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Volume 8, Issue 8: February 20, 2006

  1. White House Approves Arab Operations at U.S. Ports
  2. U.S. Aids World's Worst Dictators
  3. European Commission Urges Immigration Liberalization
  4. How States Can Spur Economic Development

1) White House Approves Arab Operations at U.S. Ports

Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has won U.S. approval to control significant operations of six major American ports, the Associated Press reported Saturday. Despite opposition from members of Congress, who say that the UAE has been an inconsistent ally in the U.S. war on terrorism, a White House spokesman said the $6.8 billion deal (Dubai Port World's purchase of the operations from a British company) was scrutinized carefully by a federal board and that its decision was final.

"The approval should stand," writes Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland, director of the Center on Peace & Liberty, in his latest op-ed.

Eland argues that Dubai Port World's operations might actually reduce the likelihood of a terrorist attack involving a U.S. port: "In fact, since two of the 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE, Dubai Ports World might even have a stronger interest in operating safe and secure ports than companies from other nations," Eland writes. "Dubai has a worldwide presence, an extensive history of operating ports, and a reputation to uphold. If a terrorist incident occurred in one of its ports, the company would probably lose more business worldwide than a non-Arabic company would under the same circumstances."

Eland then argues that U.S. authorities should have similarly resisted, rather than succumbed to, anti-Arab jingoism after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when the U.S. government incarcerated people based on their Arabic nationalities and Islamic religion. "The Bush administration was right to insist that no security threat emanated from a routine business purchase of a British firm by an Arab company. The politicians should quit posturing and move on to more important issues," Eland concludes.

"Dubai Ports World: Commercial Racial Profiling," by Ivan Eland (2/20/06)
"El caso de la empresa Dubai Ports World: Perfil racial comercial"

To purchase THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland, see

To purchase PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK IN U.S. DEFENSE POLICY, by Ivan Eland, see

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)


2) U.S. Aids World's Worst Dictators

The United States and its partner countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have given nearly $55 billion in aid to the 20 worst dictatorships in power today, report Independent Institute Research Fellows Benjamin Powell (director, Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation) and Matt Ryan in a new op-ed.

Sudan's Omar al-Bashir is the most oppressive dictator in power, according to a recent ranking in PARADE magazine. About al-Bashir, Powell and Ryan write: "During his reign OECD countries gave his regime more than $6 billion in non-military aid. The U.S. accounted for more than $1 billion of that aid." Similarly, PARADE's second worst dictator, Kim Jong-Il of North Korea, has "received a little over $1 billion in aid, with more than half of it coming from the U.S," write Powell and Ryan.

U.S. foreign aid has failed to promote economic development or reduce government oppression. "By providing aid to these dictators the U.S. has given them a source of funds to use to secure political support and likely prolonged their oppressive reigns," Powell and Ryan conclude.

See "U.S. Money Aids World’s Worst Dictators," by Benjamin Powell and Matt Ryan (2/13/06)
"El dinero estadounidense ayuda a los peores dictadores del mundo"

Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation (Benjamin Powell, director)


3) European Commission Urges Immigration Liberalization

Have recent immigrants to European countries contributed positively or negatively to their economies? According to a recent report published by the European Commission, protectionists opposed to immigration have been dead wrong about its probable harm, reports Independent Institute Research Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa in a new op-ed.

The report concludes that "the three countries that lifted restrictions on labor mobility [Britain, Ireland, and Sweden] have seen their economies grow more and create more jobs than the rest because migrant workers have essentially filled skill shortages in construction, restoration and other services," writes Vargas Llosa. "And in those countries where they were welcomed, there has not been an increase in the number of people applying for welfare benefits -- the vast majority of workers simply want to work." The commission is now urging the 12 countries in Europe with strict immigration restrictions to reduce the restrictions.

Concludes Vargas Llosa: "The wonderful irony of the prejudice against Polish plumbers in countries like France is that France has created dozens of thousands of jobs in France thanks to French investments in Poland. And, before I forget, most plumbers in Poland are actually from Ukraine."

"In Defense of Polish Plumbers," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (2/16/06)
"En defensa de los fontaneros polacos"


LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA: How to Undo Five-Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)

Spanish-language Blog:
El Independent: El Blog del Centro Para la Prosperidad Global de The Independent Institute


4) How States Can Spur Economic Development

Can state governments foster local economic development by funding venture capital companies that invest primarily in their state? A new $50 billion program in Wisconsin assumes the answer is yes, and state governments in Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Minnesota have already initiated such programs.

But "the trend of state-sponsored venture capital funds have the cart before the horse," writes Independent Institute Research Fellow Joshua Hall in a new op-ed. Hall summarizes a recent study indicating that increases in entrepreneurial activity (measured by sole proprietorships and patent activity in a state) draw venture capital into a state -- not the other way around. Apparently, public funding of venture capital merely crowds out privately funded entrepreneurship and development.

The policy implication, according to Hall, is that states could spur local development by making state policies more friendly to entrepreneurs, namely by improving economic freedom in their state: "In other words, policymakers should follow the example of states like North Carolina and Nevada and focus on lowering taxes, securing property rights, minimizing regulatory barriers and other public policies consistent with individual freedom. By doing so, it will increase the rate of new business start-ups, and the venture capital necessary to help fund these new ventures will flow into the state automatically."

See "How Should States Encourage Entrepreneurship?" by Joshua Hall (2/15/06)
"¿Cómo deberían los estados fomentar la actividad empresarial?"

Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation (Benjamin Powell, director)


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