Photo above: The Hertford Bridge in Oxford, England. Used by Permission. © Tom Ley 01302 782837

Thursday, March 25, 2010

RSG World Economic Brief - March 2010

Dr. Douglas O. Walker
Robertson School of Government

The RSG World Economic Brief for March focuses on unemployment among the more economically advanced countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, some important developments in China and Brazil, and the continuing problems surrounding Greece's unsustainable national debt. The Brief points out:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hayek and the Health Care Legislation

Dr. Douglas O. Walker
Robertson School of Government

I have been re-reading parts of Friedrich von Hayek's Road to Serfdom.

Hayek is so right about how government actions become increasingly demanding and outside the normal bounds of decency and law once a government starts to mandate things. We are only at the beginning of the takeover of health care in the U.S. and the Congress is already focused on the need to put in place strong measures to control everything people do in a key area of their life. One can already see some of the profound changes this legislation will cause.

Are We Ready for Change?

Dr. Mary Manjikian
Robertson School of Government

The late American historian and sociologist Charles Tilly left behind a monumental body of work in which he grappled with the question of how best to explain and understand large-scale political and social changes: revolutions, wars and the rise and fall of states and empires. At base, he wanted to know whether such events were best thought of as the result of human decision (or human error); large-scale coordinated social movements (like the American civil rights movement) or a sort of natural evolution over time (as, for example, Europe’s smaller states that “evolved” into the European Union). He wanted to know why we as analysts sometimes choose one explanation over another, and what factors each type of explanation simultaneously highlights as most important and dismisses as least important.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Opportunities for the Children

James A. Davids, J.D.
Robertson School of Government
One of my greatest heroes is my deceased paternal grandmother, Theresa Davids. Born and reared in the northeastern Dutch province of Groningen at the beginning of the 20th Century, young Theresa had eight years of formal education before being placed in the house of a rich Dutch farmer where she performed household chores for the farmer’s wife. Such was the life of countless generations of Dutch peasant girls before her, and her likely future included marrying one of the farm hands and starting a family of her own as her husband continued to labor on the farmer’s land.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An Open Letter to the President about Health Insurance Companies

On Monday, President Obama attempted to mobilize support for his health care initiative by criticizing health insurance companies for raising premiums and denying coverage on the basis of ability and willingness to pay for health insurance. Professor Don Boudreaux of George Mason University responded with this open letter to the President:

Would Declaring the U.S. Bankrupt Provoke China to War? by James A. Davids

Two very different stories last Friday made me ponder the question above. In the first story, Pat Buchanan provided statistics on the enormity of the federal deficit. Mr. Buchanan related that if Congress eliminated both the defense budget (not a popular move in this Navy town I call home!) and Social Security payments (can you imagine the outcry?) next year, it would still be $160 billion short of balancing its budget. Looking at this gargantuan problem another way, Congress would need to cut spending 43% across the board or raise federal taxes by 72% to balance the budget. Buchanan predicted a revolution if the budget was ever cut this much, and a deep Depression if taxes were raised 72% and siphoned off so much consumer capital.

Friday, March 5, 2010

RSG U.S. Economic Brief - February 2010 by Dr. Douglas O. Walker

The RSG U.S. Economic Brief for February focuses on the state of the recovery from the sharp downturn in production that began in early 2008 and continued through most of 2009. It notes that the economy has recently registered positive quarterly growth and economic conditions in some key sectors of production appear to be improving. But the recovery is uneven, employment continues to fall, the financial sector remains troubled and conditions for sustained growth have yet to be established.