The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute. Subscribe
now, or browse Back Issues
Volume 6, Issue 15: April 12, 2004
- The New Iraqi Insurgency
- Curing the Human Organ Shortage
- Drug War Crimes -- An Evening with Jeffrey Miron (4/28/04 in NYC)
- Summer Seminars in Political Economy (Oakland, Calif., June 14-18 & August 9-13)
- Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the Global Marketplace -- Gala Dinner Featuring Robert W. Galvin and Peter A. Thiel (4/21/04 in San Francisco)
1) The New Iraqi Insurgency
The U.S. military's recent bloody engagement with followers of Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr is an omen that the short-term future of Iraq may not be as bright as the White House had expected. What began as the shutdown of Sadr's newspaper (purportedly for false reporting but not for inciting violence) may delay the arrival of Iraqi political sovereignty, prolong and enlarge the U.S. military presence, and/or greatly worsen the anti-U.S. hostilities.
"If the rebellion spreads within the Shiite population, which such events seem to portend, even senior U.S. military commanders admit privately that the chances dwindle drastically of keeping Iraq this side of the abyss," writes Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty, in a new op-ed.
"Yet even if the 'silent majority' of Iraqis remain supportive of U.S. forces, as the civilian occupation authorities claim, it may not be enough to save the American war effort in Iraq."
Guerillas who are well armed, committed to their cause, and effective tacticians are hard to defeat decisively. And although neo-conservative writer Max Boot has suggested the U.S. victory over insurgents in the Philippines a century ago is a model of how the U.S. can defeat an armed insurgency, this analogy is fatally flawed, according to William Marina, research fellow at the Independent Institute. The Filipino rebels were poorly armed, uncommitted, and employed more conventional than guerilla tactics. The Iraqi insurgents, in contrast, exhibit the opposite traits in their attack on U.S. forces.
"The first step in such a war, as can be seen in the destruction of the Iraqi village of Kiwali, is to make certain that the Iraqi population understands that there will be no 'free riders,' and that the population will commit to the side of the insurgents," writes Marina in a new op-ed.
Meanwhile, what should the U.S. do about al-Sadr?
"Well, if one seeks to establish justice, one treats him as the rules of justice require," writes Robert Higgs, senior fellow at the Independent Institute and editor of THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW.
"If he is reasonably suspected of having committed a crime, he should be arrested and given a fair trial," Higgs continues. "In no event, however, is someone who dislikes his sermons or his political views entitled to kill him peremptorily -- evidently a live option in discussions among U.S. leaders, according to [one quoted] nameless official."
"The Long Ignominious Slide to Defeat in Iraq," by Ivan Eland (4/6/04)
"Iraq: The 'Peoples War' is Just Beginning," by William Marina (4/6/04)
"Can Bullets and Bombs Establish Justice in Iraq?" by Robert Higgs (4/8/04)
Back to Top
2) Curing the Human Organ Shortage
The 2002 thriller "Dirty Pretty Things" may not have been a top box-office draw in the United States, but those who saw this well-made British film can attest to its power to illustrate the hardships created by government policy. Most viewers understood the movie, correctly, as a criticism of highly restrictive immigration laws. But "Dirty Pretty Things" also illustrated the horrors of the shortage of human donor organs -- a man-made shortage that has worsened over the past decade.
From 1991 to 2001, the waiting list for organs in the United States grew from less than 30,000 to just over 80,000. This shortage resulted in more than 8,000 deaths last year. Today, the number of living donors exceeds the number of cadaveric organs.
But it doesn't have to be this way. As Independent Institute Research Director Alexander Tabarrok explains in a new article, enacting any of a variety or proposals potentially could eliminate the human organ shortage. First, the 1984 ban on sale of donor organs could be lifted.
Many fear that a market for donor organs would lead to wealthier recipients getting organs before the less wealthy, but Tabarrok explains that "financial incentives can be used to increase the supply of organs without using finance to determine who will receive an organ." He also notes that increasing the supply of cadaveric organs is preferable to increasing the supply of organs donated by the living -- which obviously puts the health of donors in jeopardy.
Tabarrok also describes how an options market in organs might operate. "An options market in organs would allow firms to buy the rights to organs in the event of the donor's death.... Payments for the organs would ultimately be made by insurance companies and government just as for other medical services."
Reciprocity agreements, such as Tabarrok's "no give, no take" rule (which limits transplants to those who would bequeath organs upon death), could also increase the supply of organs. Similarly, organ donor networks, such as Lifesharers.com, which give their members preferential access to cadaveric organs, could also enlarge the supply.
"If more cadaveric donations were made available," writes Tabarrok, "the necessity of living donations would fall."
"Life-Saving Incentives: Consequences, Costs, and Solutions to the Organ Shortage," by Alexander Tabarrok (4/5/04)
"A Moral Solution to the Organ Shortage," by Alexander Tabarrok (2/19/01)
"A Free Market in Kidneys: Efficient and Equitable," by William Barnett II, Michael Saliba, and Deborah Walker (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Winter 2001)
Also see "A Market for Organs," by Andy H. Barnett, Roger D. Blair, and David L. Kaserman. Chapter 6 in ENTREPRENEURIAL ECONOMICS: Bright Ideas From the Dismal Science, edited by Alex Tabarrok (The Independent Institute/Oxford University Press, 2002), and "The Organ Shortage: A Tragedy of the Commons?" by Alex Tabarrok. Chapter 7 in ENTREPRENEURIAL ECONOMICS.
Back to Top
3) Drug War Crimes -- An Evening with Jeffrey Miron (4/28/04 in NYC)
Jeffrey A. Miron, author of the new Independent Institute book, DRUG WAR CRIMES: The Consequences of Prohibition, will discuss his research on drug prohibition and violence. According to Miron, prohibition increases violent crime, creates new health risks for drug users, enriches criminals, and diminishing our civil liberties. Dr. Miron will present his findings on April 28 at the Lindesmith Library in New York City.
Noted drug-policy scholar Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, will introduce Dr. Miron.
This event is co-sponsored by the Independent Institute and the Drug Policy Alliance.
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, THE BOSTON GLOBE, and the LONDON OBSERVER. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Wednesday, April 28
5:00pm - 7:30pm
The Lindesmith Library
70 West 36th Street, 16th Floor
New York City
Wine and cheese reception preceding event. $5 donation at the door. For reservations (strongly recommended), please contact Julie Ruckel: email@example.com, 212-613-8053.
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, Former Vice President, ACLU; Professor of Law, Santa Clara University
Back to Top
4) Summer Seminars in Political Economy (Oakland, Calif., June 14-18 & August 9-13)
Most Americans believe in the importance of economics, but their economic understanding often falls far short of their ideals. A recent nationwide survey, for example, found that two out of three high school students (and half of all adults) surveyed failed a test on economic literacy. If the survey had asked questions on political theory and the history of liberty, would they have fared any better?
Fortunately, the Independent Institute's five-day-long Summer Seminars in Political Economy can help narrow the gap. Designed as an introduction for high school and college-age students, the Seminars help students learn what economics is, how it affects their lives, and how understanding economic principles can help them achieve the things they care about.
Led by economist Brian Gothberg, each session includes a stimulating lecture on economic principles, their applications in history and current affairs, and plenty of classroom discussion to help students become more confident in communicating their ideas and values.
* Economics and liberty: How the West grew rich and politically free
* Market chaos or hidden order? How markets coordinate people's plans
* Monopoly or competition? How competition improves the quality of life
* Market failure or government failure? Inflation, recession, the environment, and government policy
* Political economy and foreign policy
* The political economy of inflation
WHAT PREVIOUS SUMMER SEMINAR PARTICIPANTS SAY:
"This is a really great program!... I really enjoyed learning about all the famous economists, their basic philosophies, and their influence on economic reasoning. Overall, an exceptional week!"
"I enjoyed reading and hearing about different economists and seeing a variety of views and beliefs.... I enjoyed having a small group, making it easier to concentrate on everyone's questions and statements, in a more comfortable atmosphere."
"I learned so much during the week about how our world works. The things I learned were interesting, and I will be able to use them for the rest of my life in all kinds of situations."
Brian Gothberg, Department of Economics and Finance, Golden Gate University; Lecturer in the History of Western Civilization, Academy of Art College
8:30 AM - 12 noon
Session A: June 14-18
Session B: August 9-13
(Register early for preferred session.)
Room and board and one unit of college credit through Holy Names College in Oakland, Calfornia, are also available at extra cost.
The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428
For more information, see http://www.independent.org/tii/students/SummerSeminar.html or contact Carl Close, Academic Affairs Director at the Independent Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 632-1366.
Back to Top
5) Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the Global Marketplace -- Gala Dinner Featuring Robert W. Galvin and Peter A. Thiel (4/21/04 in San Francisco)
Outsourcing and the global economy -- the myths and realities -- will be among the topics discussed at "Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the Global Marketplace," a gala dinner event featuring Robert W. Galvin, Chairman Emeritus of Motorola, and Peter Thiel, Co-Founder and former Chairman/CEO of PayPal, and Founder/Managing Member of Clarium Capital Management on Wednesday, April 21st at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco.
Both Bob Galvin and Peter Thiel have achieved remarkable success through good times and bad by applying well-learned principles about world markets and technological change. Drawing on his book, AMERICA'S FOUNDING SECRET: What the Scottish Enlightenment Taught Our Founding Fathers, Bob Galvin will apply the ideas of such thinkers as Adam Smith, David Hume, and Adam Ferguson to the current debate surrounding technological innovation, outsourcing and the global economy, and the principles vital to economic growth. The Independent Institute will also honor him with the Alex de Tocqueville Award, which it gives to outstanding individuals in recognition of their contributions that advance our knowledge and practice of the principles of individual liberty as the foundation of free, prosperous and humane societies.
Joining Bob Galvin will be Peter Thiel, who offers what BARRON'S recently characterized as his "well conceived ideas about the world and financial markets, which he puts to use in his stunningly successful hedge fund." Peter Thiel's visionary thinking steered PayPal through the dot-com implosion to achieve unprecedented success, culminating in its acquisition by eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.
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.
PETER THIEL is the founder of Clarium Capital Management, a global macro hedge fund with more than $250 million under management. Mr. Thiel's career in finance has included derivatives trading for Credit Suisse Financial Products in New York and London and work in securities law at Sullivan & Cromwell, one of New York's most prominent business law firms. Mr. Thiel is perhaps best known for co-founding PayPal, Inc., the world's preeminent electronic payment services provider.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Reception: 6:30 p.m.
Dinner: 7:30 p.m.
600 Stockton at California St.
San Francisco, California
Valet parking available
For a map and directions, see
TICKETS: $250 per person. Reserve tickets by calling (510) 632-1366.
RSVP to Nichelle Beardsley, 510-632-1366 ext. 118 (NBeardsley@independent.org):
Back to Top