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The Welfare of All of Us: A Square Deal for American Families

The coronavirus pandemic has changed people’s expectations of what government can and should do. Debate around the limits of mar­kets has accelerated, creating more space for conservatives and progressives alike to put forward new ideas for reform. Many sense that the rapid expansion of federal power and spending…

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Calming the Climate Policy Debate

In a Pew Research Center poll taken in the spring of 2020, 65 percent of Americans said the federal government was doing “too little to reduce effects of climate change.” A few months later, Pew conducted a survey of registered voters on the top issues for the 2020 presidential election. The voters placed climate change a distant eleventh…

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American Energy, Chinese Ambition, and Climate Realism

World leaders recently gathered in Glasgow for “COP26,” the latest UN climate change conference. At the top of the agenda was the need for carbon mitigation actions to achieve the Paris Accord’s goals and to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century. In anticipation of the confer­ence, the Euro­pean Commission released the “European Green Deal,” a package…

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The Geopolitics of Cobalt

The name “cobalt” comes from the German word kobold, which translates as “goblin” or “evil spirit.” When sixteenth-century miners in Saxony discovered the metal, they thought they had stumbled upon silver, yet it was later revealed that the ores were poor in metals that were known at the time. Upon smelting, the ore (where cobalt…

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Have I Got a Bridge to Sell You: The Limitations of Econ 101

On what surely was a brisk fall day in November 2017, two professors from the Columbia Business School crossed the his­toric Mill Creek Park Bridge in Youngstown, Ohio, and “remarked about what a useful and attractive connector it was for the city.” They had other bridges on their mind as they walked, though: “economic bridges for Youngstown and similar communities,” the professors mused, might “carry them to renewed opportunity…

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The Reshoring Imperative

The Covid-19 pandemic brought tragedy and disruption to America. But it has also provided another stark warning concern­ing the country’s disastrous overreliance on overseas production. It has demon­strated that without a strong, self-reliant industrial base, this country’s ability to forge a healthy, prosperous future—and even its ability to defend itself against foreign enemies—will be severely compromised. The fact that the world’s largest, and theoretically most advanced, economy could not provide…

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Scale-Up Nation: The Role of IP-Transfer Restrictions in Israel’s Industrial Policy

Industrial policy is, once again, back on the political agenda. Not long ago considered “a policy that should not be named,” or a “phrase that one did not utter in polite company,” industrial policy is currently being heralded as the preferred economic policy of both advanced and developing nations. Indeed, since the great financial crisis of 2008, there is a growing worldwide consensus that society’s most formidable challenges—from adverse climate change to widening economic inequal­ity—cannot be addressed by market forces alone. This trend has only accelerated since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the United States, the Senate recently approved a $250 billion industrial policy bill, the “U.S. Innovation and Competition Act…

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Vampires at the Gate?

What exactly is financialization? How does it relate to what’s happening in the rest of the economy? Does it hinder growth, and if so, how? At the end of the nineteenth century, many on both the left and right regarded finance as a vampire sucking the lifeblood out of “real” businesses, workers, and, in Britain’s settler colonies, local econo­mies. Indeed, Stanford literature professor Franco Moretti has argued that the classic 1897 Bram Stoker novel Dracula…

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