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  • Author: Jason Kuznicki
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The thesis of Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms is that, for most of human history and prehistory, there prevailed an essentially Malthusian social dynamic, one in which improvements in technology or wealth were turned almost immediately into increased population rather than in- creased individual wealth or technological innovation. Only calamities, such as the Black Death of the 14th century, could raise the average wealth of a society, and they did so by reducing the population.
  • Author: Justin Logan
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: After the shocking intelligence failure of September 11 and the faulty estimate of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, many observers are asking why such egregious mistakes happened, and what can be done to prevent repeat performances. Washington has never been short on proposed intelligence reforms. Daniel Patrick Moynihan proposed shuttering the CIA altogether while Gary Schmitt advocated giving Congress more raw intelligence. These and other proposals have varied a great deal in quality and feasibility.
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Daniel Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Some policymakers in the United States and Europe argue that it is possible to enjoy economic growth and also have a large welfare state. These advocates for bigger government claim that the so- called Nordic Model offers the best of both worlds. This claim does not withstand scrutiny. Economic performance in Nordic nations is lagging, and excessive government is the most likely explanation. The public sector in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland consumes, on average, more than 48 percent of economic output. Total government outlays in the United States, by contrast, are less than 37 percent of gross domes- tic product. Revenue comparisons are even more striking. Tax receipts average more than 45 per- cent of GDP in Nordic nations, a full 20 percent- age points higher than the aggregate tax burden in the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Randal O'Tool
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: California cities have the least affordable housing and the most congested traffic in the nation. California's housing crisis results directly from several little-known state institutions, including local agency formation commissions (LAFCos), which regulate annexations and the formation of new cities and service districts; the California Environmental Quality Act, which imposes high costs on new developments; and a 1971 state planning law that effectively entitles any resident in the state to a say in how property owners in the state use their land. Cities such as San Jose have manipulated these institutions and laws with the goal of maximizing their tax revenues.
  • Topic: Demographics, Environment, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Justin Logan, Ted Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Taiwan spends far too little on its own defense, in large part because the Taiwanese believe the United States is their ultimate protector. The Taiwan legislature's six-year delay and severe down- sizing of a budget to pay for weapons systems that Washington has offered the island since 2001 is only one piece of evidence of Taiwan's free riding. Although Taiwan recently approved roughly US$300 million of the original budget of about $18 billion, the underlying problem remains: even with the new appropriation, Taiwan's overall investment in defense—approximately 2.6 percent of GDP—is woefully inadequate, given the ongoing tensions with mainland China. America is now in the unenviable position of having an implicit commitment to defend a fellow democracy that seems largely uninterested in defending itself.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Bryan Caplan
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In theory, democracy is a bulwark against socially harmful policies. In practice, however, democracies frequently adopt and maintain policies that are damaging. How can this paradox be explained? The influence of special interests and voter ignorance are two leading explanations. I offer an alternative story of how and why democracy fails. The central idea is that voters are worse than ignorant; they are, in a word, irrational—and they vote accordingly. Despite their lack of knowledge, voters are not humble agnostics; instead, they confidently embrace a long list of misconceptions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Will Wilkinson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: “Happiness research” studies the correlates of subjective well-being, generally through survey methods. A number of psychologists and social scientists have drawn upon this work recently to argue that the American model of relatively limited government and a dynamic market economy corrodes happiness, whereas Western European and Scandinavian-style social democracies pro- mote it. This paper argues that happiness research in fact poses no threat to the relatively libertarian ideals embodied in the U.S. socioeconomic system. Happiness research is seriously hampered by confusion and disagreement about the definition of its subject as well as the limitations inherent in current measurement techniques. In its present state happiness research cannot be relied on as an authoritative source for empirical information about happiness, which, in any case, is not a simple empirical phenomenon but a cultural and historical moving target. Yet, even if we accept the data of happiness research at face value, few of the alleged redistributive policy implications actually follow from the evidence. The data show that neither higher rates of government redistribution nor lower levels of income inequality make us happier, whereas high levels of economic freedom and high average incomes are among the strongest correlates of subjective well- being. Even if we table the damning charges of questionable science and bad moral philosophy, the American model still comes off a glowing success in terms of happiness.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Daryl Press
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Many Americans have lost confidence in their country's “energy security” over the past several years. Because the United States is a net oil importer, and a substantial one at that, concerns about energy security naturally raise foreign policy questions. Some foreign policy analysts fear that dwindling global oil reserves are increasingly concentrated in politically unstable regions, and they call for increased U.S. efforts to stabilize—or, alter-natively, democratize—the politically tumultuous oil-producing regions. Others allege that China is pursuing a strategy to “lock up” the world's remaining oil supplies through long-term purchase agreements and aggressive diplomacy, so they counsel that the United States outmaneuver Beijing in the “geopolitics of oil.” Finally, many analysts suggest that even the “normal” political disruptions that occasionally occur in oil-producing regions (e.g., occasional wars and revolutions) hurt Americans by disrupting supply and creating price spikes. U.S. military forces, those analysts claim, are needed to enhance peace and stability in crucial oil-producing regions, particularly the Persian Gulf.
  • Topic: Security, Oil, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. military occupation of Iraq has now lasted longer than U.S. involvement in World War II. Yet there is no end in sight to the mission. Staying in Iraq is a fatally flawed policy that has already cost more than 3,000 American lives and consumed more than $350 billion. The security situation in that country grows increasingly chaotic and bloody as evidence mounts that Iraq has descended into a sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. Approximately 120 Iraqis per day are perishing in political violence. That bloodshed is occurring in a country of barely 26 million people. A comparable rate of carnage in the United States would produce more than 1,400 fatalities per day.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Neal McCluskey
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: It is all too often assumed that public education as we typically think of it today—schooling provided and controlled by government—constitutes the “foundation of American democracy.” Such schooling, it is argued, has taken people of immensely varied ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds and molded them into Americans who are both unified and free. Public schooling, it is assumed, has been the gentle flame beneath the great American melting pot.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Demographics, Education
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Alan Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: There are frequent complaints that U.S. income inequality has increased in recent decades. Estimates of rising inequality that are widely cited in the media are often based on federal income tax return data. Those data appear to show that the share of U.S. income going to the top 1 percent (those people with the highest incomes) has increased substantially since the 1970s.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert A. Pape
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Over the past two decades, terrorist organizations have increasingly relied on suicide attacks to achieve political objectives. The specific goal sought in almost all suicide terrorist campaigns in modern history is the same: to compel a democratic state to withdraw combat forces from territory prized by the terrorists. This holds true for al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization of greatest concern to most Americans. Al-Qaeda's efforts to mobilize people to kill Americans are driven principally by a simple strategic goal: to drive the United States and its Western allies from the Arabian Peninsula and other Muslim countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Arabia, Arabian Peninsula
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although it is possible that negotiations between the leading powers in the international community and Iran may produce a settlement to the vexing issue of Iran's nuclear program, it is more likely that those negotiations will fail. If that happens, U.S. policymakers face a set of highly imperfect options.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Jacques Chaoulli
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Early efforts by Western democracies to restrict freedom of contract were rationalized on the ground that such restrictions were necessary to prevent the suffering of ordinary citizens. People who oppose the freedom to opt out of state-run health insurance schemes turn that rationale on its head: they oppose freedom of contract even when it is necessary to prevent the suffering of ordinary citizens. A recent ruling by the Canadian Supreme Court has helped to restore that freedom and the right of patients to make their own medical decisions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government, International Law
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Rensselaer Lee
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The danger posed by Russia's inadequately secured stocks of nuclear weapons and fissile material is a major national security concern for the United States. Various cooperative U.S.-Russian programs aimed at securing nuclear material, weapons, and design intelligence have been mounted since the 1990s, but clever and determined adversaries may be able to circumvent or defeat the defenses that the United States and its partners are attempting to put in place. U.S. programs are by their nature reactive: they have long time horizons; they focus preeminently on the supply side of the problem; and they face serious technological limitations. Russia's imperfect commitment to nonproliferation also undermines the effectiveness of U.S. nonproliferation efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Christopher Preble
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S.-Japan strategic relationship, formalized during the depths of the Cold War and refined during the 1980s and 1990s, continues to undergo dramatic changes. Although Japan is economically capable and now seems politically motivated to assume full responsibility for defending itself from threats, it is legally constrained from doing so under the terms of the Japanese constitution, particularly Article 9. The path to defensive self-sufficiency is also impeded by Japan's continuing dependence on the United States embodied in the U.S.-Japan security alliance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Michael Tanner, Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: There is growing bipartisan recognition that the pathway out of poverty is not through consumption but through saving and accumulation. That idea has led to a number of interesting and innovative experiments by state and local governments and by private charitable organizations and has helped fuel the drive for personal accounts as part of Social Security reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The index presented in this report attempts to measure how closely existing school systems resemble free markets and rates education policy proposals on how conducive they are to the rise of competitive marketplaces. We define an education market as a system that provides the freedom for producers and consumers to voluntarily associate with one another, as well as the incentives that encourage families to be diligent consumers and educators to innovate, control costs, and expand their services. It is a system in which schools can offer instruction in any subject, using any method, for which families are willing to pay.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Markets
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The index presented in this report attempts to measure how closely existing school systems resemble free markets and rates education policy proposals on how conducive they are to the rise of competitive marketplaces. We define an education market as a system that provides the freedom for producers and consumers to voluntarily associate with one another, as well as the incentives that encourage families to be diligent consumers and educators to innovate, control costs, and expand their services. It is a system in which schools can offer instruction in any subject, using any method, for which families are willing to pay.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Markets
  • Author: Jim Harper, Jeff Jonas
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, spurred extraordinary efforts intended to protect America from the newly highlighted scourge of international terrorism. Among the efforts was the consideration and possible use of “data mining” as a way to discover planning and preparation for terrorism. Data mining is the process of searching data for previously unknown patterns and using those patterns to predict future outcomes.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, National Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Justin Logan
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: It appears increasingly likely that the Bush administration's diplomatic approach to Iran will fail to prevent Iran from going nuclear and that the United States will have to decide whether to use military force to attempt to delay Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability. Some analysts have already been promoting air strikes against Iran, and the Bush administration has pointed out repeatedly that the military option is “on the table.” This paper examines the options available to the United States in the face of a prospective final diplomatic collapse.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Andrew Mwenda
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Africa is the world's poorest continent. Between 1974 and 2003, the per capita income in sub-Saharan Africa declined by 11 percent. Africa continues to trail the rest of the world on human development indicators including life expectancy; infant mortality; undernourishment; school enrollment; and the incidence of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. The international aid lobby advocates more foreign aid and greater debt relief for Africa as solutions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For more than 20 years, the United States has refused to become a party to the Law of the Sea Treaty. Advocates of the treaty, a comprehensive measure governing navigational rights on the sea and mineral rights on the seabed, claimed that U.S. failure to join the convention would result in chaos on the high seas. It has not. Very few Americans know anything about the treaty, and even advocates are hard-pressed to explain how the United States would benefit from its adoption.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Law, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Salisbury
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Historically, elementary and secondary education has been the largest item in state budgets. During the past three decades, state spending on public education has grown both in terms of revenues spent per pupil and as a percentage of total personal income. Spending on K–12 education is expected to continue to rise during the next few years, mainly because of the increased number of teachers and other school personnel that will be needed to meet increased enrollment.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Education, Politics
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: With President Bush's call for comprehensive Social Security reform bogged down in the morass of partisan politics, many reform advocates have suggested starting the process with smaller steps. Recently, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), and others have proposed legislation to rebate Social Security surpluses to workers in the form of contributions to personal accounts.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephen A. Moses
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Seventy-seven million aging baby boomers will sink America's retirement security system if we don't take action soon. A few years ago, the problem went unrecognized by most Americans. Today, the prospect of a fiscal crisis has forced policymakers to focus on solutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Medicaid occupies a special place among government programs for the poor. Public support for Medicaid is broader and deeper than for other safety net programs because the consequences of inadequate medical care can be much more immediate and severe than those of a lack of money or even food.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Dennis Polhill, Patrick Basham
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: American representative government suffers from the handicap of a largely uncompetitive political system. American politics has fewer and fewer competitive elections. In arguing that political competition matters a great deal, this paper traces the increasing trend toward uncompetitiveness and details the role and nature of incumbency advantage in fostering an uncompetitive political system.
  • Topic: Demographics, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ronald T. Libby
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The medical field of treating chronic pain is still in its infancy. It was only in the late 1980s that leading physicians trained in treating the chronic pain of terminally ill cancer patients began to recommend that the "opioid therapy" (treatment involving narcotics related to opium) used on their patients also be used for patients suffering from nonterminal conditions. The new therapies proved successful, and prescription pain medications saw a huge leap in sales throughout the 1990s. But opioid therapy has always been controversial. The habit-forming nature of some prescription pain medications made many physicians, medical boards, and law enforcement officials wary of their use in treating acute pain in nonterminal patients. Consequently, many physicians and pain specialists have shied away from opioid treatment, causing millions of Americans to suffer from chronic pain even as therapies were available to treat it.
  • Topic: Crime, Human Welfare, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Neal McCluskey
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: One of the most frequently voiced objections to school choice is that the free market lacks the "accountability" that governs public education. Public schools are constantly monitored by district administrators, state officials, federal officials, school board members, and throngs of other people tasked with making sure that the schools follow all the rules and regulations governing them. That level of bureaucratic oversight does not exist in the free market, and critics fear choice-based education will be plagued by corruption, poor-quality schools, and failure.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, or MANPADS (man-portable air defense systems), have proliferated throughout the world. They can be purchased on the military arms black market for as little as $5,000. More than two dozen terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, are believed to possess such weapons. The FBI estimates that there have been 29 MANPADS attacks against civilian aircraft resulting in 550 deaths. At least 25 of the reported attacks have been attributed to nonstate actors.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Chris Edwards
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: President Bush has established an advisory panel to study federal tax reform options. The panel is headed by former senators Connie Mack of Florida and John Breaux of Louisiana. Congressional leaders, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom Delay, have also pledged their support for reform.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Florida, Louisiana
  • Author: Ilya Somin
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Fifth Amendment and most state constitutions prohibit government from condemning private property except for a “public use.”Traditionally, that has forbidden most condemnations that transfer property from one private owner to another.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael A. Einhorn, Bill Rosenblatt
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The term “peer to peer” (P2P) refers generally to software that enables a computer to locate a content file on another networked device and copy the encoded data to its own hard drive. P2P technology often attracts people who use it to reproduce or distribute copyrighted music and movies without authorization of rights owners. For that reason, the short history of P2P technology has been one of constant controversy and calls by many in the content industry to regulate or even ban P2P-based networks or software.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lawrence Gasman
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the mid-1990s as it seemed that lawmakers were about to abandon much of the regulatory apparatus that had hampered the telecommunications industry since the 1930s, the telecom equipment industry began to boom, helped in part by the rise of the Internet. The deregulatory trend led ultimately to the 1996 Telecom Act, and soon the architects and implementers of that act were congratulating themselves on a job well done. We were supposedly building a new telecom infrastructure fit for the information age.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John C. Goodman
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Almost everyone agrees that the U.S. health care system is in dire need of reform. But there are differing opinions on what kind of reform would be best. Some on the political left would like to see us copy one of the government-run “single-payer”systems that exist in Western Europe, Canada, and New Zealand, among other places. Proponents of socialized medicine point to other countries as examples of health care systems that are superior to our own. They insist that government will make health care available on the basis of need rather than ability to pay. The rich and poor will have equal access to care. And more serious medical needs will be given priority over less serious needs.
  • Topic: Government, Human Welfare, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Canada, New Zealand
  • Author: Gary Wolfram
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As Congress debates the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, it should heed Friedrich Hayek's warning that democracy is “peculiarly liable, if not guided by accepted common principles, to produce over-all results that nobody wanted.” One result of the federal government's student financial aid programs is higher tuition costs at our nation's colleges and universities. Basic economic theory suggests that the increased demand for higher education generated by HEA will have the effect of increasing tuitions. The empirical evidence is consistent with that—federal loans, Pell grants, and other assistance programs result in higher tuition for students at our nation's colleges and universities.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Mexico is a major source of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine for the U.S. market as well as the principal transit and distribution point for cocaine coming in from South America. For years, people both inside and outside Mexico have worried that the country might descend into the maelstrom of corruption and violence that has long plagued the chief drug-source country in the Western Hemisphere, Colombia. There are growing signs that the “Colombianization” of Mexico is now becoming a reality.
  • Topic: Crime, Health
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Central America, Mexico
  • Author: Thomas Dichter
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The foreign aid industry has for decades tried one approach after another in an effort to make aid work. A career of field experience in the aid industry, however, confirms the empirical record that aid is unimportant to growth or poverty reduction and suggests that aid is not likely to work in the future. The belief that foreign assistance has been generally ineffective, moreover, appears to be widespread among aid practitioners with long field experience.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Cooperation, United Nations
  • Author: Moeletsi Mbeki
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Economic growth in Africa, as in the rest of the world, depends on a vibrant private sector. Entrepreneurs in Africa, however, face daunting constraints. They are prevented from creating wealth by predatory political elites that control the state. African political elites use marketing boards and taxation to divert agricultural savings to finance their own consumption and to strengthen the repressive apparatus of the state. Peasants, who constitute the core of the private sector in sub-Saharan Africa, are the biggest losers. In order for Africa to prosper, peasants need to become the real owners of their primary asset—land—over which they currently have no property rights.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Peter Van Doren, Jerry Taylor
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Electric utility restructuring was initiated in the 1990s to remedy the problem of relatively high electricity costs in the Northeast and California. While politicians hoped that reform would allow low-cost electricity to flow to highcost states and that competition would reduce prices, economists wanted reform to eliminate regulatory incentives to overbuild generating capacity and spur the introduction of real-time prices for electricity.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: California
  • Author: Jenifer Zeigler
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In 1996 the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was signed into law, and the nation waited to see if welfare reform would truly “end welfare as we know it.” Block grant funding and administrative devolution gave the states a chance to move beyond pilot programs and prove that they could transition people off welfare more efficiently and effectively than the federal government. As a result, caseloads have dropped by more than half.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lawrence J. White
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) are the two dominant entities in the secondary residential mortgage markets of the United States. They are an important and prominent part of a larger mosaic of extensive efforts by governments at all levels to encourage the production and consumption of housing.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christopher J. Conover
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Students of regulation have known for decades that the burden of regulation on the U.S. economy is sizable, with the latest figures suggesting this cost may approach $1 trillion in 2004. Surprisingly, given that the health industry is often viewed as among the most heavily regulated sectors of the U.S. economy, previous estimates generally have ignored the cost of regulating health care services.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Patricia Adams
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Most debts created by Saddam Hussein in the name of the Iraqi people would qualify as “odious” according to the international Doctrine of Odious Debts. This legal doctrine holds that debts not used in the public interest are not legally enforceable.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Ilya Somin
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Democracy demands an informed electorate. Voters who lack adequate knowledge about politics will find it difficult to control public policy. Inadequate voter knowledge prevents government from reflecting the will of the people in any meaningful way. Such ignorance also raises doubts about democracy as a means of serving the interests of a majority. Voters who lack sufficient knowledge may be manipulated by elites. They may also demand policies that contravene their own interests.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John Samples
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Critics of American politics and elections often focus on low voter turnout in the United States. They argue that voter turnout is steadily declining largely because of voter cynicism caused by big money campaigns and negative political advertising. Voter turnout is lower than it was in the 1960s, but almost the entire decline happened between 1968 and 1974. Sophisticated and detailed studies of both public trust in government and the consequences of political advertising show that neither factor has a negative effect on voter turnout.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jim Harper
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Properly defined, privacy is the subjective condition people experience when they have power to control information about themselves. Because privacy is subjective, government regulation in the name of privacy can only create confidentiality or secrecy rules based on politicians' and bureaucrats' guesses about what "privacy" should look like. The most important, but elusive, part of true privacy protection is consumers' exercise of power over information about themselves. Ultimately, privacy is a product of personal responsibility and autonomy.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights
  • Author: Roger Pilon
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As modern "miracle drugs" play a growing role in medical practice, drug prices in America soar far beyond prices in the rest of the world. Yet our law prohibits Americans from buying American-made drugs abroad at those prices and "reimporting" them to the United States. That has led many Americans, and even some state and local officials, to ignore the law and go to Canada and Mexico for their drugs; to the passage in the House last year of a bill lifting the ban on reimportation; and to similar bills now in the Senate—legislation that Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently called "inevitable."
  • Topic: Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Canada, Mexico
  • Author: Jeffrey Record
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: During the Cold War, the principal function of nuclear weapons was to deter nuclear attack. Nuclear deterrence was not considered a tool of nonproliferation. The primary mechanisms for halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons were the nonproliferation regime established by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968 and the U.S. extension of nuclear deterrence to states that might otherwise have sought security through the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Cold War, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Neal McCluskey
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since the 1965 passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which concentrated unprecedented authority over American education in the hands of the federal government, federal lawmakers have passed increasingly restrictive laws and drastically escalated education spending, which ballooned from around $25 billion in 1965 (adjusted for inflation) to more than $108 billion in 2002.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Alan Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The federal government's swing from budget surpluses to budget deficits has raised concerns about possible negative economic effects. Some economists have argued that deficits will raise interest rates, reduce economic growth, increase trade deficits, and possibly create a financial crisis.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Leslie S. Lebl
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For almost 50 years, proposals by the European Union to develop a common foreign and security policy for all member states failed. Since the late 1990s, however, the situation has changed. Despite, or perhaps because of, member states' disagreements over Iraq, the EU probably will continue to develop common foreign and security policies, and the European Commission may begin to play a role in developing new European military capabilities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Chris Edwards
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The federal government is headed toward a financial crisis as a result of chronic overspending, large deficits, and huge future cost increases in Social Security and Medicare. Social Security and Medicare would be big fiscal challenges even if the rest of the government were lean and efficient, but the budget is littered with wasteful and unnecessary programs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert A. Levy, Michael I. Krauss
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Critics of federal tort reform have usually come from the political left and its allies among the trial lawyers, who favor a state-based system that can be exploited to redistribute income from deep-pocketed corporations to "deserving" individuals. We offer a totally different criticism—constitutional in origin—that embraces the need for reform but reaffirms this principle: The existence of a problem, however serious, does not justify federal remedies outside the scope of Congress's enumerated powers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Roger Bate, Richard Tren
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Malaria imposes enormous human suffering and economic costs on many poor countries. For South Africa, which has a relatively minor malaria problem for a developing country, from 2000 to 2002 the economic cost ranged between US$15 million and US$41 million, excluding estimates of the human suffering and estimates of lost investment in malarial areas..
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Claude Salhani
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: On December 12, 2003, President Bush signed into law the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, a law designed to pressure Syrian president Bashar Assad's government to work more aggressively in fighting terrorism at home and abroad. Implementation of the new measures, which combine punitive economic sanctions with diplomatic pressure, threatens to escalate into a new conflict in the Middle East. Some influential people in Washington welcomed such a confrontation, believing that it would lead to regime change in Damascus similar to the one that was effected in neighboring Iraq.
  • Topic: Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Andrew Coulson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This paper describes the threat posed to U.S. national security by militant schools in lessdeveloped nations, evaluates current policies for dealing with that threat, and suggests an alternative set of policies that would likely be more effective and also more consistent with the laws and principles of the United States.
  • Topic: Education, International Trade and Finance, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Arabia
  • Author: Patrick Basham
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Is Iraq capable of moving smoothly from dictatorship to democracy? This paper contends that the White House will be gravely disappointed with the result of its effort to establish a stable liberal democracy in Iraq, or any other nation home to a large population of Muslims or Arabs, at least in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: There is a growing tension between two U .S. objectives in Afghanistan. The most important objective is—or at least should be—the eradication of the remaining Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in that country. But the United States and its coalition partners are now also emphasizing the eradication of Afghanistan's drug trade. These antidrug efforts may fatally undermine the far more important anti-terrorism campaign.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East, Taliban
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: After a decade of rapid economic growth, the Dominican Republic entered a downward spiral in 2003. The economy shrank for the first time since 1990, the inflation rate quadrupled, the Dominican peso collapsed, government debt more than doubled, interest rates soared, and the central bank incurred large losses.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Bush administration has gone from one extreme to the other with regard to U.S. policy on Taiwan. During the early months of his administration, the president gave a seemingly unconditional pledge to defend Taiwan from attack by mainland China—going significantly further than his predecessors had. He followed that assurance by approving the largest arms sales package to Taiwan in nearly a decade. In marked contrast to the Clinton years, high-profile visits by Taiwanese leaders to the United States have been encouraged, despite Beijing's protests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: President Bush asserts that U.S. military action against Iraq was justified because Saddam Hussein was in material breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441. But even if Iraq was in violation of a UN resolution, the U.S. military does not exist to enforce UN mandates. It exists to defend the United States: its territorial integrity and national sovereignty, the population, and the liberties that underlie the American way of life. So whether Iraq was in violation of Resolution 1441 is irrelevant. The real question is whether Iraq represented a direct and imminent threat to the United States that could not otherwise be deterred. If that was the case, then preemptive self-defense, like Israel's military action against Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq in the 1967 Six Day War, would have been warranted. And if Iraq was not a threat, especially in terms of aiding and abetting Al Qaeda, then the United States fought a needless war against a phantom menace.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, United Nations, Syria, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Currently, the United States relies on conventional bunker-busting bombs—such as the GBU-28, which was used in both Afghanistan and Iraq—to destroy hardened, underground targets. Legislation is pending in Congress that would provide funding for research—but not engineering or development—for low-yield, earth-penetrating nuclear weapons for targets that cannot be destroyed by conventional bunker busters.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Constitution of the United States of America makes clear that one of the paramount responsibilities of the federal government is to "provide for the common defense." In the past, the primary threats to the United States and U.S. interests were hostile nation-states. Today, the real threat to America is terrorist groups, specifically the al Qaeda terrorist network. Therefore, al Qaeda, not rogue states, should be the primary focus of U.S. national security strategy.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Veronique de Rugy, Richard W. Rahn
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Global economic growth and personal freedom are under attack by governments and international organizations seeking to squelch financial privacy and tax competition. Privacy rights and international tax competition are beneficial constraints on the monopoly power of governments. But high-tax nations and organizations such as the European Union are pressing for international agreements to remove those limits on government power at the expense of prosperity and freedom.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Marian L. Tupy
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The accession of eight Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) to the European Union in 2004 will bring some important benefits. The new members will gain from reduced barriers to trade and investment. By 2010, the movement of labor will also be freed. But accession to the EU is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for economic growth. The combined effects of market access and economic liberalization, not EU membership, optimize economic growth.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Leon T. Hadar
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The war in Iraq has created tensions between the United States and some of its leading allies in Europe and exposed a deep diplomatic rift between the traditional transatlantic security partners. The controversy over Iraq has also ignited strong anti-American sentiments and threatened international cooperation in the war against Al Qaeda.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Christopher Layne
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Iraq War represents a turning point in transatlantic relations. Euro-American ties have been ruptured, and never again will be the same. But the growing estrangement between the European powers and the United States is tied primarily to the nature of power in the international system and to America's dominant role in the world today.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: There is no easy answer to the prospect of a nuclear Democratic People's Republic of Korea. A preemptive war against Pyongyang, even if the strikes were initially directed only at the North's nuclear facilities, would create an unacceptable risk of full-scale war on the peninsula. Sanctions would create their own set of risks. Current punitive economic measures have increased the suffering of millions of North Koreans but have not succeeded in altering President Kim Jong-il's behavior. Further sanctions would certainly not work without the support of the surrounding countries.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Christopher Preble
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Donald Rumsfeld's announcement that U.S. troops will be removed from Saudi Arabia represents a significant and welcome change in U.S. policy toward the Persian Gulf. This wise decision to shift U.S. forces out of the kingdom should be only the first of several steps to substantially reduce the American military presence in the region. In addition to the removal of troops from Saudi Arabia, U.S. forces should be withdrawn from other Gulf states, including Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq, and the U.S. Navy should terminate its long-standing policy of deploying a carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf.
  • Topic: Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: W. Thomas Dillard, Stephen R. Johnson, Timothy Lynch
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The grand jury is perhaps the most mysterious institution in the American criminal justice system. While most people are generally familiar with the function of the police officer, the prosecutor, the defense lawyer, the judge, and the trial jury, few have any idea about what the grand jury is supposed to do and its day-to-day operation. That ignorance largely explains how some over-reaching prosecutors have been able to pervert the grand jury, whose original purpose was to check prosecutorial power, into an inquisitorial bulldozer that enhances the power of government and now runs roughshod over the constitutional rights of citizens.
  • Topic: Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Few sectors of the economy have provided more benefits to consumers than the pharmaceutical industry. Drugmakers have been vilified by patients and politicians alike, however, because of what they see as unreasonably high drug costs.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. alliance with the Republic of Korea has been America's most consistently dangerous commitment since the end of World War II. Yet South Korea is beginning to look away from the United States for its defense. Newly elected President Roh Moo-hyun campaigned on a plat-form of revisiting the security relationship, and he has attempted to adopt the role of mediator between America and North Korea.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Israel, East Asia, Korea
  • Author: Motohiro Tsuchiya, Adam Thierer
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Global telecommunications markets have traditionally been closed to foreign trade and investment. Recent World Trade Organization negotiations resulted in a Basic Telecommunications agreement that sought to construct a multilateral framework to reverse that trend and begin opening telecom markets worldwide. Regrettably, this new WTO framework is quite ambiguous and open to pro-regulatory interpretations by member states.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, America, South Asia
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: North Korea's recent actions in violation of the clear intent of the agreement it signed in 1994 to freeze its nuclear program have ignited a crisis in northeast Asia. Unfortunately, all of the frequently discussed options for dealing with this crisis have major drawbacks.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: William G. Shipman
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Changing demographics are forcing countries around the world to reexamine their public pension systems. The member states of the European Union are no exception. Indeed, the EU nations are among those facing the greatest social, budgetary, and economic challenges as a result of their aging populations. Therefore, EU members will be forced to rethink their public pension programs and move away from traditional pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) pension models to new systems based on savings and investment.
  • Topic: Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Subodh Atal
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Despite progress in the return of refugees and the prevention of humanitarian disasters, stability in Afghanistan is threatened by ethnic tension, feuding warlords, and violence perpetrated by regrouping elements of the Taliban and their allies. The United States is being asked to increase its level of commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan as a means of stabilizing the country, even as American troops battle the resurgent Islamic extremists who operate along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America, Middle East, Taliban, Arabia
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke, Matt Sekerke
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Following a swift military campaign to remove the Saddam Hussein government in Iraq, it has become clear that preparations for the postwar period have been inadequate and that the occupying forces lack a workable exit strategy. Specifically, the Coalition Provisional Authority has failed to anticipate the challenges that face the postwar Iraqi economy, including the introduction of sound money to facilitate exchange.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ian Vásquez
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The failure of past foreign aid programs has given rise to a new consensus on how to make foreign aid effective. According to the new approach, aid that goes into poor countries that have good policies and institutions is highly effective at promoting growth and reducing poverty. Disbursing aid to countries that have good policies contrasts with the traditional practice of providing aid to countries irrespective of the quality of their policies or providing aid to promote policy reforms. President George Bush's proposed foreign aid initiative, the Millennium Challenge Account, is based on the selective approach to foreign assistance, as are, in large part, the World Bank's calls to double foreign aid flows worldwide.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Third World
  • Author: Ian Vásquez, John Welborn
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Overseas Private Investment Corporation is a government agency that provides loans and investment insurance to U.S. companies doing business around the world. Its four-year, renewable charter will expire in September 2003. Proponents of OPIC claim that the agency helps the U.S. economy and promotes economic development abroad.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The rationale for missile defense put forward by its advocates is often a “doom and gloom” picture: America and its citizens are defenseless against the threat of ballistic missiles, and missile defense is supposed to protect the American people. The administration's vision of missile defense is not just a global system that protects the United States against long-range missiles but a global system capable of engaging all classes of ballistic missiles to protect U.S. forces deployed worldwide, U.S. allies, and other friendly countries. Thus, the purpose of missile defense is extended well beyond protecting America and Americans.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Ever since North Korea's dramatic revelation that it was producing materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons, the Bush administration has considered a range of policy options—including a military strike on North Korean nuclear facilities. Although the administration officially dismisses such talk, President Bush has left the military option on the table, and influential advisers outside of the administration have openly called for military action along the lines of the Israeli attack on Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osirak in 1981.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Israel, North Korea
  • Author: Anna J. Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund has proposed a universal bankruptcy tribunal to deal with sovereign debt restructuring. But does the international financial system really need such a mechanism? There has been little demand by sovereign borrowers or their creditors for a universal bankruptcy law, and few countries have had to enter into debt restructuring procedures. The absence of such a law does not appear to have created chaotic conditions even in those cases.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Ivan Eland
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: China's economy is four times the size of Taiwan's and apparently growing at a faster rate; that economic disparity between China and Taiwan could eventually lead to a military disparity as well. Nonetheless, even an informal U.S. security guarantee for Taiwan against nuclear-armed China is ill-advised. Taiwan is not strategically essential to America's national security. Moreover, China has significant incentives to avoid attacking Taiwan. Perhaps the most crucial is that hostile behavior toward Taiwan would jeopardize China's increasing economic linkage with the United States and other key countries.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Eric R. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As war with Iraq becomes imminent, U.S. military readiness takes center stage. Concerns about readiness focus not only on our ability to successfully attack Iraq but on our ability to defend U.S. forces against an enemy regime that, if its existence is threatened, could have every incentive to use weapons of mass destruction. In any war with Iraq, military experts worry most about attacks with chemical and biological weapons. They have reason to worry, given the U.S. military's lack of preparedness for such attacks.
  • Topic: Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Ivan Eland, Bernard Gourley
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For months the Bush administration has been preparing the country for war with Iraq. The administration has argued that only a forcible regime change can neutralize the threat that Saddam Hussein is said to pose. But the assumptions that underlie the administration's policy range from cautiously pessimistic to outright fallacious. First, there is a prevalent belief that if Iraq is able to obtain nuclear weapons it will inevitably use them. Second, there is a notion that Hussein is totally irrational and cannot be trusted to act in a predictable manner; and, because of that, his leadership creates a substantial risk of instability in the Middle East. Finally, many people in the United States have come to believe that war in Iraq may be the only means of nullifying the threat posed by Iraq's nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs.
  • Topic: Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ivan Eland
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, several commentators have advanced the idea of security through empire. They claim that the best way to protect the United States in the 21st century is to emulate the British, Roman, and other empires of the past. The logic behind the idea is that if the United States can consolidate the international system under its enlightened hegemony, America will be both safer and more prosperous. Although the word “empire” is not used, the Bush administration's ambitious new National Security Strategy seems to embrace the notion of neoimperialism.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The United States has made common cause with an assortment of dubious regimes around the world to wage the war on drugs. Perhaps the most shocking example was Washington's decision in May 2001 to financially reward Afghanistan's infamous Taliban government for its edict ordering a halt to the cultivation of opium poppies.
  • Topic: International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean
  • Author: Kurt Schuler
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Argentina's currency crisis and economic depression have been caused by the bad policies of its government—not by banks, speculators, the International Monetary Fund (despite the bad advice it has given), or other scapegoats. The De la Rúa and Duhalde governments have made several gigantic blunders, namely, increasing tax rates, freezing bank deposits, devaluing the peso, and forcibly converting dollar bank deposits and contracts into pesos (“pesofication”).
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Aaron Lukas, Ian Vásquez
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) was created in 1934 as an independent federal agency operating under a renewable congressional charter. That charter most recently expired on September 30, 2001. Since then, the Ex-Im Bank has been operating under a series of continuing resolutions set to expire on March 31, 2002.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jerry Taylor
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: From August 26 through September 4, 2002, approximately 100 heads of state and 60,000 delegates will gather in Johannesburg, South Africa, to attend a “World Summit on Sustainable Development.” The conference—convened on the 10th anniversary of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and expected to be the largest U.N. summit in history— will explore domestic and international policy options to promote the hottest environmental buzzwords to enter the public policy debate in decades.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Indur M. Goklany
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Controversy over globalization has focused mainly on whether it exacerbates income inequality between the rich and the poor. But, as opponents of globalization frequently note, human well-being is not synonymous with wealth. The central issue, therefore, is not whether income gaps are growing but whether globalization advances well-being and, if inequalities in well-being have expanded, whether that is because the rich have advanced at the expense of the poor.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Human Welfare
  • Author: James W. Harris
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Intelligence is often cited as a critical element in the war against terrorism and, indeed, it is. The U.S. intelligence community has a golden opportunity to develop the capabilities that will make a decisive difference in a war that may last a generation or more. The adversary will not disappear as the campaign to root the al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan winds down. It is essential that intelligence make the transition to the longer-term fight, and the time to begin that transition is at hand.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Veronique de Rugy, Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The threat of direct terrorist attack against the United States proved to be real. And the subsequent anthrax cases point to the possibility of a future bioterrorist attack, including use of the deadly smallpox virus. The nature of terrorism is such that it is impossible to accurately predict the probability of such an attack, but the potential consequences are catastrophic. Therefore, it is a serious threat that deserves serious attention.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The United States possesses the most powerful military on earth, one that has proved its potency in ousting the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. Yet, even as the military was gearing up to perform so well, some people were calling for a return to conscription or, more dramatically, for institution of mandatory national service for all young people.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe, Taliban
  • Author: Gary T. Dempsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since September 11, 2001, there have been calls from various quarters to embrace nation building as a tool for combating terrorism. The logic behind the idea is that “good” states do not do “bad” things, so Washington should build more “good” states. That idea, however, relies on several dubious assumptions—for example, that embarking on multiple nation-building missions will reduce the potential for anti-American terrorism. If anything, nation building is likely to create more incentives, targets, and opportunities for terrorism, not fewer. The nation-building idea also draws on false analogies with the past. For example, some people assert that Europe's experience under the Marshall Plan can be readily duplicated in a whole host of countries and that, with enough economic aid, trained bureaucrats, and military force of arms, “bad” states anywhere can be transformed into open, self-sustaining, peaceful states.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Washington
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although the House of Saud, Saudi Arabia's royal family, has long leaned toward the West, it is a corrupt totalitarian regime at sharp variance with America's most cherished values. Despite the well-publicized ties between the two governments, Saudi Arabia has seldom aided, and often hamstrung, U.S. attempts to combat terrorism.
  • Topic: Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Edward Hudgins, Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Control of space is at the crux of the debate about the future of U.S. military space policy. The question is not about militarizing space. Clearly, we have been using and will continue to use space for military purposes. But, whereas we are currently using space assets to support terrestrial (ground, sea, and air) military operations, what Sen. Robert C. Smith (R-N.H.), the Space Commission (which was chaired by current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld), and others have proposed is that the United States move toward “weaponizing” space for space control.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • 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, open-ended commitments, and the potential for an extreme anti-American backlash.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Europe, Middle East, Asia