representative government
free markets
individual liberty
ideas defining a free society

Report 2004: Growth of Government and Accountability to Society

sidebar: New Hoover Fellows An important premise of this initiative is that government should work for society, not the reverse. Therefore, the Hoover fellows and other involved scholars examine government’s performance on behalf of individuals, including issues of accountability, efficiency, and representation. They also address the appropriate scope of government’s involvement when providing public services and regulating private enterprise in areas such as education, health care, and the environment.

Those who declare the era of big government over are dead wrong according to Hoover fellow Clint Bolick, who wrote Leviathan: The Growth of Local Government and the Erosion of Liberty, published by the Hoover Press in 2004. Drawing from his experience as an attorney, Bolick uses illuminating cases from the litigation trenches to show how powerful local governments have infringed on freedom of speech, freedom of commerce and enterprise, private property rights, and even the simple right to be left alone. He reveals that, although the rules are often rigged in favor of local governments, ordinary citizens can take action to rein in out-of-control bureaucracies.

Government-owned and government-subsidized firms compete with private firms in a variety of activities but are often endowed with privileges and immunities not enjoyed by their private rivals. Competing with the Government: Anticompetitive Behavior and Public Enterprises, published by the Hoover Press in 2004, reveals how these privileges give government firms an artificial competitive advantage that fosters a wide range of potentially harmful effects. Examining a variety of instances in which government and private firms compete, the authors raise fundamental questions about the relationship between business and government in a market economy and underline the need for significant policy changes. Hoover fellow Richard Geddes edited and contributed to the volume.

In The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution, Hoover fellow Henry Miller and Gregory Conko trace the origins of gene-splicing, its applications, and the backlash from consumer groups and government agencies against the so-called Frankenfoods. Noting that, for thousands of years, farmers have bred crops for their disease resistance, productivity, and nutritional value, only since the 1970s have advances in biotechnology such as gene-splicing promised dramatically improved agricultural products — and stimulated public resistance far out of line with the potential risks. The authors propose a variety of business and policy reforms that can unlock the potential of this cutting-edge science and ensure appropriate safeguards. The book was published by Praeger in 2004.

Contributors to Population Puzzle: Boom or Bust? discuss our planet’s ability to support its growing population and other population-related issues, including the important question of who should decide what is best when it comes to population policy. Published by the Hoover Institution Press in 2005, the book was edited by Hoover fellow Laura Huggins and former Hoover fellow Hanna Skandera.

Saving Lives & Saving Money: Transforming Health and Health Care, by Hoover fellow Newt Gingrich, Dana Pavey, and Anne Woodbury, takes on the challenge of creating a better system of health and health care for the twenty-first century. It was published by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution in 2003.

In Politicizing Science: The Alchemy of Policymaking, eleven leading scientists from a variety of disciplines examine the conflicts that arise when politics and science converge, offering insights on the dangers of manipulating science for political gain. Edited by Michael Gough and published in 2003, the essays show how the consequences of politicization are inflicted on the public, including the diversion of money and research efforts from worthwhile scientific endeavors, the costs of unnecessary regulations, and the loss of useful products; meanwhile, increased power and prestige flow to those who manipulate science. Hoover fellow Henry Miller contributed a chapter to the volume, which was a joint publication of the Hoover Institution and the George C. Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C.

Over the years, numerous Hoover fellows have been recognized for their contributions to scholarship and society through election to prestigious honor societies and as the recipients of some of our country’s highest honors. The following are some awards and honors that Hoover scholars received during the period covered by this report.

David Brady – 2004 Richard W. Lyman Award from the Stanford Alumni Association for faculty volunteer service to Stanford University and the Stanford Alumni Association

Robert Conquest – elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences, April 2004

Eric Hanushek – 2004 Fordham Prize for Excellence in Education for distinguished scholarship

Edward Lazear – 2004 Prize in Labor Economics from the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany

Charles McLure – 2004 Daniel Holland Medal from the National Tax Association for distinguished lifetime contributions to the study and practice of public finance

Terry Moe – 2005 Fordham Prize for Excellence in Education for distinguished scholarship

Thomas Sowell – 2003 Bradley Prize for intellectual achievement

Shelby Steele – 2004 National Humanities Medal

Edward Teller (deceased) – 2003 Presidential Medal of Freedom