Senior Fellow Randy T. Simmons, co-editor of Aquanomics, looks at the battles over water in the western United States. Thirsty citizens of growing cities, farmers, factories and environmentalists are in a fight for a natural resource that is priced arbitrarily. Its value is determined not by the free market, but by bureaucrats. Outdated government reclamation projects and water policies have put residents of the Golden State at the mercy of the weather, and of government's mandatory regulations.
From fingerprinting to criminal sentencing, from lawyer licensing to judicial selection, and from eminent domain to wealth transfers via class-action lawsuits, how do perverse incentives impact the law and what reforms would create a more just and efficient legal system?
Many people have wondered how technological progress will affect political, economic, and civil freedoms. With the rise of encryption software, the National Security Agency's Echelon worldwide surveillance system, and the FBI's Carnivore e-mail snooping program, this subject is no longer the exclusive domain of speculative thinkers or futurists, it is the subject of intense public-policy debate. Will privacy-enhancing technology improve faster than privacy-threatening technology? Should the government mandate privacy standards? Should it enforce contracts in cyberspace, or would private law do a better job? Economist, physicist, and legal scholar David Friedman discussed these and related questions about technological change and the case for and against government involvement.