The Hoover Institution held its Southern California Conference in Pasadena on Tuesday, February 3, 2015. The conference offered presentations by Hoover fellows on a wide range of public policy issues, from the economy to immigration to democratic values. Below is a selection of podcasts and chartcasts from the conference.
Russell Roberts, the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow, discusses the sharing economy, using Airbnb and Uber as case studies. Through a series of vignettes, Roberts argues that the rating system builds trust between strangers and therefore lowers the transaction costs of providing and seeking services outside the traditional market. He then talks about the primary critiques of the sharing economy, especially surge pricing. He ends with some thoughts on the significance of the sharing economy.
Research Fellow Bruce Thornton discusses the challenges of foreign policy in a democratic state, based on his recent book Democracy’s Dangers and Discontents: The Tyranny of the Majority from the Greeks to Obama. He begins with examining the drawbacks of using widespread discussion and deliberation for prompt decision making, which is a critical component for successful foreign policy. He argues that elections, accountability, and other democratic institutions deter the long-term thinking and sustained morale for war. He ends with a discussion on the trade-offs necessitated by democratic institutions.
Senior Fellow Michael McConnell discusses the constitutionality of President Obama’s recent executive action order on immigration. He argues that Congress is powerless to overturn the law but that Texas v United States, a lawsuit in Texas challenging the law with twenty-one states signed on as plaintiffs, might empower the courts. The lawsuit is not only asking whether the executive action is constitutional but also whether courts can take action.
Senior Fellow Shelby Steele discusses his latest book Shame How America's Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country. The United States today is hopelessly polarized; the political Right and Left have hardened into rigid and deeply antagonistic camps, preventing any sort of progress. Amid the bickering and inertia, the promise of the 1960s—when we came together as a nation to fight for equality and universal justice—remains unfulfilled...
Senior Fellow Lee Ohanian discusses the US economy, juxtaposing quotes from the 2015 State of the Union address with his graphs. Topics include the national debt, the economic recovery, US education standards, banking regulation, and health care. He ends with his suggested policy reforms.