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Japan, the jury

19 December 2006
After a lapse of 60 years, Japan is planning to bring back a jury system. But a huge effort will be required to convince ordinary Japanese about its advantages, says Robert Precht, co-director of the Juries and Democracy Programme at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Centre at the University of…

Achtung, killertomaten!

19 December 2006
After killing nuclear energy and coal-fired power plants, Germany is now taking aim at its own green policies, says the Wall Street Journal. After building nearly 20,000 windmills, Germans are now regulating them well beyond economical sense: Windmills must be built 40 to 80 kilometres from the coast, where the water…

The persistently poor

19 Dec 06  
Despite an intensified campaign against poverty, World Bank programmes have failed to lift incomes in many poor countries over the past decade, leaving tens of millions of people suffering stagnating or declining living standards, according to a report by the bank's autonomous assessment arm. Among 25 poor countries probed in detail…

The world is richer and healthier

19 Dec 06   FMF Policy Bulletin
From Beijing to Bratislava, more of us are living longer, healthier and more comfortable lives than at any time in history; fewer of us are suffering from poverty, hunger or illiteracy, says economist Indur Goklany in his book, "The Improving State of the World," published by the Cato Institute. We should…

Why won’t New Zealand cut taxes?

19 Dec 06  
Despite an operating surplus of $1.24 billion for the most recently ending quarter, the ruling Labour Government in New Zealand insists on keeping income and corporate tax levels steady, says Craig Foss in the Wall Street Journal. Since the Labour Party took power in 1999, taxes have become quite burdensome:…

Perpetuating the 16-84 health care fallacy

19 Dec 06  
In a recent radio interview the Minister of Finance declared that 20 per cent of the population receives private health care while the government is responsible for providing health care to the remaining 80 per cent. We need to be concerned when such an astute minister becomes persuaded by fallacious…

Bringing SAA to market?

13 Dec 06  
Foreign firms don’t invest in countries hampered by highly regulated industries. In late 2001 UK trade minister Caborn suggested deregulating SA’s airlines and removing SAA’s protection by restricted landing slots. UK foreign minister Hain and Western Cape MEC Markowitz called for an ‘open skies’ policy to promote tourism. Citing currency…

The new global slave trade

13 Dec 06  
More people are being trafficked across borders against their will now than at any point in the past, says Ethan B. Kapstein in U.S. Foreign Affairs. Although exact slave trade figures are difficult to come by, experts estimate: Some 600,000-800,000 people are subjected to human trafficking across borders each year.…

AIDS to be 3rd leading cause of death

13 Dec 06  
Within the next 25 years, AIDS is set to join heart disease and stroke as the top three causes of death worldwide, according to a study published Monday. When global mortality projections were last calculated a decade ago, researchers had assumed the number of AIDS cases would be declining. Instead, it's…

Taking the plunge without tying the knot

13 Dec 06  
In France, growing numbers of couples are choosing to raise children, buy homes and build family lives without religious or civil approval of their partnerships, says the Washington Post. While marriage is in decline across much of northern Europe, French couples are abandoning the formality of marriage faster than most of…

Rich claim benefits in ‘welfare nation’ as millions remain trapped in poverty

13 Dec 06  
A study entitled, "Reforming Welfare," says that Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, has constructed an expensive welfare and benefits system that is "not fit for purpose" and requires a radical overhaul. Moreover, the government is spending more on welfare than on education or law…

Liberating trade

13 Dec 06  
The United States and many other countries – including all major developed countries and most developing countries – would benefit economically from reductions in agricultural tariffs and subsidies worldwide, says the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Consider: If all policies worldwide that distort agricultural trade were phased out in this decade,…

The other Milton Friedman

07 Dec 06  
During his last 10 years, Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose, championed school choice as a means of liberating the poor from failing government schools, says Cal Thomas on Townhall.com. Friedman first proposed school vouchers in 1955, but it wasn't until 1996 that he and Rose started their foundation to…

Use other people’s money to pay for universal healthcare

07 Dec 06  
Almost every election cycle, public health advocates trot out poll after poll showing that Americans want to expand coverage to the uninsured. Pundits from liberal news media organisations (often the ones funding the polls) invariably use these polls in an attempt to gain support for universal health care. Interestingly, health care…

SADC ministers prepare to fight a killer

07 Dec 06  
The annual South African Development Community (SADC) malaria week was recently held in Ondangwa, Namibia. The aim of the commemorations was to raise awareness of the risks of the disease before the start of the rainy season, which typically runs from November through to March. During this time the scourge…

Future tax policies should maximise economic growth

07 Dec 06  
The goal of tax policy should be to maximise economic growth. Tax policies that maximise growth would satisfy the stated goals of policy makers on both the right and the left, says Gerald Scully, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). Some activities of government contribute to…

Protection racket: free trade is a key to prosperity

07 Dec 06  
"Free trade is the most important single way to promote growth," Milton Friedman said in an interview a few weeks before his death. In other words: markets work, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). For example: A recent Global Insights analysis concludes that Wal-Mart's…

Birth rate worries in Russia

07 Dec 06  
Low domestic birth rates and rising immigration from the former Soviet republics are producing explosive growth in Russia's Muslim community, which is on a track to account for more than half the population by mid-century. As in many countries with growing Islamic populations, tensions are also on the rise. Many ethnic…

Tax advice from Skopje

29 Nov 06  
The world just got a little flatter, says the Wall Street Journal. Macedonia's new conservative government plans to scrap the 15 per cent corporate tax rate and 15 per cent to 24 per cent personal income taxes next year and replace them with a single 12 per cent rate. In…

The career effects of graduating in a recession

29 Nov 06  
College graduates who enter a robust job market are often considered lucky because more job opportunities are available to them. Those who graduate during a recession have more difficulty finding a job that fits. But, how long lasting is the impact of that good or bad luck? Researchers Philip Oreopoulos, Till…

Death of the Master

29 Nov 06  
Another great master has left us – Milton Friedman died in San Francisco on Nov. 16 at age 94. Unquestionably, he was the most important and influential economist of the second half of the 20th century, says columnist Bruce Bartlett. Born on July 31, 1912 in Brooklyn, New York, Friedman's path…