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Free trade with EU comes at a price

21 December 2004
The European Union (EU) has announced that it will allow free trade with the developing world so long as those nations adopt 27 international conventions on sustainable development as well as labour and environmental standards. But this attempt to impose a regulatory burden on poor nations will only perpetuate poverty,…

Bilateral trade may hinder free trade

21 December 2004
Many countries try to expand free trade through regional trade negotiations, as opposed to multilateral trade negotiations. However, a new study from the World Bank notes that while these trade agreements may be more politically palatable, they are economically inferior to more general trade barrier reductions. The researchers note that regional…

The dollar declines

21 Dec 04  
The recent fall of the dollar is not a surprise, says Stephen S. Roach, chief economist for Morgan Stanley. It is the logical outgrowth of an unbalanced world economy, and America's gaping current account deficit. Roach argues that these global imbalances are a shared responsibility. America is guilty of excess consumption,…

Poverty does not cause terrorism

21 Dec 04  
Poverty does not cause terrorism, according to a recent paper by Alberto Abadie, published by the Harvard University JFK School of Government. Instead, it is a lack of stable, political freedom that encourages terrorism. Abadie analysed statistics from the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base for 2003, which included 1,536 reports of domestic…

Is a hydrogen economy wishful thinking?

21 Dec 04  
Converting every vehicle in the United States to hydrogen power would require enough wind turbines to cover land half the size of California – or 1,000 more nuclear power stations, says Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Oswald, a British economist, and his brother Jim, used…

Vioxx: More regulation would be medical malpractice

20 Dec 04   FMF Policy Bulletin
In September, Merck & Co, one of the world’s largest drug makers withdrew its painkiller Vioxx from the market based on evidence that it heightened the risk of heart failure among patients. Some have argued that this episode highlights some deep- rooted flaws in the pharmaceutical industry and have called…

Africa uses paraprofessionals to treat disease

15 Dec 04   FMF Policy Bulletin
In rural clinics across Africa, people are being trained to treat common illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria, say observers. While not physicians, these paraprofessionals offer a solution to the brain drain of doctors to rich Western nations and more prosperous African countries. According to health experts, Africa needs one…

Affirmative action in U.S. is an impediment to real achievement for blacks

15 Dec 04  
Affirmative action hurts blacks who are entering law school; in fact, the number of black lawyers would increase without race-based preferences, according to a study in the forthcoming issue of Stanford Law Review. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) law professor Richard H. Sander examined the effects of affirmative action on…

Africa needs more doctors

15 Dec 04   FMF Policy Bulletin
Africa is going through several major health crises, but does not have the resources to deal with them. According to the Joint Learning Initiative (JLI), an international consortium of academic centres and development agencies, there is a severe shortage of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in these countries. The…

Mathematics proficiency doesn't add up

15 Dec 04  
Although the mathematics skills of U.S. public school students have risen for more than a decade, a new study suggests that the progress is in trivial mathematics, says Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution's Brown Centre of Education. Given periodically to thousands of students nationwide, the National Assessment of Educational Progress…

Greenpeace co-founder says organisation has lost its way

15 Dec 04  
Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, says that he left the mainstream green movement in 1986 because it abandoned science and logic in favour of an anti-corporate, anti-globalisation agenda. Moore, a Ph.D. in ecology, says instead of using science to solve problems such as whaling, nuclear testing and toxic waste, Greenpeace became…

Global warming hurricane theory is hot air

06 Dec 04  
Recent summer hurricanes have prompted new political rhetoric and media claims that global warming is contributing to their frequency and severity, and that the United States can expect more destruction in the future unless steps are taken to control carbon dioxide emissions. Hurricane experts disagree and debunk the myth that global…

Europe is aging

06 Dec 04  
Europe's population is growing older and declining. By 2050, the European Union's population will fall by 20 million, while the number of pensioners will soar. According to the Economist, this demographic challenge is daunting and threatens Europe's fiscal stability. As the number of workers fall, the numbers dependent on them for…

Executive perks can be productive

06 Dec 04  
Many business critics complain that executive compensation – especially non-salary perks – are a way for executives to appropriate profits from the company. A new paper from the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research argues that some perks make executives more productive and their companies more profitable. The authors examined data…

Private management of American government schools showing progress

06 Dec 04  
Since Philadelphia's School Reform Commission turned over 45 of the city's 265 public schools to such groups as Edison Schools Inc., a for-profit company, results went up across the board, say observers. The district's approach – known as a "partnership management model" or "diverse provider model" – was implemented with…

Climate Alarmism hurts the poor

06 Dec 04  
Today (6 December) the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meet in Buenos Aires. Concern about the devastating consequences for humanity from impending change to our climate will be interspersed with attacks on the United States for being the only major industrialised…

Paying the cost of medical treatment

06 Dec 04   FMF Policy Bulletin
Doctors need to know how their patients pay the cost of medical treatment in order to reach positive health outcomes, says Rebecca Voelker, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Currently, doctors know very little about their patients' ability to pay for the medications they are being prescribed. One…

Euro divides European economies

01 Dec 04  
Supporters of the euro argued that a single currency would synchronise the euro-zone economies and better align European business cycles. According to the Economist, the opposite appears to have happened. Some countries like Spain are soaring, while others like Germany are doddering. According to the Deutsche Bank, many elements of economic…

The European union has a health-care headache

01 Dec 04  
Recently the European Union proposed to remove market barriers in an effort to legislate a single market for services, particularly in health care. This proposal comes after the European Court of Justice, Europe's highest court, ruled in favour of a German civil servant demanding medical reimbursement after travelling to Italy…

The war on CO2

01 Dec 04  
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is now the greenhouse gas du jour, grabbing attention from scientists, eco-activists and the media, says the Wall Street Journal. In fact, the fear over manmade CO2 has motivated the United States government to spend billions finding ways to reduce its presence in the atmosphere. The U.S.…

Developing countries need trade, not aid

01 Dec 04   Jasson Urbach
Many development economists have regularly given advice based on the belief that aid is essential for growth in countries that are lacking capital, education, entrepreneurs, infrastructure and access to foreign capital markets. It is thought that aid transfers will allow developing countries to escape from a vicious cycle of poverty…

Americans spoiled with good economic fortunes

01 Dec 04  
Economic expansion has become the norm in the minds of most Americans due, in no small part, to the fact that since the early 1980s recessions have been relatively rare, says the American Enterprise Institute. Over the past 22 years the U.S. economy has been in recession just 14 months,…