The Commons

Modern Economics Is Not an Illuminati Conspiracy Share This

Stan Veuger | Mar 29, 2022 | Trade

I read “Searching for Capitalism in the Wreckage of Globalization” with more frustration than surprise. Oren Cass’s argument consists, roughly speaking, of two parts. The substance of both parts unfortunately reflects a number of fundamental misunderstandings. The first part of Mr. Cass’s argument is that the entire economics profession has either misread or misinterpreted a […]

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The Upside of the Downward Trend in College Enrollment Share This

Michael Petrilli | Feb 22, 2022

The media have been full of reports of college students, almost a million strong, who have gone missing during the pandemic. Virtually every article quotes experts expressing alarm and dismay. “A sharp and persistent decline in the number of Americans going to college…could alter American society for the worse, even as economic rival nations such […]

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Coming Apart in the Hoosier State Share This

Aaron Renn | Jan 06, 2022 | Working Class

American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears, by Farah Stockman (Random House, 432 pp., $28) Farah Stockman’s new book, American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears, documents the closure and relocation of an Indianapolis Rexnord bearing plant to Mexico and Texas. Stockman, a New York Times reporter, was assigned to cover […]

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The Five Deadly Sins of the Left: An Update Share This

Ruy Teixeira | Dec 17, 2021 | Politics

About a year ago I published an American Compass essay on “The Five Deadly Sins of the Left.” In that essay, I addressed the surprising fact that the left has not performed as well as one might expect, given the poor performance of free-market capitalism in the 21st century. Even the financial crisis of 2008–09 […]

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20 Years of “Free Trade” with China Share This

Oren Cass | Dec 10, 2021 | The Compass Point

The decision to welcome China into the World Trade Organization two decades ago still has its defenders—the Xinhua News Agency, for instance, and the American Enterprise Institute’s Jim Pethokoukis. “Most obvious are the consumer benefits from China … and how Chinese import competition encouraged many American manufacturing firms to invest and innovate more,” observes Xinhua, […]

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Why China Matters to You Share This

Oren Cass | Nov 19, 2021 | Foreign Policy

In hindsight, it was the happiest of coincidences that global markets integrated during an era of American hegemony. In the moment, though, policymakers took for granted the presence of some indelible linkage: “Globalization” was synonymous with “liberalization.” Countries with McDonald’s didn’t fight each other. And trading freely with a communist, mercantilist dictatorship ruling over more […]

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California Dreamin’ Share This

Joel Kotkin | Nov 12, 2021 | Poverty

San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, by Michael Shellenberger (Harper, 416 pp., $28.99) “I just took [my son] to our local Walgreens to buy him a toy. While there, a man shoved past me so firmly that he sent me into the shelving. Then he proceeded to fill a brown paper bag with Halloween candy […]

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The Cult for Growth Share This

Oren Cass | Nov 05, 2021 | Economics

It is a peculiar thing, the terror with which inhabitants of early 21st-century America crawl into bed each night, uncertain if they will awake the next morning to an economy still growing. It is Growth to which they owe their prosperity, they believe, and Growth on which they must pin their hopes for their children. […]

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The “Big Quit” Is an Opportunity to Fix Our Broken Education System Share This

Bruno Manno | Oct 27, 2021 | Education

COVID-19 sent a shock wave through an already changing U.S. job market, provoking “a great reassessment of work in America.” This broad rethinking of work and human capital development is occurring while 10.4 million jobs sit unfilled and more than 8.4 million unemployed individuals look for work. There is a clear disconnect, but the ultimate outcome is far from clear. As Bob Dylan asks in “Ballad of a Thin Man,” […]

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Of Snowflakes and Slip-and-Falls Share This

Oren Cass | Oct 22, 2021 | Culture

In this week’s Compass Point, The Snowflakes Aren’t Melting, Michael Brendan Dougherty offers a sharp, revisionist account of “safetyism.” The term commonly refers to the phenomenon of young people coddled through their childhoods and thus unable to cope with the conflicts and travails of adulthood. But while that surely must be going on, Dougherty argues […]

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Gimme Shelter Share This

Patrick T. Brown | Oct 21, 2021 | Taxes

Only the Rich Can Play: How Washington Works in the New Gilded Age, by David Wessel (PublicAffairs, 352 pp., $14.99)   The rapper T.I. may never have read Kevin Williamson’s infamous suggestion that struggling communities need “real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul,” but he is clearly […]

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The Work-Ethic Welfare State Share This

Oren Cass | Oct 15, 2021 | Social Insurance

Paul Krugman famously called the federal government “an insurance company with an army.” In this, unlike most things, he is not entirely wrong. When it comes to domestic policy, the lion’s share of government spending is social insurance payments (Medicare, Social Security, the SSDI disability program, unemployment insurance) and social assistance via the safety net […]

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