An Independent Policy Forum held on 3/7/08. Peter L. Hays, Associate Director of the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, and Theresa Hitchens, Director of the Center for Defense Information, discuss the implications that the U.S. takedown of a malfunctioning satellite have for a potential arms race in space.
Richard K. Vedder and Ken Jacobs debate whether the rise of Walmart and similar big box retailers have been beneficial or harmful to the US economy.
Richard K. Vedder is Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute and Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Economics and Faculty Associate, Contemporary History Institute, Ohio University. Professor Vedder is co-author (with Lowell Gallaway) of The Independent Institute book, "Out of Work," the recipient of both the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award and Mencken Award Finalist for Best Book, and the Institute monograph, Can Teachers Own Their Own Schools?
Ken Jacobs is Chair of the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center, and a former member of the Mayors Universal Health Care Council in San Francisco. He is the Co-author od Declining Job-Based Health Coverage for Working Families in California and the United States, and Hidden Costs of Wal-Mart Jobs.
David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Independent Institute and Publisher of The Independent Review.
Friedrich A. Hayek (1899-1992) left such a profound mark on economic and political thought that The New Yorker has called the 20th century, "The Hayek Century." After converting to free-market capitalism and classical liberalism in the 1920s, Hayek became one of socialism's and statism's staunchest critics. His 1944 bestseller, The Road to Serfdom, warned of central government planning's authoritarian, and even totalitarian, tendencies- and helped reignite worldwide interest in the philosophy and practice of freedom. Although Hayek's 1974 Nobel Prize in Economic Science brought renewed interest in his ideas, it wasn't until the collapse of the Soviet Bloc (which Hayek predicted) that his vast writings on economics, political philosophy, law, history, culture, and other fields became broadly recognized as essential to achieve a prosperous, humane and free society. Biographer Alan Ebenstein and economist Charles Baird shed light on Hayek's seminal legacy and the rebirth of freedom.
Economics is never the "dismal science" when discussed by Nobel Laureate economist Gary S. Becker and his wife, the historian Guity Nashat Becker. In this Independent Policy Forum and based on their book, The Economics of Life: From Baseball to Affirmative Action to Immigration, How Real-World Issues Affect Our Everyday Life, the Beckers will examine the "war on drugs," healthcare, education, marriage and divorce, the homeless, immigration, corporate leadership, religion, baseball, affirmative action, the minimum wage, Social Security, crime, and much more.
With his numerous books, articles and essays about politics, war and social disorder under his belt, it was only a matter of time until P.J. O'Rourke found his way to the subject of his new book, "Eat the Rich." In "Parliament of Whores," he lampooned the entire U.S. government. "All the Troubles in the World" attacked the pandemic worries of the politically correct; and this time it's the economy, stupid! What is wealth and how do we get it? Or as he asks, "Why do some places prosper and thrive while others just stink?"
As most people (along with many "experts") try to fathom the volatility of financial markets and the complexities of global economies, the man who Time magazine has called "one of America's most hilarious and provocative writers" brings it all into perspective. Who else but P.J. could provide this primer on Wall Street: "In order to understand the stock market we have to realize that, like anything enormous and inert, it's fundamentally stable, and like anything emotion-driven, it's volatile as hell."
But he doesn't stop there. Embarking from Wall Street, P.J. takes us on a hilarious and enlightening worldwide tour of the foibles of governments from Russia to Tanzania, from Albania to Shanghai, and from Hong Kong to Havana, and revisits college economics courses, counteracting them with his own version of Econ 101.
The result is the world's only astute, comprehensive and comic presentation of the basic principles of economics that will truly make you laugh on purpose.
P. J. ORourke
Bestselling Author, Humorist and Political Satirist
What happens when government goes unchallenged, and when questions regarding present or proposed policies go unasked? With the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, for example, Americans are increasingly wary of foreign conflicts. Yes, American forces are still active in Somalia and are being called for in the Balkans and elsewhere. To understand how government officials may seek to shift public opinion on unpopular programs, John MacArthur has found understanding the precedents set during the war against Saddam Hussein to be most insightful.
In his presentation, Mr. MacArthur will draw upon his widely acclaimed book, Second Front: Censorship and Propoganda in the Gulf War, to scrutinize the government's campaign to tightly control the American media during Operation Desert Storm. With a reporter's critical eye and a historian's sensibility, he will trace decades of press-government regulations during Vietnam, Grenada, and Panama which helped set the stage for restrictions on Gulf War reporting and for a government public-relations triumph.
In his talk, Mr. Macarthur will detail the behind-the-scenes activities during Operation Desert Storm by the U.S. and Kuwaiti governments as well as the media's being co-opted while its rights to observe, question, and report were heavily restricted far beyond and needs to protect American lives. He will demonstrate how, despite a torrent of words and images from the Persian Gulf, Americans were systematically and deliberately kept in the dark about events, politics, and simple facts during the Gulf Crisis.
Drawing upon frank and startling interviews, Mr. MacArthur will discuss how the Pentagon, after locking out the press in Grenada and Panama, pooled, censored, and escorted the media under armed guard in the gulf to a degree seldom seen before in America's wars. As a result. the media may have merely become glorified government stenographers, uncritically accepting such stories as the Kuwaiti babies being snatched from incubators by Iraqui soldiers, the precision of "smart bombs," the exaggerated size and morale of Hussein's forces, and the nature of losses on both sides. In revealing the workings of propoganda, Mr. MacArthur will question the impact and need for such extraordinary government power.