Peter Klein Archive

Peter G. Klein is a Research Fellow, Associate Editor of The Independent Review, and Member of the Board of Advisors of the Center on Culture and Civil Society at the Independent Institute.
Full Biography

Orson Welles on Contracts and the Rule of Law



From Peter Biskind’s hilarious and irreverent My Lunches with Orson, the edited transcripts of Orson Welles’s conversations with director Henry Jaglom in the mid-1980s: HJ: In the old days, all those big [movie] deals were made on a handshake. With no contract. And they were all honored. OW: In common with all Protestant and...
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Sequestration Math



The media are bombarding us with stories of how sequestration, with its “drastic cuts” in government spending, will affect our lives. Marketplace ran one yesterday about the USDA and the potential loss of federal meat inspectors. Don’t worry, we were told, the authorities won’t allow tainted meat on the shelves! But they might inspect...
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Krugman on Regime Uncertainty



Speaking of regime uncertainty, even distinguished mainstream economists get it. Here’s Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman: I think that the main thing keeping long-term interest rates low right now is cognitive dissonance. Even though the business community is starting to get scared — the ultra-establishment Committee for Economic Development now warns that ”a fiscal crisis...
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Bork on Antitrust



Following up Carl’s post, while Bork is remembered largely as a Constitutional scholar, his important early contributions dealt with antitrust. He was sharply critical of the modern application of US antitrust law, while remaining wedded to the Knight-Friedman-Stigler idea of perfect competition as a welfare benchmark, leading to a number of confusions and contradictions....
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Legal Challenge to Federal Agriculture Policy



The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the 75-year-old Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, one of the few pieces of New Deal legislation to survive to the present day. The AMAA authorizes the US Department of Agriculture to establish and enforce “marketing orders” for particular agricultural commodities, detailed federal regulations that...
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Is Christine Lagarde a Higgsean?



Well, no, the IMF chief is a moderate Keynesian, like all her Establishment colleagues, and praises the world’s central banks for flooding the globe with cheap money. But she does recognize the critical role of regime uncertainty in hindering recovery: Lagarde said a number of factors are eroding growth. “At the center of them...
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Returns to For-Profit Higher Education



The for-profit higher-education sector is routinely smeared in the media and established universities as low-brow, unproductive, pedestrian, a scam. Of course, the University of Phoenix isn’t Yale, and doesn’t pretend to be. But Hyundai belongs in the automobile market as much as Mercedes, and the market for higher education is no different — at...
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Dodd-Frank and Regime Uncertainty



Peter Wallison on Dodd-Frank The question is why—why did this act have such a dramatic effect on the U.S. economy, essentially stifling the modest recovery that had begun almost a year earlier? The most likely explanation is uncertainty. The Dodd-Frank Act was such a comprehensive piece of legislation—and required so many new regulations before...
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Surprise, Surprise



When over the weekend the media began breathlessly repeating claims from unnamed intelligence officials that the CIA had foiled a deadly terrorist plot, I immediately suspected this would turn out like all the other cases, in which the episode is at least partly manufactured by some intelligence agency then used to demonstrate the need...
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The Bizarro World of Professor Sen



Here is another of those head-scratchers, this one from Amartya Sen, about how neoclassical economics is partly responsible for the financial crisis because neoclassical economists hold that markets work “perfectly”: Since the crisis broke out the economics profession in general and mainstream economics in particular have been severely criticised. Do you think this is justified? The...
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