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2005 Archives


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Peace on earth and goodwill towards all profit-makers

21 December 2005
Profit-makers deserve our gratitude and loss-makers should fill us with dismay. In a secure ‘rule of law’ environment, in which property is respected and contracts honoured, it is the profit-makers who improve living conditions for everyone. In his book Economics in One Lesson published in 1962, economist Henry Hazlitt attempted to…

How the loss of property rights caused Zimbabwe’s collapse

20 December 2005
The economic collapse of Zimbabwe was caused by land reforms that ignored property rights and the rule of law, says Craig J. Richardson, associate professor of economics at Salem College. Although unconstitutional, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government authorised the seizure of nearly all of the 4,500 commercial farms between 2000…

Money buys happiness

20 Dec 05  
The percentage of the U.S. population saying it was "very happy" in 1972 was exactly the same as it was in 2002: 30.3 per cent. Social critics of "consumerism" claim that what makes rich people happy is not money per se, but rather the fact that they have more of…

The good goliath – Wal-Mart – low-income family grocer

20 Dec 05  
Wal-Mart has been one of the most successful anti-poverty programmes in America. It provides entry-level jobs that unskilled workers badly want – there are often 5 or 10 applicants for each position, says John Tierney of the New York Times. Critics say Wal-Mart's pay – $9.68 per hour on average –…

Productivity growth and employment

20 Dec 05  
Productivity growth in the United States has rebounded sharply over the past decade, after the disappointingly sluggish growth in the prior two decades. But stronger productivity growth has coincided with sharply declining manufacturing employment, leading some analysts to suggest that the rise in U.S. productivity growth may have destroyed jobs,…

Fire or Ice

13 Dec 05  
Though alarmists argue that ferocious hurricanes and increasing temperatures are symptoms of man-made global warming, author Robert W. Felix, in his book, "Not by Fire, But by Ice: The Next Ice Age Now," predicts the earth will be hit with another ice age before the polar ice caps melt. Consider the…

Biased broadcasting on global warming

13 Dec 05  
Fox News recently broadcast a special on global warming, but pandered to climate alarmists while ignoring other viewpoints, says CNS News writer Marc Morano. The special, which aired on November 11, featured environmental activists Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Laurie David of the Natural Resources Defence Council. The documentary ignored scientific…

Foreign investment in China

13 Dec 05  
While foreign investors clearly are smitten with China, it appears that this infatuation has not lessened their affection for many other developing countries, contrary to conventional wisdom. In fact, China's alluring qualities may be making certain other nations, particularly China's Asian neighbours, more attractive than ever, say researchers Barry Eichengreen…

Why Latin nations are poor

13 Dec 05  
The World Bank's "Doing Business in 2006" survey measures regulatory burdens and property rights in 155 countries. This year's results demonstrate clearly that despite persistent claims that Latin America has tried the "free-market" model and found it wanting, the region is stubbornly stuck in a statist time warp, says Mary…

SA has legal grounds for WTO case against subsidies

13 Dec 05  
A report released by global development, advocacy and relief organisation Oxfam International yesterday could spur SA into taking legal action against rich countries that subsidise farm products illegally. Legal experts consulted by Oxfam conclude in the report that several countries, including SA, could bring multiple cases against the European Union (EU)…

The UN’s war on Internet freedom isn’t over

06 Dec 05  
Putting the United Nations in charge of running the Internet is a very bad idea, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Centre for Policy Analysis in the USA. The Internet is one of the greatest mechanisms of progress in the history of the world. More than one billion…

The shady climate salesmen

06 Dec 05  
If a shifty salesman in a blue suit adorned with yellow stars appeared on your doorstep flogging a life insurance policy with 'high, high costs and low, low returns', would you turn over your hard-earned cash? Most likely, you would shut the door in his face. This is effectively what…

The ‘gun death’ fraud

06 Dec 05  
The rate of "gun deaths" in Canada has recently declined, but it is time to stop using the term "gun death" since its meaning is distracting, says Gary Mauser of the Simon Fraser University. "Gun death" is a pot pourri of suicides, homicides and accidents; the supposed link is that these…

EU digs in heels on farm tariffs

06 Dec 05  
The European Union’s (EU’s) refusal to make further cuts to agricultural tariffs would harden attitudes ahead of next month’s global trade talks in Hong Kong, China, local trade experts said yesterday. EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson recently told the European parliament that the 25-nation bloc would not be making any…

Mboweni defends a stable rand

06 Dec 05  
Sectors of the economy that were taking financial strain from the rand at its current levels should “learn to live with reality”, Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni said last week. He told business leaders and government officials at a round-table conference organised by the Economist Intelligence Unit research company that…

Merit pay: Good teachers deserve to be rewarded

06 Dec 05  
Houston Independent School District (HISD) Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra says performance pay drives academic performance. That assumption might be true, but Saavedra is proposing a system under which improved academic performance will trigger performance pay. Under his proposal, the best teachers at the best schools, and those whose students make exceptional…

Medical tourism

29 Nov 05   FMF Policy Bulletin
U.S. and E.U. citizens have joined medical tourism with Americans and Europeans travelling to India for medical care, says the Dallas Morning News. In India, specialty hospitals offer advanced surgeries in conditions touted as equal to or better than those at American hospitals, at a fraction of the cost. For example:   Outpatient…

Canada’s difficulty with Kyoto

29 Nov 05  
With the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, Canada promised to reduce its average greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2008 and 2012 by 6 per cent (or 270 megatons), but living up to these obligations will impose major economic changes for Canadians, says the Fraser Institute. The government promises that the…

Multidimensional poverty

29 Nov 05  
Generally, researchers have relied on a single indicator of poverty: income. However, there is now a significant and growing literature advocating the use of multidimensional measures, says Chris Sarlo of the Fraser Institute. This new literature suggests that poverty in developed nations is relative and manifests itself in a variety of…

SARS tightens up tax on earnings of foreign entertainers

29 Nov 05  
Companies that organise events for visiting sportsmen or entertainers to SA will be required to notify the tax authorities within 14 days of signing a deal under new tax plans recently released by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The tax regime for visiting entertainers and sports people is to…

‘Orphan’ drugs

29 Nov 05   FMF Policy Bulletin
"Orphan" medications – treatments for rare diseases – have become an unlikely source of revenue for pharmaceutical companies, says the Wall Street Journal. Under the U.S. Orphan Drug Act, passed in 1983 to encourage the development of treatments for rare diseases, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies can exclusively market medications with orphan…

Free trade is preferable to preferential trade

24 Nov 05  
One of the most striking features of the economic environment of the past two decades has been the extent of the trade liberalisation carried out by the global community. Many large multilateral organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have regularly promulgated advice based on…