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Lights Out

by James L. Sweeneyvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Why was there a shortage of power in California? Largely because there was a shortage of common sense. Hoover fellow James L. Sweeney derives lessons from the energy crisis.

Milton Friedman celebrates his 90th birthday

A Hero of Freedom

by George W. Bushvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

In a ceremony at the White House this past May, President George W. Bush honored Milton Friedman for his lifetime achievements. Herewith the president’s remarks.

The Poverty Trap

by Stephen Haber, Douglass C. North, Barry R. Weingastvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

If economists are so smart, why are developing countries so poor? By Hoover fellows Stephen Haber, Douglass C. North, and Barry R. Weingast.

Party Affairs

Beijing Sets the Stage to Convene the 16th Party Congress

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

After a summer of last-minute wrangling, Beijing moved swiftly to complete preparations for the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) 16th Party Congress. Since the leadership's annual summer retreat at the north China seaside resort at Beidaihe, leadership statements and authoritative press commentary have implied that the congress, scheduled to open on November 8, 2002, will see the long-anticipated retirement of "third generation" leaders around party General Secretary Jiang Zemin and the installation of a new "fourth generation" leadership led by Hu Jintao. Chinese press commentary has also indicated that the party constitution will be amended to incorporate the "three represents"—the controversial political reform enunciated by Jiang Zemin nearly three years ago which aims to broaden the party's base by admitting the entrepreneurial, technical, and professional elite that has emerged in Chinese society under two decades of economic reform.

Political Reform

Social Issues Move to Center Stage

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

For the past two decades, economic reform—or, more precisely, economic growth—has been at the center of China's thinking about politics. Party conservatives hoped to avoid social and political cleavages by constraining economic reform. Party reformers hoped to outrun and defuse social and economic challenges by developing the economy rapidly. Today, there is no escaping that reform has created winners and losers. That conclusion is forcing social issues to the center of political consciousness. Some believe that it is already too late to address these issues effectively, while others see them as forcing a process of political reform. For the moment, the political leadership is giving few indications of specific intentions regarding political reform. But it is nevertheless setting a tone and framework that provides space for such issues to be addressed. Although the Sixteenth Party Congress will be important for many reasons, it seems likely that whatever leadership arrangements are made, the pace of political reform will increase. Whether it will increase sufficiently is more difficult to assess.

Economic Policy

Evening Glow: The Final Maneuvers of Zhu Rongji

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Economic policy reform slowed markedly at the end of 2001 and beginning of 2002. However, since June 2002, Premier Zhu Rongji has assumed a higher profile, and resumed a more authoritative role in policymaking. This increased activity should be regarded primarily as a defensive strategy. It is designed to prevent Zhu from becoming irrelevant at the end of his term and to avoid the problems that might develop if the central government were seen as weak or passive. Presumably, it is also designed to solidify Zhu's position in history. Some of the new policy activity may smooth the return to a more activist policy regime after the 16th Party Congress.

Scrapping the Pound

by Gerald A. Dorfman, Kurt Keilhackervia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

A referendum on the euro is likely within a year. Is the pound sterling doomed? An assessment by Kurt Keilhacker and Hoover fellow Gerald A. Dorfman.

The Stealth Tax

by Clark S. Judgevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Posturing in the wake of corporate scandals, Congress has passed new accounting reform legislation that “contains provisions with the potential to cause more market havoc than a dozen Enrons.” By Clark S. Judge.


with Chris Chyba, Timothy Ferris, David Morrisonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, October 25, 2002

The space program used to mean one thing: the effort to put American astronauts on the moon. That effort is becoming ancient history. We haven't sent anyone to the moon in thirty years. So what is NASA's mission today? What sort of space exploration is worth pursuing today and tomorrow? And is NASA the right institution for the job?

The Right to Private Property

by Tibor R. Machanvia Analysis
Tuesday, October 1, 2002

If there is one really serious intellectual and cultural problem with capitalism, it stems from the lack of a sustained and widely known, let alone accepted, moral defense of the institution of private property rights.

Few doubt, in today’s world, that a society with a legal infrastructure that lacks this institution is in serious economic trouble. The failure to respect and legally protect the institution of private property—and its corollaries, such as freedom of contract and of setting the terms by the parties to the trade—has produced economic weakness across the globe. But many also believe that this institution is not founded on anything more solid than the arbitrary will of the government to grant privileges of ownership (for the latest statement of this position, see Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel, The Myth of Ownership [Oxford University Press, 2002]).

Without a moral, prelegal defense, the institution of private property, which is the source of a great many benefits to us all, will forever remain vulnerable to the critics, starting with Karl Marx, who said that “the right of man to property is the right to enjoy his possessions and dispose of the same arbitrarily, without regard for other men, independently from society, the right of selfishness.” This essay argues that, contrary to widespread academic sentiments and impressions, the institution of private property rights fully accords with a sensible conception of human morality, indeed, rests on a solid moral foundation.


Economic Policy Working Group

The Working Group on Economic Policy brings together experts on economic and financial policy to study key developments in the U.S. and global economies, examine their interactions, and develop specific policy proposals.

Milton and Rose Friedman: An Uncommon Couple