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by Dalibor Rohac

It takes two and half hours by train to get from the Spanish capital Madrid to Barcelona, almost 400 miles away. Since the 1980s, Spain has been among the pioneers of the development of high-speed railways, with a network that is the longest in Europe, and second only to China’s, spanning over 1,900 miles. The construction of the Spanish AVE (high-speed) network has continued even after the country’s debt crisis. By 2020, practically all provincial capitals are expected to be connected to Madrid in less than three hours.

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by Nicolás Cachanosky

Scotland’s vote for independence resulted in a negative. There won’t be, for now, further discussions about what Scotland should do with its monetary institutions. Still, there is one more issue that I would like to discuss, because it transcends the particular case of Scotland, had independence been the result of the vote.

There is a widespread belief that a sound banking system requires a central bank to act as a lender of last resort. In a nutshell, the argument goes as follows: there are inherent potential instabilities in the banking system, to avoid a serious crisis and to interrupt means of payment, a central bank that is “external” to market forces should behave as a lender of last resort.

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by Sydney Williams

I have trouble with political labels. I understand they are convenient for political reasons, but they miss the essence of the individual. Compartmentalization works to the advantage of politicians, pollsters and the media, and fits a nation sickened with attention deficit disorder. Instant messaging and Twitter feeds are the way we communicate. Interviews are relayed to viewers in sound bites, designed to fit the political philosophy of the cable station or network running them. Political ads run thirty seconds. Since the principal goal of a political candidate is to get elected, he or she would rather mimic the polls. The last thing any politician wants to do is explain a complex situation that requires thought and reason. Either they don’t understand the problem, or they believe we are incapable.

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by Jeffrey Tucker

Earlier this spring, when awareness of Ebola was just beginning to dawn, a case of infection appeared in the town of Harbel, Liberia. The biggest employer in the area is Firestone. The company immediately set up a quarantine area of its hospital for the infected woman, who soon died. They distributed hazmat suits to workers. They researched everything they could, built a treatment center, and set up a comprehensive response. Transmission stopped. Even now, the only cases seen in this area come from outside the community.

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by Per Bylund

As an academic and economist, few things are as frustrating and mind-boggling as the fervor with which people embrace and display their economic illiteracy. It appears some, and an increasing number of them, consider it to be a quality or even a moral advantage to remain ignorant of basic economics.

Rather than considering economic knowledge, which has often been known and affirmed for centuries, this knowledge is attacked. While the scientific process should be one of fundamental (that is, not just for show) and constant scrutiny and reassessment of accepted conclusions, scientific discourse is not the primary domain for the critique and outright rejection and dismissal of economics.

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by Sydney M. Williams

In the mid 1960s – around the time I was married and beginning to have children – the counterculture movement moved into high gear. Almost from the first battle at la Drang Valley in the Central Highlands in late 1965, the Vietnam War divided the country. A few anti-war protestors became as violent as those they were protesting against. Civil Rights and Women’s Rights were in full swing.

The “pill” was in common usage. Through the haze of marijuana, amid the sniffing of cocaine and dropping of acid, free love made its entrance. Woodstock symbolized that time.

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by John E. Charalambakis

The Age of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and High Renaissance was followed by the age of Mannerism, known by its artificial qualities. Two of the main characteristics of Mannerism are compositional tension and instability. Do those attributes ring a bell about the markets since the dawn of the financial crisis? There seems to be little doubt that the markets have been superficially sustained by high power money/reserves that the central banks are circulating. We need realism to be infused into the marketplace now that signs of turbulence shake up the belief that central banks can sustain an inverted credit pyramid that has so many collateral holes.

 

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by Sandy Ikeda

I would like to share some thoughts on how the size of government can influence the effectiveness of the principle of the rule of law.

The rule of law does not mean, as it is often interpreted to mean, that ordinary people should obey the decrees that government issues. Rather, it means that laws should serve to promote the general welfare and so should not aim to harm or benefit particular persons or groups. Think of a speed limit on a highway that applies to and is equally enforced upon all motor vehicles.

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by Sydney Williams

In one of the great rhetorical reaches of all time, Financial Times columnist Edward Luce recently wrote of the paradox that America’s first Black President has presided over the biggest drop in African-American wealth since the Great Depression – a true statement. However, he added the following: “By no honest reckoning can Mr. Obama be blamed for the decline in black America’s fortunes. Yet the facts are deeply unflattering.” It read like an apology, but I am unsure to whom.

The facts are not just “unflattering,” they are condemning. Under Mr. Obama’s watch, the rich have become richer and the poor, poorer. Asset prices have boomed, while wages for non-white households have declined 10%, since 2009.

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by Joseph Dobbs

The Umbrella Revolution has shown that Hong Kong’s democracy is subject to Beijing’s ultimate power. The student-led ‘peaceful’ protests turned ugly as police cracked down on demonstrators calling for greater democracy. Beijing has become increasingly impatient. Tensions in Hong Kong have been created by divergent interests between Hong Kong’s economic tycoons advocating loose ties with the mainland and the city’s youth, fearful that economic benefits will not extend to them. But few now are optimistic about the city’s democratic prospects, writes GIS guest expert Joseph Dobbs.

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