A Billion Here, A Billion There

A Billion Here, A Billion There

The United States comprises 4% of the world’s population but consumes over 16% of its energy. It is high time for the United States to once again step up to the challenge of climate change. How should we evaluate what a President Biden might do? Continue Reading

The Public’s Business

The Public’s Business

By promoting behavioral norms that balance market and society, “stakeholder capitalism” is supposed to enable private firms to fill the vacuum created by the decline of traditional forms of regulation by national governments. Ultimately, though, the only viable solution is to make business itself more democratic. Continue Reading

The Stock-Market Disconnect

The Stock-Market Disconnect

The best explanation for why stock markets remain so bullish despite a massive recession is that major publicly traded companies have not borne the brunt of the pandemic’s economic fallout. But having been spared by the virus, they could soon find themselves squarely in the sights of a populist backlash. Continue Reading

Herd Immunity Will Not Defeat COVID-19

Herd Immunity Will Not Defeat COVID-19

Although White House officials deny that US President Donald Trump’s administration has adopted herd immunity as a strategy for combating COVID-19, Trump’s words and actions tell a different story. But with coronaviruses, such an approach is not and should never be an option. Continue Reading

The Meaning of 200,000 COVID-19 Deaths

The Meaning of 200,000 COVID-19 Deaths

Americans’ desensitization to the pandemic’s skyrocketing death toll vindicates Joseph Stalin’s famous observation: “One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.” The danger of this approach, of course, is that it relieves government of its obligation to act – opening the way for far more COVID-19 deaths. Continue Reading

Reopening the Peace Factory

Reopening the Peace Factory

Some regard the United Nations as one of the greatest achievements of the so-called liberal international order that was conceived at the end of World War II, while others argue that the organization has never been very liberal, international, or ordered. Both positions have become clichés, but the second is closer to the truth. Continue Reading

Winners and Losers of the Pandemic Economy

Winners and Losers of the Pandemic Economy

While it is true that bullish equity markets are out of step with the historic contraction in the real economy, to say that they are disconnected from it misses the point. In fact, the lofty valuations of companies with high intangible capital per employee make perfect sense in today’s economy. Continue Reading

Poverty as Injustice

Poverty as Injustice

Across Western advanced economies, a widespread sense of malaise has given rise to a debate about what the state can and should do to ensure economic justice, particularly for those at the bottom of the income ladder. As always, the fundamental question is whether public policies would help or hamper growth and dynamism. Continue Reading

Board Games

Board Games

For long periods of economic history, societies have built walls to defend themselves, relying on local suppliers to a domestic marketplace. Today, economic, public health and political factors are driving a similar trend toward self-reliance again, with all that it implies. Continue Reading

To the Brink with China

To the Brink with China

The chances of a Sino-American cold war are far higher today than they were just months ago. Even worse, the chances of an actual war, resulting from an incident involving the countries’ militaries, are also greater. Continue Reading

The Robot Question

The Robot Question

Although robots that can perform human labor will put downward pressure on wages in the short term, they also will increase the rate of profit, encouraging more investment and a recovery in the wage rate. It is not so much the economics of new technologies that should worry us, but rather the politics and ethics. Continue Reading

The Long Run

The Long Run

The long run is a forecaster’s biggest challenge. But it yields substantial rewards, among them recognition of future challenges and possible solutions. Continue Reading

The Spectre of Inflation

The Spectre of Inflation

We may now need to reconsider the possibility of a shift into a highly inflationary environment. It may emerge slowly, but the tail-risk is that an unforeseen event catalyzes a sudden shift for which we are not prepared. Continue Reading

How to Close America’s COVID-19 Testing Deficit

How to Close America’s COVID-19 Testing Deficit

The US is facing a major health and economic catastrophe for one simple reason: its existing COVID-19 testing infrastructure has broken down. There is still time to build a new system that enables policymakers and the public to understand where outbreaks are occurring and where they are likely to occur next. Continue Reading

America’s Compromised State

America’s Compromised State

The lack of a coordinated national response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has predictably resulted in an unmitigated economic and public-health disaster. The problem is and always has been that those in a position to do something about such crises do not speak for most Americans. Continue Reading

Saving Generation COVID

Saving Generation COVID

During the COVID-19 crisis, lockdowns and other social-distancing rules have forced schools worldwide to shut their doors, locking out a peak of 1.6 billion children. Unless the international community acts now, the consequences for this generation – especially its poorest members – will be severe and long-lasting. Continue Reading

Training for the Pandemic Economy

Training for the Pandemic Economy

The transition to the world being created by COVID-19 was always going to be difficult for workers in the worst-affected sectors. The main question now is whether policymakers will take the steps – including apprenticeship programs and expanded funding for community colleges and technical schools – that are most likely to make it easier. Continue Reading

Winter Is Coming

Winter Is Coming

The U.S. government needs to prepare for a deliberate and coordinated multi-faceted attempt by foreign actors to disrupt and weaken our nation in the wake of the pandemic and its economic fallout, our divisive social unrest, and the upcoming presidential election. Continue Reading

How Markets and Governments Must Work Together

How Markets and Governments Must Work Together

Economists have long known that the liberal ideal is an abstraction, a useful tool for theoretical reasoning, but hardly a template for reality. The private sector often turns to government in times of crisis, which raises the fundamental public policy question: What is the role of government in crisis, where does its role begin and how does it end? Continue Reading

Private Equity and Build Back Better

Private Equity and Build Back Better

Boston Consulting Group’s latest ‘state of the nation’ on the asset management industry is a data-rich confirmation of the seemingly irresistible rise of private equity and its private asset brethren in real estate, infrastructure and private debt. Continue Reading