Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Policy makers vs real world

Attempts to suppress markets often impose costs but achieve little else. The "War on Drugs" and restrictions on immigration are the two prominent examples these days. But "black markets" are everywhere. Some people still believe that prostitution can be suppressed by making it illegal.

This morning's LA Times reports, "Idea is floated for a start-up colony anchored in the Pacific Ocean ... Two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, frustrated by the limits on high-tech visas, have hatched a plan to build a start-up colony in the middle of the Pacific Ocean." Actually, the story mentions doing business just beyond the 12-mile limit. Seasteading is an idea promoted by Patri Friedman and his backers and has been around for some years. It is entirely plausible and may be simpler and sooner than many had expected.  Meanwhile "immigration reform" is being debated in Congress.

Globalization is deep and strong.  Here is a recent report that tries to describe the "complexity" (ECI, economic complexity index) of the various nations involved as they are linked by knowledge and goods exchange.  But here are John Deutch and Edward Steinfeld exposing an exactly opposing tack by the President: "Made in America, and Everywhere Else ... Obama's plans to revive U.S. manufacturing run counter to the reality of global supply chains.. ."