Read More

Correcting the Buchanan Speech Myth

I do not like Pat Buchanan's politics (even if he used to be "a terrific red-baiter"). But despite my distaste for his views, there is a liberal myth -- echoed at times by conservatives -- about Buchanan and a... Read More

A Cancer in the Medicare System

Medicare faces trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities, but legislators are constantly tempted to increase benefits and thus spending. They should resist their inner darkness as the Bush administration attempts to create a more rational reimbursement system f Read More

Government and the Fear Factor

"Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats Too noble to neglect Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect" -- Bob Dylan, My Back Pages My theory is that the political process preys on fear. A politician... Read More

Ill-Gotten Gains Keep Edwards Smiling

Everyone knows a Kerry-Edwards win means higher taxes. Few know that half the ticket has already helped raise our medical premiums. You see, while Kerry made his fortune the double old-fashioned way by first inheriting it and then marrying... Read More

The New College Entrance Exam

Why should hapless high school seniors have to apply to colleges? Why shouldn't colleges apply to them? College is a massive investment of time, energy, and money. Ordinarily, endeavors that require massive investment try to make themselves appealing to... Read More

Russia and the Terror War

In the wake of the latest tragedy in Russia, it is perhaps in bad taste to cite two clichés, but both apply stunningly to the present situation in that tormented land. The first is, "the more things change, the... Read More

Oil Prices and the Federal Reserve

The recent spike in international oil prices towards $50 a barrel has conjured up distant memories of earlier oil price shocks. In some quarters it has also raised calls for the Federal Reserve to speed up its planned return... Read More

Media Metaphysics

Early in the week I wrote a piece called "Media 'Con Game': Predetermined Storylines" in which I asked TCS readers to send me evidence of what I dubbed "Laphams" -- the predetermined and biased storylines reporters and journalists frequently... Read More

The Austrian's Economics

Prior to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Tuesday night primetime address to the Republican national convention, more than a few political strategists were probably holding their collective breaths. After all, it was no secret in the days leading up to. Read More

Culture of Death

"Do you like the Jews, Ayyah?" asks the older sister. "No," replies Ayyah, a young girl of three or four years old. "Why not?" continues the elder. "They're the sons of dogs!" This is a scene from Death in... Read More

Long on Specifics

"The biggest unanswered question about President Bush's reelection campaign has been whether he has a second-term economic and domestic agenda to match his commitment to fighting terrorists. He began to provide the answers here Thursday night with an acceptance... Read More

Is This Any Way to Grow an Economy?

In a fruitless and pointless exercise, economic policy makers and businesses fret endlessly over the international value of currencies. This is because interventions to guide foreign exchange valuations tend to be costly and may have only temporary effect, at... Read More

Good News, But We Can Do Better

Concluding a sensational convention in New York with a speech that emphasized unflinching strength, President Bush got more good news this morning. The Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate had dropped to 5.4 percent -- the lowest proportion... Read More

The Reform Term

As expected, President Bush sketched his second term agenda in his acceptance speech last night at the Republican convention in New York. The two most ambitious commitments that he made were to the reform of Social Security and fundamental... Read More

The Miracle Economy

To hear John Kerry tell it, America is mired today in the worst economy since the Great Depression. How dumb does he think voters are? We just set a record for yearly production: a GDP of nearly $12 trillion,... Read More

Will Wonder Bread Survive?

Wonder Bread is in trouble. Wonder Bread! The whitest of white breads. The iconic integument for billions of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The classic containment for camper pies. Interstate Bakeries Inc. (sounds like a name from one of... Read More

President Elect 2004 -- The Game

When I was a wee larval troglodyte growing up in the hinterland of America's Midwest, my favorite computer game was President Elect 88, by Nelson Hernandez for Strategic Simulations, Inc. Not for me were the video games that beeped... Read More

Kerry vs. Kerry

Tom Brokaw: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is Tom Brokaw, with Tim Russert. Tonight we will witness a most unusual political event. Tim, tell us what it is. Tim Russert: Yes, Tom. Last week, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry... Read More

An Exercise in Overreaction

When asked his response to the attacks on John Kerry's service record and anti-Vietnam War views launched by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, President Bush has generally responded by praising Senator Kerry's service record, calling it "honorable." The... Read More

The God Must Be Crazy

Actually Dr. Alan Greenspan isn't little; he towers over Queen Elizabeth as she turns him into an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire. In fact I would be lying if I didn't admit that this man would probably... Read More

Getting Recent Economic History Right

NEW YORK --Yesterday at the convention, Vice President Dick Cheney affirmed the Republicans' view of recent economic history. President Bush inherited a recession and acted decisively to end it. But critics argue that the Bush tax cuts were poorly... Read More

What Bush Needs to Do: The Ownership Society

President Bush has been talking a lot lately about creating and fostering an "Ownership Society." George Melloan recently wrote an excellent WSJ ($) column on the political advantages of this policy program for the Republicans. In the course of... Read More

The Presidentinator?

On Tuesday Night, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger assumed the national stage and, through a strong show of support for President Bush, boosted his own prospects of attaining the nation's highest office. Coupled with his astounding rise to power and... Read More

Compassionate Concerns

NEW YORK -- One of today's thematic focuses here at the GOP convention is a celebration of America's "compassion." The theme is hardly new. President Bush introduced the idea of the compassionate conservative more than four years ago. But... Read More

The Future Belongs to the Fecund

NEW YORK -- If you can't beat 'em, breed 'em. That's been the unstated logic of the Right to Life movement these past three decades, and that approach is starting to bear fruit -- of the womb. By contrast,... Read More

Economic Girlie-Men of the Right

When California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger warned pessimists not to be "economic girlie-men," he was, implicitly, criticizing the Democrats, who can't win this election unless they convince voters that -- contrary to the facts -- the economy is weak and... Read More

Trade Through Boo Boo

In the latest example of why Republican control of Washington's corridors of power does not guarantee less government or freer markets, SEC Chairman William Donaldson recently cast the deciding vote in favor of yet more burdensome regulation of the... Read More

The Truth About Marcia Angell

I never knew my maternal grandparents. During the nineteen-teens, my maternal grandmother died of a wound infection following a routine gall-bladder operation. A few years later, her husband suffered a fatal stroke brought on by untreated high blood pressure.... Read More

Culture Shock Cuts Both Ways

As Venezuela devolves into a Cuba with petrodollars, Americans are again worrying about the undue influence of Latin America on us norteamericanos. Compounding the problem is that, at least according to election observer and amateur carpenter Jimmy Carter, Venezue Read More

Kerry's Impossible Task

The position taken by John Kerry vis-à-vis the Vietnam War is simply untenable; and he is not likely to find any satisfactory way to resolve it, because to do so would be to make himself comprehensively unpalatable to the... Read More

Attacking Capitalism: the Human Costs

There has been a rising swell of voices to denounce the forces of capitalism and globalization. It has gone beyond the normal complaints of professors, journalists and politicians who criticize capitalism and markets and, if not the wealth they... Read More

A Job Half Finished

It is hard for most outsiders to fathom just how much South Korea was affected by the trauma of the economic and financial crisis that afflicted the country in 1997-98. The statistics on this catastrophe are dramatic enough. After... Read More

TCS Daily Archives