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

Volume 6, Issue 13: March 30, 2004

  1. Feds Announce Surveillance Tools to Target Prescription Drug Abuse
  2. Global Warming Predates Internal Combustion Engine
  3. The Economics of Drug Prohibition -- featuring Jeffrey Miron (4/7/04 in Boston)
  4. Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the Global Marketplace -- Gala Dinner Event

1) Feds Announce Surveillance Tools to Target Prescription Drug Abuse

The feds' new proposal for escalating the war on drugs -- combating prescription drug abuse through the surveillance of doctor visits and pharmaceutical websites -- is likely to create serious casualties, just as past episodes of FDA enforcement have done, according to Anthony Gregory, policy intern at the Independent Institute.

"This isn't the first time police-state tactics have been used against the healthcare choices of patients to enforce the government's version of good medicine," writes Gregory, in a new op-ed. "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that decides the legal status of drugs, has a history of pulling out the big guns -- literally."

Unbeknownst to many, FDA agents have raided the offices of vitamin sellers, promoters of FDA-approved Deprenyl, even pet food suppliers, Gregory explains. To make matters worse, the agency has employed force even though it knows less about good health practices than do the private efforts it tries to undermine.

"The history of FDA raids and the failures in American drug policy demonstrate that the government’s policies on prescription drugs, taken to the extreme, are no more sane and no less violent than its war on illegal drugs. Regulation of all drugs -- legal and illegal -- begins with a flawed political process and ultimately relies on armed police raids. Expanding police and surveillance powers to stop prescription drug 'abuse,' regardless of the amount of force or money used and the number of victims, will likewise fail just as such measures have failed to stop marijuana 'abuse.'

"The U.S. should abandon its failed drug war policies, not expand them. Medical treatment should be a personal matter, to be decided by patients and doctors. The liberties and money saved will be far greater than any benefits from the paternalistic prescription police that Bush plans to sic on America’s ill and addicted."

See "Bush’s Prescription Pill Police State," by Anthony Gregory (3/24/04)

Also see:

"Assessing the FDA via the Anomaly of Off-Label Drug Prescribing," by Alexander Tabarrok (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Summer 2000)

Is the FDA "safe and effective"? Find out at FDAReview.org.

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2) Global Warming Predates Internal Combustion Engine

According to economist Jeffrey A. Miron, most of the ills typically attributed to drug consumption are due not to drugs per se but to drug prohibition. In his new book, DRUG WAR CRIMES: The Consequences of Prohibition, Dr. Miron shows that prohibition increases violence, creates new health risks for drug users, enriches criminals, and diminishes our civil liberties. Prohibition, he forcefully argues, is a poor method of reducing drug use and an inappropriate goal for government policy. Dr. Miron will present his findings on April 7 at the Boston University School of Law.

SPEAKER: Jeffrey A. Miron is professor of economics at Boston University and research fellow at the Independent Institute. His articles on drug policy have appeared in SOCIAL RESEARCH, JOURNAL OF LAW AND ECONOMICS, BOSTON GLOBE, and the LONDON OBSERVER. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

WHEN:
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:
Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 1270
Boston, Massachusetts.

This event is free and open to the public. Presented by the Department of Economics at Boston University.
For information about this event, please contact Norma Hardeo: hardeo@bu.edu, 617-353-4623.

Praise for DRUG WAR CRIMES: The Consequences of Prohibition, by Jeffrey A. Miron:

In DRUG WAR CRIMES, Miron offers a powerful economic analysis…and advances the only practical alternative to the present failed policies.”
-- Joseph D. McNamara, former Chief of Police of San Jose, CA and Kansas City, MO

“Miron’s arguments are lucid, well-reasoned, and powerful. Legislators and other policy-makers would benefit from his non-politicized, non-moralistic approach; everyone can benefit from reading this important, insightful work.”
-- Margaret M. Russell, Vice President, ACLU; Professor of Law, Santa Clara University

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3) The Economics of Drug Prohibition -- featuring Jeffrey Miron (4/7/04 in Boston)

According to economist Jeffrey A. Miron, most of the ills typically attributed to drug consumption are due not to drugs per se but to drug prohibition. In his new book, DRUG WAR CRIMES: The Consequences of Prohibition, Dr. Miron shows that prohibition increases violence, creates new health risks for drug users, enriches criminals, and diminishes our civil liberties. Prohibition, he forcefully argues, is a poor method of reducing drug use and an inappropriate goal for government policy. Dr. Miron will present his findings on April 7 at the Boston University School of Law.

SPEAKER: Jeffrey A. Miron is professor of economics at Boston University and research fellow at the Independent Institute. His articles on drug policy have appeared in SOCIAL RESEARCH, JOURNAL OF LAW AND ECONOMICS, BOSTON GLOBE, and the LONDON OBSERVER. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

WHEN:
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:
Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 1270
Boston, Massachusetts.

This event is free and open to the public. Presented by the Department of Economics at Boston University.
For information about this event, please contact Norma Hardeo: hardeo@bu.edu, 617-353-4623.

Praise for DRUG WAR CRIMES: The Consequences of Prohibition, by Jeffrey A. Miron:

In DRUG WAR CRIMES, Miron offers a powerful economic analysis…and advances the only practical alternative to the present failed policies.”
-- Joseph D. McNamara, former Chief of Police of San Jose, CA and Kansas City, MO

“Miron’s arguments are lucid, well-reasoned, and powerful. Legislators and other policy-makers would benefit from his non-politicized, non-moralistic approach; everyone can benefit from reading this important, insightful work.”
-- Margaret M. Russell, Vice President, ACLU; Professor of Law, Santa Clara University

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4) Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the Global Marketplace -- Gala Dinner Event

Two celebrated business visionaries will share insights from their leading-edge experience with innovation, entrepreneurship, and the global marketplace at a gala dinner being held by The Independent Institute. Robert W. Galvin, Chairman Emeritus of Motorola, and Peter Thiel, former co-founder, Chairman/CEO of PayPal, and current Founder/Managing Member of Clarium Capital, have achieved remarkable success through good times and bad by applying well-learned principles about the world, markets, and technological change.

Drawing on his book, AMERICA'S FOUNDING SECRET: What the Scottish Enlightenment Taught Our Founding Fathers, Robert Galvin will explore how the ideas of such thinkers as Adam Smith, David Hume, and Adam Ferguson relate to contemporary technological innovation and the threats to it, as well as to current world affairs.

Joining Mr. Galvin will be Peter Thiel, expounding upon what BARRON'S recently characterized as "well-conceived ideas about the world and financial markets, which he puts to use in his stunningly successful hedge fund …" (BARRON'S, March 1, 2004). Having earlier scored one of the few success stories of the post dot-com implosion through eBay's 2002 acquisition of PayPal, Peter Thiel will offer unique answers to twenty-first century quandaries.

Anyone wishing to take advantage of the enormous potential that exists from applying such insights should plan to attend this exceptional program being held April 21 at the Ritz-Carleton in San Francisco. The program will also include the presentation of the prestigious Alexis de Tocqueville Award.

The Alexis de Tocqueville Award is awarded by the Independent Institute to outstanding individuals in recognition of their dedication and contributions which advance our knowledge and practice of the principles of individual liberty as the foundation of free, prosperous and humane societies. Previous recipients include international mutual-fund pioneer Sir John M. Templeton, Nobel laureate economist James M. Buchanan, management consultant and best-selling author Thomas J. Peters, and noted historian of the Soviet era, Robert A. Conquest.

The dinner is co-chaired by business leaders Walter G. Alpaugh (Chairman, Executive Committee, Cincinnati Equitable Insurance Company), William K. Bowes, Jr. (Founding Partner, U.S. Venture Partners), Dixon R. Doll (Managing General Partner, Doll Capital Management), Craig W. Johnson (Co-Founder, Venture Law Group, Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe), and William J. Spencer (former Chief Executive Officer, International Sematech).

SPEAKERS:

ROBERT W. GALVIN has had a profound effect on the public and private sectors in the United States and around the world during his sixty-year career. In positions that have included President, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Mr. Galvin has led Motorola Corporation from a few hundred million dollars in annual sales to tens of billions. He is credited with leading the company as it made innovations in television receivers, dispatch mobile communication, transistors, paging, cellular technology, and other work. In 1988, Motorola was the first large company-wide winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Robert W. Galvin is also the author of AMERICA'S FOUNDING SECRET: What the Scottish Enlightenment Taught Our Founding Fathers, a book that noted historian Michael Beschloss calls "a vital, thoughtful and welcome contribution to history from one of the wisest, most public-spirited and accomplished leaders in America."

PETER THIEL is the founder of Clarium Capital Management, a global macro hedge fund with more than $250 million under management. Although Mr. Thiel turns just 37 this year, his career in finance has been deep and varied, including derivatives trading for Credit Suisse Financial Products in New York and London and a securities law practice at Sullivan & Cromwell, one of New York’s most prominent business law firms. Mr. Thiel is perhaps best known for co-founding PayPal, Inc. in 1997. Within just a few years, Mr. Thiel established PayPal as the world’s preeminent electronic payment services provider and distinguished PayPal as one of the few Internet firms to achieve profitability.

WHEN:
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Reception: 6:30 p.m.
Dinner: 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:
Ritz-Carlton Hotel
600 Stockton at California St.
San Francisco, California
For a map and directions, see
http://www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/san_francisco/overview/directions.html

TICKETS: $250 per person. Reserve tickets by calling (510) 632-1366.

More information about this event

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