Archive for August, 2016
Do Individuals Measure Value? Ludwig von Mises vs. David Friedman

In a recent blog post, Bryan Caplan favorably quoted David Friedman, who claimed in his book Hidden Order that economists believed that everything—including happiness—can be measured in money, or in units of anything else, for that matter. Friedman and Caplan are deliberately trying to jolt the reader, but they believe the claim is defensible once put into...
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Future: Economic Peril or Prosperity? Offers Message of “Cautious Optimism”

Fifty years from now innovations in technology and commerce will have brought tremendous progress in the material well-being of people from all income levels, but a world of widespread prosperity is not a sure thing: Although unlikely, taxation, regulation, cronyism, and/or public hostility to wealth creation could greatly undermine or even eviscerate the ability...
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EU Ruling on Apple: Time for a Second Irish Rebellion?

DUBLIN, August 31—This is turning out to be quite a fascinating week to be in Ireland. Everywhere one goes in Dublin, there are commemorative posters, exhibits at every museum, and year-long special events marking the centennial of the 1916 Easter Rebellion, when Irish republicans rose up to fight the British for independence. Quickly and...
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Even a Dimwit May Be Right and a Genius Wrong about Some Things

Sometimes when I criticize something maintained by a great intellectual such as Ludwig von Mises, people respond on social media by writing shorthand comments such as “Mises > Higgs.” This is silly. Am I the intellectual equal of Mises? Of course not. I would be an idiot to suppose I am. However, my overall...
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EpiPen: A Case Study of Government Harm

Much has been written about the dramatic price hikes for EpiPen, a product that injects a drug that counters severe allergic reactions (anaphylactic shock). According to Aaron E. Carroll, writing in the New York Times, the real (inflation adjusted) price of EpiPens has risen 4.5 times since 2004. Both Carrol and the Wall Street...
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Why One in Five Americans Are on Government Assistance (in One Image)

More than 52 million people in the United States, 21 percent of the population, participate in major means-tested government assistance programs each month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 80 federal programs dole out roughly $1 trillion of benefits and services to low-income people annually (see the amazing image above from the...
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Alcohol Bans Won’t Put Dent in Campus Sexual Assault

Students at Stanford University will be greeted with a ban on hard liquor this fall, all in an effort to control irresponsible behavior among its students and, in part, to address campus sexual assault. Alcohol bans are unlikely to have much of an effect on campus sexual assault and, in fact, might make matters...
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Telehealth Opportunity versus Telehealth “Parity”

A great opportunity to reduce costs and improve quality in U.S. health care is telehealth, which uses information technology to eliminate distance between a patient and a medical provider. A subset of telehealth is telemedicine, which allows physicians to consult patients over the phone, by text, or by video. Take a couple of obvious...
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Caltrans Wins Golden Fleece Award for Its $10 Billion Highway Robbery

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has won the Independent Institute’s second California Golden Fleece Award, given out quarterly to state or local agencies or government projects that swindle taxpayers or break the public trust. With primary responsibility for highway maintenance projects in California, the irresponsible Caltrans has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars and...
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Single-Payer Setback: Canadian Doctors without Contract for Two Years and Counting

Physicians in Canada’s largest province, Ontario, have rejected a contract negotiated between the Ontario Medical Association and the provincial health ministry. The more than two-year-old dispute shows no sign of ending. Every Canadian is covered by a provincial government health plan. Doctors therefore have only one plan with which they must contract. Individual doctors,...
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