Editor's Notes


REASON articles continue to attract interest from many quarters. Our famed Love Canal exposé is being reprinted for distribution to the stockholders of Occidental Petroleum, parent company of Hooker Chemicals & Plastics, the firm involved in the story. And the Chicken Little Club, which called the article a "painstaking analysis," has awarded its Cluck of the Year award for 1980 to journalist Michael Brown. It was Brown, you'll recall, whose book Laying Waste: The Poisoning of America by Toxic Chemicals, erroneously blamed the Love Canal seepage on Hooker instead of the city.

Another REASON story has made history, of a sort. Our May 1976 article on the highly successful Arizona private fire protection firm, Rural-Metro Fire Department, Inc., was later picked up by CBS's 60 Minutes. That exposure, in turn, has led to creation of similar operations in Illinois and Georgia. But now comes the ultimate compliment: Rural-Metro has become the subject of a Harvard Business School case study. And on March 23 Rural-Metro founder Louis A. Witzeman and vice-president Ron Butler took part in a series of classes at the Business School, conducted by Prof. David H. Maister. By sheer coincidence, I was in Boston that day and was able to participate in the afternoon seminar. Privatization of public services has come a long way since 1976.

The Reason Foundation recently helped to bring together economists and philosophers to discuss relationships between the two disciplines—for example, can economists really operate as "value-free" scientists, or do such basic tools of their trade as "value," "trade," and "property rights" carry with them normative overtones? Cosponsored by the Foundation for Advanced Studies in Liberty and the Institute for Humane Studies, and coordinated by Leonard Liggio of those groups and Tibor Machan of the Reason Foundation, the conference took place March 28 at California State University, Northridge. Among those participating were Foundation trustees William Niskanen and Norman Karlin, advisory board members Cheri Adrian, William Allen, and John Hospers, and economists David Friedman, Jack High, and Thomas Hazlett. While no consensus was reached on the conference topic, the discussions stimulated a great deal of thinking.

Our editorial staff members continue their public activities. Senior Editor Tibor Machan had an op-ed page article published in the Washington Star in April called "Countering Corporation Phobia"; it was timed to commemorate (anti) Big Business Day. Assistant Editor Christine Dorffi had an article on abortion in the March issue of Liberty, published by Students for a Libertarian Society. Meanwhile, I addressed the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce in April on the subject of privatization of public services. I also spoke at the Future of Freedom conference in May on new applications of private property rights and have also joined the board of advisors of Human Action to Limit Taxes, a Vancouver, BC organization. The other advisors are economists Henry Hazlitt and Hans Sennholz.

Robert Chitester's Public Communications, Inc., the innovative producer of the Milton Friedman Free to Choose TV series and the Stan Freberg Federal Budget Revue, is off on another project. Called Jamaica in Transition, it will be a one-hour television special on the shift toward a free-market economy in that island nation since last fall's election of prime minister Edward Seaga. Coproducer of the program is the University of Miami Law and Economics Center.

The Reason Foundation's major study of deregulation will be published this September. Nearly two years in the making, the book presents evidence and arguments for substituting marketplace arrangements for major government regulatory agencies like the FCC, OSHA, the FDA, and the EPA. Called Instead of Regulation, the book is being published by D. C. Heath/Lexington Books. It will be introduced at a congressional and press briefing in Washington this fall. Contributions to help us publicize this important book would be most welcome (and, of course, are tax-deductible).