The idea that a market-based approach can work better than government regulation to protect the environment owes much of its strength to the pioneering work of economist Milton Friedman.
So says Richard Stroup, visiting professor of economics at N.C. State and one of the founders of free-market environmentalism. Stroup discussed market-based environmental policies during today's special Shaftesbury Society luncheon honoring the late Milton Friedman's 96th birthday.
I feel fine when even a San Francisco environmental lawyer tells USA Today, "I started off believing in regulation, but government agencies compromise and change rules" and "These private deals are a pragmatic way to accomplish good things."
• The Chicago Tribunespeculates about the possible effects of the Ted Stevens story on competitive Senate races around the country, including Kay Hagan's challenge to Elizabeth Dole. Bloomberg's Laura Litvan (a friend of mine from college days) and Daniel Whitten describe Republican efforts to gain political traction on energy issues. They include Dole's turnabout on offshore drilling.
• Pat McCrory brings back his Andy Griffith vs. Andy Taylor routine during the grand opening of a new GOP headquarters in Mount Airy. Beverly Perdue helps to commend the outgoing commander of Camp Lejeune for his service.
Today would have been the late economist Milton Friedman's 96th birthday. The John Locke Foundation will take part in a celebration with a special noon meeting of the Shaftesbury Society.
Meanwhile, I came across George Will's column marking Friedman's 90th birthday. It's included in Will's new book, One Man's America. Will calls Friedman "America's most consequential public intellectual of the twentieth century" and notes the impact of his "great manifesto" from 1962, Capitalism and Freedom:
Capitalism and Freedom inserted into political discourse such (then) novel ideas as flexible exchange rates, a private dimension of Social Security, tuition vouchers to empower parents with school choice, and a flat income tax. Gary Becker (Nobel Prize, 1992), Friedman's colleague at the University of Chicago and the Hoover Institution, notes that when Friedman began arguing the case, most nations had top tax rates of at least 90 percent (91 percent in America). Today most top rates are 50 percent or less, so the world has moved far toward Friedman's position.
Rick Stroup of N.C. State will offer us more evidence of Friedman's impact during his noon speech at the John Locke Foundation's office in Raleigh.