Grégoire Canlorbe: According to a popular opinion, left to its own devices, capitalism inevitably tends to a monopoly economy. An economy in which there is no competition. In a monopoly environment, the dominant companies can freeze competition and entrepreneurial initiative. In this regard, any monopoly is problematic, even the monopoly of the local baker or shoemaker. Without competition, the quality of service slips. And innovation becomes an expensive nuisance unless it wildly jacks up profits. As a fine connoisseur and renowned debunker of anti-capitalist arguments, how would you assess this widespread analysis? Stephen Hicks: Free-market capitalism is the most anti-monopolistic system there is, as entrepreneurs are creative in developing new products and improving old ones. The profit motive of course incentivizes that creativity, as does the natural creativity that individuals exhibit when they are free to pursue their own lives. Think of the music and electronic industries, for example, in the last one hundred years—how endlessly innovative they have been and how prices have gone down, precisely because they’ve been mostly free markets. Think of the music and electronic industries, for example, in the last one hundred years—how endlessly innovative they have been and how prices have gone down, precisely because they’ve been mostly free markets. Problematic monopolies have only existed when governments made them—either by granting exclusive charters or other special...
The fearful blaze ravaging Notre Dame Cathedral came under initial control, this evening. Parisians then gathered on Cité Island in the Seine River, at the very center of Paris, to sing together as night fell. French President Emmanuel Macron announced that despite terrible losses, the structure had been saved, and the 1,000-year-old triumph of French Gothic architecture would be rebuilt. Already, some had begun to recall that some 180 years ago, it was the great French Romanticist novelist and poet, Victor Hugo, whose genius saved the Cathedral. In fact, it was the power of Romantic literature to lift men's hearts that is credited with re-igniting public love of the Cathedral and so rescuing it. In fact, it was the power of Romantic literature to lift men’s hearts that is credited with re-igniting public love of the Cathedral and so rescuing it. It often has been noted that a chief theme of Notre-Dame de Paris (in the English version, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) is the architecture of the Cathedral—its greatness, its beauty, its meaning. Hugo began the novel in 1829 (it was his first, he was known only as a poet and dramatist) to rouse the French public to the neglect and destruction that were overtaking the structure. The architecture long had been neglected, or destroyed, and replaced by new buildings or parts of buildings in a newer style. As shocking as it seems, today, the medieval stained glass panels had been replaced with white...
In 1972, American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer challenged and defeated Boris Spassky, the defending champion from the USSR, in the World Chess Championship. It was the height of the Cold War. Called the Match of the Century, the epic competition symbolized the power struggle between the world’s two superpowers. When Fischer won, he was the first American ever to do so, and the first non-Soviet to win in nearly thirty years. The last game of the match began on August 31. Spassky resigned after 40 moves and never returned to play. On September 1, Fischer was awarded the championship. The 2014 film, Pawn Sacrifice, starring Tobey Maguire and Liev Schreiber, focuses on Bobby Fischer. Back in 1972, however, Ayn Rand was at home, with her husband, watching the match, and she had her eye on Boris Spassky. On September 11, 1972, Ayn Rand published “An Open Letter to Boris Spassky” in her then biweekly periodical The Ayn Rand Letter. Thus Rand’s letter was dated a mere ten days after Spassky’s crushing defeat. She was 67 years old. Her hatred of Communism was unabated, and she wasted no time before giving Boris Spassky a piece of her mind. “Dear...
Bjorn Lomborg’s diagnosis: Decades of climate-change exaggeration in the West have produced frightened children, febrile headlines, and unrealistic political promises. The world needs a cooler approach that addresses climate change smartly without scaring us needlessly and that pays heed to the many other challenges facing the planet. Decades indeed. Ten years ago: “One in Three Children Fear Earth Apocalypse.” And before that, my 1991 (!) The Wall Street Journal article, “Global Problems Are Too Big for Little Kids,” on widespread reports of children coming home from school scared that the world is ending soon. The conclusion: Frightened or apathetic children are not going to grow into the adults who will be able to solve the world’s problems. Problem-solving requires confidence that solutions can be discovered and a healthy self-esteem about one’s ability to find them. These attitudes require nurturing over a long period of time, on countless small, day-to-day issues. Too much too fast can only destroy them. Education is about helping children grow into knowledgeable, creative thinkers with emotional resilience and a can-do spirit. The opposite of that is indoctrination that results in young adults oscillating between angry dogmatism...
I listed the collapse of Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship as one of my “hopes” for 2018. That didn’t happen, so I included the same hope in my list for 2019. . . . Is There Any Hope for Venezuela?  But one thing I can state with full certainty is that I hope it happens as soon as possible. Though I have become a bit jaded. I no longer share lengthy compilations of everything that is going awry in the country. As far as I’m concerned, the real debate is now whether a new government will adopt the right policies when Maduro is finally evicted (in other words, is there any hope for Chilean-style economic liberation?). But there are a couple of stories and columns about the ongoing crisis that caught my eye. Especially ones written by Venezuelans. Andres Malave wrote for Investor’s Business Daily about what has...

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