Nobel Prize for justifying government regulation?

French economist Jean Tirole won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Economics for showing the inter-relationship between markets and government regulations.  According to Matt O’Brien’s explanation, government regulation of company’s “excess profits” is assumed to be a good thing. [Read more...]

The Nobel Prize winners

After the jump, a complete list of the 2014 Nobel Prize winners.  Which do you find especially significant? [Read more...]

The Catholic debate over liberal society

Rod Dreher describes what happened at a conference sponsored by First Things on the future of religion in the public square.  In the course of doing so, he describes a current controversy among conservative Catholics:  The “Murrayites” believe that Catholicism is compatible with American-style political and economic liberalism.  (Not so much liberalism as left-wing ideology, but the ideals of liberty, democracy, and free-enterprise economics.)  Against this view are the “radical Catholics” who believe that this liberalism is incompatible with Christianity.

Read the remarks after the jump and click on the link to Patrick Deneen’s article on the conflict.  Substitute “Christian” for “Catholic.”  Do the points still hold for Christianity in general, or does the debate hinge on specific tenets of Catholicism?  Can there be a “Murrayite” Protestantism vs. a “radical” Protestantism?  Or is Protestantism intrinsically connected to liberalism?  How about “Lutheranism,” or does the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms work for any society?

I’m curious too what the alternative is for the “radicals.”  Some kind of authoritarian regime?  The Pope at the head of an Emperor, as in the Middle Ages?

[Read more...]

The Bootlegger/Baptist theory of regulation

Gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson wants to outlaw online gambling, which threatens his casino industry.  So with the help of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, SC), he has formed an alliance with Southern Baptists, who also oppose online gambling because they oppose gambling in general, including what goes on in Mr. Adelson’s casinos.  So we have a gambling magnate using gambling opponents  to help him eliminate competition.

But this paradox is not new.  There was also an alliance between bootleggers and (again) Baptists in promoting Prohibition.  In fact, the phenomenon has a name in the field of economics:  The Bootlegger/Baptist theory of regulation. [Read more...]

“Mission Accomplished” on the deficit

President Obama has declared victory in the economic sphere, pointing to decreased budget deficits and slowed growth in the cost of health care.  We may now, he said, dispense with “mindless austerity” when it comes to government spending.  But, as Fred Hiatt points out, such optimism is fine “if your horizon is Jan. 20, 2017.”  However, if you look beyond that, we are in deep trouble. [Read more...]

Alibaba and the 40 Thieves

In China, pretty much everyone buys pretty much everything from the online site Alibaba.  Last week, the company came to the United States, getting listed on the New York Stock Exchange, where it raised over $21 billion, becoming the second-biggest IPO in history.  Alibaba has a market capitalization of nearly $220 billion, making it bigger than Facebook, eBay, Disney, and Amazon.  There are plans to open operations in the United States.

But there might be some dangers in investing in a company that is under the thumb of a government that does not believe in capitalism or private property. [Read more...]


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