Think Tank

  • Reversing the burden of spoof

    by Jacob Arfwedson

    One of the less endearing features of government supporters is their general disdain for democracy when eventually popular vote goes against their designs. The legitimacy of consent suddenly becomes irrelevant and a downright nuisance. In Europe, we experienced this in the constitutional negotiations: first with the Maastricht Treaty, and more recently with the Lisbon Treaty: referenda were held twice in Denmark (1992) and not so long ago in Ireland. Voters finally got it “right”.

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    The same logic applies to Kyoto and in particular to the upcoming Copenhagen summit and the expected new treaty, i.e. a “deal”. It is then not surprising that advocates seem appalled that the US Constitution requires a vote by Congress to ratify it.

  • The power of forecasting

    by Jacob Arfwedsonphoto_1507_20081030

    In the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt asked his administration to undertake a vast exploratory study of future technologies. A group of researchers eventually produced a voluminous report with fascinating insights. There was only one little glitch: the document did not foresee television, plastics, jet planes, organ transplants, laser technology, or even ballpoint pens.

    As Ludwig von Mises stated, petrol is good for many things, but not for slaking your thirst. Similarly, government may be useful in some instances but not in others. The precautionary principle is good, provided it is used appropriately. We should first apply it to politics: our elected leaders should be required to produce impact studies, showing, ex ante, that their planned interventions will have a positive effect. Thus the scope of government would spontaneously be reduced to its congruent portion.

    Here is a formidable source of data on climate change, courtesy of prof. Lindzen (MIT) from a CEI presentation a couple of weeks ago. Once more, he reminds us that many statements bandied about and accepted as gospel truths are in fact serious distortions and sometimes outright contrary even to authorities such as the IPCC.

  • Join CFACT in Berlin!

    Climate Change Reconsidered Join CFACT for an International Conference on Climate Change Friday December 4, 2009, Hotel Melia Berlin On the Eve of COP15, the UN Conference in Copenhagen, scientists and policy experts will gather at Berlin’s Melia Hotel to discuss the science, politics, economics and impacts of climate change. Almost daily new evidence arises […]

  • Statue of Liberty Returning to France?

    SIMON ESPERSEN (COPENHAGEN)
    Statue-of-Liberty z
    France-map-flag-colored zIn recent years, a number of pro-free-market think tanks and taxpayer associations have been formed in France, and their effectiveness and impact clearly are increasing. These groups include Institut Economique Molinari, the Institute for Economic Studies-Europe, Institut de Formation Politique, Contribuables Associes (French Taxpayers Association), etc.
    In part because of their efforts, France has sharply reduced its corporate income-tax rate so it is lower than the U.S. rate.