I, Peach: A Lesson in Comparative Advantage »

As part of my lunch today, I enjoyed a big, ripe, sweet, firm peach. “So what?” you may be asking. Well, my doing so is more remarkable than one might think. You see, I live at the extreme end of the road, near a remote, isolated village in the farthest southeast corner of the...
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Which Countries Prefer Capitalism? »

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center gauges the opinion among citizens of various countries of the free market. They were asked if they agreed that under such a system the majority is better off even though some are rich and some are poor. The results invite interesting conclusions. People in emerging countries...
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What Makes a Miserable Country? »

Venezuela is the world’s most miserable country, according to a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University who have calculated a World Misery Index. “Misery” is measured as the sum of a country’s inflation rate, unemployment rate, and interest rate, minus the annual percentage change in real GDP per capita. The higher the total...
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Apocalypse Not: The Legacy of Julian Simon »

“The ultimate resource is people—especially skilled, spirited, and hopeful young people endowed with liberty—who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit and inevitably benefit the rest of us as well.”—Julian Simon February 12 marks the birthday of the late economist Julian Simon (1932–1998). On this special occasion, I wish to bring...
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Death Valley? Peter Thiel and Steve Jobs on What Could Kill Silicon Valley »

On January 27, legendary entrepreneur Peter Thiel told a packed house at an Independent Institute luncheon, at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, that to blaze new trails ask: “What important truth do very few people agree with me on?” One of mine is that California will not be the epicenter of the tech...
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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life »

“The twenty-first century will be a magnificent time to be alive. Dare be an optimist.” —Matt Ridley On November 12, 2014, the world watched with excitement as another historic human achievement unfolded: After a decade-long journey that covered 4 billion miles in space, the first human spacecraft landed on a comet. This remarkable event...
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Fascism Is Efficient, Says Andres Duany, Leading Proponent of “Sustainable Development” »

It goes by many names: “sustainable development,” “smart growth,” “transit-oriented development,” to name a few. But development projects built under the banner of “sustainability” share the same elements: high-density residential housing and high-intensity commercial space (so-called mixed use) clustered near capital-intensive mass transit lines surrounded by government-owned “open space” and, increasingly, government-imposed “urban growth...
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A “Smart-Growth” Revolt in California »

On June 18, the Larkspur City Council voted unanimously to kill a high-density “smart-growth” development plan for this community of 12,000 people 16 miles north of San Francisco. The plan called for building 39,500 square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of hotel space, 77,500 square feet of retail space, and up to...
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Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa Interviewed at Pepperdine University »

Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa was interviewed at Pepperdine University. [Audio clip: view full post to listen] Download mp3 file. Also, please see the following books from him: Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty Lessons from...
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Arnold Harberger on the Chicago Boys »

In my Econ 100 class, we discussed Milton Friedman and monetarism on Thursday. Some of my students mentioned Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, and I emailed everyone links to Robert Lawson’s and my paper “Human Rights and Economic Liberalization” and my review essay on Klein’s book. After I distributed the published version of my...
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