Archive for October, 2011

Steve Jobs and John Kenneth Galbraith on the Dependence Effect »

John Kenneth Galbraith coined the term “dependence effect” in his 1958 book, The Affluent Society. Galbraith argues against satisfying a person’s demands for goods that are “…contrived for him. And above all, they must not be contrived by the process of production by which they are satisfied. … One cannot defend production as satisfying…
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Important New Evidence on Regime Uncertainty »

When I introduced the concept of regime uncertainty in 1997, attempting to improve our understanding of the Great Depression’s extraordinary duration, I anticipated that many people—especially my fellow economists—would not welcome this contribution. Their primary objection, I ventured, would be that the concept remained too vague and, most of all, that it had not been…
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Steve Jobs: Innovator »

Joseph Schumpeter, in his book, The Theory of Economic Development, makes the distinction between invention and innovation. Inventions are scientific and technical discoveries whereas innovations are the result of entrepreneurial actions that bring new products and production processes into the economy. You can’t use an invention. But you can use the innovations that are…
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The Ten-Year War »

Ten years ago this Friday, the United States invaded Afghanistan. Why? To destroy the Taliban and bring democracy, we were told. The Taliban is still there. Democracy in a meaningful sense is not. And although al Qaeda is virtually absent, the fighting there rages on. Indeed, according to the UN, the violence has gone…
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Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to Be Extended Again? »

Six years ago, I wrote about the extension about to be made to keep in force the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), first enacted in 2002 in the wake of the events of 9/11 and the panic those events created. As usual, opportunists of all stripes rushed to take advantage of the crisis, and among them were…
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The Hidden Premise of Big, Intrusive Government »

In his commencement address to the University of Michigan in 2010, President Obama said, “We, the people, hold in our hands the power to choose our leaders and change our laws, and shape our own destiny.” The phrases were chosen to resonate with Americans across the political spectrum, but their precise meaning and implications…
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Even Michael Savage Is Critical of the Killing of Al-Awlaki »

Not exactly a peacenik or radical civil libertarian, rightwing talk radio host Michael Savage sees something very wrong with Obama’s order to summarily execute American citizens.

Did Hubris or Ideological Blindness Inspire Obama on His Solyndra Visit? »

In May 2010, President Obama visited California’s solar-panels manufacturer Solyndra, touting it as an “engine of economic growth” and a model of his stimulus spending schemes. Dedicated to government-financed “green energy jobs,” this administration saw the company as encapsulating everything right about the state’s collusion with the environmental-industrial complex. Just last month the business…
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