The basic quandary for economists in this debate is that they stake their claims to expertise and deference on their field’s purported rigor, but they can uphold their own standards only under artificial conditions inapplicable to policymaking. As a result, their work’s defensibility bears an inverse relationship to its relevance.
Oren Cass’s essay demonstrates how the advantages of industrial policy, apparent to some of the founders of economics and foundational to the success of the United States, were carefully airbrushed out by advocates of free trade in the 20th century.
In this week’s Compass Point, Marginal Prophets, Matthew Walther turns his perceptive gaze to the “magical thinking” of neoliberalism, and brings along a delightful guide: 19th-century anthropologist James Frazer, author of The Golden Bough and keen observer of humanity’s superstitious traditions and priestly castes.
With every step away towards a pure market logic and away from physical communities and lived-in traditions, the sporting world will find that the magic and allure of what has made them so compelling start to disappear.
Jonah Goldberg, Cliff Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute, had a lot to say about American Compass on a recent podcast.
As hard as it is to believe, there was a time – before the New Deal – when economists were largely treated like any other interest group, occasionally saying something interesting, but usually ignored by policymakers.
Parler, the alternative to Twitter, is being strangled by the tech giants. Apple and Google removed the app from their app stores. Amazon removed the company from its web-hosting service. These companies claim these actions serve the public interest.
The 1990s called. They want Judy Shelton’s bankrupt ideology back.
There are two theories of how major policy changes happen in the United States of America. One theory is popular, widely believed and mistaken. The other is correct.
Campaign books are not written for the ages. But they can be telltales. A New Catholic Moment: Donald Trump and the Politics of the Common Good is a good example. It indicates a shift away from freedom as the leading motif on the American right and toward solidarity.
I never thought I would find myself in wholehearted agreement with Paul Krugman.
In the 1972 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon’s leading theme was “law and order.” Traumatized by urban riots, student protests, and the first wave of what would be a historic increase in crime, voters handed him a historic victory. Nixon won 49 states and 60 percent of the popular vote.
Just a few years ago, it was possible for nationalist Americans to warn foreign enemies like North Korea that the US was a “hyperpower.” A few decades ago, however, the label was a term of abuse: French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine used it to describe an America that had gone beyond even the bounds of superpower, to become “a country that is dominant or predominant in all categories.” In fact it was the globalized power of the Clinton-era US, according to Vedrine (and many others at the time), that had become “abusive.” The only antidote, he ventured, was “steady and persevering work in favor of real multilateralism against unilateralism, for balanced multipolarism against unipolarism, for cultural diversity against uniformity. None of that will happen automatically and our influence in the world isn’t going to grow all by itself. A strategy, a tactic, a method, are necessary. It’s possible.”
Analysts and commentators talk about today’s “precariate.” The term plays on the Marxist notion of the proletariat, recasting it to describe gig workers, college grads whose income is swallowed by student loan debt, and wage-earners who can’t stay ahead of heath costs, childcare costs, car repair bills, and credit card debt.
Some time after I first met Oren, we had a good back and forth about neoliberalism, a term that has already appeared several times on this website and is at the forefront of American Compass’s mind. While Oren thought the word useful to describe the reigning economic orthodoxy we both found dissatisfying, I was more reticent to use it.