Equality Isn’t Natural ( General ) by David Boaz

A New York Times article from the day after Thanksgiving falls into a familiar trap of assuming that equality -- among people, among regions, among growth rates, etc. -- is a natural condition, so that any deviation from equality is not only worthy of note but a "problem." Reporter Ian Austen writes:
But [Canadian finance minister Jim] Flaherty did not address a much broader economic problem that has been troubling people who follow the nation's economy. Although Canada's economy as a whole is expected to grow by a healthy 2.8 percent this year, there is an expanding gulf between the eastern and western halves of the country.
Indeed, in the past year economic growth has been stronger in oil-rich Alberta than in industrial Ontario, the largest province. Alberta remains the wealthiest Canadian province. But Ontario is not far behind, and it's wealthier than the other western provinces. The main point is that it would be absurd to expect Canada's provinces to show the same growth rate each and every year. Yet the Times calls disparity in annual growth rates "a much broader economic problem that has been troubling people." The reality is that nothing is equal. The world is diverse and complex. Different provinces (or states or nations) have different resource endowments, different histories, different policies. Why would we expect them to have the same outcomes, annually or otherwise? The same is true for individuals; we're all different in infinite ways, so it's crazy to expect us to end up with the same incomes or assets or accomplishments. And crazy to think that Harvard or the NBA or the Wal-Mart workforce would "look like America." Footnote: Google isn't helping any. When I searched for the New York Times headline "In Canada's Economic Divide, West Surges While East Struggles," Google responded:
Did you mean: In Canada's Economic Divide, West Surges When East Struggles  

Posted on December 4, 2006  Posted to Cato@Liberty

Is the White House Worth More than a Wii Console? ( Foreign Policy ) by David Boaz

On government radio Friday, a panel of journalists were bemoaning the high cost of politics. The two leading candidates for president in 2008 might end up spending $500 million each — a billion-dollar election, the pundits wailed in italicized outrage. It would be nice if politicians and special interests didn't think it was worth half a billion dollars to gain the most powerful office in the world. But it is. The president not only has the power to bomb people, invade countries, hold citizens in jail without a lawyer, burn down churches, and strongly influence policy on issues ranging from abortion to youth unemployment — all of which might cause opinionated citizens to contribute money to political campaigns — he or she also plays a huge role in allocating $2.8 trillion a year of federal spending to favored clients, not to mention tweaking government regulation to help or hurt a candidate's friends. In Saturday's New York Times, lefty journalist Tom Edsall gloats over the Republican-leaning interest groups who can expect to bear the brunt of Democratic wrath:
Topping the Democratic hit list are the G.O.P.’s closest corporate allies, including the oil and gas industry, student loan companies, and the pharmaceutical manufacturers known as Big Pharma. The list is much longer. . . . In many cases, Democrats can exact reprisal against companies that financed the Republican revolution and won special legislative favors in return . . . with the same avoidance of public scrutiny.
A billion dollars for the presidency? Coincidentally, that's just about what Nintendo will take in on the 4 million units of Wii it intends to sell in the last five weeks of 2006.

Posted on December 2, 2006  Posted to Cato@Liberty

Putting Turkey to the test

A Turkish academic has been fired for expressing his views.

Posted on December 1, 2006  Posted to The Guardian

Free the bloggers

Young liberals are being arrested in Egypt for voicing their opinions online, and it's making the fight for freedom all the more important.

Posted on December 1, 2006  Posted to The Guardian

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