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Showing papers in "The Independent Review in 2015"






Journal Article
TL;DR: The authors argued that the best libertarian defense of property rights actually supports a welfare state, in particular, a universal basic income, and argued that such a system is the best defense of individual property rights.
Abstract: Many libertarians object to state-funded welfare systems because they think that the taxation necessary to fund such systems violates individual property rights. In this paper, I argue that the best libertarian defense of property rights actually supports a welfare state -- in particular, a universal basic income.

17 citations



Journal Article
TL;DR: The patent system can be improved through better funding of the patent office, and revised rules, which will result in fewer low quality patents that violate the criteria of being new, useful and non-obvious as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Theoretical arguments, and recent evidence, have led many to conclude that patents should be abolished. But patents have provided just rewards, the democratization of opportunity, incentives, and enabling resources for key inventions in the last 300 years, including machines and engines in the original industrial revolution in Britain, more broadly in the United States in the 1800s, and even today in industries such as pharmaceuticals. The current patent system can be improved through better funding of the patent office, and revised rules, which will result in fewer low quality patents that violate the criteria of being new, useful and non-obvious. Beyond such government policy reforms, entrepreneurial institutional innovations can transform an area of intellectual property from the dysfunctional to the vibrant, as illustrated by Steve Jobs’s creation of iTunes. With the right government policy reforms and entrepreneurial institutional innovations, patents can likewise be transformed to provide inventors justice and the funding to enable them to continue to invent new goods for consumers.

13 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: This paper examined the postwar Fed to focus on the ability of the Fed to forge a monetary path independent of political influence in modern times, finding that the Fed regularly accommodates debt, succumbs to political pressures, and follows bureaucratic tendencies, compromising the Fed's operational independence.
Abstract: We supplement the existing empirical literature on Fed independence with a contextualized episodic history to corroborate the empirical literature and inform future studies. We examine the postwar Fed to focus on the ability of the Fed to forge a monetary path independent of political influence in modern times. We find that the Fed regularly accommodates debt, succumbs to political pressures, and follows bureaucratic tendencies, compromising the Fed’s operational independence.

11 citations







Journal Article
TL;DR: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank or DFA) gained passage on the rationale that it would help the United States avoid future financial crises by creating new bureaucracies to fill regulatory gaps purportedly responsible for the crisis in 2008 as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: T he Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd–Frank or DFA) gained passage on the rationale that it would help the United States avoid future financial crises by creating new bureaucracies to fill regulatory gaps purportedly responsible for the crisis in 2008. This paper challenges both prongs of the crisis-prevention rationale: the “regulatory gaps” argument and the “beneficent new bureaucracies” contention. Citing pivotal DFA provisions, I describe the broad powers conferred on new federal bureaucracies: the Financial Stability Oversight Council, Office of Financial Research, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I also examine changes to the federal housing finance bureaucracy made by the DFA. The goal is to clarify the unprecedented authority and reach of these new bureaucracies—the DFA’s potent central core—not to analyze the statute’s full sweep. The evidence provided throughout is actual statutory law enacted before and after passage of the DFA. That evidence shows that the statute, although presented as an instrument of reform, has chiefly increased government power, consistent with Robert Higgs’s (1987) analysis of the link between crisis and the growth of government. This article also identifies tactics federal officials used to make Dodd–Frank difficult and costly for the public to comprehend, resist, modify, or repeal—tactics consistent with the economic theory of “political transaction-cost manipulation.”



Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, the authors document a boom in climate science which is sustained by massive levels of funding by government entities and whose scientific direction is set by an extra-scientific organization, the IPCC.
Abstract: Scientific disciplines, like economies, can and do experience booms and busts. We document a boom in climate science which is sustained by massive levels of funding by government entities and whose scientific direction is set by an extra-scientific organization, the IPCC. Although the popular perception is that the IPCC’s function is the dispassionate collection and summarization of research in climate science, it has emerged as a “big player” in the scientific arena, championing of the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming and emphasizing some of the more extreme implications of that hypothesis. We note the difficulties in obtaining definitive empirical clarity due to the complex nature of climate, the feedback between the effects of the IPCC’s advocacy and the government’s willingness to fund the science, the ideological and political agendas at play, the dangers to the integrity of scientific procedure in the context of ideological bias, and the poor performance of the “crony capitalist” enterprises that have grown on the back of politicized science.







Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors propose a monetary reform for Argentina that consists of flexible dollarization plus a free banking regime, which allows financial institutions to issue their own banknotes convertible into U.S. dollars or any other currency of their choice.
Abstract: Argentina’s economy and monetary institutions are, once again, experiencing a serious crisis. In this document, we propose a monetary reform for Argentina that consists of flexible dollarization plus a free banking regime. By flexible dollarization, we mean that the peso should be replaced with the U.S. dollar as a first step, but the market should have the freedom to interact with any selected currency. Therefore, the country does not become attached the U.S. dollar; on the contrary, it becomes a free currency country. By free banking, we mean giving financial institutions permission to issue their own banknotes convertible into U.S. dollars or any other currency or commodity of their choice.It should be noted that the problems of the Argentine economy go beyond those of monetary policy. This proposal should not be understood as a sufficient reform to fix the Argentinean economy but as a necessary one. This proposal should also not be understood as a monetary panacea but as a monetary framework that is still superior to one provided by the Argentine central bank BCRA and Argentine policy makers to their country.




Journal Article
TL;DR: In contrast to many thinkers who see the institutions and practices of modern civilization as outcomes of evolutionary processes, Taleb is a social engineer who endorses radical change, although those radical changes involve a return to institutions of years past as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: N assim Taleb has risen in the past decade to become an authority on the intersection of finance, statistics, and epistemology, popularizing insights regarding fat tails and true uncertainty. While he has brought attention to many worthy concepts poorly understood by the public, his recent work underscores an important tension within his thought. Though Taleb claims to champion the superiority of traditional institutions over the rationalism and expertise of social engineers, his arguments and conclusions betray a supreme confidence in his own ability to rationally evaluate which traditions are beneficial. In contrast to many thinkers who see the institutions and practices of modern civilization as outcomes of evolutionary processes, Taleb is a social engineer who endorses radical change, although those radical changes involve a return to institutions and practices of years past. Most recently, his 2012 book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder follows the ideas of the earlier publication The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007), and its extensions are apparent. The Black Swan challenged readers to consider unpredictable events that fall outside the formal models of academics, especially economists. A theory may always seem right—but only until it isn’t; the eponymous black swan falsified the long-standing theory that all swans are white. Similarly, theories that data told us perform well may suddenly cease describing reality, just as a financial model may cause a naive investor to lose his shirt.