Captured Western Governments Are Failing the Coronavirus Test

In deciding on possible countermeasures, residents of Western democracies often hear only two opposite perspectives: Is the priority to minimize the loss of human lives, or to minimize the impact that the countermeasures might have on the economy? Even the simplest cost-benefit analysis suggests that the US government should be willing to spend up to $65 trillion and lock down the country to avoid extra deaths.

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Why Depending on China for US Health Needs Is Dangerous

In 2018, the Health Industry Distributor’s Association opposed Trump’s tariffs on China with the argument that dependence on China for things hospitals needed, like gloves, diagnostic, and surgical kits, was good because it increased efficiency. But structuring markets to focus entirely on cost and efficiency expose the US to the risk of mass shortages.

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How Regulators and PwC Fooled Reporters—Again

Is the PCAOB really investigating PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for its role in the Mattel auditing mess? I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt it. Since the PCAOB and the SEC are captured by the Big Four auditing firms, regulators use the same PR tactics to preserve their own—and the audit firms’— survival.  

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The Most Persistent of All Zombie Ideas: That Taxing the Wealthy Is Destructive to the Economy

Economics can’t tell you what values to have. It can, however, shed light on what to expect from policy that reflects any particular set of values, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman argues in his new book. Values, not rational ideas, polarized US politics: opponents of a larger role for government think that such a role is not just immoral but even destructive. And if the evidence doesn’t agree, they attack both the evidence and those producing it.

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The Amazon of Health Care: How CVS Is Evolving From a Drug Store Chain into a Tech Platform

CVS is built on a dominant chain of drug stores, but it is now trying to turn itself into a “uniquely powerful platform” for delivering health care. It uses one part of the supply chain to squeeze competitors in another part of the industry.    

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The World Bank’s “Papergate”: Censorship Is Not the Best Way to Stop Development Aid From Fueling Corruption

A new study of World Bank data finds that aid disbursement to highly aid-dependent countries coincides with sharp increases in bank deposits in offshore financial centers. According to The Economist, the World Bank refused to release the study. Afterward, its chief economist resigned. Here is the full content of the allegedly-censored paper. 

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Antitrust Law’s Current Stance Toward Workers Violates Its Original Purpose to Balance Power With Powerful Firms

Antitrust law’s present-day bias against democratic cooperation and in favor of top-down corporate control has contributed more broadly to the institutional weakness and perceived illegitimacy of workers’ collective action rights, even when those rights are grounded in labor law.  

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Facebook’s Enduring Control Over Social Media Markets

According to the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Facebook accounts for 75 percent of the UK’s social media market. Over the past 10 years, only three companies succeeded in obtaining at least a 5 percent market share of social media users’ time: Instagram (which Facebook bought), WhatsApp (which Facebook bought) and Snapchat (which Facebook tried and failed to buy).

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