Full Video of The Independent Institutes 2011 25th Anniversary Gala for Liberty held November 15, 2011. Part 1: Introductory Remarks and Tribute to Robert Higgs Part 2: Tribute to Mario Vargas Llosa Part 3: History of The Independent Institute and Fund for the Future Part 4: Tribute to Lech Walesa Part 5: Special Tributes, Sponsors, and Credits
Economics and environmentalism are types of modern religions. So says Robert H. Nelson in his analysis of the roots of economics and environmentalism and their mutually antagonistic relations in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The present debate raging over global warming exemplifies the clash of these two public theologies.
In June 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kelo v. New London that local governments may force property owners to sell out and to make way for private economic development, even if the property is not blighted. In response, many states have passed legislation and proposed amendments to their state constitutions to block this unprecedented government assault on the rights of property owners.
"Dependence on government has grown at unprecedented rates over the past 70 years. This ominous trend has coincided with the growth of centralized government power, which at its own discretion is used to regulate, manipuate, or prohibit. Driven by bipartisanship, bureaucracies, and interest groups, and accelerated by presidential ambitions, this trend has been so profound that few today can imagine life without government control. Economist and historian Charlotte Twight, one of the leading experts on politics and privacy, showed how special-interest politics created the income tax, Social Security, Medicare, surveillance of ordinary citizens, and other linchpins of the dependence-state, which in turn have made opposition to centralized control seemingly futile. She will then offer a strategy to reverse this trend in order to fulfill the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Astronomical housing costs, suffocating traffic congestion, and pollution take a heavy toll on our quality of life. Are these problems the inescapable consequences of modern life or the results of poor government policies? Proponents of "smart growth" seek to correct them by replacing suburban living with high-density, urban living and public transit. Others seeks to extend and expand current public and private systems. But how smart are these and other approaches? Would market-based alternatives be preferable to create sustainable communities? Urban economists Randal O'Toole and Daniel Klein discussed innovative "smarter growth" solutions for affordable housing, transportation, land use, and the quality of life in our communities.