Archives: January 2023

Excerpts from Reason's vaults


15 years ago

January 2008

"If larger economies were to introduce guest worker programs like Singapore's, the impact on migrant welfare would be enormous. The number of foreign-born residents in the wealthy countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is now a mere 7 percent of the total population, as compared with the Asian city-state's 43 percent. The Harvard economist Dani Rodrik estimates that if OECD nations were to administer small temporary labor schemes, with the imported workers totaling just 3 percent of the countries' labor forces, the result would 'easily yield $200 billion annually for the citizens of developing nations,' dwarfing the $60 billion the same countries offer in official development aid."
Kerry Howley
"Guests in the Machine"

20 years ago

January 2003

"The head of an organization standing for gun rights should damned well be prepared to address emotional anecdotal arguments against guns. Yet [Michael] Moore, like [Charlton] Heston, ultimately walks away from his toughest question. In the end, the only explanation for each individual gun death is an individual's choice to pull a trigger. Grand sociological theorizing can't provide the thousands of separate answers to why thousands of individuals made that choice. Any pressures of background or culture or poverty that weighed on shooters weighed similarly on thousands of nonshooters."
Brian Doherty
"Tears of a Clown"

25 years ago

January 1998

"The truth about sanctions is that they are typically one big geopolitical belly flop: a big splash and some self-inflicted pain. What's more, it's water sport to think that we must like those we buy from or sell to (do you check your grocer for political correctness, or do you examine her peaches?), or that we win hearts and minds by ham-handed attempts to solve longstanding battles in far-off locales. Those who argue for boycotting bad boys strike a righteous public pose—often at the cost of undermining progressive forces for genuine changes."
Thomas W. Hazlett
"Peking Duck"

30 years ago

January 1993

"There is an elusive but palpable sense in Miami that our leaders, no matter how much money they brought showering into town, failed us. Public opinion polls taken in the hurricane zone show that storm victims had a higher opinion of everyone else—the military, the Red Cross, their insurance adjusters, even the benighted FEMA—than they did of state government. Fiery denunciations of the federal relief effort no longer get much ink."
Glenn Garvin
"Reaping the Whirlwind"

35 years ago

January 1988

"Remember, nobody knows why the stock market crashed. It might be because Congress threatened to tax takeovers. Or because of the deficit. Or fears of a trade war. Or the Fed. But trying to make the market go up by outlawing trades is like trying to cure a fever by shoving a thermometer in an ice bucket."
Virginia Postrel
"The Witches of Wall Street"

40 years ago

January 1983

"Detroit's investor-owned Ambassador Bridge and New York's authority-owned George Washington and Triborough bridges are in excellent repair. Why? Because they are outside the political process, run by corporate entities and financed by tolls. Similarly, the nation's turnpikes and tollways are in good repair, in marked contrast to the often-decrepit interstate highways. Turnpike operators charge tolls that make heavy trucks actually pay their way, based on weight and distance, rather than the so-called user taxes (gasoline taxes) by which heavy trucks cover less than 50 percent of their costs."
Robert Poole
"Infrastructure Follies"

45 years ago

January 1978

"The argument that people need the protection of the State from dangerous drugs but not from dangerous ideas is unpersuasive. No one has to ingest any drug he does not want, just as no one has to read a book he does not want. Insofar as the State assumes control over such matters, it can only be in order to subjugate its citizens—by protecting them from temptation, as befits children; and by preventing them from assuming self-determination over their lives, as befits an enslaved population."
Thomas Szasz
"Drug Prohibition"