ALL AUTHORS

NEWS + ANALYSIS

PIONEER INSTITUTE’S NEXT STOP: A FIRST-CLASS TRANSIT SYSTEM

September 18, 2017 | by Austin Skiera

The Boston area’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA or the T) serves 1.3 million commuters who rely on the system to get to work each day. Institutional and operational issues led to the system’s virtual shut down for several weeks in early 2015, leaving thousands of riders in the lurch and taking a devastating toll on the regional economy. This prompted Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, an Atlas Network partner based in Boston, to take action by offering actionable, commonsense reforms to the MBTA’s finances, governance, and operations in order to bring costs under control, improve efficiency, and enhance performance and reliability.

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OVERCOMING THE OUTSIDER’S DILEMMA: CAN PHILANTHROPISTS HELP THE DEVELOPING WORLD?

September 6, 2017 | by Matt Warner

Today’s top-down, economic development aid model is unavoidably flawed. The nature of economic development requires idiosyncratic solutions that can’t be successfully designed or administered by outsiders. Instead, locally grown solutions aimed at transforming the institutional environment in favor of market growth, primarily through securing economic rights for the poor, represent the best chance for accelerating the pace of poverty alleviation throughout the world. For outsiders, this represents a serious dilemma. Is there a way to help without interfering? A new strategy offered by Atlas Network successfully combines the resources of philanthropy with the locally grown research and advocacy agenda of independent, market-oriented think tanks working to strengthen the institutions that foster growth for the world’s poor. Benchmarking their efforts to global indices like the “Doing Business” report published by the World Bank, those think tanks are making measurable progress. The results are significant. According to new research commissioned by Atlas Network, a five-unit increase on the “Doing Business” scale represents a 1-percentage point reduction in poverty.

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INESCAPABLE CONCLUSIONS

June 13, 2017 | by Brad Lips

In my lifetime, I want to see the benefits of free trade as broadly appreciated as the fact of gravity. I want to see civil society replace much of what exists today as the welfare state, so government’s role is reduced to a simple safety net for those who need it the most. I want a sound monetary system that’s immune from the tampering of government officials. I want to see absolute poverty eliminated from the earth, and our ancient hatreds be washed away by a growing culture of tolerance and respect.

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PROMOTING LIBERTY IN SPAIN THROUGH GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM

May 1, 2017 | by Andreas Kohl

Spain has long had excellent think tanks that specialize in the economic aspects of freedom, and carry out the crucial work of producing high-level academic, theoretical papers. In 2015, though, a group of Spanish libertarians were concerned about the need to develop a more engaging approach toward civil society — a task that we believe is now more fundamental than ever. That year, we created the Foundation for the Advancement of Liberty (Fundación para el Avance de la Libertad) in Madrid, harnessing the skills of people who had spent many years promoting the values of a free society through politics, think tanks, academia, and other fields.

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POLL SHOWS THAT GREEKS TURN AWAY FROM BIG GOVERNMENT AS THEY SEEK JOBS AND GROWTH

March 21, 2017

The Greek economy has deteriorated steadily during the past eight years of unprecedented fiscal collapse, and the people may finally be fed up with big government, runaway spending, public-sector corruption, and job-killing regulations. A recent in-depth survey, published by the daily Kathimerini newspaper and the new think tank Dianeosis, reveals that Greek society seems to be experiencing an ideological sea change. Economic freedom is steadily becoming the clear victor in the battle of ideas in Greece.

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SLOVAKIA’S CATALYST FOR CHANGE

March 17, 2017 | by Eric D. Dixon

Modern Slovakia is like night and day compared to its years under communist rule, before the 1989 Velvet Revolution hastened the end of communist control, ultimately dissolving the Soviet Union in 1991. The nation has forged its own path since its Velvet Divorce separated Slovakia from the Czech Republic only two years after that. Today, more and more Slovakia is embracing market exchange and international trade, and has achieved a stable currency, all of which contribute to the country’s economic growth. INESS is committed to serving as a catalyst for reform, advancing its vision of a freer, more prosperous Slovak Republic at every opportunity.

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PULLING THE ANDON CORD: USING TEAMS TO MAKE DECISIONS

March 16, 2017 | by Matt Warner

In the early 1980s, the workers at a General Motors plant in California had become so disillusioned with their jobs that they sometimes sabotaged the quality of the cars on purpose. The plant began to perform so poorly that the company shut it down. That failure, though, is only the first part of a great turnaround story. In a strange twist, two years later GM found itself partnering with Toyota to reopen the plant. This time, it became a top performer despite a staff comprising mostly the same workers. What changed?

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CONTRACTING FOR SUCCESS

February 27, 2017 | by Matt Warner

A few years ago, I was frustrated with a contractor’s failure to meet even the most basic terms of our agreement. I had not heard from him for an extended period despite sending emails to see what was happening. When we finally connected, we were both frustrated (I had stopped payment, which usually gets someone’s attention). As I explained my reasons, pointing out his failure to meet the terms of the agreement, he replied, “OK, well, frankly, I never even read that agreement.” I was floored.

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INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT SUBJECTS UK TO DYSTOPIAN SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITY

January 9, 2017 | by Renate Samson

Intelligence agencies and police in the United Kingdom have been secretly using unauthorized techniques to eradicate what they defined as online “safe spaces,” where criminals, terrorists, and paedophiles are believed to hide. In 2015, the U.K. government proposed legislation to make these techniques lawful, and ultimately passed the Investigatory Powers Act in December. Beginning on Jan. 1, all U.K. citizens are now subject to monitoring by the state in ways usually considered the preserve of dystopian science fiction or undemocratic totalitarian regimes.

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INEQUALITY, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF MOBILITY

December 6, 2016 | by Gonzalo Schwarz

For Christmas, our five-year-old son Sebastian wants a Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage. Our two-year-old daughter Arianna will also play with those cars, although we will continue to try to get her to like dolls. Despite these presents and all the presents in the years to come, however, my wife and I think the best present we ever could have given our two kids was to be born in the United States. This is one of the few countries in which you can tell your kids, “You can be anything you want,” where that assurance can actually come true. We believe that this country provides the greatest opportunities in the world, although both left and right agree that economic mobility here has stagnated. As we have taken a closer look at U.S. policies, it has become clear that some of the same structural limits to mobility that afflict Latin America could also be holding back the United States.

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THE WORLD NEEDS MORE TAX HAVENS, NOT FEWER

October 31, 2016 | by Yamila Feccia

The size of a country’s tax burden plays a significant role in its economic development. This year, the release of the Panama Papers resulted in a widespread challenge of tax shelters, or tax havens, along with the practices of tax evasion and tax avoidance. In the midst of the turmoil, however, people forgot to consider the voracious fiscal climate that continues to escalate in Latin America. A case in point is Argentina, whose leaders still have not closed the fiscal gap they inherited from the previous government, despite having the highest tax rates in the world. In this context, in the absence of a plan to reduce regulations and with the presence of a “tax cartel,” what role does the market play in alleviating tax burdens?

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INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE RETURNS TO CONNECTICUT TO DEFEAT EMINENT DOMAIN ABUSE

October 28, 2016 | by Renée Flaherty

More than a decade ago, the U.S. Supreme Court shocked the nation when it upheld the condemnation of an entire neighborhood in New London, Conn., for “economic development.” This infamous instance of eminent domain abuse sparked a nationwide backlash: 44 states reformed their laws to provide greater protection for property owners, and nine state supreme courts made it more difficult for the government to abuse eminent domain. A decade after Kelo v. New London, however, cities and development agencies are trying to regain some of the power that they lost.

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THE PROSPERITY STATES INITIATIVE: A POLICY LESSON FROM ‘WHEN HARRY MET SALLY’

October 25, 2016 | by Nick Dranias

According to various reports recently published by the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute in Canada, the Legatum Institute in London, the Liberal Institute in Switzerland, and the Heritage Foundation, the United States clearly no longer ranks among the top 10 freest countries in the world. At best, we are among the top 20, although some rankings show us slipping even lower. Hidden behind this bad news is the fact that the decline in the U.S. freedom ranking has not been stopped by the increasing numbers of center-right think tanks working diligently on incremental reforms. Instead, the trend of decline appears to have accelerated since the 1980s.

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PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON FEAR AND FREEDOM

September 15, 2016 | by Dr. Tom G. Palmer

People raised in different circumstances often show different attitudes toward potential dangers. If you’ve never been near the water or learned how to swim, lakes, rivers, and oceans probably seem quite terrifying. Those who can swim generally see rivers, lakes, and oceans differently. Such different experiences may lead to different policies regarding access to water. We can forbid people to go near the water, or we can help people to acquire the habits of self-control that reduce the very real dangers posed by bodies of water — and swimming is all about self-control, rather than merely thrashing about.

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