â€¢ FOUNDATION ACTIVITIES. A conference exploring normative issues related to government regulation will be co-hosted by the Reason Foundation and the Department of Economics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, as part of the Liberty Fund's program. The conference, to take place this fall, will be a three-day gathering of scholars in the fields of law, economics, and philosophy and will be codirected by Tibor R. Machan of the Reason Foundation and M. Bruce Johnson of UCSB's Economics Department. Further details will be reported in coming months.
Issue No. 5 of REASON PAPERS, the Foundation's scholarly journal, is now coming off the presses. This issue features papers on the Austrian economists' claim to a praxeological heritage, the methodology of Hobbes's political theory, von Mises's concept of time-preference, aesthetic judgments of fiction, the proper relationship between virtue and liberty, and other topics. REASON PAPERS fills the need for a journal that encourages dialogue among those in the various fields of normative studies, with a special focus on the value of liberty.
Fund-raising activities to date have been modestly encouraging. Our appeal to subscribers for year-end contributions brought in over $5,000, for which we are very grateful. In addition, a corporate public-affairs department contributed $1,000, and a foundation has made a grant of $10,000. Another individual has underwritten the production costs of REASON PAPERS No. 5. Several other foundations have expressed interest in our activities and requested further information. Although we're still a long way from our $91,000 first-year goal, the trend is very encouraging. Several new projects will be announced shortly.
â€¢ MORE EDITORS' ACTIVITIES. Robert Poole's article, "Looking Back: How City Hall Withered," appeared in the December issue of the Futurist, the magazine of the World Future Society (P.O. Box 30369, Bethesda Branch, Washington, DC 20014). The article is a future scenario of a "typical" southern California community that phases out virtually all of its local government by the year 2000. A slightly different version of the article will form the last chapter of Poole's forthcoming book, Cutting Back City Hall, due out later this year.
â€¢ STRAWS IN THE WIND. Most people are aware of the welcome changes that have taken place at Harper's under editor Lewis Lapham in the last few years. That magazine has punctured many a liberal balloon, especially that of "leisure-class environmentalism." But now some amazing things are taking place at rival Atlantic Monthly as well. In July, Editor Robert Manning penned the following: "I am becoming enamored, too, of the pre-Keynesian notion that there is only one real cause of inflationâ€"that is, the printing of money in quantities above and beyond what is justified by real gains in production and productivity. Isn't it becoming evident that inflation in the name of social progress isn't producing much progress and is stealing my money and my family's moneyâ€"and yoursâ€"while at the same time undermining the government's ability to govern?" This was followed in December by an "Adam Smith" (George Jerome Goodman) article on energy and hyperinflation. That piece concluded with a New York banker (and ex-Treasury official) lamenting his role in cutting the dollar loose from gold, juxtaposed with Pearl Buck's description of the nightmarish results of the German hyperinflation of 1923. It looks as if economic sanity is breaking out amongst the intelligentsia.
â€¢ MUSICIAN DIES. It is with regret that we note the death of well-known jazz trumpeter and composer Don Ellis on December 17 at his home in North Hollywood, California. Ellis, 44, succumbed to a heart condition that had forced him to curtail his career over the last few years. In the late '60s and early '70s, however, he led his big bands through brash and inventive experiments in tonality and rhythm that should have effects on that art form for years to come. To a broader populace he is remembered for his movie scores, most notably for The French Connection. Ellis also was a friend of the Libertarian Party. And among the fine things that will be remembered about these early years of the party will be the fact that Ellis led what had to be the most talented of election-rally bands at MacBride headquarters, election night, 1976. He will be missed.