Our exposé of WHO's infant formula study (Dec.) has caught the eye of William H. Wild, editorial page editor of the Dayton Journal Herald. In his December 5 commentary, "WHO's Big Lie Formula Exposed," Wild commended REASON and author James Hickel and summarized the article's main finding: that WHO's own international survey failed to support its contention that infant formula advertising should be curtailed. "Hickel's article ought to be required reading for every high school and college student, every church social action committee, every politician and every journalist," concluded Wild.
Remember "intervenor funding," exposed in these pages by Morgan Norval (see "Kept Critics," July 1981)? This nifty scheme, by which regulatory agencies pay friendly witnesses to testify about expanding the agencies' power, may be on its last legs. The new chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, James C. Miller III, has deleted funding for the program from the agency's 1982 budget request. Meantime, the Food and Drug Administration's use of this practice has been ruled illegal by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In a case brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), the court agreed that the agency could not spend money in this way without express permission from Congress. PLF plans to petition other federal agencies to abolish their intervenor funding programs based on the precedent set by the Fourth Circuit's ruling.
Privatization of air traffic control, first proposed in these pages in January 1979, continues to gain visibility. I did a half-hour interview on the subject on Todd Mezzerow's "Wavelength" program on Chicago's WJEZ on December 12. Several days later I was interviewed by John Osland of the Minneapolis Star, whose three-day series on air traffic control made favorable mention of privatization, even quoting an FAA official in favor of it. And on December 29 Wall Street Journal columnist Lindley Clark endorsed the idea in an op-ed piece.
In late September I participated in an exciting lecture series, one indication of the change in intellectual fashions. Presented by Bellarmine College and funded by the Louisville (Kentucky) Development Committee, the series is titled "New Perspectives on Community Development." I was the first of six speakers, discussing privatization of local public services. Others in the series include Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation on enterprise zones, Robert Bish of the University of Victoria on the pros and cons of metro government, Walter Williams of George Mason University on local licensing restrictions, Oscar Newman of the Institute for Community Design Analysis on street privatization, and Alan Siegel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development on alternatives in public service delivery. The series was developed by Prof. Douglas Den Uyl, a summer research fellow at the Reason Foundation in 1979.
Fans of Ayn Rand will be pleased to learn that the author of Atlas Shrugged has formed a company to produce a nine-hour TV miniseries of the famed novel. Ms. Rand announced the project at the New Orleans conference of the National Committee for Monetary Reform, where she was the keynote speaker. She is writing the teleplay herself, she said, after having been unable to find a screenwriter who could write romantic fiction. The project's cost has been estimated at $10 million.
Readers have been asking what book stores are carrying our new book, Instead of Regulation. It is not, so far, being carried by the big chains. In New York City you can find it at Laissez-Faire Books, the McGraw-Hill Professional Bookstore, and Scribner Book Stores. In Washington it's available at Book Annex, Sidney Kramer Bookstore, and the Cucumber Bookshop in Rockville, Maryland. In the Boston area the Business School Coop, Harvard Coop, Harvard Medical School Coop, and the Tech Coop all carry it. You can also find Instead of Regulation at the Case Western Reserve Bookstore in Cleveland, Krochs and Brentano's in Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania Bookstore in Philadelphia, the University of Connecticut Co-op in Storrs, and the Utah College Bookstore in Salt Lake City. Or it can be ordered from the Foundation for $25 (Calif. residents add 6% sales tax). Sales are going "very well," and publisher Lexington Books expects a second printing.