This month's cover story on the problem of illiteracy is the third time writer Sam Blumenfeld has garnered the cover spot. His two previous pieces were "Why the Schools Went Public" in March 1979 (which provided a preview of some of the content in his 1981 book, Is Public Education Necessary?) and "Self-Help Schooling in South Boston" in November 1980.
International visitors have stopped in at the Reason Foundation in recent weeks. In June, consulting engineer Terry Markman from Johannesburg paid a visit, recounting his efforts to make the case for transportation deregulation in South Africa. Another summer visitor was Sture Eskilsson, director of the Swedish Employers Confederation, which represents 40,000 Swedish firms. A long-time REASON reader, Mr. Eskilsson is also president of AB Timbro, the publishing arm of Sweden's Free Enterprise Foundation. Timbro published the Swedish translation of Henri Lepage's Tomorrow, Capitalism (see the interview with Lepage on p. 40) and has also translated and published works by economists Milton Friedman and Gordon Tullock. A third visitor was transportation economist Gabriel Roth, coauthor of the article on p. 35, on his way to the Far East, who stopped in to compare notes on private-sector urban transportation.
Congress may be paying more attention to operational testing of new weapons systems in the wake of our much-publicized April cover story. The latest indication is the publicity given to a General Accounting Office report on the Maverick missile. Requested by Sen. David H. Pryor (D–Ark.), who placed the REASON article in the Congressional Record, the report says that five years of operational testing have failed to show that the antitank missile "can be used effectively…in combat" and advised that Congress not approve production. Now that the press and our lawmakers understand the operational testing game, perhaps they'll take such recommendations seriously.
Tom Hazlett, author of our July cover story on cable TV, was interviewed on WXYZ radio in Detroit on July 15. The following Monday was my turn, as editor of Instead of Regulation. Meanwhile, REASON articles continue to be reprinted and excerpted. Belgium's West magazine becomes the latest foreign publication to use material from REASON, with their reprinting of Petro Grigorenko's "Diplomatic Delusions" from our January issue. And Hoover Institution senior research fellow John H. Bunzel is including excerpts from our February cover story, "Inside the CED," in his forthcoming book on left-wing groups.
REASON columnists Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw are enjoying tremendous success with their new book Life Extension. In just a few weeks it has leaped to the top of the bestseller list, displacing Jane Fonda's Workout Book.
In this column in August I mentioned the work of Senior Editor Manny Klausner and San Diego Councilman Fred Schnaubelt in drafting the Just Compensation Initiative, which would require local governments to compensate property owners whose property value was decreased by land-use controls. It turns out that the Washington State legislature has enacted the idea in the form of a new private property rights law that took effect June 10. Passage of the measure was the result of a two-year effort by the Washington Association of Realtors, based on the Klausner/Schnaubelt language.
In July I attended a symposium, "The New Resource Economics: Explorations with Journalists," put on by the Center for Political Economy and Natural Resources. As explained by Center director John Baden (coauthor of "Saving the Wilderness: A Radical Proposal," REASON, July 1981), "the new resource economics" looks at natural resource issues—which are often environmental issues—from the combined perspective of neoclassical economics, recent work in economics on the structure of property rights and on public-sector decisionmaking, and insights of the Austrian school of economics. The aim of the four-day conference, the second annual meeting for journalists on this subject, is to expose editors and reporters to this broadly defined economic analysis of such issues as pollution, resource exhaustion, wildlife extinction, and inefficient resource use.