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The Uninsured’s Hidden Tax on Health Insurance Premiums in California

by John F. Cogan, Matthew Gunn, Daniel P. Kessler, Evan J. Lodesvia Analysis
Sunday, April 1, 2007

The basic premise behindmany recent California health-care reform plans is that Californians who have health insurance bear a large part of the financial burden of the health-care services provided to the uninsured. Doctors and hospitals, by charging insured persons systematically higher prices for health-care services, shift the costs of treating the uninsured onto the insured. These higher charges cause higher health insurance premiums— California’s ‘‘hidden tax.’’ According to reform advocates, the hidden tax is so large that the reforms, which include mandates and new taxes, will actually reduce those premiums.

T.V. Soong in Modern Chinese History

T.V. Soong in Modern Chinese History

by Tai-Chun Kuo, Hsiao-ting Linvia Analysis
Wednesday, March 1, 2006

In April 2004, the Hoover Institution opened nineteen boxes of the restricted personal papers of T. V. Soong, a leading official in the nationalist government from the late 1920s to 1949, along with two thousand documents donated by the Soong family. At the same time the Hoover Institution and the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, agreed to preserve those records and make them available for researchers. In late 2005 Chiang Kai-shek’s family placed his diaries and those of Chiang Ching-kuo in the Hoover Archives.

Undermining the Foundations of Organized Crime and Public Sector Corruption: An Essay on Best International Practices

by Edgardo Buscaglia, William Ratliffvia Analysis
Monday, August 1, 2005

Corruption and organized crime are serious criminal phenomena, but they are also much more than that. Not only is organized crime an impediment to national development and globalization, but with its links to terrorist groups worldwide, it is also a threat to the national security of the United States and other open and opening societies. The recent histories of Pakistan and Colombia demonstrate clearly how organized criminal groups support the expansion of transnational terrorism and even how misconceived domestic and international policies can simply make matters worse (Buscaglia 1999; Buscaglia and Ratliff 2001). The threat that these activities of organized crime presents is compounded because transnational criminal organizations often act with the tacit or explicit support of state authorities, as in the illegal traf?cking of radioactive, biological, and chemical materials and in the more conventional transport of military and other equipment (Buscaglia and Gonzalez-Ruiz 2002). That is, criminal groups frequently expand their activities worldwide by capturing the public policies of states with the support of corrupt public of?cials, who then do not work conscientiously for the good of their own nations or of the international community. Just one example is the transnational criminal organizations in Russia that engage in the traf?cking and supplying of weapons to terrorist groups inside and outside the Fed-eration's borders, which they do by corrupting local public of?cials and of?cials in the military establishment (Buscaglia 1997).

Organized crime, corruption, and links to terrorism are possible because of weaknesses in the control mechanisms of state and civil society, as demonstrated by conditions in Colombia (Buscaglia and Ratliff 2001) and by large-scale terrorist involvement in organized crime, including money laundering, as has been the case with the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland (Economist 2005). Theory and applied research suggest that there are interdependent links along the entire spectrum of political, socioeconomic, legal, and criminal justice domains (Shelley 1995; Buscaglia and Gonzalez-Ruiz 2002; Buscaglia and Ratliff 2000). For example, the analytical results found in Buscaglia and van Dijk (2003), from a sample of more than ?ve dozen countries worldwide, attest to the deep ties between the growth of organized crime and the growth of public sector corruption. Many believe incorrectly that in a large range of societies the links between organized crime and terrorists resemble the popular perceptions of a formal and structured "Ma?a" type (Buscaglia and Gonzalez-Ruiz 2002). But on the contrary, these criminal enterprises are dynamic and relatively loose structures, making the task of both law enforcement and intelligence analysis much more dif?cult (Williams 2001).

There is ample evidence of organized crime's involvement in some major piratical attacks in the Malacca Strait, for example, with the threats those attacks posed to persons, to property, and to the delivery of, among other things, 80 percent of the oil shipped to Asia's booming economies. Indeed, organized crime may be involved in the setting up of "phantom ships" that intelligence sources say are under the control of al-Qaeda (Ratliff 2005a, 2005b; Burnett 2002). What is more, evidence suggests that these links between terrorism and organized crime are on the rise. For example, since 1990 the transnational organized crime linked to speci?c terrorist operations has increased at an average rate of 8, 19, and 21 percent yearly in Latin America, Africa, and Eurasia, respectively (Buscaglia and Gonzalez-Ruiz 2002). Thus the links between organized crime and states with weak or corrupt governance constitute an important threat to international peace and security as well as to national development and well-being. They demand a response that will both improve national governance and development and reduce links that threaten national and international security. The composite indices of organized crime and corruption in Buscaglia and van Dijk (2003) were used to identify the institutional factors linked to reductions in complex crime. This policy essay goes one step further by delineating best practices in counteracting organized crime and public sector corruption.

This essay is in three parts: (1) focus and background, (2) methodology and empirical analysis, and (3) policy recommendations taken from the study of best international practices in counteracting organized crime and public sector corruption.

The Modern China Archives and Special Collections

by Ramon H. Myers, Tai-Chun Kuovia Analysis
Monday, February 7, 2005

In 1899, twenty-five-year-old Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou Henry, were living in Tientsin, China, where he was the comanager of the Kaiping mines. It was there that Hoover first began to study Chinese language and history. In 1907 Hoover helped Stanford University historian Payson Treat buy books about China, especially its history, and in 1913 Hoover donated six hundred such books, some very rare, to Stanford University. In 1919 Hoover’s interest in foreign affairs inspired him to establish the Hoover Institution Library and Archives. After World War II with luck and good timing, Chinese and non-Chinese public servants, military officers, engineers, journalists, scholars, and the like began donating their private papers and other materials to the Hoover Institution, where they were to be preserved and made available to interested readers. The papers of T. V. Soong are one of many preeminent collections. Americans involved in China, such as General Albert Wedemeyer and General Joseph Stilwell, also donated their papers to the Hoover Archives.

In 2003 the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace signed an agreement with the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party of the Republic of China (ROC), to help preserve the vast historical records held in that party’s archives in Taipei, Taiwan. As the longest-enduring political party in Asia, the KMT was China’s premier revolutionary party until it was defeated in 1949 by Communist Party forces and forced to relocate in Taiwan. The historic Hoover agreement provides for microfilming the official party records, which will stay in Taiwan, along with a preservation copy. A use copy will be made available in the Hoover Archives.

When Chinese in the United States and Taiwan, including the National Women’s League in Taipei, learned of the KMT-Hoover cooperative project, they too agreed to have their materials preserved in the archives. (The Soong family began donating its materials to the Hoover Institution Archives in 1973, followed by additional papers in April 1980 and again in the spring of 2004.)

Those donations helped create the Modern China Archives and Special Collections. These special collections are now being integrated with the China-related material accumulated since 1919. (Trade press materials, such as published vernacular Chinese books and serials, were transferred from the Hoover Archives to the Stanford University Libraries in 2002.)

Making and Remaking America: Immigration into the United States

by Peter J. Duignanvia Analysis
Monday, September 15, 2003

Continued immigration constantly reshapes the demography, economy, and society of the United States. As a country of immigrants, America must respond to three fundamental immigration questions: how many immigrants should be admitted; from where and in what status should they arrive; and how should the rules governing the system be enforced?

During the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. Congress responded to growing gaps between immigration policy and immigration reality by making major changes in immigration laws and their administration. In 1986, the United States enacted the world’s largest legalization program for unauthorized foreigners and introduced sanctions on employers who knowingly hired illegal foreign workers. Instead of slowing illegal immigration, however, this program allowed more foreigners to arrive legally and illegally, which prompted another round of reforms in 1996 aimed at ensuring that new arrivals would not receive welfare payments.

On September 11, 2001, foreigners in the United States hijacked four commercial planes. Two were flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, bringing them down and killing 3,000 people. President George W. Bush declared war on terrorists and the countries that harbor them, and Congress enacted legislation to fight terrorism. This includes new measures for tightening procedures for issuing visas to foreign visitors, tracking foreign students and visitors while they are in the United States, and giving immigration authorities new power to arrest and detain foreigners suspected of ties to terrorism. The Immigration and Naturalization Service was abolished, and its functions of preventing illegal immigration and providing services to foreign visitors and immigrants were separated in the new Department of Homeland Security.

However, anti-terrorism measures have not slowed immigration to the United States. America is poised to remain the world’s major destination for immigrants, and as patterns in U.S. history suggest, most of the newcomers will soon become Americans. However, past success in integrating immigrants does not guarantee that integrating newcomers will be easy or automatic. As immigrants continue to make and remake the country, the United States must develop an immigration policy for the twenty-first century.

Russia's Oil in America's Future: Policy, Pipelines, and Prospects

by William Ratliffvia Analysis
Monday, September 1, 2003

Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin will hold a summit at the end of September that will focus on economic and other ties between the United States and Russia. The two presidents have long recognized the central position of energy in our bilateral relations, and in that sphere, nothing is as critical as oil. Today Russia may again be the largest oil exporter in the world, but very little yet comes to the United States. Russia’s oil industry is dominated by rich and aggressive young private companies. Generally, they are eager to deal with foreigners, but despite significant state reforms they often are still inhibited by a dilapidated, state-controlled delivery system and a residue of traditional thinking and institutions. Many of Russia’s as-yet-unresolved post-Soviet prob-lems exploded in mid-2003 when the prosecutor general’s office attacked Yukos, the country’s most modernized, productive and pro-American private oil company. Thus even as Washington and American oil industry leaders actively sought alternatives to unstable sources in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, basic questions re-emerged in Russia about the privatizations of the 1990s, the security of private property, the mixing of law and politics, and the exercise of power in the Kremlin. Today Russians, with the support of American and European allies, must create conditions that will welcome the foreign funds, technology, and expertise needed to develop the critical oil industry but also to lay foundations of law and infrastructure that will help make Russia a stable member of the world community. Americans must decide how much involvement Russia can constructively absorb to promote not only short-term oil supplies but also long-term Russian development and broader U.S. foreign policy goals. Finally, the critical long-term lesson of 9/11 and other recent experiences for Americans is that even as we cultivate Russia as an ally and major source of oil, we must actively develop alternative sources of energy. In an unstable world, the United States must not forever be held hostage by other nations with their often very different cultures, institutions and interests.

Doing It Wrong and Doing It Right: Education in Latin America and Asia

by William Ratliffvia Analysis
Saturday, March 1, 2003

Forty years ago Asia and Latin America were at similar levels of economic development. This is no longer true, however, for reforming East and Southeast Asian countries, periodic problems notwithstanding, have made long strides toward the developed world. Meanwhile, most of Latin America, after the reform euphoria of the 1990s, is passing through yet another of its periodic crises. Serious economic development in much of Asia has reduced poverty and inequality; in Latin America sustained economic growth and effective institution building have rarely occurred, and the region is falling ever farther behind the rest of the developing world. One critical factor in Asia’s success has been its universal, increasingly high-quality education systems, particularly at the primary and secondary levels, that have enabled most people to promote their own well-being and contribute to national development. The high quality of Asian education is evident in international testing that finds reforming Asian countries at the head of the class. Latin Americans, in contrast, when they even dare to participate in such testing, come out at or near the bottom. Why the difference? Because although both regions began with rigid, elitist traditional ideas and institutions, Latin Americans have been much less willing or able or both to adapt and transform their past in order to participate more productively in the modern world. Latin American leaders have not chosen to undertake deep and lasting reform, and the Latin American people, to the degree that they have any voice in the matter, have not demanded such changes. It is in U.S. interests to support education reform in Latin America because doing so will promote development and stability there and thus more productive relations between north and south. But we should do so only when the region’s leaders demonstrate the will to undertake substantive change and commit the resources to make it happen.

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.

Some Implications of the Turnover of Political Power in Taiwan

by Ramon H. Myersvia Analysis
Monday, April 1, 2002

On March 18, 2000, Taiwan’s citizens voted the Nationalist Party (KMT) out of office and the Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate Chen Shui-bian in as president. The implications of this peaceful turnover of political party are that, instead of negotiating with mainland China’s authorities to achieve a political settlement of the divided China problem, President Chen has opted for negotiations to take place under a special state-to-state relationship. At the same time, President Chen’s administration has launched a “silent revolution,” promoting Taiwan nationalism: a shared belief that Taiwan has the qualifications of a sovereign nation, that it has a special state-to-state relationship with mainland China, and that its people have the ethnic identity of Taiwan, not Taiwan and China. Meanwhile, the Chen administration, like the Lee Teng-hui administration before it, is changing symbols, rewriting Taiwan’s history, and promoting cultural values of Taiwan inclusiveness to promote Taiwan nationalism and to carry out the de-Sinofication of Taiwan. In response, mainland China’s authorities offered a new interpretation of the “one-China” principle, but the Chen administration rejected that concession. Political fragmentation continues. These developments have frozen cross-strait negotiations and put Taiwan and mainland China on a collision course. But long-term developments, such as growing integration of the Taiwan–mainland China market economies, a revitalized political opposition, and a favorable perception of mainland China’s modernization could neutralize Tai-wan’s nationalism and restart cross-strait talks.

War and Lack of Governance in Colombia: Narcos, Guerrillas, and U.S. Policy

by Edgardo Buscaglia, William Ratliffvia Analysis
Sunday, July 1, 2001

This essay is based on academic and field research conducted by both authors between 1994 and 2001 in Colombia and the United States. For more references, see Buscaglia, “Law and Economics of Development” in The Encyclopedia of Law and Economics (Cheltenham: Eduard Elgar, 2000).

Colombia today is crippled by its most serious political, economic, social, and moral crisis in a century, a condition that seriously threatens both Latin America and the national interests of the United States in the region.

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