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Non-neutral Net Neutrality

Worried about its costs, Netflix has asked millions of customers to support so-called “net neutrality” policies to curtail the freedom of action of broadband companies like Comcast. Netflix, a huge suck of bandwidth, doesn’t want to have to make deals with ISPs like Comcast to deliver service to its customers.

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Robert Reich, Mythed Up

onsumer sovereignty is the idea that in markets consumers call the shots. In capitalism, most mass production is indeed for the masses, and the masses have a big say in what gets done. All profits and wages of successful businesses come from consumers. But don’t take this too far. Consumers

Common Sense

Unsustainable Pseudo-thinking

One of the fashionable thought-killing words offered by the cliché-recycling movement is “sustainable.” In the common tongue, as spoken by many, many environmentalists, this term implies that we will run out of all our stuff pretty soon unless everybody on the planet (except maybe Al Gore) is put on a

Land Un-Grab?

When I took up the Cliven Bundy story, just before Bundy spewed his racist farragoes, I concentrated not on him, but on the broader issue: too much federal government ownership of real property in “the tiny state of Nevada” and elsewhere. Since then an expert has weighed in on my

Bigots Hate Competition

Apparently, economics is hard. But some things are pretty straightforward. For example, both parties to a trade gain: it’s called “mutual benefit through exchange.” Another basic principle? Employers hire labor expecting productivity. Businesses don’t hire workers who can’t produce enough to more than cover their wages — and managers fire

The Zero Effect

The idea of hiking the legal minimum wage just doesn’t go away, alas. The usual thought experiment those with common sense use to elicit a modicum of sagacity in the minimum wage advocates’ addled synapses runs like this: You say you want a higher minimum wage, say $9 per hour.

Protesting Gravity

The continuing, ramped-up protests of low wages at low-end service jobs, like McDonalds and (to some extent) Walmart, put many of us in a bind. On the one hand, a decent person wants others to be happy in their work, and paid well. On the other, a wise person wants

Impossible, They Say

Modern economics takes a long, circuitous route to the old wisdom of classical political economy: Laissez faire is best. This ideal of free markets was pretty clearly established by Adam Smith, J.B. Say, David Ricardo, and others long ago. Frédéric Bastiat explained it best in layman’s terms. But modern economic

Demands and Supply

A storm hits the east coast. Some homes are washed away. Others burn down. Millions lose power. Gasoline supplies are massively disrupted, even as mass transit is unusable for days. Obviously, post-Hurricane Sandy, emergency measures are called for. It’s crucial, for instance, that the disrupted and reduced supplies of gasoline

Two Legacies

Two great economists died this month. Anna Schwartz, co-author with Milton Friedman of the classic A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, passed away last Thursday, at age 96. For reasons known only to a few Swedes, she did not receive the Nobel along with her more famous research

Will They Ever Learn?

In which industries do prices and costs rise fastest? Those in which government is most involved. The process is no mystery. Regulate supply by limiting entry into the business — to “increase quality,” of course — will raise prices, as producers behave oligopolistically. Government does this with health care providers,

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