The Battle for Freedom: Where We Stand, Roads for Progress
September 18-23, 2016
Plenary Papers by Session
Session 1: Economic Freedom
- Title: How the Index of Economic Freedom has Helped Advance the Cause of Freedom Around the World
Author: Kim Holmes
Notes: The paper makes the case that the Index of Economic Freedom has influence in five distinct categories: public policy analysis, market analysis, investment promotion, academic research, and advocacy.
- Title: What Have We Learned from the Economic Freedom of the World Measure?
Author: James Gwartney
Notes: The paper presents nine key points, about how economic growth impacts income, growth, and poverty, based on data from the “Economic Freedom of the World” reports, which grew out of a series of meetings launched three decades ago by Milton and Rose Friedman and Michael Walker.
Session 2: The Rule of Law
- Title: Magna Carta, the Rule of Law, and the Limits on Government
Author: Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde
Notes: The paper documents how the understanding of Rule of Law derived from Magna Carta were weakened in the late 19th and early 20th century, and how a revival is central in a project of reshaping modern states.
- Title: Our Voracious Executive Branch: On the Nature and Causes of Executive Government
Author: Christopher DeMuth
Notes: This essay draws upon on a lengthier paper “Can the Administrative State By Tamed?” in the Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of Legal Analysis, making the case that the administrative state departs from the Rule of Law in ways that have roots in affluence and technology, pointing to constraints and opportunities for legal reformers.
- Title: Prosecuting Beyond The Rule of Law: Corporate Mandates Imposed Through Deferred Prosecution Agreements
Author: Jennifer Arlen
Notes: The paper, originally published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics and Business, concludes that the process governing deferred and nonprosecution agreements is inconsistent with the Rule of Law.
Session 3: Welfare State and Redistributive Factions
- Title: American Feminists and the Welfare State
Author: Diana Furchtgott-Roth
Notes: The paper documents the evolution of the feminist movement into a faction favoring redistribution, typically justified by a claim of wage discrimination that does not withstand statistical analysis.
- Title: For a Targeted Criticism of the Welfare State
Author: Leszek Balcerowicz and Marek Radzikowski
Notes: To explain how the criticism of overgrown and/or badly structured welfare states could more effective if more targeted, the paper distinguishes among three dimensions of modern welfare states.
- Title: Public Debt, Factions, and Rules: Towards Effective Restraints on Fiscal Commons Problems
Author: Lars Feld
Notes: This presentation will draw on two working papers published in August 2016 for Ludwig Maximilians University’s Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute, “Does the Swiss Debt Brake Induce Sound Federal Finances? A Synthetic Control Analysis” (coauthored with Christian F. Pfeil) and “Effects of Fiscal Rules: 85 Years‘ Experience in Switzerland” (coauthored with Heiko T. Burret)
Session 4: Government Spending
- Title: A Turning Point in American Fiscal Policy: Fiscal Stimulus or Structural Reform?
Author: John B. Taylor
Notes: This paper argues that whether the U.S. renews or turns away from discretionary demand-side policy should depend on (a) an assessment of the actual impact of discretionary fiscal packages during the past 15 years and (b) the estimated impact of budget reform with fiscal consolidation going forward. The papers reviews research that uses macroeconomic models to estimate the impact of recent stimulus packages; considers the direct impact of stimulus programs; and examines models designed to estimate the impact of fiscal consolidation plans, including those methods now used by the Congressional Budget Office.
- Title:Better Than Government: New Ways of Managing Life’s Risks
Author: John C. Goodman
Notes: The paper argues there are Pareto optimal changes that might be implemented to allow individuals to benefit from opting out of government-run social insurance schemes, which simultaneously leaving taxpayers with a smaller burden to carry.
- Title: Hyman Minsky: An advocate of Big Government
Author: Juan Ramon Rallo
Notes: Minsky’s defense of Big Government as a tool for stabilizing aggregate spending through budget deficits has become exceedingly influential. This paper offers a critique based on the crowding-out effects of government spending; the growth-hindering effects of bailing out inefficient enterprises; and the reshaping of the institutional structure of incentives by rewarding financial imprudence.
Session 5: History as the Fulcrum of Liberty
- Title: Capitalism and the Historians Revisited
Author: Tyler Goodspeed
Notes: This paper offers a broad survey of the teaching of history, at the graduate and undergraduate levels, at a sample of European, North American, South American, Asian, and Oceanic universities. It finds that instruction in economic history is generally favorable to the historical role of markets in economic development, though there are non-trivial differences between history as taught in economics departments versus history departments, as well as regional variation in methodology and content.
- Title:Could the History of Political Economy Still Help us Defend Human Freedom?
Author: Maria Blanco and Pedro Schwartz
Notes: This paper analyzes reasons the history of economic thought is no longer an inspiration for the defenders of freedom. In particular, it examines the changes of direction in economic thought at two crucial moments in the development of economic theory: first in the 1870s, when the classical era of economic thought ended and a narrow application of mathematics to economics began to prevail; and second in the 1930s, when John Maynard Keynes changed the paradigm of the greater part of the economics profession.
- Title: Socrates and the Unending Trials of Impiety
Author: James Otteson
Notes: The paper posits that one lesson of the study of human history, which may lead toward classical liberal conclusions, is the enduring conflict between defenders of the status quo, who typically see themselves as preserving ancient, sometimes holy, traditions; and, on the other hand, intellectual, moral, and social entrepreneurs who wish to strike out in new directions, beating new paths and exploring new frontiers of human possibility.
Session 6: Moral Foundations of the Free Society
- Title: Can Religion Serve As a Foundation for the Free Society?
Author: Sam Gregg
Notes: The paper outlines criteria by which one can consider whether a given religion is likely to support the growth and development of free societies in which unjust coercion is minimized. Among them: a religion’s understanding of the Divinity; a religion’s view of reason and free choice; and a religion’s conception of the state, especially its view of constitutionalism, understood not simply as a power-map but as arrangements which impose limits on the exercise of power and guarantee basic freedoms.
- Title: The Place of Religion in the Quest for a Free Society
Author: Onkar Ghate and Yaron Brook
Notes: The paper argues that while a free society requires basic agreement on the purpose of government and law, it need not have a religious base. Rather, it posits an inverse relationship between religiosity in a society and its ability to strive for political freedom.
Session 7: The Security of the Free Society
- Title: Against Militarism
Author: Christopher Coyne
Notes: The paper argues that militarism is the main channel through which the most dangerous and obnoxious aspects of Leviathan emerge, expand, and infect all areas of domestic life. It calls on classical liberals to combat what it sees as a dominant militaristic ideology that underpins U.S. foreign policy.
- Title: Private Sector Options for Security of a Free Society
Author: Erik Prince
Notes: The paper looks at the advantage of private sector solutions to modern “Fourth Generation Warfare” largely involving non-state actors using previously classified commercial technology. It argues classical liberals should welcome competition to solving security concerns and that private actors should be judged against government-led efforts on the basis of accountability, reliability and cost.
- Title: Technology, Privacy, and Security: The Case of Executive Order 12333
Author: Kiron K. Skinner
Notes: Do intelligence statutes and rules substantially contribute to U.S. security, or are they examples of government overreach? This paper looks at the case of Executive Order 12333 and whether it permits government agencies to act in ways that violates individual rights protected by the Constitution. It hi ghlights how government bodies are struggling to develop rules that keep pace with evolving technologies.
Session 8: The Battle for the Free Society in the Academy and in the World of Think Tanks
- Title: Academic Entrepreneurship in Sometimes Hostile Environments: A Virginia School of Political Economy Perspective
Author: J. R. Clark and Peter Boettke
Notes: Building on the work of James Buchanan, this paper assesses what we have learned from the past in terms of successful academic entrepreneurship in the fields of political economy and social philosophy, and how that relates to the “intergenerational transmission” of the soul of classical liberalism.
- Title: Exchange Opportunities Between Think Tanks and Academia: Symbiosis in the Intellectual Structure of Production
Author: Edward Lopez
Notes: The paper examines the ‘intellectual structure of production’ among think tanks and academia, concluding that idea entrepreneurs increasingly specialize in idea production but diversify in idea dissemination.