You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2009.

When most Westerners speak of human rights they usually mean political and civil rights like free speech. But to most poor people in the world economic rights are at least as important and often times more important than political and civil rights.

Watch Jean-Pierre Chauffour, Economic Adviser for the World Bank, speak about his latest book, The Power of Freedom: Uniting Human Rights and Development, at a Cato Institute Book Forum.

“Are the quests for human rights and economic development compatible? Jean-Pierre Chauffour takes the development and human rights communities to task for working at cross purposes and often advocating policies that violate basic rights, whether those rights are economic freedoms or broader issues of personal choice. The author will explain how the two traditions can be reconciled by empowering people with economic, civil, and political liberty, and he will outline a mutually supportive agenda for advocates of growth and human rights.”

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Listen to Brink Lindsey talk about his book The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America’s Politics and Culture to Russ Roberts at EconTalk:

Brink Lindsey on the Age of Abundance

Feminist Muslim Irshad Manji supported the military intervention in Afghanistan from the beginning – and she did so mainly because of one simple reason: human rights. But now she has doubts, if the West will really be able to bring liberal democracy to Afghanistan: Tribalism triumphs in Afghanistan

Listen to her debate the issue with Nelofer Pazira, an Afghan Canadian journalist, who defends the war as necessary and moral:

The Current – Afghan Moral Mission

That is the subtitle of a new book by Dambisa MoyoDead Aid, which I highly recommend. Moyo knows the facts – and she knows Africa.

Watch her discuss about how we can make poverty history with development expert William Easterly at the Templeton Foundation

A conversation between Dambisa Moyo and William Easterly

If you still believe that the subprime and financial crisis was caused by capitalism gone wild, here are some of the very best studies, talks and articles about the government’s responsibilities:

John Taylor is Professor of Economics at Stanford University. He is best known for the “Taylor-Rule”, his idea about what an optimal monetary policy should look like. In his latest book “Getting Off Track”, he tries to prove “How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis”. Watch him talk about it at Uncommon Knowledge:

Crisis Management with John Taylor: Chapter 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

“Economist John Taylor discusses today’s financial crisis – which he labels the most ‘unusual’ crisis since the Great Depression.”

You can read the most important chapters of the book here:

The Financial Crisis and the Policy Responses: An Empirical Analysis of What Went Wrong – November 2008

A Black Swan in the Money Market / Further Results

The Cato Journal has a highly recommendable special issue on the crisis featuring many experts: Lessons From The Subprime Crisis.

Gerald P. O’Driscoll Jr. on Greenspan’s defense of his own policies in the Wall Street Journal: Did the Fed Cause the Housing Bubble?

Watch Jim Powell from Cato talk about the Great Depression and the Subprime Crisis at C-Span.

Lawrence White is Professor of Economic History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In a Cato Paper he tries to answer the question: “How Did We Get into This Financial Mess?”. Also listen to an interesting and convincing speech by him here:

Lawrence White: The Subprime Crisis – Part 1 / Part 2

Stan Liebowitz is Professor of Economics at the University of Texas. His paper for the Independent Institute: Anatomy of a Train Wreck: Causes of the Mortgage Meltdown is a must-read.

Steve Forbes is CEO of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Magazine. Watch him speak about the crisis at the Commonwealth Club of California.

On Reason TV you can watch a couple of videos on the bailout and the stimulus package.

Peter Wallison has written two books on Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. Watch him speak about their role in creating this disaster at C-Span and about the crisis in general at Reason TV.

Economist Arnold Kling has worked for Freddie Mac. He explains how Fannie and Freddie worked at Econ Talk.

Watch stock broker and investment adviser Peter Schiff predict the coming crisis in 2006 and explain its roots at a meeting of the Western Regional Mortgage Bankers Association.

Johnny Munkhammar, Research Director at the European Enterprise Institute, has written a very readable paper on the crisis:

The Financial Crisis – A Gigantic Failure of Politics

Watch him speak about market reforms and the crisis (Part 2 / Part 3) at a conference in Tallinn, Estonia.

Med Yones, President of the International Institute of Management (IIM), also saw it coming: The Troubling U.S. Economy: Risks & Threats 2007-2017

Watch a short, but frightening video on the latest interventions into the economy by the US government:

Stop Spending Our Future

Hundreds of economists, including three Nobel laureates, have signed a statement against the so-called stimulus package that the Cato Institute has placed in major newspapers like the New York Times.

Paul Collier is Professor of Economics at Oxford University and Department Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies.

Watch him speak about his book “The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It”, in which he “outlines four traps that the poorest countries in the world can find themselves in: the trap of civil war, the trap of being landlocked, the trap of having abundant natural resouces, and the trap of having a bad government” and explains how they can escape these traps:

Foreign Policy Magazine – Paul Collier

If you believe that total drug decriminialization is a crazy idea, think again! Because Portugal did decriminalize all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, in 2001, and they are still glad they did.

Listen to an inspiring Cato Policy Forum on the topic:

Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

“In 2001, Portugal began a remarkable policy experiment,
decriminalizing all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Some predicted disastrous results—that drug addiction rates would soar and the country would become a haven for “drug tourists.” Now that several years have passed, policy experts can study the results. In a new paper for the Cato Institute, attorney and author Glenn Greenwald closely examines the Portugal experiment and concludes that the doomsayers were wrong. There is now a widespread consensus in Portugal that decriminalization has been a success. The debate in Portugal has shifted rather dramatically to minor adjustments in the existing arrangement. There is no real debate about whether drugs should once again be criminalized. Join us for a discussion about Glenn Greenwald’s field research in Portugal and what lessons his findings may hold for drug policies in other countries.”

Hundreds of migrants feared drowned as boat sinks off Libya

Is there no way we can make sure that a human tragedy like this won’t ever happen again? I believe there is. And so does journalist and economist Phillippe Legrain. Watch him speak about his book Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them on Ireland’s RTE2 (Part 1 / 2) or on Frost over the World.