Lipton Matthews



Articles by Lipton Matthews

The “New” South Africa Is Now a Newly-Failed State: Don’t Look for Things to Improve

Recently, South Africa evoked opposition in some quarters by bringing a case against Israel to the International Court of Justice on the account that the latter is perpetuating genocide against Palestinians. Israel’s response to the terror of Hamas has been widely denounced by the mainstream press, but irrespective of the legitimacy of South Africa’s claims, this matter has brought South Africa to the forefront of public discourse, and as such, an examination of the country is necessary.
South Africa is a country mired in social and economic turmoil. After the collapse of the apartheid regime in 1994, many thought that the nation would embark on an era of sustained prosperity, but this ambition failed to materialize. Instead, the African National Congress became so enmeshed in corruption

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Understanding the Trump Phenomenon: It’s Not What the Elites Think

Donald Trump has won the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and is leading in the polls to become the Republican candidate for the presidency in the upcoming general election. His status as the most likely contender to challenge Joe Biden is upsetting establishment figures who think that Trump’s ascent threatens democracy. Trump is constantly pilloried by the mainstream media as a demagogue who emboldens the racist underbelly of American society. Emotions run rampant, but Trump’s villainy has been grossly exaggerated.
After winning the presidency in 2016, pundits thought that Trump would revert America to an era of racism. These predictions swayed many even though they failed to materialize. Donald Trump did not govern as a racist but rather pandered to racial minorities and

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Jamaica Still Struggles Economically, But There Is Hope for the Future

Jamaica is a small island in the British West Indies, but despite its stature, this tiny nation has elicited the attention of global elites. In politics, Jamaica’s voting behavior at the United Nations is closely monitored by her neighbors in the Caribbean and the global community because she commands influence. Due to historical and cultural complexities, Jamaica is a magnet for academic research, and writing about the country has manifested into a cottage industry. Consistent with her fame, those who study Jamaica tend to be heavyweights in academia. Luminaries from Jeffrey Williamson to Josh Lerner pen intellectual missiles on Jamaica’s economy.
Always in the den of controversy, Jamaica’s recent economic performance has motivated a lively debate between economist Noah Smith and

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Authorities in Jamaica Endorse Cancel Culture

The trend of punishing people in Jamaica for being disrespectful is becoming troubling. Citizens support penalizing uncouth characters without recognizing that sanctions violate free speech. During the apex of lockdown hysteria, one man was coerced by the police to apologize after daring to criticize the prime minister. This act of overreach by the police was unsurprisingly lauded by a wide cross-section of society. Although this act was condemned by Jamaica’s leading paper as a flagrant abuse of power, a firm consensus that the authorities behaved inappropriately was lacking. There is still a pervasive belief in Jamaica that outspoken individuals must be humbled by the political establishment.
This is quite paradoxical, because as a postcolonial society, Jamaicans are critical of Western

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Africa Doesn’t Need More Government Aid; It Needs Free Markets

With a large regional market and youthful population, Africa should be on the cusp of greatness. Yet instead, it remains the poorest continent on earth. Analysts are conceding that Africa’s outlook is gloomy because the region is on track to miss poverty reduction goals. Successive African administrations have consulted multiple strategies to tackle the scourge of poverty with varying degrees of success; however, the plague of poverty has been persistent.
Combatting poverty in Africa is indeed a daunting task since some countries have yet to overcome geographical and environmental limitations. For example, the ravaging effects of the tsetse fly on the food market amount to an annual loss of $5 billion. Achieving developmental targets becomes even more elusive when corruption is added to

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Israel: A Rich Nation Receiving the Bulk of US Foreign Aid

Why is Israel a primary benefactor of United States foreign aid? Is Israel a proxy for US imperialism in the Middle East? Does American aid to Israel benefit constituencies other than the defense industry? The ongoing feud between Israel and Palestine has raised these questions to the forefront of public debate. Israel is the leading recipient of American foreign aid, despite its wealth. In 2022, The Economist ranked Israel as the fourth most successful economy in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
A prosperous country such as Israel should hardly be a contender for America’s benevolence; hence, America’s commitment to sponsoring Israel strikes people as odd. However, some observe that Israel plays a critical role in bolstering American hegemony in the Middle East

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Taking a Closer Look at the Vaunted Scandinavian Welfare States

While politicians like Bernie Sanders and AOC tout the Scandinavian welfare model for the USA, there are a few things to understand about these countries and the economies that support their welfare programs.
Original Article: Taking a Closer Look at the Vaunted Scandinavian Welfare States

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Taking a Closer Look at the Vaunted Scandinavian Welfare States

Welfare states in Scandinavia are revered by the American Left. Many think that America could reduce social problems by copying their policies. To such people, the success of the Scandinavian states is evidence that socialism works. Confidence in the welfare policies of these places is so great that pundits even attribute the prosperity of Scandinavia to these policies. Few ponder why socialism leads to disastrous consequences elsewhere but fruitful outcomes in Scandinavia.
However, if one truly examines the reasons for Scandinavia’s success, it becomes obvious that the region was already prospering before the advent of the welfare state. Countries like Denmark and Sweden experienced considerable increases in living standards and economic growth before launching welfare states. This

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The State versus Entrepreneurs: Prosperity Always Loses

Governments prioritize economic growth as a national policy to win elections. Economic growth is a concern for all citizens because increasing economic growth improves living standards. There are more opportunities for self-advancement and leisure in a booming economy, so people endorse politicians who demonstrate that they know how to transform a sluggish economy into a booming one. Voters usually benefit from government policies when they facilitate entrepreneurship and generate jobs.
However, although politicians affirm the importance of entrepreneurship as a tool for economic growth, they operate under a different set of rules. Preserving power is the ultimate goal of the state, and as its agents, politicians will perpetuate policies to reinforce its legitimacy. Therefore, the

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Is China Colonizing Jamaica?

Some Jamaicans complain that the Chinese are "colonizing" the country because of their economic success there. Actually, their success is due to entrepreneurship and plain hard work.
Original Article: "Is China Colonizing Jamaica?"

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Haiti May Have Won Independence, But It Is Not Independent of Chaos and Poverty

Haiti is engulfed by an ongoing political crisis and the world is desperately awaiting solutions to ease a turbulent political atmosphere. Her neighbors in the Caribbean are being implored by the international community to propose measures that will avert further calamities. Working to contain the crisis in Haiti benefits Caribbean countries because Haiti’s instability can lead to regional turmoil. Moreover, the appetite for refugee status in neighboring Caribbean countries will surely strain local budgets and embolden nationalist sentiments.
Some refugees will be law-abiding citizens, but others could be delinquents or members of gangs using the crisis in Haiti as a camouflage to escape. Cultural clashes are likely to emerge with the influx of new people into a territory and Haiti’s

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Ethnic Prejudice and Wealth Gaps: Does the First Lead to the Second?

California’s decision to grant reparations to black Americans has galvanized activists across the globe. Activists think that doing so will remedy the black-white wealth gap. Ensuring that blacks are on par with whites, however, is a strange goal, since East Asians outperform whites on several metrics, including education.  Rather than contrasting blacks with whites, political activists should investigate why blacks have lagged behind relative to other groups.
The dilemma is that rankings of economic and social standing position black Americans at the bottom of the pile. So, the fixation with closing the black-white wealth gap is odd because most groups perform better than blacks financially and professionally. Therefore, distinctions between blacks and whites obscure the precarious

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American Prosperity Is Greater than Most of Us Realize

Traveling was once a luxury for the rich, but today even working-class people enjoy vacations. In America, people have gotten so wealthy that planning summer vacations is a priority for many families. Living standards have improved so tremendously that elite amenities are now commonplace. Nearly 90 percent of American homes rely on air-conditioning, and 92 percent of households have access to at least one vehicle.
Relative to the globe, most Americans are high-income people. People who are considered poor in America would be rich in developing countries. Compared to other rich countries in Europe, America is also doing remarkably well. A 2019 study published by the think tank Just Facts shows that after accounting for all income, philanthropy, and noncash welfare benefits, the bottom 20

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Voting with Their Feet: The Lure of Migration

People migrate for many reasons, including moving to a better economy and escaping political persecution. But one thing is certain: people are going to vote with their feet.

Original Article: "Voting with Their Feet: The Lure of Migration"

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Real Progress versus the Progressives

Progressives have distinguished themselves in the past half century by being against progress. That trend is unlikely to change.

Original Article: "Real Progress versus the Progressives"

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Is China Colonizing Jamaica?

The Chinese have been in Jamaica since the nineteenth century. After emancipation, planters felt that newly freed blacks would be unwilling to toil on plantations, and the exodus of ex-slaves from plantations confirmed their suspicions. So to fill labor gaps, planters resorted to importing workers. Therefore, a formal indentureship scheme was introduced to lure workers from Asia and Africa.
The Chinese entered Jamaican society in 1854 as lowly laborers. Although indentured laborers were not enslaved, working conditions were deplorable and wages were subpar. Many laborers regretted venturing to Jamaica after feeling the lash of exploitation. Language barriers also worsened problems by amplifying feelings of alienation.
Natives considered the Chinese to be weird people with odd beliefs. They

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No, Small Countries Are Not at an Economic Disadvantage

Some analysts contend that size can be a deterrent to economic prosperity, so as a result, small states are particularly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks. Usually, small states are discussed in light of their limitations and challenges. Even leaders of small countries earnestly paint size as an obstacle to future progress. The idea that smallness is an impediment to be overcome has become gospel in some quarters.
Caribbean leaders habitually remind the international community that their countries are in a precarious position due to increasing debt levels and liabilities generated by climate change. However, with the assistance of global agencies, small countries have been unlocking funding opportunities. Global players are quite receptive to the lobbying of small states in

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Cultural Change Is Necessary for Capital Development

In order for nations to have capital development and market-based economies, they must have a cultural framework that accepts these developments. Too many nations do not, and they languish in poverty as a result.

Original Article: "Cultural Change Is Necessary for Capital Development"

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Voting with Their Feet: The Lure of Migration

The exodus of human capital is a primary concern for developing countries wishing to stem the tide of emigration. Some believe that emigration prevents poor countries from capitalizing on the talents of their best people. Critics suggest that poor countries would excel if the smartest minds did not emigrate. Theoretically, this sounds plausible; however, it obscures the inspiration for emigration.
If underperforming countries could equip their citizens with superior alternatives, then they would not migrate. Richer countries lure quality immigrants because of their infrastructure. Immigrants are attracted to their universities, institutions, and commercial excellence. Working in a developed country provides greater scope for professional enrichment.
Exposure to first-rate training and

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Real Progress versus the Progressives

Depending on one’s perspective, technology can be viewed as either an opportunity or a threat. Some people celebrate technical advances while others show disdain. Entrepreneurs are frequently eager to capitalize on the potential advantages of new technologies, but where entrepreneurs see room for dynamism, naysayers see doom. In this story, entrepreneurs are akin to wizards who use the magic of technology to improve the world, and naysayers are prophets of pessimism.
In his insightful book The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World, Charles Mann illustrates the conflicts between wizards and prophets, who both advocate different approaches to solving problems. Wizards trust in the liberating power of technology to improve

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Even in Slave Economies, the Division of Labor Was Inescapable

Status inequality is inevitable due to the uneven distribution of talent. Even in poor societies, talented people eclipse their peers by joining the ranks of the elite. Inequality is an indication that ability is recognized by society. The absence of inequality suggests that talent is uncultivated.
Failure to cultivate talent hampers the organization of society. In all societies there are people more equipped to perform some tasks than others, and if such people are precluded from being effective, then society won’t be efficient. Natural hierarchies emerge even in the most primitive societies. Automatically some people are chosen as leaders because of competence or ability to appropriate resources for the group.
Others excel due to their prowess in warfare or religion, and some excel in

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Want to Follow Your Dreams? The First Step Involves Hard Work

People are constantly told to follow their dreams, but doing so is futile without execution. Dreaming is a blueprint for future success; however, some people live in the dream instead of working to make it a reality. Ambition is insufficient to reap success, and many fail to realize their potential. Success is only actualized when you stop dreaming and start doing.
Some believe that reading motivational books will lead them to prosperity, yet reading without application has never generated success. In a documentary about his life, Warren Buffett says that he reads voraciously to acquire useful skills. Reading without applying newly discovered principles is like going to school and remaining trapped in the same class. It’s a stagnant process that bears no fruit. That some people should not

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Belgian Colonialism of the Congo: Facts and Fiction

Stories cannot substitute for historical facts even when people want these stories to be true. With the influence of Black Lives Matter, resurrecting the atrocities of Western colonialism has become fashionable. The death of George Floyd revived a torrent of anticolonialism sentiment in Western societies fueled by resounding demands for governments to atone for the sins of colonialism. Although the colonial legacy of Western powers is tainted by dastardly acts, exaggerations of violence must be condemned. Using history as a political tool only pollutes public discourse in the long run.
Listening to activists is quite different from reading an academic study. Mainstream outlets will inform readers that Europeans committed atrocities in Africa and the West Indies, though the same outlets are

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Cultural Change Is Necessary for Capital Development

Preserving culture is so crucial to a group’s identity that it has become sacred. For many the contents of culture don’t matter as long as they are preserved. But such a nihilistic approach to culture has led to failure and will continue to do so. Culture is a social technology that allows societies to function within a specific institutional setting. So, a constellation of traits could be useful for people living in a premodern setting but maladaptive in a postindustrial context.
In herding cultures, projecting violence deters the theft of crops by outsiders; however, when societies become less agricultural and more educated, the general refinement of the population leads people to condemn bawdy behavior. Societal evolution necessitates the demise of old cultures and the birth of novel

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Will Jamaica Embrace True Economic Reform or Just More Socialism?

Jamaica is at a critical juncture in its history, and the world is watching. Long seen as a powerhouse in the developing world, Jamaica is on track to become a republic. Like in the 1950s and ’60s, decolonization is brewing, so Britain’s ex-colonies want to sever ties with their former overlord. Jamaica has therefore established a constitutional reform committee to fast-track the process of becoming a republic.
As a political process, constitutional reform will be exposed to the pressures of lobby groups. There will be revolutionaries proposing that the new constitution be disassociated from British influences; however, such hostilities must be tempered with logic. Constitutional reform is not a cultural exercise but an opportunity to create a more prosperous Jamaica. The British became

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Rich Country, Poor Country. Why the Differences?

The scourge of poverty wounding citizens in the developing world has provoked much discussion in affluent countries. Quite unreasonably, rich countries have been indicted for inciting poverty in poor countries. Unfortunately, the assumption that prosperity stems from exploitation is still widely popular in academia and politics. However, the historical record casts serious doubt on this argument.
Imperialism was the standard in the ancient world, but no imperialist power achieved Schumpeterian growth. For example, bouts of economic progress in ancient Rome and Greece fizzled out despite imperial pursuits. Indeed, the national treasury is expanded when empires extract tributes from conquered states, but this does not redound to superior living standards for ordinary people. The wealth of

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Why Barbados Advanced Economically While Jamaica’s Growth Lagged

Onlookers often cannot fathom why Barbados and Jamaica have delivered such divergent outcomes despite their similar history as former colonies of England. Both countries achieved independence in the 1960s and inherited British law and institutions. Yet Barbados eclipsed her peers to become the pride of the developing world, whereas Jamaica recorded years of anemic growth and institutional degradation. However, digging deeper into history reveals that Barbados pursued different political economy paths from Jamaica.
Unlike Jamaica, Barbados was a settlers’ colony where planters were devoted to institution building rather than living off profits in England. Bajan planters thought that they represented the best of the West Indies. As gentlemen planters, elites aspired for Barbados to become a

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Taxation as a Weapon against Prosperity

The current regime wants to use taxation not simply as a means to collect revenue for the government, but as a weapon against economic prosperity itself.

Original Article: "Taxation as a Weapon against Prosperity"

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Technology Is Meaningless without Entrepreneurship

Technocrats frequently pressure the US government to increase R and D as a strategy to upstage China. The assumption is that public R and D will lead to innovation and economic growth because research generates the science that spurs innovation. Yet the formula is mistaken, for history has shown that science often lags technology. Innovations prior to the advent of modern science in Europe occurred without crucial advancements in scientific knowledge.
But this does not discount the relevance of science since, according to economic historian Joel Mokyr, the industrial revolution in Europe did not phase out like earlier episodes of industrial progress because Europe had developed an epistemic base to fuel scientific and technical advancements. Technology can be developed without science;

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Individualism in the US Has Helped Make It an Economic Success

Immigration has raised concerns in some about America’s demographic future. Some propose that an influx of migrants with foreign worldviews will fracture American society. This argument is based on the finding that the diversity generated by immigration deters social trust.
Trust is a crucial ingredient for societies to thrive by establishing collaborative institutions. Trusting societies are more cooperative and innovative because when people trust each other, they are more likely to share information. Trust also makes it easier to do business by lowering transaction costs.
People will expedite the business process when they have confidence in the integrity of their partners. Because trust is a stimulant for social progress, concerns that immigration will corrode social relations is a

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Taxation as a Weapon against Prosperity

The Economist magazine in a recent editorial painted a rather positive image of the American economy. After encountering setbacks, the American economy often registers a buoyant recovery. Despite competition from rivals, America has retained her position as the world’s top economy. Some are bewildered by America’s enduring prosperity, but is it reasonable to expect less from a country designed to do business?
The American Constitution is a fierce protector of property rights and economic freedom. Respect for property rights is so ingrained in the American legal system that for legal purposes corporations are considered as people. Because of this special status, American corporations are poised to defend themselves from government encroachment. A consequence of this is that American

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The “Buy Black” Movement: Divisive or a Boon to Black Entrepreneurs?

The Buy Black movement has triggered a series of intense debates in the black community and the wider America. Activists proposed this project as an opportunity to generate wealth for black Americans by supporting black entrepreneurs. On the downside, others say that this agenda perpetuates an insidious form of tribalism. Are criticisms of the Buy Black movement an accurate description of its goals?
Sociologists argue that minority groups often pursue ethnic entrepreneurship as a lever for social mobility. Throughout history, talented minorities have cultivated niche markets to acquire wealth and status. Venturing into unknown terrains was once a proven strategy for minorities to escape discrimination and to thrive. The emergence of such business districts enabled minority-owned

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Historical Effects of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

While the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade have been well documented, people other than slave traders and slaveholders benefitted from it, with some surprising results.

Original Article: "Historical Effects of the Transatlantic Slave Trade"

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Progressives Want to Eliminate Wealthy Entrepreneurs but Need the Wealth They Create

Being perceived as anti–working class is a cardinal sin in American politics. Working-class people are seen as the unappreciated engine of American growth. Hillary Clinton discovered this lesson when she was criticized for calling Donald Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.” But interestingly, expressing contempt for the upper class is quite tolerable.
Rich people are frequently ridiculed by comedians and depicted as snobs in popular culture. Shows like SpongeBob SquarePants and The Simpsons present affluent characters in an unflattering light. Such characters are seldom portrayed as virtuous entrepreneurs who are rewarded for delivering value. Usually, viewers are led to think that the rich are the source of all social ills.
Typically, negative depictions of working class or poor

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Was Japanese Colonialism the Engine of Later Prosperity for Korea and Taiwan? Probably Not

Mainstream historians attribute the postwar economic success of South Korea and Taiwan to the legacy of Japanese colonialism. The Japanese are credited with providing new technologies, critical infrastructure, and an efficient state that enabled industrial progress in South Korea and Taiwan. Both Taiwan and Korea benefitted from the successful adoption of Japanese technologies and recorded industrial growth under imperial rule.
Moreover, during 1913–38, Taiwan and South Korea experienced rapid per capita gross domestic product growth accompanied by broad social transformations. Scholars describe Japan’s state-building project in ex-colonies as having the features of a developmental state. Unlike Western colonialism, the legacies of Japanese rule are earnestly portrayed as progressive and

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Historical Effects of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Economists are becoming more appreciative of how historical episodes shape future events. The resurgence of history as an explanatory tool has led economists to publish a series of papers collectively known as the “Deep Roots” literature. These papers cover a wide range of topics, but Africa has been a strong focus due to its unique history of underdevelopment. Some trace Africa’s fortunes and misfortunes to the character of precolonial institutions.
Considering that the transatlantic slave trade occupies a watershed moment in African history, several studies detail its disruptive effects on African societies. Research shows that by prioritizing male exports, the trade led to gender imbalances and high rates of polygyny across Africa. Other research suggests that the transatlantic slave

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ESG: Another Fraudulent Hustle That Progressive Elites Have Foisted on the Economy

The allure of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals has hypnotized corporate America into offering ESG funds that score investments for prioritizing social goals. Companies that account for environmental, social, and governance goals in their decisions collectively held $8.4 trillion in US investment assets at the beginning of 2022. Leading investment firm BlackRock more than doubled its holdings to over $500 billion and other players are following its lead.
ESG investing is becoming a permanent fixture in the global corporate landscape, but not without backlash. Some entrepreneurs and politicians in the United States argue that prioritizing ESG investing at the expense of shareholder welfare will diminish returns for investors. Strong concerns about the viability of ESG

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Who Are the Wealth Destroyers, Politicians or Billionaires?

Politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are demanding that successful entrepreneurs be taxed into oblivion. The real parasites are the politicians who destroy wealth instead of creating it.

Original Article: "Who Are the Wealth Destroyers, Politicians or Billionaires?"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon.

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Politics Is Turning Us into Idiots

From race to gender to nearly everything else, decisions about what is correct or incorrect are made according to politics. This is a recipe for social destruction.

Original Article: "Politics Is Turning Us into Idiots"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon.

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Who Are the Wealth Destroyers, Politicians or Billionaires?

Thinking that billionaires are a policy failure has become pervasive in the United States. Politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren are leading the charge in the demonization of billionaires. Left-leaning politicians and their allies think that billionaires corrode society by accumulating large fortunes, which amplify inequality. As such, many propose taxation as a tool to promote fairness by redistributing resources, yet such intentions are not always virtuous and could instead be guided by envy.
When proposals to tax billionaires are couched in compassionate terms, they are more likely to elicit sympathy. Usually, we think that suggestions to tax billionaires are motivated by notions of justice and fairness. Most people are appalled by acts of injustice and

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Politics Is Turning Us into Idiots

Political correctness in Western societies fosters polarization and a toxic culture of ignorance. Although people are rightly outraged by the cancellation of prominent figures, the most glaring consequence of political correctness is the proliferation of ignorance. When speakers are cancelled for contradicting sacrosanct opinions, this leads to an environment where people never arrive at the truth because ideas are not disputed in the public domain.
This devolution of Western culture stymies free speech and intellectual progression. While some view cancel culture as primarily an assault on freedom, its effects are infinitely more pernicious. Societies evolve by exchanging inferior ideas for superior ones, and cancel culture is disrupting the mechanism filtering out bad ideas. Due to cancel

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Did Colonialism Impoverish Africa and Asia? Perhaps Not

Decolonization is a popular academic and media buzzword. But is colonialism actually responsible for poverty in developing countries? This question deserves an honest answer.

Original Article: "Did Colonialism Impoverish Africa and Asia? Perhaps Not"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon.

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Influencers and Subjective Value: They Have Something to Teach Us

The latest from the world of social media is the role of "influencers." There is a perfectly good economic explanation for their popularity.

Original Article: "Influencers and Subjective Value: They Have Something to Teach Us"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon.

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Did Colonialism Impoverish Africa and Asia? Perhaps Not

Revisiting the legacies of colonialism to indict Western imperialism has become a fashionable pastime for leading academics. Many argue that colonialism erected permanent roadblocks to thwart the progress of ex-colonies. Western colonialism is so vilified that any attempt to present a balanced overview is deemed improper. Bruce Gilley’s controversial essay, “The Case for Colonialism,” spawned a firestorm of criticisms that led the journal, Third World Quarterly, to retract the piece.
Gilley sought to demonstrate that in several cases, colonialism brought positive benefits, and he even suggested that some places would prosper if they were recolonized. Recolonizing independent territories is fraught with tension and seems impractical, but Gilley is correct in pointing out that colonialism

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Influencers and Subjective Value: They Have Something to Teach Us

In 2022, investments into the creator economy surged to $5 billion. The term creator refers to people who generate value from intellectual output or artistic work. However, a new form of creative has emerged known as the “influencer.” Influencers are online personalities who, through their charisma, cultivate a loyal fanbase. Due to their reach, brands employ influencers to market their products and services.
Influencer marketing has proven to be a lucrative venture, and estimates suggest that the industry totaled $16.4 billion in 2022. Brands fork out huge sums to capitalize on the reach of megacelebrities who sway millions to buy their products. Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo earns $2,397,000 million per Instagram post, and the doyen of American influencers Kim Kardashian collects

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Slavery in the Americas: Separating Fact from Fiction

There is no denying the awful history of slavery in the Western Hemisphere. However, to better understand its legacy, we must rely on truth, not myths.

Original Article: "Slavery in the Americas: Separating Fact from Fiction"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon.

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Slavery in the Americas: Separating Fact from Fiction

The history of transatlantic slavery is riddled with fables and errors. Erroneous claims have been propagated in the media because history is currently perceived as a political project that must justify present sensibilities. History has become so politicized that rigorous research is unable to disabuse activists of inaccuracies. Due to the rampant politicization of academia, noted scholars are usually cajoled into apologizing for defending historical standards.
After chiding fellow scholars for projecting modern sensibilities onto historical realities, historian James H. Sweet was shamed into penning an apology. Sweet was ruthlessly demeaned by his colleagues for noting the fallacy of using the narratives of identity politics to interpret historical events. Because academics are so

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Poor People in Developing Countries Find Alternatives to Commercial Banking

People are innovative—if government doesn’t get in the way. Entrepreneurs in developing countries find alternatives for people cut off from commercial banking services.

Original Article: "Poor People in Developing Countries Find Alternatives to Commercial Banking"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon.

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Loss of Religious Belief Is a Greater Loss for a Civilized Society

There has been a noticeable decline in the percentage of Americans identifying as religious. Some perceive this seismic shift as evidence of a secularizing culture. In some quarters, the secularization of America is viewed favorably as an agent of modernization. But researchers are theorizing that the erosion of religious beliefs portends negative consequences for society because religion cultivates meaningful social relationships by nurturing a sense of community.
Religious institutions hone social capital by fostering a strong sense of brotherhood that transcends tribalism. Religions also make it easier for societies to scale up by diminishing tribalism and promoting cooperation. Cooperative groups are more successful than divisive groups, and by engendering in-group solidarity,

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Poor People in Developing Countries Find Alternatives to Commercial Banking

Banking is a complicated process for working-class people who fail to comply with anti–money laundering regulations. Know your customer (KYC) requirements mandate prospective clients to provide their source of funding and possible employment history. Such policies make it difficult for working-class entrepreneurs to formalize and access funding. By restricting poorer people to informality, KYC requirements sap the growth potential of small businesses.
However, the ingenuity of working-class entrepreneurs has allowed them to compete by creating an alternative to the financial system. Due to the success of rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCA), informal entrepreneurs have managed to build lucrative businesses. In developing countries, these informal institutions are a pivotal

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Australia: The Nation Founded by British Convicts Embraced Entrepreneurship

Australia’s superb performance on measures of international development has earned her the admiration of many. Few countries can boast such stellar achievements in economic and social affairs. Currently, Australia has the highest median wealth per adult in the world and outperforms the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average in civic engagement, health, education, and other dimensions of well-being.

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Historical Christianity as a Liberating Force in China

The Chinese Community Party’s crackdown in Christian churches reflects the perceived antiauthoritarian nature of Christianity and the party’s fear of a competing alternative worldview.

Original Article: "Historical Christianity as a Liberating Force in China"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon.

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Industrial Policy Did Not Bring Prosperity to Asia

Industrial policy is earnestly touted by democrats and conservatives as a tool to rejuvenate the US economy. Some argue that innovation will flounder unless the US applies industrial policy to major sectors. The success of East Asian countries is often cited to bolster the case for industrial policy, however, advocates have been selling a simplistic story.
While it is sometimes noted that there is a correlation between high growth rates and industrial policy investment, this is not the case. During the 1980s, Japan was the poster child for industrial policy, and many feared that failing to embrace industrial policy would relegate the US to second-class status. But these doomsday predictions proved themselves wrong. Instead of eclipsing America, Japan entered a long economic slump.
Rather

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Money Laundering: Another Noncrime Pursued by Criminal Authorities

Money laundering is illegal in the USA, but like so many other federal crimes, it is difficult to identify and define. That is the perfect recipe for government abuse of innocent people.

Original Article: "Money Laundering: Another Noncrime Pursued by Criminal Authorities"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon.

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Slavery Did Not Promote Capitalism: The New Economic History of Capitalism Is Simply Wrong

The “new history of capitalism” (NHC) continues to receive widespread acclaim despite mounting inaccuracies. Although critical reviews have punctured adherents’ arguments many still cling to wrongheaded assumptions that exaggerate the role of slavery and cotton in powering America’s economic progress. Several industries were complicit in fueling slavery, but their success was never hinged on slave production.

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The Other Immigration Question: Should People from Wealthy Countries Migrate to Poorer Ones?

The immigration debate has polarized societies across the Western world. Objectors assert that the influx of migrants has corroded social relations, and defenders argue that immigrants release a dose of entrepreneurial dynamism. Debates will persist because it’s unlikely that people can be discouraged from migrating to rich countries in the West. Migrants will continuously flock to places like America and Canada, since they provide better opportunities.

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Entrepreneurship Should Be the Goal, Not White-Collar Jobs

Black entrepreneurship in the United States has a remarkable history. Even during the inhospitable climate of Southern slavery, both enslaved and free blacks managed to establish lucrative ventures. Research on black entrepreneurship has revealed that in the Antebellum South black entrepreneurs’ pursuits spanned the entire gamut of industry, ranging from merchandising to transportation.

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Market Success Is about Giving People What They Want

Economists are often examining the variables that lead to prosperity, but surprisingly, intelligence is rarely featured in this literature, despite its high replicability in research. Intelligence is a robust predictor of well-being, job performance, and other social outcomes.

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Global Governance versus Freedom and Free Enterprise

When assailing global governance, pundits rarely comment on its impact on small countries. Yet the degree to which small countries are ignored by global institutions—like the G7, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank—helps to illustrate how institutions of global governance tend to primarily reflect the values of managerial elites from large and wealthy states.

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How Market Freedom Combats Economic Inequality

For many, income inequality is a disease ravaging the fabric of capitalist societies. Therefore, curing this ailment, according to progressives, necessitates an injection of welfare benefits and higher taxes on the wealthy. Guided by a zero-sum outlook, critics believe that the success of the affluent is gained at the expense of the poor.

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War Has Declined in the West Because War Isn’t “Worth It” for Rich Countries

The triumph of peace in contemporary societies is expressed as an obvious fact by mainstream intellectuals. Noting the relatively peaceful state of the world is part of a broader narrative to paint a positive picture of humanity. Yet there is a kernel truth to the assertion that quality of life indicators are improving, as explored by Marian Tupy and other optimists. But the game of warfare is more complicated.

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No, the American Republic Was Not Founded on Slavery

Audio Mises Wire

The fact that some Americans supported slavery in the eighteenth century is not at all remarkable. Most of the world agreed with them. What is remarkable is that many of them sought to abolish slavery in the new republic.

This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.
Original Article: "No, the American Republic Was Not Founded on Slavery".

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Problems with Theories on the Black-White Wealth Gap

The wealth gap between white and black Americans is frequently discussed. Today it’s becoming popular to attribute disparities to black culture. Clearly all cultures are not equal, but can the subculture of some black American communities explain variations within the wealth gap?

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