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  • Author: Jonathan G. Clarke, William Ratliff
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Official U.S. and Cuban depictions of the effects of the U.S. embargo differ notably from Cuban economic reality. This report, based on the authors' recent visits to Havana and interviews with top Cuban officials, dissidents, and other private citizens, shows that the embargo is not responsible for Cuba's poor economic condition—as Havana claims—nor has it been effective at achieving Washington's goal of isolating the Cuban regime.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean, Havana
  • Author: Robert Krol
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Recent financial problems in emerging economies have led to calls for a new international financial architecture. Proposals include restricting short-term capital flows and extending the International Monetary Fund's role to that of an international lender of last resort. Both “reforms” would be mistakes.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As the world becomes a less dangerous place for America, U.S. officials work more desperately to preserve America's pervasive international military presence. This policy is evident in the Philippines, with which Washington recently concluded a Visiting Forces Agreement.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: To prosecute the war on terrorism, President Bush has assembled a diverse coalition of countries for political, diplomatic, and military support. Some of those countries are long-standing friends and allies of the United States. Others have new or changing relationships with the United States. Although there may be a price for their support, America should not pay an excessive price—one that could be detrimental to longer-term U.S. national security interests. And though it may be necessary to provide a certain amount of immediate aid (directly or indirectly) as a quid pro quo for the support of other nations in our war on terrorism, the United States needs to avoid longer-term entanglements, openended commitments, and the potential for an extreme anti-American backlash.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Europe, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: When he pledged to do whatever was necessary—even use U.S. military forces—to help Taiwan defend itself, President George W. Bush seemingly replaced Washington's long-standing policy of “strategic ambiguity” with a policy of strategic clarity. Although the president and his advisers subsequently retreated from his initial rhetorical stance, both China and Taiwan are likely to believe that Bush's original statement accurately reflects U.S. policy. That creates an extremely dangerous situation for the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Ivan Eland, Daniel Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Clinton administration underestimated the technological ability of several of the “rogue” states to develop long-range missiles and politicized its intelligence estimate. However, missile threats to the United States from any one of those states also depend on the intentions of that state and political developments that might affect those intentions.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As the world becomes a less dangerous place for America, U.S. officials work more desperately to preserve America's pervasive international military presence. This policy is evident in the Philippines, with which Washington recently concluded a Visiting Forces Agreement.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Asia, Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Author: John Samples
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), joined by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), have introduced legislation adding new regulations on campaign finance. Their proposed law bans “soft money” going to political parties, restricts advertising by for-profit corporations and labor unions, and greatly increases the ambit of federal election law.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Education markets have consistently done a better job than state monopolies of serving both our individual needs and our communal goals. Yet all market-inspired education reforms are not intrinsically or uniformly effective. They can succeed only to the extent that they support the conditions for a thriving education market and ensure that all families have access to that market.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Author: Stephen Moore, Stephen Slivinski
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This report presents the findings of the Cato Institute's fifth biennial fiscal policy report card on the nation's governors. The grading mechanism is based on purely objective measures of each governor's fiscal performance. Those governors with the most fiscally conservative records— the tax and budget cutters—receive the highest grades. Those who have increased spending and taxes the most receive the lowest grades.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ronald J. Sutherland
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Critics of the oil industry allege that the industry receives large and unwarranted government subsidies and that rival technologies, such as those for ethanol, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, deserve compensating government preferences. The evidence indicates that, on balance, the oil industry is not a net beneficiary of government subsidies. The facts point in the opposite direction. The oil industry is more harmed than helped by government intervention in energy markets.
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stanley Kober
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: One of the top foreign policy priorities of the Clinton administration during the last few years has been strong support for building a pipeline to transport oil from Baku, Azerbaijan, to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The administration has argued that this pipeline, bypassing other routes going through Russia and Iran, would be the best way for the economically struggling countries of Central Asia to get their energy exports to market, thereby underpinning their newly won independence. Washington also stresses the supposed benefit of having the pipeline run through the territory of a NATO ally, Turkey.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Baku
  • Author: Ronald D. Rotunda
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The 1972 Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention—often called the Biological Weapons Convention, or BWC—requires the signatories to renounce the development, employment, transfer, acquisition, production, and possession of all biological weapons listed in the convention.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, International Law, Terrorism
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Sea-based missile defense is being advocated as an alternative to the Clinton administration's limited land-based national missile defense (NMD), which is in the early stages of testing. Proponents of sea-based NMD (which is only a concept, not a program) argue that such a system can be deployed more quickly and will be less expensive than the Clinton administration's land-based system. Some argue that the Navy Theater Wide (NTW) system—which is being designed to provide midcourse intercept capability against slower, shorter-range theater ballistic missiles—can be upgraded to attack longrange intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in their boost phase (when under powered flight at the beginning of their trajectories). Interestingly enough, advocates of sea-based NMD include not only traditional supporters of missile defense but also people who were previously opposed to missile defense.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Politics, Terrorism
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The recent summit meeting between South Korean president Kim Dae Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il raises the prospect that the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula may at last be coming to an end. Although the latest effort at détente could ultimately abort as did similar initiatives in the 1970s and early 1990s, North Korea's dire economic straits probably leave the Stalinist state little choice this time but to open itself to the outside world and seek trade and investment from its prosperous, democratic South Korean rival.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Israel, Asia, South Korea, Latin America, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: Gene Healy
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In his classic 1973 book The Imperial Presidency, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. warned that the American political system was threatened by “a conception of presidential power so spacious and peremptory as to imply a radical transformation of the traditional polity.” America's rise to global dominance and Cold War leadership, Schlesinger explained, had dangerously concentrated power in the presidency, transforming the Framers' energetic but constitutionally constrained chief executive into a sort of elected emperor with virtually unchecked authority in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Darcy Ann Olsen, Matthew J. Brouillette
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Demand for alternatives to state-run schools has swelled over the past decade, as witnessed by rising poll numbers favoring increased choice and by the creation of new charter schools, voucher programs, education tax credits, homeschools, and private scholarship funds. Despite mounting demand, however, such alternatives reach relatively few students. Charters and vouchers, for instance, serve only 2 percent of school children nationwide.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Eric R. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In 1996 the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act on domestic preparedness for terrorism using weapons of mass destruction. That law directs various departments and agencies of the federal government to make available to state and local governments training and equipment to respond to acts of terrorism involving the use of radiological, biological, and chemical weapons. The program—costing tens of billions of dollars per year—seeks to train local law enforcement, fire, medical, and other emergency response personnel to deal with such an attack against the American public.
  • Topic: Security, National Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Carrie Lips
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Education companies, or “edupreneurs,” are entering the education marketplace in droves with creative, cost efficient products and services for students of all ages. This rapidly expanding industry, which constitutes approximately 10 percent of the $740 billion education market, demonstrates that private enterprises, even when competing against a monopolistic system, can deliver a wide range of affordable high-quality educational services. This study provides a glimpse of the products, services, and innovations that a fully competitive marketplace could generate if the government's stranglehold on education were loosened.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alan Reynolds, Robert A. Levy
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's final judgment in the Microsoft case indicates that he has fallen hook, line, and sinker for the government's flawed arguments. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is unlikely to be so accommodating. The Justice Department's case will crumble as a result of procedural errors, flawed fact-finding, wrongheaded legal conclusions, and Jackson's preposterous plan to break up the software company most directly responsible for America's high-tech revolution.
  • Topic: Government, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jonathan G. Clarke
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The foreign policy record of the Clinton-Gore administration deserves a less than stellar grade. At the end of the Cold War, there was an extraordinary opportunity to build a new relationship with a democratic Russia; restructure U.S. security policy in both Europe and East Asia to reduce America's burdens and risk exposure; and revisit intractable Cold War–era problems, such as the frosty relations with Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea. The administration's performance must be judged within the context of such an unprecedented opportunity for constructive change.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Israel, East Asia, Asia, North Korea, Vietnam
  • Author: Victor M. Gobarev
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: American interest in and concerns about India rose sharply after that country carried out underground nuclear tests in May 1998. Clinton administration officials belatedly acknowledged that developing a good working relationship with India should be one of America's top foreign policy priorities. President Clinton's visit to South Asia in March 2000 was an important symbolic step.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, South Asia, Washington, India
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Sea-based missile defense is being advocated as an alternative to the Clinton administration\'s limited land-based national missile defense (NMD), which is in the early stages of testing. Proponents of sea-based NMD (which is only a concept, not a program) argue that such a system can be deployed more quickly and will be less expensive than the Clinton administration\'s land-based system. Some argue that the Navy Theater Wide (NTW) system—which is being designed to provide midcourse intercept capability against slower, shorter-range theater ballistic missiles—can be upgraded to attack longrange intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in their boost phase (when under powered flight at the beginning of their trajectories). Interestingly enough, advocates of sea-based NMD include not only traditional supporters of missile defense but also people who were previously opposed to missile defense.
  • Topic: Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ronald D. Rotunda
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The 1972 Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention—often called the Biological Weapons Convention, or BWC—requires the signatories to renounce the development, employment, transfer, acquisition, production, and possession of all biological weapons listed in the convention.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Traditionally, strategic offensive arms control and ballistic missile defense have been viewed as mutually exclusive. During the Cold War, the general belief was that anti–ballistic missile (ABM) systems would call into question the ability of the superpowers to successfully survive a first nuclear strike and inflict sufficient damage with a second strike. That is, missile defense could allow one superpower to launch a first strike and then use its defenses to intercept a second strike with the other superpower's surviving warheads—thereby undermining deterrence and stability. Furthermore, the thinking was that this situation would result in a dangerous offensive arms race as each side sought to counter the effects of the other's defenses.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Ivan Eland
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Not all proposals for deploying a national missile defense live up to their name. Many are for “international” missile defense systems that would also defend U.S. allies and “friends,” even though they are wealthy enough to build their own missile defenses. For example, some policymakers and analysts on both the left and the right advocate sea-based missile defense as a substitute for the Clinton administration's limited land-based system, which is designed to protect only the territory of the United States. Conservatives would like to build a more comprehensive, layered defense consisting of sea- and space-based weapons or land-, sea-, and space-based weapons. George W. Bush, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is clear that he wants a comprehensive defense to defend U.S. allies and seems to favor the latter approach.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christopher Layne, Benjamin Schwarz
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: One year after NATO ended its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, the Clinton administration's Kosovo policy is a conspicuous failure. Kosovo is now the scene of a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by NATO's erstwhile de facto ally, the Kosovo Liberation Army, an organization profoundly inimical to America's interests and professed values. The KLA is also currently fomenting an insurgency elsewhere in Serbia, which promises to destabilize the Balkans even further.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Genocide
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Aaron Lukas
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The “anti-globalization coalition” that paraded through the streets of Seattle in November and stormed police barricades in Washington, D.C., in April contends that international trade and investment are “lose-lose” propositions. On the one hand, organized labor argues that low-wage workers in developing countries will gain employment at the expense of American workers. On the other hand, self-appointed advocates of the developing world claim that trade with and investment from Western countries lead only to exploitation and continued poverty abroad. Given that negative view of globalization, it is not surprising that anti-trade activists are calling to “shrink or sink” the World Trade Organization.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Third World
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Mark A. Groombridge
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. Congress is in the historic position of being able to help pro-reform leaders in China move their country in a market-oriented direction. A vote to grant China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status will bolster the position of those leaders in Beijing who are attempting to deepen and broaden the scope of China's two-decade experiment with economic reform. Granting PNTR and China's subsequent accession to the World Trade Organization will benefit, not only the United States and the world trading community, but most directly the citizens of China, millions of whom are still mired in abject poverty.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Paul Benjamin
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, a fundamental shift in national security policy has taken place in the United States. No longer restricting itself to such issues as military alliances, the strategic behavior of other great powers, and nuclear strike capabilities, security policy now tackles environmental degradation, poverty, infectious diseases, drug use, and other problems. Moreover, it increasingly posits them as threats to the national security of the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Earl C. Ravenal
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The tendency of both the Clinton administration and its Republican opponents to frame foreign policy as a compromise between “global policeman” and “isolationism” misses the point entirely. The real issue is what the United States commits itself to defend—and whether it is actually willing to incur the costs and risks required to fulfill such commitments. Structural changes in the international system already greatly limit the options of U.S. policymakers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James M. Sheehan
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The World Bank has a dismal environmental record that environmentalists have long condemned. Its lending policies have financed ecological destruction, human rights violations, and forced resettlement, and its projects have suffered from high failure rates, according to the bank's own criteria.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, International Organization
  • Author: Eric R. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention—signed in 1972—prohibits signatory nations from developing, possessing, employing, or transferring biological weapons. The convention does not contain any protocols for its enforcement, however. There is now an international effort under way to develop such protocols.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William D. Hartung
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The defense and foreign aid budgets are the largest single source of government funding for private corporations. More than half of U.S. weapons sales are now being financed by taxpayers instead of foreign arms purchasers. During fiscal year 1996 (the last year for which full statistics are available), the government spent more than $7.9 billion to help U.S. companies secure just over $12 billion in agreements for new international arms sales. The annual $7.9 billion in subsidies includes taxpayer-backed loans, grants, and government promotional activities that help U.S. weapons makers sell their products to foreign customers. Also, the provision of low-cost facilities and extensive subsidies for research and development and mergers and acquisitions to major contractors fosters a “risk-free” environment in which weapons makers have little economic incentive to produce effective systems at affordable prices. Furthermore, a portion of the $120 billion the Pentagon spends each year on contracts with U.S. defense contractors is being wasted on defense pork—that is, redundant or unneeded weapons systems. Such subsidies and spending for defense pork can interfere with the fulfillment of legitimate security needs.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Climate Change, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kurt Schuler, George A. Selgin
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: On August 17, 1998, Russia devalued the ruble and stopped payment on its government debt, creating a financial crisis that continues today. Some observers have blamed the financial crisis, and the poor performance of the Russian economy generally, on government policies that they claim are rigidly laissez faire. However, a closer look at the Russian financial system reveals that it remains fundamentally socialist, though it has superficial capitalist features.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Christopher Layne
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Clinton administration has made one miscalculation after another in dealing with the Kosovo crisis. U.S. officials and their NATO colleagues never understood the historical and emotional importance of Kosovo to the Serbia n people, believing instead that Belgrade's harsh repression of the ethnic Albanian secessionist movement in Kosovo merely reflected the will of President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia. The administration's foreign policy team mistakenly concluded that, under a threat of air strikes, the Yugoslav government would sign a dictate d peace accord (the Rambouillet agreement) to be implemented by a NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Even if Milosevic initially refused to sign the Rambouillet agreement, administration leaders believed that Belgrade would relent after a brief “demonstration” bombing campaign. Those calculations proved to be disastrously wrong.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans, Albania
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: To contain Soviet-led communism and, secondarily, to prevent a militarily resurgent Japan, Washington established a network of alliances, bases, and deployments throughout East Asia after World War II. By the 1990s the Soviet Union had imploded, China had become a reasonably restrained international player, and other communist states had lost their ideological edge. At the same time, the noncommunist nations had leaped ahead economically. Despite such momentous developments, however, U.S. policy remains fundamentally the same.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Washington, Israel, Soviet Union
  • Author: James L. George
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Readiness, the capability to respond quickly to a conflict with the appropriate force, is considered one of the most important elements in defense planning. From one-third to well over one-half of the defense budget goes toward maintaining readiness. Few people questioned the need for readiness, especially after the attack by North Korea against South Korea in 1950 and during the Cold War, when the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact was poised to quickly thrust into Western Europe without much warning.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Western Europe
  • Author: L. Jacobo Rodriguez
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The privatization of Mexico's government-run pay-as-you-go social security system, which went into effect in July 1997, is the Ernesto Zedillo administration's most important structural reform. It is a measure that, if successful, will help bring much-needed social and economic stability. The Mexican peso crisis of 1994–95 underscore d the fragility of Mexico's economy, its need for independent institutions, and its need for a large pool of long-term domestic savings. An increase in the rate of private savings in Mexico, which this reform will promote, would make the Mexican economy less dependent on short-term fluctuations of international capital flows and, thus, more stable. More important still, the privatization of social security will erect one of the basic pillars of a free society by turning Mexico into a country of property-owning workers.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Charles V. Peña, Barbara Conry
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: To date, the debate surrounding national missile defense (NMD) has been dominated by political rhetoric. Supporters (usually conservatives) often paint a “doom-and-gloom” picture, pointing out that the United States is vulnerable to an attack by ballistic missiles. Critics (usually liberals) defend the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty as the cornerstone of deterrence and stability and argue that any defensive deployment would upset the balance between the offensive strategic nuclear forces of the United States and Russia.
  • Topic: Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Janine R. Wedel
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the governments of the United States and other Western countries have provided massive aid to promote a transition to the free market in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. But aid for market reforms in the region has been largely ineffective. Whether provided in the form of technical assistance, grants to political groups or nongovernmental organizations, loans and guarantees to the private sector, or direct financial aid to post-communist governments, that aid has been plagued by a number of problems. The failed $22.6 billion bailout of Russia by the International Monetary Fund in July 1998 only confirmed the flawed nature of the aid-for-reform approach.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Ivan Eland
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Serious military threats to U.S. security have diminished dramatically since the end of the Cold War. The threat from conventional Russian military forces has all but disintegrated and would take many years to reconstitute. China would take 20 to 30 years to transform its bloated and obsolete military into a major threat to U.S. vital interests. The militaries in both nations should be watched, but they may never develop into credible threats.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Cold War, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kathleen C. Bailey
  • Publication Date: 01-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is now before the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent. The treaty bans all explosive testing of nuclear weapons. Advocates of the CTBT make several arguments in support of the treaty. The reasons reduce to two points: the ban will constrain the modernization and development of nuclear weapons by the nations that already possess them, and it will help prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional nations. Both objectives are set out in the CTBT's preamble.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke, Kurt Schuler
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: President Carlos Menem of Argentina has advocated replacing the Argentine peso with the dollar. Dollarization would benefit Argentina because it would eliminate the peso-dollar exchange-rate risk, lower interest rates, and stimulate economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Ivan Eland, Timothy M. Beard
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although the end of the Cold War reduced the likelihood of a nuclear exchange between the superpowers, several smaller rogue states, through their dedicated efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, have emerged as potential threats to U.S. national security. National Intelligence Estimate 95-19 stated that no new missile threats to the United States would develop before 2010. However, given the curious circumstances of the estimate's release and the many analytical faults contained in the document, its results have been questioned.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Cato Institute
  • Publication Date: 04-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: On December 8-9 the Cato Institute and The Economist cosponsored a conference on the global public pensions crisis at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London. Among the speakers were Michael Tanner, director of the Cato Project on Social Security Privatization; Clive Crook, deputy editor of The Economist; Carlos Boloña, former finance minister of Peru; Mukul Asher of the University of Singapore; and Peter Ferrara, chief economist at Americans for Tax Reform and an associate policy analyst at the Cato Institute. Excerpts from their remarks follow.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: London
  • Author: Daniel T. Griswold
  • Publication Date: 04-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: America's annual trade deficit, already large by historical standards, could reach a new record in 1998, fueling protectionist sentiment in Congress. Political fallout from the trade deficit numbers could impede efforts to reduce barriers to trade in the United States and abroad. Contrary to popular conception, the trade deficit is not caused by unfair trade practices abroad or declining industrial competitiveness at home. Trade deficits reflect the flow of capital across international borders, flows that are determined by national rates of savings and investment. This renders trade policy an ineffective tool for reducing a nation's trade deficit.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jonathan D. Wallace
  • Publication Date: 02-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Under the legal doctrine of pervasiveness, media such as television and radio get much less protection from censorship than do print media. The Supreme Court should reject the pervasiveness doctrine as a dangerously broad and vague excuse for speech regulation. If the doctrine applies to any medium, it could arguably apply to all media. The pervasiveness doctrine thus threatens to curtail the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech.
  • Topic: Government, Industrial Policy, Political Economy, Science and Technology
  • Author: Ivan Eland
  • Publication Date: 12-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: According to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, terrorism is the most important threat the United States and the world face as the 21st century begins. High-level U.S. officials have acknowledged that terrorists are now more likely to be able to obtain and use nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons than ever before.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The devaluation of the Russian ruble this year was predictable, especially considering Russia's poor monetary history. State-manipulated money has been a Russian hallmark since the time of Peter the Great and shows that the country's money problems are endemic and do not depend on who controls the central bank. Czarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet governments have used the central bank printing press to finance deficit spending, resulting in high inflation, confiscation of savings, capital controls, or a combination of the three.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union