Carl Close Archive

Carl Close is Research Fellow and Senior Editor for The Independent Institute and Assistant Editor of The Independent Review and editor of The Lighthouse, The Independent Institute’s weekly e-mail newsletter.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

The Case for Victim Justice



For elected officials eager to find a real problem to fix, here’s a big one that’s seldom mentioned during campaign season: American courts and prisons are plagued with injustices and inefficiencies. One of the main culprits, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Bruce L. Benson, is their guiding principle: an emphasis on offenses against...
Read More »

Debunking Democracy with James M. Buchanan



Among the first questions young people ask upon their political awakening is one that should concern Americans of all ages: Why don’t democratic governments operate the way our civic classes taught us? Perhaps no one of his generation thought more deeply about this question than the economist James M. Buchanan (1919–2013). The late Nobel...
Read More »

Coercive Foreign Policies and the Boomerang Effect



More than a century ago, Mark Twain noted that if a “Great Republic” goes about “trampling on the helpless abroad,” then that government stands a good chance of turning against its own citizens. But why does a nation’s repression of other countries raise the risk of repression at home? The short answer, according to...
Read More »

Patent Trolls: Their Threat to U.S. Innovation—and the Solutions



A menace is threatening technological innovation in America: the menace of patent trolls. Their modus operandi: Patent trolls make money—big money—through litigation, rather than by creating and selling products or services themselves. Typically, they acquire an overly broad patent and then lie in wait as the market for the patented product or service develops...
Read More »

Sweatshops: Misunderstood Paths Out of Poverty



The collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza last year killed more than 1,100 workers and reignited an international movement calling for the regulation of so-called sweatshops in the developing world. Unfortunately, the activists often try to promote better working conditions the wrong way because they overlook the harm that boycotts and...
Read More »

Do Private Prisons Make Financial Sense for States?



Most states use contract prisons for some of their corrections needs, often in the hope of saving money, but is contracting out really all that worthwhile for states? The current debate about prisons and the private sector has often generated more heat than light. Fortunately, a new study from the Independent Institute answers the...
Read More »

The Independent Review—Summer 2014 Issue Now Available



Summer is here—and so is the summer issue of the Independent Institute’s quarterly journal. Here are some of the topics that subscribers of The Independent Review can look forward to reading about: What’s wrong with recent economic studies calling for new regulations meant to reduce so-called “systemic risks” to the financial system? According to...
Read More »

Global Poverty and the Tyranny of Experts



Recovering former World Bank economist William Easterly has a new book on the folly of top-down development aid, The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor. As its title suggests, Easterly emphasizes the pernicious role played by technical “experts” from international development agencies in crafting policies that encourage authoritarian...
Read More »

P. J. O’Rourke on the Baby Boom Generation



In a career spanning four decades and counting, P. J. O’Rourke has written twenty books on subjects as diverse as the antics of Congress (Parliament of Whores), economic development (Eat the Rich), U.S. foreign policy (Peace Kills), and civil turmoil in the world’s hotspots (Holidays in Hell). On February 13, the humorist and Founding Member...
Read More »

The Coming U.S. Government Default?



Social Security, Medicare, and the federal component of Medicaid are easily the leading sources of the U.S. government’s worsening fiscal nightmare. By 2037, the ongoing growth in spending for these programs will have pushed up total federal spending to 35.7 percent of GDP, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This share is about 75...
Read More »