There are far too many things to blog about. The holiday was nice, but it's just as therapeutic to have an outlet for errant thoughts and anger spasms as it is to take a break from feeding the beast. So I guess I'm back. Nothing deep or earthshattering today. Just thought I'd lube your Google Readers so that you'd look out for new posts. As ever, I'd like to thank my 36 or so readers for being patient with me.
I'm taking a blogging Holiday for a while to work on a big, mysterious project. If I get a bee in my bonnet or want to share, I will. But I can't afford to be a slave to the blog right now. So just put me on Google Reader if you want and check me out on occasion, I'll weigh in when the mood strikes.
My friend Michael Strong has a great interview on this NY Times blog. Check it out. (And in case you missed it, here's my review of his book.) My favorite part of the interview:
Just as a painter needs paints, paintbrushes, and a canvas, an entrepreneur needs key institutions, including property rights, rule of law, and the freedom to create. In order to plan a venture, in order to create new value through a new vision, one must be able to determine what resources one will be allowed to use (well-defined property rights), what the rules will be for using those resources (rule of law), and significant freedom with respect to how to organize and manage those resources (economic freedom). Nineteenth-century classical liberals were clear that these tools were the foundations of the entrepreneurial wealth-creation machine that had made the U.S. and Britain the first societies in the world in which the masses experienced a steadily improving standard of living.
A century of Marxist hostility to the foundations of capitalism has obscured the fact that throughout the developing world, property rights are insecure and ill-defined; the processes through which contracts are adjudicated is often obscure and unpredictable; and there are severe constraints on the extent to which entrepreneurs can create and manage their enterprises. The Fraser Institute’s Index of Economic Freedom, shows that by objective measures (which include institutional measures of property rights, rule of law, as well as the freedom to create), the entire developing world has less economic freedom than Scandinavia.
I like his bet proposal to Jeffrey 'drop money from the heavens like manna' Sachs, too:
G.D.P. per capita correlates with levels of economic freedom, and increasing levels of economic freedom increase average rates of long-term economic growth. There is little evidence that government-to-government foreign aid increases average rates of economic growth.
In order to get Sachs to acknowledge this, I propose that we compare G.D.P. growth of three sets of 20 nations, 20 years from now:
Sachs 1: The 20 nations that have received the most government-to-government foreign aid as a percentage of per capita G.D.P.
Sachs 2: The 20 nations that have experienced the greatest percentage growth in government (in honor of Sachs’s claim that large government does not inhibit growth).
Strong: The 20 nations that have experienced the greatest increases in economic freedom as measured by the Fraser Economic Freedom Index.
Foreign aid may do some good (occasionally) or it may do some harm (usually), but no amount of aid will ever create a dynamic economy in the absence of the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit. Due to Sachs’s prominence in the poverty alleviation debate, until he acknowledges the role of economic freedom in alleviating poverty, he should be regarded as the leading cause of poverty in 2025.
Okay, so after my UNC Tar Heels win the NCAA National Championship, today I won a little Hayek book from Freedom Politics for a "best comments" contest. Hey, you take small victories where you can get 'em.
More importantly, these guys are putting out some good stuff, so go read them.