Power & Market
Congratulations to Israel Kirzner who received the Distinguished Fellow Award from the History of Economics Society at its 2018 annual meetings held in Chicago this past weekend. The Society confers the honor of “Distinguished Fellow” on “those who have contributed a lifetime of study to the history of economics.” In receiving this honor, Professor Kirzner, one of the most illustrious representatives of the modern Austrian school, joins a roster of eminent economists including Friedrich Hayek, George Stigler, Lionel Robbins, Don Patinkin, and Joseph Dorfman among others. Kirzner’s book The Economic Point of View: An Essay in the History of Economic Thought, which was based on the Ph.D. dissertation he wrote under Ludwig von Mises, remains the best history of the transformation of economics from a study of the causes of material wealth to the science of human action.
Congratulations to Mises Senior Fellow Peter G. Klein for being recognized by Baylor University as an Outstanding Professor for 2017-2018. In particular, Dr. Klein was credited for his scholarship as the W. W. Caruth Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Senior Research Fellow with the Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise.
His works the past year includes:
Stakeholders and Corporate Social Responsibility: An Ownership Perspective: Emerald Insight, February 2018 (coauthors: Nicolai Foss).
"Business Law and the Austrian Theory of the Firm," , Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, December 2017, pp. 325-346 (coauthors: Peter J. Boettke, Todd J. Zywicki, Thomas A. Lambert).
"Uncertainty Types and Transitions in the Entrepreneurial Process," Organization Science, Vol. 28, No. 5, (October 2017), pp. 840-856 (coauthors: Mark D Packard).
"Entrepreneurial Discovery or Creation? In Search of the Middle Ground," Academy of Management Review, Vol. 42, No. 4, (October 2017), pp. 735-737 (coauthors: Nicolai J Foss).
"The Effects of Academic Incubators on University Innovation," Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Vol. 11, No. 2, (June 2017), pp. 145-170 (coauthors: Christos Kolympiris).
"Entrepreneurial Traits, Formal Institutions, and the Motivation to Engage in Entrepreneurial Action," (May 2017) (coauthors: Boris Nikolaev, Christopher Boudreaux).
"Organizational Governance Adaptation: Who Is In, Who Is Out, and Who Gets What," Academy of Management Review, (2017) (coauthors: Joseph T Mahoney, Anita M McGahan, Christos Pitelis).
"Uncovering the Hidden Transaction Costs of Market Power: A Property Rights Approach to Strategic Positioning," Managerial and Decision Economics, (2017) (coauthors: Kirsten Foss, Nicolai Foss).
"My Contributions to Entrepreneurship Theory," , London: Routledge, 2017.
I almost feel guilty when I criticize the garbled economic thoughts of Pope Francis. After all, he was influenced by Peronist ideology as a youngster, so he was probably a lost cause from the beginning.
Moreover, Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell have already dissected his irrational ramblings on economics and explained that free markets are better for the poor. Especially when compared to government dependency.
But since Pope Francis just attacked tax havens, and I consider myself the world’s foremost defender of these low-tax jurisdictions, I can’t resist adding my two cents. Here’s what the Wall Street Journal just reported about the Pope’s ideological opposition to market-friendly tax systems.
The Vatican denounced the use of offshore tax havens… The document, which was released jointly by the Vatican’s offices for Catholic doctrine and social justice, echoed past warnings by Pope Francis over the dangers of unbridled capitalism. …The teaching document, which was personally approved by the pope, suggested that greater regulation of the world’s financial markets was necessary to contain “predatory and speculative” practices and economic inequality.
He even embraced global regulation, not understanding that this increases systemic risk.
The supranational dimension of the economic system makes it easy to bypass the regulations established by individual countries,” the Vatican said. “The current globalization of the financial system requires a stable, clear and effective coordination among various national regulatory authorities.
And he said that governments should have more money to spend.
A section of the document was dedicated to criticizing offshore tax havens, which it said contribute to the “creation of economic systems founded on inequality,” by depriving nations of legitimate revenue.
In any event, he’s definitely wrong on how to generate more prosperity. Maybe he should watch this video.
Or read Marian Tupy.
Or see what Nobel Prize winners have to say.
Originally published at Dan Mitchell's blog International Liberty
President Trump’s recent cabinet shake-up looks to be a real boost to hard-line militarism and neo-conservatism. If his nominees to head the State Department and CIA are confirmed, we may well have moved closer to war.
Before being chosen by Trump to head up the CIA, Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo was one of the most pro-war Members of Congress. He has been militantly hostile toward Iran, and many times has erroneously claimed that Iran is the world’s number one state sponsor of terror. The truth is, Iran neither attacks nor threatens the United States.
At a time when President Trump appears set to make history by meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un face-to-face, Pompeo remains dedicated to a “regime change” policy that leads to war, not diplomacy and peace. He blames Iran – rather than the 2003 US invasion – for the ongoing disaster in Iraq. He enthusiastically embraced the Bush policy of “enhanced interrogation,” which the rest of us call “torture.”
Speaking of torture, even if some of the details of Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel’s involvement in the torture of Abu Zubaydah are disputed, the mere fact that she helped develop an interrogation regimen that our own government admitted was torture, that she oversaw an infamous “black site” where torture took place, and that she covered up the evidence of her crimes should automatically disqualify her for further government service.
In a society that actually valued the rule of law, Haspel may be facing time in a much different kind of federal facility than CIA headquarters.
While it may be disappointing to see people like Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and Gina Haspel as the head of the CIA, it shouldn’t be all that surprising. The few areas where President Trump’s actions are consistent with candidate Trump’s promises are ripping up the nuclear deal with Iran and embracing the torture policies of President George W. Bush. Candidate Trump in late 2015 promised to bring back waterboarding “and a whole lot worse” if he became president. It seems that is his intention with the elevation of Pompeo and Haspel to the most senior positions in his Administration.
We should be concerned, of course, but the real problem is not really Mike Pompeo or Gina Haspel. It is partly true that “personnel is policy,” but it’s more than just that. It matters less who fills the position of Secretary of State or CIA director when the real issue is that both federal agencies are routinely engaged in activities that are both unconstitutional and anti-American. It is the current Executive Branch over-reach that threatens our republic more than the individuals who fill positions in that Executive Branch. As long as Congress refuses to exercise its Constitutional authority and oversight obligations – especially in matters of war and peace – we will continue our slide toward authoritarianism, where the president becomes a kind of king who takes us to war whenever he wishes.
I am heartened to see some Senators – including Sen. Rand Paul – pledging to oppose President Trump’s nominees for State and CIA. Let’s hope many more join him – and let’s hope the rest of the Congress wakes up to its role as first among equals in our political system!
As we've already discussed in detail, here and here, police agencies are not under any general legal obligation to protect the taxpaying public from criminal behavior. The motto "to protect and serve" is an advertising slogan.
Moreover, police agencies are also protected by immunity laws from lawsuits in regards to police abuse or lack of action.
However, in the case of last month's shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, a Sheriff's deputy had specifically been assigned to provide security services at the school. This, apparently open up the Sheriff's office to legal action. Reuters reports on how at least one student who survives the massacre has announced a plan to sue to partially offset medical costs:
Law enforcement officers are generally immune to legal claims over inaction, as courts have held they need to be able to make decisions without fear of liability.
However, the Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Sheriff Scot Peterson could fall under a “special relationship” exception because Peterson was specifically assigned to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, said Timothy Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University who has written a book on gun litigation.
“The children and teachers justifiably relied on him and his unique level of knowledge to protect them,” Lytton said.
The deputy’s failure to enter the school during the shooting has added to criticism of law enforcement officials over warnings that accused shooter Nikolas Cruz posed a threat.
This may be the only legal option for the students and parents seeking legal reparations from either the school of law enforcement agencies.
Government schools are generally immune from lawsuits claiming insufficient security, as well.
Overall, though, there is little reason to expect schools to start taking security seriously until they are held legally accountable for providing meaningful security on their premises.
Today Jay Powell had his first appearance before Congress as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, confirming that his leadership at the Fed will look very similar to Janet Yellen. Though his testimony did note that 2018 has witnessed some volatility in the stock market and other assets, he maintained the same positive outlook of his predecessor. Perhaps alluding to the impact of Republican tax cuts, Powell went as far to say that he was more optimistic about the economies future than he was in December - leading markets to believe that a fourth rate hike may be possible this year.
Powell faced several questions from Republicans regarding the Fed's payment of interest rates on excess reserves at the Fed. This tool, which Congress gave the Fed in 2006 and then sped up its implementation in 2008, has increasingly come under attack from Chairman Jeb Hensarling. Voicing many of the criticisms made by George Selgin and others, Hensarling grilled Powell on whether the Fed's current use of IOER has far exceeded the original aims of Congress - a charge Powell denied. While it's encouraging to seen increased scrutiny paid to what, in practice, is a blatant subsidy to Wall Street - potentially reversing this policy tool brings its own risks. After all, it is the fact that over $2 trillion remains parked within the Fed that has helped limit the inflationary consequences of qualitative easing. Letting that money leave the Fed's vaults and loaned out in the fractional reserve system could lead to significant inflation. This is simply one of the many challenges the Fed faces in the near future.
Meanwhile, the Democrat's questioning of Powell offered little in terms of substance.The lack of diversity - superficial, not ideological - within the Fed has become the go-to talking point during these sort of hearings. Other questions were aimed to get Powell to criticize various policies of the Trump administration, with Powell avoiding falling into any such traps.