Many petroleum experts predict that world oil production will peak by the end of the decade. Will the United States soon be entering a period of worsening energy shortages and soaring energy costs? And, if so, what should the government to do about it? Or will the ever-improving technological efficiencies of the free market provide access to virtually endless sources of new energy? Peter Robinson speaks with Peter Huber and Jonathan Koomey.
Over the past several years, biotechnology companies, in a race to find possible new drugs, have deluged the U.S. Patent Office with tens of thousands of requests for patents on pieces of human DNA. Are gene patents being granted inappropriately, before gene functions are fully understood? Are gene patents encouraging or hindering the progress of medicine and the development of new drugs? Some critics have a broader objection to gene patents, arguing that it is inappropriate to give a company the exclusive right to genetic material that is inside us all. Are gene patents, as they suggest, patents on life?
Building America's electricity system was one of the great achievements of the twentieth century, providing inexpensive energy to homes and businesses throughout the country. But in the twenty-first century, two crises occurred. In 2001, California experienced massive electricity shortages, leading to rolling blackouts and skyrocketing electrical bills. And in 2003, a blackout swept across eight states in the Midwest and Northeast, leaving tens of millions in the dark. Why did these problems arise now, after a century of progress? Were they the result of ill-advised attempts to deregulate the utility industry? Or is more deregulation actually the solution?
The presidential election of 2000 highlighted the significant demographic divisions between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The strength of the Republicans lies in the South and in the middle of the country. But the voters that carried those regions for George W. Bush, mostly white and Protestant, are shrinking as a proportion of the overall United States population. Are these demographic changes a serious problem for the Republicans? If so, what can they do to bring groups that have traditionally been Democratic—Hispanics, blacks, and Catholics, for example—into the Republican Party?
The September 11 attacks in New York and Washington have already cost America thousands of lives and billions of dollars in damages. But those are only the direct costs. How severe and how lasting will the impact be on our economy as whole? And how will new burdens on the federal government, including a military buildup and a bailout of the airline industry, affect fiscal policy? Should the government cut taxes or increase spending to get the economy moving again?
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya discusses a new COVID-19 survey of Major League Baseball employees as well as very real health risks associated with a prolonged lockdowns.
In 1998, India and Pakistan detonated nuclear weapons, becoming the first new nations in three decades to join the club of nuclear powers. Today other nations, such as North Korea and Iran, are on verge of doing so as well. Why is the nonproliferation regime, which seemed to work well for so many years, failing now? Has the Bush administration's response to the new dangers of proliferation been appropriate, or will it make the danger worse?
Does bilingual education, teaching non-English speaking students academic subjects in their native language while they learn English, help students or hold them back? Should we use the English immersion method instead? Are the recent bans on bilingual education in California and Arizona a mistake or the beginnings of a national trend?
It is estimated that Colombia produces 90 percent of the cocaine and 65 percent of the heroin consumed in the United States. In July of 2000, with bipartisan support, President Clinton signed a $1.3 billion aid package for Colombia to help that country with its war on drugs. The package includes providing the Colombian Army with military helicopters and U.S. military advisors. Will the aid package succeed in stemming the flow of drugs from Colombia, or will it entangle the United States in Colombia's bloody civil war? Will American soldiers lose their lives fighting the drug war in Colombia? Is this a necessary escalation of our own war on drugs or a bad idea?
Does our system of tort law need to be reformed or would reforms restrict a fundamental right to legal redress? Are trial lawyers taking advantage of the system, to the detriment of both citizens that have been harmed and the companies that are sued? Are limits on punitive damage awards and restrictions on class-action lawsuits good ideas or not?
For more than thirty years, the United States has been waging a war on drugs. This war—which takes the form of billions of dollars spent each year on drug law enforcement and interdiction, as well as harsh sentencing for drug offenses—is being called a failure by many critics. But if it is a failure, is drug legalization the solution? Just how would legalization work? And would the benefits of legalization outweigh the costs?
Why are so many in Silicon Valley, from the cubicles to the boardrooms, likely to be libertarians, or technolibertarians, as some have called them? What do these technolibertarians believe about the role of government and entrepreneurship? How will they use the massive wealth that’s been created in Silicon Valley during the past several decades? Are they promoting the public welfare or shirking responsibility by not participating in the political process?
Is our patent system failing the new information economy? Critics say that the way that patents are being granted on computer software and on Internet business methods threatens to impede technology and commerce rather than encourage it. Can industry resolve intellectual property problems on its own? Should we overhaul the patent system or just the U.S. Patent Office?
John Yoo is a professor at the University of California–Berkeley School of Law and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. Richard Epstein is a professor of law at NYU, a professor of law emeritus at the University of Chicago, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution. In this wide-ranging discussion, recorded the day after Amy Coney Barrett accepted President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the professors discuss Barrett’s qualifications and why it was correct and proper to nominate her now—five weeks before an election.
Guests predict that, in the near future, most people will no longer use cash, but rather conduct all financial transactions electronically. These transactions will be instantaneous, secure, and invisible and will remake the entire global economy. What will happen when governments can no longer control or tax the flow of capital? According to our guests, nothing less than a revolution.
The United States leads the developed world in spending on health care, at nearly 15 percent of our GDP. But based on measures such as life expectancy at birth, Americans receive a lower level of care than do the citizens of many countries that spend less. What's wrong with health care in America? And how should we fix it? Peter Robinson speaks with John F. Cogan and Alain Enthoven.
With the arrival of anthrax letters in Washington, New York, and Florida in the fall of 2001, the often-ignored threat of bioterrorism became a very frightening reality, causing illness and death and costing billions of dollars. How has this attack changed our assessment of the threat of biological and chemical weapons? What can and should be done to detect and control these weapons and defend ourselves against future attacks?
Despite overwhelming victories by our armed forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States military establishment is caught up in a major debate on the structure of the military. On one side are traditionalists who emphasize the importance of large ground forces. On the other side are reformers who want our forces to be lighter, smaller, faster, and more high-tech. What are the lessons of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Who's right, the traditionalists or the reformers?
Should the U.S. Census stop collecting racial and ethnic data? The 2000 census asked Americans to identify themselves according to 126 possible racial and ethnic categories, up from just 5 categories in 1990. Movements are now afoot to add even more racial categories to the 2010 census. Does the collection of all these data stand in the way of the creation of a truly color-blind society? Should we drop questions of race from the census and other government forms? Or are these data critical tools in the ongoing fight to end inequality and discrimination?
An eighteen-year civil war between the Arab north and the African south has created a humanitarian crisis in Sudan. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said of Sudan, "There is perhaps no greater tragedy on the face of the earth today." President George W. Bush has promised, that under his administration, foreign involvements would take place only where direct American interests are at stake. Does the tragedy in Sudan warrant direct U.S. involvement? If so, just what can, and should, the United States do?