Political & Economic Debate
766,010,000 people. That's how many are living in extreme poverty today, defined by the World Bank as having roughly $2/day or less in current US purchasing power. Think about that number: seven hundred and sixty-six million, ten thousand human beings. In just one generation, the number of folks not in poverty has doubled.
One of the major turning points in social and economic understanding emerged in the 1700s with the theory of social order without human design. Before the eighteenth century, most social theory presumed or took as a working assumption that human society had its origin and sustainability in the creation of social institutions through either "divine" intervention, or by human will and plan.
Great question. We can do only what we can do. As FEE's founder, Leonard Read, often said, our tool is persuasion. Fortunately, we've mountains of facts on our side. In reality, the freer the society, the richer are not just "the rich" in that society, but also the poor - who become rich compared to ordinary people in less free societies.
As soon as the clock struck 5:00 p.m., the heavens opened and both rain and people in suits poured onto the street. As unsuspecting interns, custodians, and businessmen left work, they recognized that their lack of preparation would have repercussions. Fortunately for them, just yards away sat a fully-stocked umbrella stand.
A Marxist, Wolff argues in keeping with the labor theory of value, which the marginal revolution exploded. This is the doctrine that what determines the value of a good or service is the "socially necessary labor" required to produce it. It implies that value is inherent, determined by the labor necessary to produce the good or service in question.
Recent tax proposals have let loose the dogs of economic war. While debate has raged over the impact of tax cuts on growth and revenue, the moral case for low taxation remains largely neglected. Lower taxes boost economic growth. Critics have predictably launched an all-out assault on the idea that taxpayers should keep more of their own money.
In 2016, the US exported goods and services equal to $2.209 trillion, and imported goods and services with a market value of $2.712 trillion. The balance of trade deficit for 2016, therefore, came to $502.3 billion.
Once a country described as a "barren island," Hong Kong has alternatively had the freest and second-freest economy in the world from 1970 to 2014. Their tax and market strategies catapulted them from the bottom of the GDP list to the top, improved life expectancy for its citizens, and ultimately affected China's economic decisions.
Some people believe the economy is limited by numbers, such as the size of the labor force. However, private-sector entrepreneurship is the most important force behind economic growth and regulation of economic activities by the various governmental Departments is the principal restraint on economic growth.
Automation has always resulted in new jobs and higher living standards. But many people have a difficult time trusting in what they cannot see and find the iron fist of government more comforting than the invisible hand of the free market.
Good politics and bad economics have been on display in British political conversations as the parties release their manifestos for the upcoming elections. Prime Minister Theresa May's suggestion that energy prices be capped and migration controls strengthened was outstripped in economic foolishness only by Labour's £48.6 billion tax increase and their proposal to nationalize the National Grid .
People buy and sell stuff all the time. Unfortunately, this leads many to the false conclusion that they understand economics. Engaging in commerce doesn't impart an understanding of economics any more than being sexually promiscuous imparts an understanding of genetics.
Profit is a funny word. It has come to mean exploitation. Why do we allow the Left to capture words like profit, or community, or compassion and redefine them into politically charged meanings far removed from what they really are? If we believe in a moral, popular capitalism, we need to reclaim key words for their true meaning.
The economist must engage in the unpopular task of protecting the public from itself. This is often an activity that the public strongly dislikes. Nobody likes being told there is no such thing as a free lunch. But it is incredibly important.
Just as the biological process leads to species adapting to their environments because the mutations that enhance survival will get passed on to future generations, so do economic processes lead to humans better "adapting to their social environment" by rearranging the physical world in ways that create more value.
Ronald Reagan wrote in his autobiography, An American Life, "[M]y major was economics. But I think my own experience with our tax laws in Hollywood probably taught me more about practical economic theory than I ever learned in the classroom or from an economist."
In the real world, prices often seem far above marginal cost. If you're steeped in the perfectly competitive model, where price always equals marginal cost, it's easy to feel "ripped off" whenever you make a purchase. The obvious rebuttal is to point to all the fixed costs of production, but this greatly understates what a fantastic deal we consumers get.
Ruchir Sharma is the latest economist to embrace the popular notion that we - and the rest of the world - are unable to grow as we once did. Supposedly the "global economy has changed in ways that reduce growth," and because of the changes, subdued economic activity will be the structural norm going forward.