Europe and the U.S. are both at risk of falling into an Italian spiral of public theft
Even well-informed Americans are unlikely to know much about the level of corruption prevalent within the member states of the European Union (EU). A fascinating article in the London Review of Books by UCLA professor Perry Anderson opens with a tour de force run-through of the high crimes and misdemeanors featuring recent heads of state... Read More
Aerospace execs sell their industry to Japan—one part at a time.
At a welcoming banquet in Japan in the 1980s, Ford Motor chairman Philip Caldwell received a memorably double-edged compliment. “There is no secret about how we learned to do what we do, Mr. Caldwell,” said the head of Toyota Motor, Eiji Toyoda. “We learned it at the Rouge.” Toyoda was referring to Ford’s fabled River... Read More
Salon just published my piece pointing out the crucial importance of including a large rise in the federal minimum wage in the current immigration legislation: No Immigration Amnesty Without a Minimum Wage Hike Salon, May 18, 2013 Congress is currently considering bipartisan legislation providing an amnesty for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants, probably combined with... Read More
With all eyes and all headlines fixed so intently upon Boston’s two Caucasian Bombers, hardly anyone has been paying attention to revelations of a far more devastating disaster that unfolded close nearby, but which were generally buried on the inside pages of our major newspapers. I refer, of course, to the Harvard Spreadsheet Glitch, the... Read More
Developments of enormous consequence sometimes follow the most mundane of motives. During the mid-1990s, the giant Disney Corporation became concerned that its 1928 copyright on Mickey Mouse was close to expiration. Deploying heavy lobbying efforts, it persuaded Congress to pass and President Bill Clinton to sign what was officially entitled the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright... Read More
My Friday Aspen Institute panel in DC on raising the minimum wage went well, though the discussion underscored the somewhat insular thinking of many of the policy elites who dominate life in our capital city. As an example, although the audience and participants skewed heavily toward the “economic left,” several individuals mentioned how surprised they... Read More
The front page of this morning’s New York Times carried a story highlighting the growing discontent of working-class Americans whose “wages have floundered” over the last few years despite the “record levels” of corporate profits. Although this discontent may seem somewhat mysterious to many American politicians, who spend their time closely cosseted with affluent lobbyists... Read More
Earlier this week Washington Post Columnist Matt Miller published an excellent piece making the case for a large increase in the federal minimum wage, including arguments drawn from a wide range of prominent business and political figures, as well as mention of my own recent New America article on that issue. Given the importance of... Read More
The reaction to my long Meritocracy cover story followed a very unusual pattern. On the one hand, the piece received just a fraction of the major links and web discussions which several of my previous articles have attracted, and many of these seemed curiously abbreviated or oblique, sometimes describing my article as being quite important... Read More
Harvard's academic mission is dwarfed by its $30 billion endowment.
From its 1636 foundation Harvard had always ranked as America’s oldest and most prestigious college, even as it gradually grew in size and academic quality during the first three centuries of its existence. The widespread destruction brought about by the Second World War laid low its traditional European rivals, and not long after celebrating its... Read More
Why won’t anyone talk about Tokyo’s auto protectionism?
Mitt Romney was in his element a few years ago as the Obama administration struggled to rescue the Detroit auto industry. In an eat-your-spinach tone, he ticked off his recommendations for reform. Top management should go, executive dining rooms should be shut, and factory wages slashed. Then there were the industry’s “legacy costs”: given how... Read More
In recent weeks my description of the possible scale of the Vioxx Disaster has begun getting a little coverage on the web and in the British press, leading to some strong "push back" by people who say I can’t possibly be right. They may certainly be correct in their opinion, but I think their reasoning... Read More
A couple of years ago, Pulitzer Prize winner Sydney Schanberg, one of America's most celebrated Vietnam War journalists and a former top editor at the New York Times, explained to me the sad realities of our major newspapers. According to him, there was generally a strong inverse relationship between the geographical distance separating a newspaper's... Read More
Such was the provocative title under which Alexander Cockburn ran a recent column discussing my China/America article in The Week, a British-based news magazine which claims a total American print circulation of over 500,000. We’ll see whether anyone notices that column either. Cockburn’s question referred to my examination of the American mortality figures surrounding the... Read More
In contrasting China and America, pundits often cite our free and independent media as one of our greatest strengths, together with the tremendous importance which our society places upon individual American lives. For us, a single wrongful death can sometimes provoke weeks of massive media coverage and galvanize the nation into corrective action, while life... Read More
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The rise of China surely ranks among the most important world developments of the last 100 years. With America still trapped in its fifth year of economic hardship, and the Chinese economy poised to surpass our own before the end of this decade, China looms very large on the horizon. We are living in the... Read More
Just a few days ago prominent liberal economist James K. Galbraith strongly endorsed the economic proposals at the heart of my recent immigration article, arguing they constituted the best chance for reviving the American economy. And now National Review's leading domestic policy analyst, Reihan Salam, has written a lengthy column discussing Galbraith's arguments and exploring... Read More
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
Will mass immigration destroy the GOP? Can our middle-class society survive high immigration levels? Is there any political solution to our current immigration difficulties? Last June the U.S. Census disclosed that non-white births in America were on the verge of surpassing the white total and might do so as early as the end of this... Read More
How currency manipulation destroyed American manufacturing
TOKYO—In the mid 1990s, I published a book entitled Blindside: Why Japan Is Still on Track to Overtake the U.S. By the Year 2000. The prediction in the subtitle did not, as they say, pan out. But it was more soundly based than casual readers of the U.S. financial press might imagine. The book offered... Read More
Meet the heterodox economists challenging globalism.
“I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws, or crafts its advanced treatises, if I can write its economics textbooks.” So said one of the greatest textbook writers of them all, Paul Samuelson. But even Samuelson didn’t live forever—he died in 2009 aged 94—and now others decide what the rising generation is reading. It is... Read More
The Pentagon sells out American manufacturing for Japanese bases.
TOKYO—When German executives visit Tokyo, they are often treated to a session at Bernd’s Bar, a notably authentic German pub. A bit too authentic, perhaps, given its Axis-era accoutrements. The last time I was there, one of the walls still featured a huge photograph of Willy Messerschmitt in conversation with Charles Lindbergh. It had evidently... Read More
The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America’s Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era, Clyde Prestowitz, Free Press, 340 pages How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds, Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch, 264 pages George W. Bush’s under secretary of commerce for international trade, Frank Lavin, was once... Read More
America goes Ottoman shopping.
Here’s an economic history test: 1. Which Great Power pioneered the secular trend towards freer international trade? 2. Which Great Power first resorted to spiraling foreign indebtedness to pay for its wars? 3. Which Great Power first permitted large-scale foreign direct investment in its domestic industries and infrastructure? If you guessed such latter-day globalizers as... Read More
Before there was Beatlemania, there was Reischauermania. Admittedly, the latter was more localized and, of course, it is not much remembered these days. But it was huge at the time, and in the end it may prove to have left a bigger mark on history. The object of adoration, a dapper, middle-aged Harvard East Asian... Read More
Getting the American economy back on solid ground will require new financial regulations. Goldman Sachs alums aren’t...
As bewildered Americans survey the wreckage of their nation’s once vaunted financial system, they could do worse than reacquaint themselves with one of Wall Street’s oldest and most revealing parables. The story goes that an out-of-town customer dropped by to talk to his broker and afterwards was ushered around Lower Manhattan’s yacht-filled docks. “Here is... Read More