Category

Economics

Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality

Realism and Homelessness

https://www.discovery.org/2018/10/realism-and-homelessness/

Discovery Institute Research Fellow Christopher Rufo’s has just-released a report on the homelessness crisis in Seattle. Rufo is a documentary filmmaker who has conducted extensive research on the issues of poverty and homelessness in Seattle and around the country. You will find his proposals provocative and timely.

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Gilder Interview with Peter Robinson: Forget Cloud Computing, Blockchain is the Future

George Gilder recently sat down with Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution on his online series Uncommon Knowledge. Gilder discusses his new book Life After Google, where he argues that bitcoin and blockchain are destined to surpass cloud computing, ushering in a new era of technology. Gilder also parses over a history of technology and artificial intelligence, quelling fears about machines taking all of our jobs as they will never be able to replicate human intelligence and creativity. Click here to to view!


Sage Against the Machine

‘I rarely have an urge to whisper,” says George Gilder—loudly—as he settles onto a divan by the window of his Times Square hotel room. I’d asked him to speak as audibly as possible into my recording device, and his response, while literal, could also serve as a metaphor: Nothing Mr. Gilder says or writes is ever delivered at anything less than the fullest philosophical decibel. Mr. Gilder is one of a dwindling breed of polymath Americans who thrive in a society obsessed with intellectual silos. As academics know more and more about less and less, he opines brazenly on subjects whose range would keep several university faculties on their toes: marriage and family, money and economics, law and regulation, and Read More ›


Labor Day Holiday Needs an Update

Among American holidays, Labor Day is probably the one in most need of an update. The idea of a “labor day holiday” was conceived in the 1880s by union labor leaders who sought recognition for the social and economic achievements of American workers. Finally in 1894, U.S. Congress voted to establish Labor Day as a national holiday to celebrate workers and their contributions to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the country. Most don’t realize it, but attitudes toward labor are more progressive and respectful among Americans than they are in much of the rest of the world. European societies, for instance, generally view leisure as being more honorable than work. Throughout Latin America, people who are educated generally look down on those in the laboring class. It was Alexis de Tocqueville, whose ever-relevant classic Democracy in America pointed out that Americans regard work “as positively honorable.” The suggestion that work is good for the soul and necessary to a fulfilling life is also found in the Bible, which makes over 450 specific references to the value and importance of work—considerably more than its references to love, hope, joy, grace or peace. Read More ›

Review: Big Tech is Sowing the Seeds of Its Own Destruction

George Gilder is the archetypal disruptive futurist author. Unlike many a denizen of Silicon Valley, Gilder is a theist who possesses a teleological view of knowledge and power, championing the idea that the all is not directionless, but is headed somewhere ultimately meaningful. As such, he’s been a noted proponent of intelligent design. In his long and influential career (he’s 78), Gilder has always been a writer given to aphorism and oracular pronouncement. Sometimes these nuggets are profound and suggestive. They make you feel smart, like Neo about to control the Matrix, just by reading them. But sometimes they leave a reader befuddled as to what the heck Gilder might even be talking about, much less whether it is true or not. Read More ›

The ‘Everything Handmade’ Trend Will Curb Job Losses

Experts have predicted the looming automation of everything, with machines replacing labor and putting half the population out of work. This forecast seems to follow from basic economic logic: Economic growth is about getting more output from less input. Labor is an input. We are now devising powerful forms of automation, which will dilute our labor to homeopathic levels—especially in middle skill, blue-collar trades. Therefore, much of the population will soon be jobless. That inference is too simple. There’s disruption ahead, but other trends may fend off the job famine. Here’s one: As ever more goods become cheap commodities, the economic value of the human touch—of literal labor—goes up. Starbucks provided early evidence that an automation apocalypse isn’t inevitable. Fifty years …


Rise of the Robots: A Bad Argument for a Bigger Welfare State

group of scientists and activists wrote the president to warn him of an automated future that will give rise to “a separate nation of the poor, the unskilled, the jobless.” To blunt the coming mass unemployment, they proposed a universal basic income.

The group, called the Ad Hoc Committee on the Triple Revolution, wrote that letter in March 1964, to President Lyndon Johnson. Their prophecy was way off, but it had its desired effect. Johnson promptly launched his “War on Poverty,” which jumpstarted the growth of federal, means-tested welfare programs.

We now have 80 such programs. Instead of ridding the country of poverty, these programs create cycles of dependency and despair. Read More ›


Will Robots Really Create an Employment “Death Spiral”?

According to a new International Monetary Fund research paper, the answer to the above question is yes. As one story on the IMF report put it, “The future of work run by robots appears to be a dystopian march to rising inequality, falling wages and higher unemployment.” This is just the latest in a long line of predictions that artificial intelligence and automation will soon create massive “technological unemployment.”

I get it. Doomsday predictions gain shares on Facebook and Twitter. But these apocalyptic fears defy the lessons of both history and economics. Read More ›


Fed Up in Seattle

Don’t believe the hype that “Amazon killed the Seattle head tax,” the new levy that the city recently passed on businesses to fund an affordable-housing initiative. The truth behind the city council’s stunning reversal—repealing the tax by a 7-2 vote, just four weeks after passing it 9-0—is that Seattle citizens have erupted in frustration against the city’s tax-and-spend political class that has failed to address the homelessness crisis, despite record new revenues. As recently as a few years ago, it seemed as if Seattle voters largely viewed our hyper-progressive city council as a harmless oddity in an otherwise tolerant, thriving, liberal city. But times have changed. Now, according to recent public polling, 83 percent of Seattle voters are dissatisfied with how …


Make the Seattle City Council Great Again

There seem to be cycles in city politics. Fifty years ago a small band of Young Republicans and Young Democrats came together in an unusual alliance to overturn the existing Seattle City Council. They called themselves CHECC: Choose an Effective City Council. It took a couple of elections, but they prevailed and it was then — in the 1970s — that formerly sleepy, somewhat stodgy Seattle began to get national attention as the “most livable city.” Sixty years before that, in the early 20th century, another group of novice politicians introduced the “Progressive Era” that gave us Seattle’s city water and light dams (providing abundant, cheap water and electricity), the public park system we enjoy today and the ship canal connecting Puget Sound …