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

Harvard Professor’s Latest ‘Heresy’ Throws Water on Obama EPA’s Climate Policy



Is Harvard University law professor Laurence Tribe trying to become the liberal who is most despised by other liberals? It might sound odd to hear such a question asked about an academic who once mentored a young Barack Obama about the nuances of constitutional scholarship, who liberals once embraced as a potential nominee to...
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A Case for Patent Reform



For many decades most economists believed patents were key to the innovation and material progress enjoyed by the West. In recent years, however, many have looked at patents with growing skepticism, with some even suggesting that the patent system be scrapped. In contrast, economist Arthur M. Diamond Jr. (Univ. of Nebraska at Omaha) believes...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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