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Europe under Merkel IV: Balance of Impotence

Europe, as organized—or disorganized—in the European Union (EU), is a strange political beast. It consists, first, of the domestic politics of its member states that have, over time, become deeply intertwined. Second, member states, which are still sovereign nation-states, pursue nationally defined interests through national foreign policies within intra-European international relations. Here, third, they have…

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Evaluating Increases in Think-Tank Executive Compensation

Shortly before announcing his plans to resign from the presidency of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Arthur Brooks outlined a framework for evaluating the “impact” of think tanks such as his own in the Harvard Business Review.1 In his article, Brooks identified several metrics for assessing impact, such as the number of op-eds placed in leading newspapers…

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Cryptocurrencies: Commodity Dynamics and Cartelization

Bitcoin and the other altcoins now have more “experts” than perhaps any other market. I am no such “expert”: I am neither a cryptographer nor a computer programmer. I am a currency and commodity trader of thirty-plus years, and I approach the cryptocurrency market from that perspective. The cryptocurrency market cannot easily be dismissed, despite…

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Old Populism and the New Ideas of Michał Kalecki

Populism in the United States has its roots in the mass protests of the 1880s and 1890s, sparked by the economic depression that gripped the country following Reconstruction. American populists rallied to the banner of William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1896, who expressed the populists’ distrust of cosmopolitan elites and…

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Tech Platforms and the Knowledge Problem

Friedrich von Hayek, the preeminent theorist of laissez-faire, called the “knowledge problem” an insuperable barrier to central planning. Knowledge about the price of supplies and labor, and consumers’ ability and willingness to pay, is so scattered and protean that even the wisest authorities cannot access all of it. No person knows everything about how goods…

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What Is Principled Conservatism?

In the future, to adapt a well-worn line, everyone will call himself a conservative for at least fifteen minutes. George W. Bush called himself a conservative, but so, for a time, did Barack Obama. Donald Trump has claimed to be conservative, as, perhaps more fervently, have his Republican foes. The conservative movement describes itself as…

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Neoliberalism: The Movement That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Reactions against the use of the term neoliberalism have usually taken one of two forms: first, that “neoliberalism” is nothing more than a fevered delusion or a mirage perhaps shared with a few other addled persons, and thus best ignored; and second, that if such a thing does indeed exist, it is far too uneven and inconsistent to count as a serious analytical…

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Henry George’s Land Value Tax: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

A city is an agrarian-urban unit that exists to promote the well-being of individual persons over the course of a whole life and the city itself across multiple generations. Extended human well-being in any city requires that city to occupy its own land well, to protect its adjacent landscape, and to afford citizens opportunities to…

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A Proper Accounting of Glass-Steagall

Over the past two decades in the United States and Europe, elite decision-making has hit an extended rough patch. Fairly or not, a lot of important public policy decisions have turned out horribly for the best and brightest. Whether that involved running a stratospherically levered financial institution hurtling into the financial crisis; or the government…

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Investor Protection, National Sovereignty, and the Rule of Law

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to renegotiate—or else repudiate—the North American Free Trade Agreement (nafta), which liberalized trade and other economic activity between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This fall, his administration began formal talks toward redrafting the Clinton-era trade deal, which is nearly a quarter century old. The nafta renegotiations have been…

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