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The Bear’s Lair: Time for Mexico to bring back Diaz

Porfirio Diaz, who had ruled Mexico with multiple re-elections almost continuously since 1876, was ousted from power in 1911. In 107 years, you would think Mexico would have found another equally competent ruler, but it hasn’t, and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador seems very unlikely to break that track record of failure. Maybe it is time […]

The Bear’s Lair: Germany must stop beggaring its neighbors

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s staff published a photo taken at the recent G7 summit that showed Merkel glowering at a defiant President Donald Trump, suggesting that Trump was isolated and alienating America’s allies. Yet when we examine actual behavior, it is Germany that is beggaring its neighbors and failing to live up to international obligations. […]

The Bear’s Lair: Konrad Adenauer would despise Merkel

Angela Merkel won most votes on September 24, but her certainty of leading the next government with only 33% of the vote, a fall of 8.6%, is a sad commentary on proportional representation voting systems. Calls last year for her to be appointed “the savior of Europe” or “the leader of the free world” now […]

The Bear’s Lair: Funny money makes us unproductive

  Two weeks ago, this column denounced central banks’ post-2008 policies because of their effect on savers and savings. This week I will demonstrate an entirely different result of their feckless policies: a deep decline in productivity growth, in all markets where their foolishness has manifested itself. There is not enough criticism of this insanity, […]

The Bear’s Lair: Votes for Robots!

The American public is terrified its jobs will be given away to robots, and is therefore voting for Donald Trump, the most unreasoning candidate in the race. This column sympathizes with their angst over the results of two decades’ bad monetary, fiscal and regulatory policy, but their proposed solution is both irrational and damaging. Since […]

The Bear’s Lair: Lord Liverpool 2016

With the U.S. primary season approaching, and the quality of debate showing the flaws in the existing candidates, I thought it worth pondering how a truly superior statesman, Robert Banks Jenkinson, second Earl of Liverpool (British prime minister, 1812-27) would set about winning a U.S. Presidential election (assuming he had the necessary birth qualification to […]

The Bear’s Lair: Back to smoke-filled rooms!

  The appalling interaction of opinion polls and TV debates is yet again pushing the Republican party to produce a poor-quality Presidential nominee, the eighth in succession (well, to be fair, Mitt Romney by a magnificent, sustained effort rose all the way to mediocre.) Likewise the Labour party’s prolonged election of the eccentric leftist Jeremy […]

The Bear’s Lair: In defense of agriculture

  Modern commentators, including Yuval Noah Harari in his interesting book “Sapiens – a brief history of humankind” (Harper, 2015) believe that the coming of agriculture around 10,000 years ago was a disaster for humanity, forcing people to work much harder than the previous hunter-gatherers for a less stable and reliable subsistence. Yet when you […]

The Bear’s Lair: Thank God for the 22nd Amendment

  President Obama this week announced in Africa that he would be confident of being re-elected, but was blocked by the 1951 22nd Amendment, which prevented U.S. Presidents seeking a third term. My first reaction was of course a crassly partisan sigh of relief, but then I began thinking about term limits in general, and […]