Tag: Economists

Katniss Everdeen and the Paradox of Revolution »

“Historically, the common form of revolution has been a not-too-efficient despotism which is overthrown by another not-too-efficient despotism with little or no effect on the public good. Indeed, except for the change in the names of the ruling circles, it would be hard to distinguish one from the other.” —Gordon Tullock For the past...
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The Program No One Dares to Question: Social Security »

I recently exchanged letters with Joe Davidson, columnist for the Washington Post, about the Social Security program, in which I raised a central problem with this program, a defect consistently ignored by all its supporters. (Incidentally, the $1,000 reward I promised Mr. Davidson—which he did not attempt to claim—remains open to any staff member...
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Professor Gruber Strikes Again »

According to a recent post by Scott Vorse on Brietbart’s “Big Government” website, MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, already in hot water for saying that “the stupidity of the American voter” was politically indispensable in getting Congress to pass the Affordable Care Act, previously had advised former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg on tobacco tax...
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Income Inequality Is a Statistical Artifact »

The past year or so has witnessed a tremendous outpouring of commentary about income inequality. Pundits and politicians have huffed and puffed about it, mainly about its alleged evils and what governments should do to diminish it. Mainstream economists have devoted a great deal of attention to dissecting French economist Thomas Piketty’s book Capital...
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Gordon Tullock and the Transitional Gains Trap »

Gordon Tullock, who died on Monday at the age of 92, was along with his longtime colleague James Buchanan, the founder of the modern field of public choice, which during the past fifty years has become a well-established subfield of economics and of political science and has also had an influence on other disciplines....
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Gordon Tullock (1922-2014) »

Gordon Tullock, one of the founders of the sub-discipline of public choice, passed away November 3, at the age of 92. Public choice uses the methods of economics to analyze political decision-making, and Tullock’s book, co-authored with James Buchanan, The Calculus of Consent, was a pioneering work in public choice. It is the best-known...
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Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 »

President Jimmy Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act on October 24, 1978. That law phased out the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) over the next four years, ending five decades of federal regulation of passenger airfares on interstate commercial flights and entry into the airline industry. One of prime movers behind this first legislative initiative...
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Jean Tirole, 2014 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences »

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Jean Tirole of the Toulouse School of Economics. According to Reuters, the prize recognizes Professor Tirole’s work aimed at “taming” private business firms through governmental regulatory interventions and antitrust law enforcement. That summary is true as far as it goes. Professor Tirole indeed spent...
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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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Celebrating Human Action—Ludwig von Mises’s Masterpiece »

September 14 marked the 65th anniversary of the publication of Ludwig von Mises’s masterpiece Human Action. I have been studying Mises’s classic text very carefully the past two years, as I’ve completed the manuscript for a forthcoming Independent Institute book, Cooperation and Enterprise: The Economics of Choice, that crystallizes the essence of Human Action...
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