How important are key individuals in shaping the success or failure of economies? …Neil Monnery’s A Tale of Two Economies is in some sense a polemic against historical determinism, at least insofar as promoting economic reforms is concerned.It stresses the importance of two single individuals, one a great man for many, one an obscure official and political unknown to the most, in shaping the destiny of their respective countries. …Ernesto “Che” Guevara and John Cowperthwaite. …Monnery insists that both of them were “deep and original thinkers.” …The key difference between the two was perhaps that Cowperthwaite had a solid education in economics… Neither the way in which Hong Kong progressed, nor Cuba’s, were thus inevitable.
Monnery points out that Hong Kong’s success happened not because Cowperthwaite and his colleague were trying “to plant an ideological flag,” but because they were “professional pragmatists.” …Then the success of relatively libertarian arrangements in Hong Kong perpetuated itself. …Cowperthwaite tested what he knew about classical economics when he “first arrived in Hong Kong, in 1945” and “was put in charge of price control.… He soon realized the problems with attempting to set prices low enough to meet consumer needs but high enough to encourage supply, and in a dynamic environment.” He opposed subsidies that he saw as “a brazen attempt to feed at the trough of government subsidies.” …Cowperthwaite is a hero to Monnery, who emphasises his competence, and even more, his integrity.
Data analyzed from the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom Index makes a solid case for the benefits of more individual economic freedom and less central planning.
Across time and comparing all levels of society, be it communities, States or between countries, those with more economic freedom as measured by the Economic Freedom Index enjoy…
- Less unemployment
- Higher incomes
- Less poverty
- Less income inequality
- Less gender inequality
- Less child labor abuses
All six of these factors should tend to maximize cooperation between groups and foster more peace and less conflict. By extension, then, it appears a case can be made that the ideal role of government is to prevent us from harming each other, ensure a fair regulatory playing field, enforce laws fairly, honor contracts and otherwise grant maximal economic freedom to individuals to do as the wish so long as they don’t harm others financially or physically.
I was sitting directly under a television in a Caribbean airport yesterday when Trump got inaugurated, so I inadvertently heard his speech.
The bad news is that Trump didn’t say much about liberty or the Constitution. And, unlike Reagan, he certainly didn’t have much to say about shrinking the size and scope of Washington.
On the other hand, he excoriated Washington insiders for lining their pockets at the expense of the overall nation. And if he’s serious about curtailing sleaze in DC, the only solution is smaller government.
But is that what Trump really believes? Does he intend to move policy in the right direction?
Well, as I’ve already confessed, I don’t know what to expect. The biggest wild card, at least for fiscal policy, is whether he’ll be serious about the problem of government spending. Especially entitlements.
Before the Pilgrims were able to hold the first Thanksgiving, they nearly starved. Although they had inherited ideas about individualism and property from the English and Dutch trading empires, they tried communism when they arrived in the New World. They decreed that each family would get an equal share of food, no matter how much work they did.
The results were disastrous. Gov. William Bradford wrote, “Much was stolen both by night and day.” The same plan in Jamestown contributed to starvation, cannibalism and death of half the population.So Bradford decreed that families should instead farm private plots. That quickly ended the suffering. Bradford wrote that people now “went willingly into the field.”
Soon, there was so much food that the Pilgrims and Indians could celebrate Thanksgiving.