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With the recent surge in favor of protectionism from both Republicans and Democrats, it's important to understand what's wrong with protectionism. And for that understanding, we can go to a classic written in the 19th century: Protection or Free Trade, written by economist Henry George. As Milton Friedman once said, George's book is "the most rhetorically brilliant work ever written on the subject." This month's author, Charles L. Hooper, shows us why. At the same time, George had some fairly muddled, and incredibly pessimistic, thoughts about landowners and employers, and their effects on workers. Hooper dissects that thinking also.

Arnold Kling

The Tullock Problem and the Shaman Problem

Arnold Kling
February 6, 2017
Are economists arbiters, engineers, or experts in public policy debates? This month, Arnold Kling looks at a superb new book by Sandra Peart and David Levy, Escape from Democracy: The Role of Experts and the Public in Economic Policy. While Kling finds their solution to the public choice policy problems we're familiar with, what he calls the Tullock Problem, Kling argues that the authors do not offer hope for conquering what he calls the Shaman Problem. This problem, in which economists who make claims to knowledge they do not have, may be the more serious one with which we must contend.
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FEATURED COLUMNS

THINKING STRAIGHT

Anthony de Jasay

The Free Movement of Labour: What Will It Signify?

Anthony de Jasay
February 6, 2017
As negotiations between Britain and the European Union are poised to begin, Anthony de Jasay considers the role of the free movement of labor, in terms of both principle and strategy. Prime Minister Theresa May has drawn a line in the sand for labor, and as a result her hopes for good terms of trade may have dimmed. But to what extent is this cause for concern?
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AN ECONOMIST LOOKS AT EUROPE

Pedro Schartz

George Bernard Shaw and Creeping Socialism

Pedro Schwartz
February 6, 2017
Pedro Schwartz had long been familiar with anecdotes about the flamboyant personal life of George Bernard Shaw, but after reading Michael Holroyd's biography of Shaw, Schwartz realized his view of the man was out of focus. In this month's column, Schwartz traces the "creeping socialism" he sees rampant today to Shaw and his merry band of Fabian socialists.
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