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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.

Volume 7, Issue 46: November 14, 2005

  1. Old Politics, New Al-Qaeda
  2. Africa's Continental Protectionism
  3. Dubious Medical Research Warrants Greater Skepticism
  4. Fujimori and Global Justice
  5. New Spanish-language Blog: El Independent

1) Old Politics, New Al-Qaeda

The Jordan bombings appear to confirm a prediction made by many early critics of the Iraq War -- that the war would help spread al Qaeda's jihad elsewhere in the Middle East.

Furthermore, the emergence of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as al Qaeda's de facto leader "could nullify many of the gains that were made against the organization in the aftermath of 9/11," writes Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.

Although Democrats in Congress "have partisan motives for criticizing the administration's manipulation of intelligence," Eland writes, "the administration's claim [that congressional Democrats were privy to the same intelligence] is preposterous."

"The executive branch intelligence agencies dwarf the congressional staff and are responsible for collecting, analyzing, debating and disseminating the intelligence. Members of Congress and their staff do not see all of the intelligence, especially the raw inputs into the process. In addition, the imperial presidency has a much grander bully pulpit from which to twist and embellish facts about a war than do members of Congress."

See "The New Al Qaeda: More Dangerous than the Old Version," by Ivan Eland (11/14/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1617
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1617

To purchase THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=54

To purchase PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK IN U.S. DEFENSE POLICY, by Ivan Eland, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=19

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/copal/

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2) Africa's Continental Protectionism

Last year, African exports to the United States generated revenues exceeding $26 billion for that continent. Americans bought jeans made in Lesotho and Europeans bought flowers from Kenya and vegetables from Senegal. Yet, African nations are notoriously protectionist when it comes to trading with neighboring countries, according to Independent Institute Adjunct Fellow Franklin Cudjoe of Ghana.

"What is it that motivates Nigeria, which calls itself the giant of Africa, to ban the importation of ninety-six different products from Ghana when both countries have duty-free and quota-free access to the U.S. markets for 6,500 of their products?" asks Cudjoe in a recent op-ed. "You might ask why those in Niger go hungry when Nigeria, its next door neighbor, has abundant food. And how is it that Zimbabwe, a country that used to be the food basket of Southern Africa, now has thousands of starving citizens."

Cudjoe, who also heads Imani, a think tank in Ghana, notes that because of government policies, many poor Africans must pay a 40 percent excise tax on fuel, as well as high prices for fertilizer and airplane tickets. And of the 20 countries where government policies make starting a business the hardest in the world, 17 are in Africa. This helps explain why 40% of African private investment is occurs outside Africa.

Cudjoe concludes, "If there is to be any hope for long term prosperity in Africa, Africans must be given the predictability that comes with the rule of law, the protection of private property and free markets, and decentralized management of resources. This will harness local knowledge along with the creativity, diligence, and thrift that is natural to Africans."

See "Globalization Rocks, but African Leaders Fail to Understand It," by Franklin Cudjoe (11/7/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1613
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"La Globalización es Buena, Pero los Líderes Africanos Fallan en Comprenderla
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1613

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3) Dubious Medical Research Warrants Greater Skepticism

Most of us rejoice when we hear of a report about a new medical breakthrough, but we usually do not lament the refutation of false medical research -- because such refutations seldom get broadcast by the mass media.

Yet the quantity of bad research appears to be staggering. According to an article in the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION by epidemiologist John Ioannidis, 32% of studies published in top journals are false and 24% are unverified.

"Why does sloppy research succeed?" asks Independent Institute Research Fellow Wendy McElroy and FoxNews.com columnist in a recent op-ed. "Big money, big reputations are on the line. Within the medical establishment, these factors push toward acceptance and against critical analysis. Within the media, the words 'miracle drug' grab bigger ratings than 'indication of progress is suggested.'"

Readers of THE LIGHTHOUSE are sensitized to the opposite problem -- good research that cannot be brought to the market quickly enough because of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's bad habit of "deadly over caution." But it's also important for us to recognize that government-subsidized research dollars and a credulous medical press can produce the opposite problem, as Dr. Ioannidis's work suggests.

See "Miracle Cure, or Murky Research?" by Wendy McElroy (10/16/05)
http://independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1616

Also see Independent Institute Research Director Alexander Tabarrok's analysis of Dr. Ioannidis's work at www.MarginalRevolution.com:
http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2005/09/why_most_publis.html

http://www.FDAReview.org

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4) Fujimori and Global Justice

Often when we think of globalization, we think exclusively of commercial goods, capital flows, and cultural exchange. However, another aspect of globalization can be seen in Chile's recent detention of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori: the growing reach of global justice.

According to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa, this development means that the rule of law is gaining international acceptance, making it harder for human-rights violators to elude justice.

"When someone like Augusto Pinochet is arrested in London or Mr. Fujimori is taken into custody in Santiago because of an international petition based on a reasonable suspicion of human rights violations and corruption, we are faced with the best dimension of global justice," Vargas Llosa writes in a new op-ed.

Chile's actions mean that if Fujimori is extradited to Peru, the Peruvian justice system will likely act more independently from the Peruvian government, and more like the arbiters of the rule of law. And if he is not extradited, other countries may also attempt to hold him accountable.

"The process of global justice in the very specific sense of the dilution of national boundaries is only in the beginning stages," Vargas Llosa continues. Many flaws are still apparent. For instance, international justice is still unable or unwilling to deal with those who commit crimes while they are actually in power. The Robert Mugabes and Fidel Castros of this world are still able to travel periodically without getting into the type of trouble that Fujimori got himself into by landing in Chile. But what happened in Chile is a step in the right direction."

See "Fujimori and Global Justice," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (11/10/05) http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1615

For information about LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA: How to Undo Five-Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=55

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/cogp/

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5) New Spanish-language Blog: El Independent

The Independent Institute is pleased to announce its new Spanish-language blog, El Independent, a project of the Center on Global Prosperity, at http://independent.typepad.com/.

Recent entries include:

"Desempleo en el Ecuador: ¿Flexibilización o Desregulación?" -- Gabriel Gasave

"Disturbios en Francia" -- Alberto Benegas Lynch

"Las Dos Caras del Mismo Show" -- Alejandro A. Tagliavini

"Gobiernos Que Crean Dependencia -- La Droga Más Peligrosa" -- Carlos Ball

See El Independent: El Blog del Centro Para la Prosperidad Global de The Independent Institute http://independent.typepad.com/

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/cogp/

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