United States Drops Out of Top 10 in Economic Freedom

IndexOfEconomicFreedom2014.jpgSource of table: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

(p. A13) World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday [Jan. 14, 2014] by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.

For 20 years, the index has measured a nation’s commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights. These commitments have powerful effects: Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress.

For the full commentary, see:
TERRY MILLER. “America’s Dwindling Economic Freedom; Regulation, taxes and debt knock the U.S. out of the world’s top 10.” The Wall Street Journal (Tues., Jan. 14, 2014): A13.
(Note: bracketed date added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Jan. 13, 2014.)

For more on the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, visit:
http://www.heritage.org/index/

Incentives Limit Collusion

(p. 476) Carnegie’s business strategy was the one he had followed twenty years earlier: keep production steady by accepting orders at any price. In early (p. 477) October, he notified Frick that the time had come to leave the rail pool. “I confess I can see nothing so good for us as a ‘free hand'” in setting prices. He was willing to lower his prices and profit margin on rails if that was the only way to get the orders he needed to keep his works running. “By this policy we shall keep our men at work.” Carnegie had never been entirely happy as a member of the rail pool, especially after Illinois Steel was allocated a greater share than Carnegie Steel. “For my part,” he now declared, “I do not wish to play second fiddle in the rail business any longer. I get no sweet dividend out of second fiddle business, and I do know that the way to make more money dividends is to lead…. I am sure that The Carnegie Steel Co. can make more dollars, even next year, and certainly in future years, by managing its own business in its own way, free from all understandings with competitors, than by continuing in any combination that possibly can be formed. Now having made my speech, which I trust you will read to all my partners, I take my seat and imagine the loud applause with which my sentiments are greeted.”

Source:
Nasaw, David. Andrew Carnegie. New York: Penguin Press, 2006.
(Note: underlines and ellipsis in original.)
(Note: the pagination of the hardback and paperback editions of Nasaw’s book are the same.)

Better to Fail at Solving a Big Problem, than to Succeed at a Minor One?

BrilliantBlundersBK2014-02-23.jpg

Source of book image: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61s10qMqpxL._SL1400_.jpg

Francis Collins, head of the NIH, discusses a favorite book of 2013:

(p. C6) Taking risks is part of genius, and genius is not immune to bloopers. Mario Livio’s “Brilliant Blunders” leads us through the circumstances that surrounded famous gaffes.   . . .   Mr. Livio helps us see that such spectacular errors are opportunities rather than setbacks. There’s a lesson for young scientists here. Boldly attacking problems of fundamental significance can have more impact than pursuing precise solutions to minor questions–even if there are a few bungles along the way.

For the full article, see:
“12 Months of Reading; We asked 50 of our friends–from April Bloomfield to Mike Tyson–to name their favorite books of 2013.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., Dec. 14, 2013): C6 & C9-C12.
(Note: the online version of the article has the date Dec. 13, 2013.)

The book that Collins praises is:
Livio, Mario. Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein – Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013.