The Fragility of Power

In The End of Power (2014) Moises Naim addresses the history and sources of power from the observations of Machiavelli (1513) and Hobbes (1651) through Nietzsche (1885), Weber (1922), Schumpeter (1942) and Mills (1956) to contemporary visionaries/pundits/exploiters such as George Soros, Silvio Berlusconi, and Rupert Murdoch. Naim argues that the More, Mobility, and Mentality revolutions … More The Fragility of Power

Climate Change and Its Economic Implications

In an August 5, 2021 posting, Diane Coyle makes the case for action on climate change. The UN Food Systems Summit in September and the UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November are obvious opportunities to move from incremental reform to significant progress…The challenge is really one of leadership: a small group of global … More Climate Change and Its Economic Implications

A Fine (Taxation) Mess Gets Worse

A recent report from the British Institute for Fiscal Studies argues: “There is a large, unjustified and problematic bias against employment and labour incomes and in favour of business ownership and capital incomes.”  FT opinion columnist Martin Wolf concludes that “the tax treatment of returns to investment is a mess: incentives depend on the asset … More A Fine (Taxation) Mess Gets Worse

Please, Not Another “Blue Ribbon” Committee

Austin Frakt in a February 12, 2021 piece, posted both in Upshot and the Incidental Economist , argues that the Biden administration should establish a committee to determine appropriate prices for pharmaceuticals. This commentary contests both his economic and political arguments.    Frakt’s argument seems to be based on the following claims: There exists a … More Please, Not Another “Blue Ribbon” Committee

“Buy American”: False Premises and False Promises

In the January 31, 2021 issue of the Financial Times (FT), columnist Rana Foroohar titles her opinion piece “Joe Biden’s ‘Buy American’ isn’t bad, it’s necessary.” In this posting, I argue that the premise that “Buy American” will improve the standard of living of middle-income Americans – not to mention low income families – lacks … More “Buy American”: False Premises and False Promises

Fox Valley Health Care Transformation Initiative Podcasts

Previously (here and here), I have posted on the Fox Valley Health Care Transformation Initiative. In the past couple of months, Bill McLaughlin and I have done podcasts related to the character of medical care markets in general and the Fox Valley market place in particular. These podcast are now available on Apple podcasts, Spotify, … More Fox Valley Health Care Transformation Initiative Podcasts

In Memorium: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (1948-2020)

In contrast with my typical postings that relate to some aspect of economic or health policy, this one aims much higher.  In this piece, I cite the words of Orthodox Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013, to illuminate a set of values … More In Memorium: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (1948-2020)

Does Macroeconomic Policy Offer a Free Lunch?

In “The Age of Magic Money: Can Endless Spending Prevent Economic Calamity?”, Sebastian Mallaby raises a variety of questions about the use of aggressive macroeconomic policy to achieve stable economic growth.  He begins his July/August 2020 Foreign Affairs paper with an interesting claim: “Crises can drive change, but sometimes it takes two crises to cement a … More Does Macroeconomic Policy Offer a Free Lunch?