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Hoover Digest 1997 No. 2

April 30, 1997

Why Inflation Figures Are . . . Inflated

Inflation ballons

The consumer price index (CPI) is one of the most important statistics the government produces. It's also one of the most misleading, badly overstating annual cost-of-living increases. Hoover fellow Michael J. Boskin, who chaired the U.S. Congressional Advisory Commission on the Consumer Price Index, explains why.

April 30, 1997

Why the CPI Matters, Big-Time

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Overstating increases in the cost of living by even small amounts costs the federal government tens of billions of dollars every year. An excerpt from the Boskin commission's report.

April 30, 1997

An Economy Unbound

The Boskin commission frees us from slavery to a flawed statistic-and permits us to see the "observable betterment of economic conditions in the United States." An accolade from the editors of the Wall Street Journal.

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April 30, 1997

The Growing Gap between Rich and Poor

Hoover fellow Kenneth L. Judd believes that income inequality in the United States has been growing for two decades—and argues that we ain't seen nothin' yet. Why the gap will widen—and what can be done about it.

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April 30, 1997

Two Types of Reforms (Serious and Not)

A recent study divided fiscal reforms in a number of countries into two types. Type-one reforms were successful. They tended to cut spending. Type-two reforms were failures. They tended to raise taxes. Will President Clinton choose type one or type two? By Hoover fellow Robert J. Barro.

April 30, 1997

Don't Cry for Argentina

Like Chile before it, Argentina recently privatized its social security system. Why can't we? By Nobel Prize-winner and Hoover fellow Gary S. Becker.

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April 30, 1997

The Next War (We Could Lose)

Engaging in one peacekeeping mission after another, the armed forces of the United States have grown ill-prepared to wage war. An analysis by former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger and Hoover visiting fellow Peter Schweizer.

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April 30, 1997

No Nukes Is Bad Nukes

Despite a growing nuclear threat from Third World countries and terrorist groups, the United States is getting rid of its own nuclear weapons as fast as it can. Hoover media fellow Tom Bethell reports on what amounts to unilateral disarmament.

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April 30, 1997

The New American Doctrine

As the brass prepare for the coming Quadrennial Defense Review, "preventive defense" is taking the place of "containment." West Point grad and Hoover national security affairs fellow Lieutenant Colonel Christopher L. Shepherd explains the new doctrine.

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April 30, 1997

Why House Republicans Are Right to Be Right

The Contract with America was so far to the right that it only hurt House Republicans, right? Wrong. Hoover fellows David Brady, John F. Cogan, and Douglas Rivers join together for an analysis of the 1996 election results.

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April 30, 1997

Black Students Need to Be Taught, Not Indoctrinated

Black students need to be given good teaching and held to high academic expectations. They don't need ebonics. By Hoover fellow Shelby Steele.

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April 30, 1997

Public Schools Need a Little Peer Pressure

Critics of voucher proposals, including President Clinton, believe that increased competition from private schools would hurt public education. Nobel Prize-winner and Hoover fellow Gary S. Becker argues the reverse: Faced with more competition, public schools will get better, not worse.

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April 30, 1997

The Economic Approach to Fighting Crime

Nobel Prize-winner and Hoover fellow Gary S. Becker and Hoover fellow Guity Nashat point out that, like everyone else, criminals respond to incentives.

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April 30, 1997

Why Mafias Develop

Mafias operate in Sicily, the United States, Russia, and elsewhere. Hoover fellow Annelise Anderson examines the economics of organized crime.

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April 30, 1997

How the Indians Did It

According to the widespread myth, American Indians lived in an exquisite, mystical harmony with nature. According to Hoover fellow Terry L. Anderson, there was nothing mystical about it. Indians lived in harmony with nature because they practiced property rights.

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April 30, 1997

In the Beginning was the Transistor

According to most accounts, the invention of the transistor kicked off the high-tech revolution. Not exactly, argues Hoover fellow Paul M. Romer. The process of learning and discovery itself proved at least as important. A meditation on incentives and ideas.

April 30, 1997

Two Myths about Biotechnology

Biotechnology is already responsible for products ranging from new medicines to genetically engineered tomatoes, yet the very idea of tinkering with genetic material makes millions of Americans nervous. Hoover fellow Henry I. Miller says we can relax.

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April 30, 1997

Totalitarianism and Technology

Hoover fellow Robert Conquest examines the uses to which Lenin and Stalin put the technology of their day-and to which future totalitarians might put the technology of tomorrow.

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April 30, 1997

Shamed by the Same Sad History

Hoover fellow Shelby Steele argues that the thought of ending affirmative action scares all Americans, black and white. We cannot end racial preferences until we look our fears in the face.

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April 30, 1997

American Commercial Law: A Brief Celebration

Hoover fellow Robert E. Hall and economist Susan E. Woodward examine our much-maligned system of commercial law-and find that it works pretty darned well. Why the United States doesn't have too many lawyers.

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April 30, 1997

The Ten Commandments of Foreign Policy

Former Secretary of State and Hoover fellow George P. Shultz recently spent some time thinking over the advice he would give to President Clinton's new foreign policy team. What it all comes down to, he decided, is ten fundamental principles.

April 30, 1997

Tomb with a View

Russia can never truly embrace democracy and free markets without repudiating its communist past-and it can never repudiate its communist past while a certain corpse remains on display. Why Russia should bury Lenin and all his works. By Hoover fellow Arnold Beichman.

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April 30, 1997

How the Mob Rules Russia

Responsible sources estimate that two-fifths of the Russian economy is already in the hands of organized crime. Hoover fellow Richard F. Staar explains how the mob runs entire regions of the biggest country on earth-and exerts influence in the Kremlin itself.

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April 30, 1997

A Complicated Peace

Late last year President Alvaro Arzu of Guatemala, the biggest country in Central America, signed a peace accord with guerrilla insurgents, ending the country's thirty-six-year civil war. How will Arzu bring economic growth to agricultural regions that don't even have clear land titles? Or political stability to a country in which 70 percent of the people see the legal system as a mere device of the white elite? Hoover fellows Edgardo Buscaglia Jr. and William Ratliff explain why negotiating the peace accord may have been the easy part

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April 30, 1997

A Thatcherite Plan for Latin America

After getting under way in the 1980s, the privatization movement in Latin America has stalled out. Hoover fellow David R. Henderson argues that it can still be jump-started-if Latin leaders do what Margaret did.

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April 30, 1997

Is There Hope for Africa?

Fifty-three nations occupy the continent of Africa. Only two have remained democratic since achieving independence. Hoover fellow Larry Diamond surveys the changes that must take place if democracy is ever to supplant Africa's corrupt, authoritarian regimes.

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April 30, 1997

Why England Developed Healthy Markets-and Spain Didn't

Over several centuries, England developed free markets-and a large cast of supporting institutions, including private property and an independent judiciary. During the same period, Spain failed to develop any such institutions, enduring economic stagnation instead. Why? It all started with some kings and queens who were short of funds. Nobel Prize-winner and Hoover fellow Douglass C. North explains.

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April 30, 1997

The Trouble Started with Honest Abe

Who was the father of big government? FDR? Not according to Hoover fellow David R. Henderson, who makes a case that the trouble started not with the New Deal but with the Civil War.

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April 30, 1997

The Economic Consequences of the Fall of Two Empires

Western Europe recovered from the Third Reich with astonishing speed. Yet Russia and much of Eastern Europe are now engaged in a long, slow struggle to recover from communism. What accounts for the difference? A final essay by the late Hoover fellow Lewis H. Gann.

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April 30, 1997

Portrait of Thomas Sowell

The author of thirty-one books, Hoover fellow Thomas Sowell is blunt and exacting. An appreciation of a scholar with no time for "navel-gazing and hand-wringing."

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April 30, 1997

Why I Gave Up Marxism

Hoover fellow Thomas Sowell began his intellectual career as a disciple of Karl Marx. What changed his mind? Read on. A slice of the essential Sowell.

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April 30, 1997

Cosmic Justice and Human Reality

Hoover fellow Thomas Sowell examines the very concept of equality, concluding that it is "one of the crucial far-fetched ideas of our time." Sowell at his most analytically acute-and politically incorrect.

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April 30, 1997

A comprehensive listing

A comprehensive listing of recent writings of Hoover fellows and publications from the Hoover Press.

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