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Mexico must deregulate in order to improve productivity

30 December 2003
Mexico's export manufacturing plants, or maquiladoras, boomed for a while following the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) a decade ago. But employment has declined in recent years. According to William C. Gruben, vice president and director of the Centre for Latin American Economics at the Dallas Federal…

Canada’s welfare liabilities are growing exponentially

30 December 2003
The growth of Canada’s unfunded liabilities under programmes such as the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans (CPP/QPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and Medicare system has been a focus of Canadian economists for many years. Largely due to increases in programme obligations, in 2000/01 federal, provincial and local liabilities added up…

Benefits of subsidies to new businesses

30 Dec 03  
Do cities offering generous subsidies to recruit businesses routinely get taken to the cleaners? A new study finds that on average, the cities that win contests to lure new businesses to their area by offering tax breaks, low-cost land, infrastructure and other handouts seem to benefit from the arrangement. The…

No, to taxing Internet activities

30 Dec 03  
For much of its young life, the Internet has been the locale of all sorts of social and political battles, such as those over censorship and copyrights. Now, a big ideological war is brewing over Internet taxation, says the Wall Street Journal's Lee Gomes. Anti-tax conservatives in the U.S. Congress and…

Education won't necessarily help development

30 Dec 03  
In the poor nations of the world it is common wisdom that increasing educational levels will help stimulate economic growth. But like much economic ‘common wisdom’ the facts don¹t necessarily support the platitude. Since the demise of colonialism the percentage of African children obtaining higher levels of education has exploded. Yet…

Silly season heats up

30 Dec 03  
‘I’m sure it’s hotter this year. It’s certainly dryer. Well, I suppose it must be global warming.’ So went my conversation recently with a visiting relative. Many parts of South Africa certainly are very hot at the moment and the lack of rain is not only harming my grandmother’s hydrangeas,…

Poverty is defined differently from country to country

30 Dec 03  
The latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau claims nearly 35 million Americans lived in poverty last year. But when we look at the living conditions of the people deemed poor, many surprises emerge, say Heritage Foundation researchers Robert Rector and Kirk Johnson. Real material hardship does occur, of course.…

Global warming treaty is fundamentally flawed

23 Dec 03  
The Kremlin leadership seems to have reached the conclusion that the Kyoto Protocol global warming treaty is a lot of hot air, says the Wall Street Journal. Andrei Illarionov, an adviser to Russian president Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly said that both the science and the economics of Kyoto are…

Barriers to entry stifle investment

23 Dec 03  
The U.S. economy grew at an annual average rate of 4.3 percent in the second half of the 1990s, while Germany, France and Italy grew at an average annual rate of 2 percent. A common view is that greater regulation in continental markets has retarded investment and economic growth…

Protectionist policies hurt America’s low-income families

23 Dec 03  
On January 1, 2005, the textile and apparel quota regime, administered under the World Trade Organisation's Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, is scheduled to terminate. After decades of protectionist exceptions, textile trade finally will be subject to the same rules that govern international trade in other manufactured products, says Dan…

Medicare rewarding inferior care

23 Dec 03   FMF Policy Bulletin
Critics say that the American Medicare's payment system is fundamentally flawed. Medicare pays a fixed sum of money to treat a specific diagnosis or perform a given procedure. Providers that work to improve quality are not paid extra. And poor care is often rewarded because it often creates the need…

Economic liberalisation is necessary

18 Dec 03  
Lawmakers agree that for the economy to grow, corporate taxes must be cut. But wait! This isn't news out of Washington. It's from Prague. It seems that the former Soviet bloc nation is employing the lessons that we've forgotten, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD). In the Czech…

Consumers benefit from free trade

18 Dec 03  
Whenever trade is debated in Washington, the focus is almost exclusively on its impact on producers and jobs – virtually never on the benefits of import competition for American consumers. This is a serious oversight, because consumers reap huge benefits from the freedom to buy goods and services from…

British hospitals are dirty

18 Dec 03   FMF Policy Bulletin
Hospitals everywhere tend to be dirty. But in Britain they can be lethal. Critics place the blame on Britain's socialised health care system. Like all other collectivist systems, it lacks the proper incentives necessary to ensure quality performance. National Health System (NHS) hospitals fail to meet even the most basic hygiene…

Dangerous delusion: why plans to spend billions on drugs for Africa could backfire

18 Dec 03  
Short-term relief, followed by long-term disaster is not sound policy. Nonetheless, that could be a result of the AIDS strategy being contemplated by the World Health Organisation, which on December 1 – World AIDS Day – announced a plan to treat 3 million people with HIV/AIDS by 2005. The WHO…

US government programme causing vaccine shortages

18 Dec 03   FMF Policy Bulletin
There has been a steady erosion in the number of vaccine producers in the U.S.A. over the past three decades. In the 1970s, there were 25 vaccine makers; today – because of slim profit margins and legislative and liability issues –there are just five. With such a small number of…

The failure of gun laws

18 Dec 03  
Restrictive firearm legislation has failed to reduce violent crime in Australia, Canada or Great Britain. Moreover, the policy of confiscating guns has been an expensive failure. Ironically, criminal violence has not decreased, but instead, continues to increase, notes Gary Mauser (Fraser Institute). Since the introduction of restrictive firearms laws more…

Jobs and productivity growth

10 Dec 03  
In order for there to be job growth, the rate of growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has to be higher than productivity growth. That is because productivity grows when we are able to produce more goods with the same or fewer workers; thus to create jobs, the economy…

Decline in factory jobs is global

10 Dec 03  
The common wisdom is that America is haemorrhaging jobs at a record pace to cut-rate competitors elsewhere. But a new report shows that in fact the loss of factory jobs is a global phenomenon, according to the investment house Alliance Bernstein. According to the report: From 1996 to 2002, the…

Private practitioners help uninsured medically indigent patients

10 Dec 03  
Private practitioners in the U.S. provide five times as many visits for the uninsured as safety-net institutions, such as emergency departments and community health centres provide, say researchers. A recent study that examined the care uninsured patients in general internists' private practices received found that more than two-thirds of internists…

The role of government in international financial crises

10 Dec 03  
The impoverishment caused by broken promises on the part of governments that fail to protect private property rights, enforce contracts, and limit taxing and spending to prudent levels is evident in the increased frequency of financial crises in emerging market economies, says James Dorn. Argentina's default in December 2001…

Scottish population declines

10 Dec 03  
For five years running, Scotland has recorded more deaths than births and now has the lowest birth rate in Britain. As a result, its population is aging and over the long-run could cause a bankrupt pension system; sky-high health care costs, especially in Scotland, where the elderly receive free…