Recommended Reading – Wednesday, November 30th

Nov 30, 2011 by

Rent Control Violates Property Rights and Due Process (Cato@Liberty)

“Rent control is literally a textbook example of bad economic policy. Economics textbooks often use it as an example of how price ceilings create shortages, poor quality goods, and under-the-table dealings. A 1992 survey revealed that 93 percent of economists believe that rent control laws reduce both the quality and quantity of housing.”

Ending Income Inequality (Walter E. Williams)

“Benefiting from a hint from an article titled “Is Harry Potter Making You Poorer?”, written by my colleague Dr. John Goodman, president of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, I’ve come up with an explanation and a way to end income inequality in America, possibly around the world. Joanne Rowling was a welfare mother in Edinburgh, Scotland. All that has changed. As the writer of the “Harry Potter” novels, having a net worth of $1 billion, she is the world’s wealthiest author. More importantly, she’s one of those dastardly 1-percenters condemned by the Occupy Wall Streeters and other leftists.

How did Rowling become so wealthy and unequal to the rest of us? The entire blame for this social injustice lies at the feet of the world’s children and their enabling parents. Rowling’s wealth is a direct result of more than 500 million “Harry Potter” book sales and movie receipts grossing more than $5 billion. In other words, the millions of “99-percenters” who individually plunk down $8 or $9 to attend a “Harry Potter” movie, $15 to buy a “Harry Potter” novel or $30 to buy a “Harry Potter” Blu-ray Disc are directly responsible for contributing to income inequality and wealth concentration that economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says “is incompatible with real democracy.” In other words, Rowling is not responsible for income inequality; it’s the people who purchase her works.

Happy 7 Billion (The Interim)

“The doomsayers have predicted that with more people comes more war and conflict. Well, just like their predictions that population growth inevitably comes with famine and poverty – just the opposite has occurred over the past five decades, with the UN’s Human Development Report indicating almost universal increases in the standard of living – the warnings about conflict have proven false. As development economist Peter Bauer pointed out in the 1970s, “rapid population growth has not been an obstacle to sustained economic advance either in the Third World or in the West.”

Famines are caused by bad government policies. Democratic and accountable governments can get food to the hungry in emergencies, but corrupt governments do not. Most of the worst famines of the 20th century — Russia, Red China, North Korea, and Ethiopia — occurred in communist countries while other cases of starvations (Zimbabwe) occured as a direct result of agricultural central planning. What most places need is better government, not fewer people.But if having billions of people populate the world doesn’t cause poverty or famine, doesn’t it lead to more conflict? With less room to stretch out before we bump into our neighbours, people are likely to get testy, aren’t they?

According to the Simon Fraser University “Human Security Report” released in 2010, the number of conflicts and wars has actually declined over the past six decades. In 1950s, it noted, the average international conflict killed 21,000 people annually, but today the average conflict causes under 18,000 deaths, and there are fewer conflicts. It finds the “world is getting more peaceful.” That is the thesis of Steven Pinker’s new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, which argues that human beings have never lived through such peaceful times as they do now at the beginning of the 21st century. Since the end of World War II, there have been a growing number of countries amongst which war is unthinkable. Indeed, the greatest violent international threat is Islamic terror which is ideological in nature and has nothing to do with population density or any supposed population-related problems.”

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