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

Volume 8, Issue 25: June 19, 2006

  1. Soccer and Globalization
  2. Minimum Wage -- Maximum Nonsense
  3. Domestic Violence "Vicious Cycle" Theory Questioned
  4. Iraq War: Strategic and Moral Mistakes

1) Soccer and Globalization

In World Cup soccer, success favors initiative and creativity, which often leads to surprise victories for teams from countries with tiny economies, scant geopolitical influence -- and a lot of heart. It also shows how globalization has created a new playing field that rewards merit, migration, and learning from other countries' athletes, explains Alvaro Vargas Llosa (director, Center on Global Prosperity).

First, consider the importance of player mobility: "Until the 1990s, Europe and Latin America severely limited the number of foreign players their national leagues could use," Vargas Llosa writes in his latest op-ed. "In many countries today, there is no limit.... Clubs in Italy, Spain England and Germany feature an overwhelming number of foreign players."

Second, consider the commercial growth of soccer: "A number of MBA programs in Spanish universities now offer case studies on how FC Barcelona has been run since 2003. The club has gone from near bankruptcy to producing 240 million euros in revenue, after investing 100 million euros in international players," Vargas Llosa continues. "Through ticket sales, television rights and the merchandising of club products, [some teams] have taken soccer to a new level (with fans in Asia and Latin America, the merchandizing of FC Barcelona products extends over dozens of nations)."

See "Soccer -- The World Upside Down," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (6/15/06)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1751
"Fútbol: El mundo al revés"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1751

THE CHE GUEVARA MYTH AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERTY, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=61

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/

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

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2) Minimum Wage -- Maximum Nonsense

If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs a bill to increase the minimum wage in California, it won't be because the basic principles espoused by economists as diverse as Milton Friedman and Paul Samuelson have been refuted, but because most advocates of a minimum-wage hike don't suffer the unemployment caused by mandating above-market wage rates, according to Benjamin Powell, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation.

In his latest op-ed, Powell argues that the case against a small increase in the minimum wage (e.g., from $6.75 per hour to $7.75 over two years), rests on the same reasoning that explains why, as most people would recognize, a huge increase in the minimum wage (e.g., by $20 an hour) would be economically disastrous for workers.

"Businesses are not charities; they hire workers only when the workers create more revenue for the business than they cost in wages and compensation.... Unfortunately, by making would-be workers unemployed early in their lives, minimum wage laws undermine the very process of on-the-job learning that eventually leads to higher wages.... If [Schwarzenegger is] really interested in strengthening our economy and helping low-skilled workers earn more income, he should pursue policies that enhance our productivity."

See "Minimum Wage -- Maximum Nonsense," by Benjamin Powell (6/15/06)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1749
"¿Salario mínimo? Desatino máximo"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1749

For more on unemployment, see OUT OF WORK: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America, by Lowell E. Gallaway and Richard K. Vedder
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=44

Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation (Benjamin Powell, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/coei/

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3) Domestic Violence "Vicious Cycle" Theory Questioned

Researchers are beginning to question commonly held assumptions about domestic violence -- including the assumptions that children who witness domestic violence are more likely to be adult victims or perpetrators of domestic violence -- a trend Wendy McElroy has long argued is overdue.

"One assumption has received more debate and backlash than any other. Namely, the idea that men are perpetrators, women are victims," McElroy writes in her latest column. One noted researcher, Michael Kimmel of the State University of New York, for example, suggests that men comprise about one quarter of all victims of domestic violence.

After raising other questions about domestic violence that warrant study, McElroy concludes, "Questioning every theory and 'fact' of the current approach to domestic violence is necessary if the issue is to move into a new century. For the sake of women, men and children, the same statements cannot simply be repeated. We must find out if they are true."

See "Theories on Domestic Violence Being Questioned," by Wendy McElroy (6/6/06)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1753

LIBERTY FOR WOMEN: Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-first Century, ed. by Wendy McElroy
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=43

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4) Iraq War: Strategic and Moral Mistakes

Even if Iraq were to become stable, democratic, and pro-U.S., neighboring Iran would be -- and is -- the biggest winner in the region, according to Ivan Eland (director, Center on Peace & Liberty).

"General William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency and a conservative, opposed the Vietnam War because he believed U.S. involvement there helped the main U.S. adversary -- the Soviet Union," writes Eland in his latest op-ed. "Similarly, he opposed the invasion of Iraq because it helped the country most hostile to the United States in the Persian Gulf -- Iran. Iran is now funding, training, and supporting Shi'ite militias in Iraq, some of which are slaughtering Sunni Arabs. Without Saddam Hussein holding the fractious Iraq together, Iranian influence there has skyrocketed.

Iranian influence is unlikely to dissipate, especially given the U.S. government's myopia, Eland argues: "Unfortunately, the Bush administration, oblivious to the stark geopolitical realities of the region, has been squandering U.S. lives and money -- $320 billion so far -- to help Iran expand its role as a regional superpower."

Senior Fellow Robert Higgs (author, RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE) argues that the mess in Iraq is primarily a moral mess, one whose responsibility extends from President Bush to the foot soldiers following orders.

"This whole endeavor is so appallingly pervaded by the most blatant moral hypocrisy that one scarcely knows where to begin a denunciation, except perhaps at the moment George W. Bush ordered the invasion to begin," he writes in an op-ed published in the CALGARY HERALD. "All the rest [Haditha, Abu Ghraib, massive civilian casualties, etc.] followed naturally and might well have been foreseen -- indeed, it was foreseen, by me and by many others."

"Win One for the Gipper (Ayatollah Khameini)," by Ivan Eland (6/19/06)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1752
"Ganen por el Gipper (Ayatollah Khameini)"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1752

"Bad Apples Keep Bobbing Up," by Robert Higgs (6/9/06)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1745

"Las malas manzanas siguen apareciendo"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1745

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

RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE: The Crisis Since 9/11, by Robert Higgs
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=60

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

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