The Bear’s Lair

The Bear’s Lair: Did the West lose the Cold War?

All of us who are old enough can remember where we were when it happened – the fantastic sight of demonstrators breaking down the Berlin Wall that had divided Germany and mankind for several decades, apparently marking the death-knell of the evil Communist tyranny. But a generation later, the question has to be asked: did […]

The Bear’s Lair: The Struldbrugg Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution is currently 256 years old, if you agree with my chronology in “Forging Modernity” dating its inception to 1768, plus or minus a year or two. Even given that it soared beyond mere human limitations, you would expect it to be showing signs of age by now. Yet in recent years, it […]

The Bear’s Lair: Don’t blame Trump for the coming slump

Observers have been puzzled by the continued strength of the U.S. stock market, asset prices generally and the U.S. economy in the face of sharp rises in interest rates since early 2022. Artificial stimulus from record U.S. budget deficits seems to be part of the cause, but an even more significant indicator is the velocity […]

The Bear’s Lair: Mankind’s taste for economic suicide

The democratic system of government has many advantages, but it is bedeviled by the electorate’s tendency to fall for snake-oil salesmen peddling economically devastating nostrums. In recent years, the climate change “net zero” nonsense is the most obvious of these follies, but they stretch back through democratic history to the repeal of the Corn Laws […]

The Bear’s Lair: Corporations must provide job security

The United Auto Workers’ success in unionizing a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee suggests that the reported death of private sector unions is not imminent. Fifty years ago, even in cyclical industries unionized workers were close to Japan-style lifetime employment, with any layoffs in business downturns allocated by inverse seniority, so that after a few years […]

The Bear’s Lair: Take an axe to international bodies

The European Court of Human Rights’ decision sanctioning Switzerland for having not done enough to combat global warming is typical of all international bodies. It flouted the original restrictions imposed on the court’s activity, the decision did direct economic harm to ordinary Swiss citizens, and the Court exhibited utter contempt for Swiss democracy. International bodies […]

The Bear’s Lair: Does democracy work best in Asia?

Britain and the United States are together the progenitors of modern democracy and it has since spread worldwide, albeit suffering a retreat in the last decade. Nevertheless, the current governments under which we are groaning suggest that the U.S., Britain and Western Europe are not very good at operating a democratic system. Can it be […]

The Bear’s Lair: The environmental blight of environmentalists

I was shocked this week to discover that the Pan American Highway, much admired in my youth as a potential connector for the entire American continent, is still incomplete, with a 66-mile Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia that has been held up by environmentalists since 1972. Given the hyperbolic multiplier from completing first-move infrastructure, […]

The Bear’s Lair: There are no independent central banks

It has long been a nostrum among economists that central banks should be independent of their countries’ governments. The 1998 decision granting “independence” to the Bank of England was specifically motivated by that thesis. Yet in practice, central banks have not stood staunchly against the free-spending proclivities of their governments; instead, they have indulged them, […]

The Bear’s Lair: Skirting round the 1930s drain

President Biden’s denunciation of the takeover of the modest remnants of U.S. Steel by Nippon Steel, the premier steel company of the United States’ most important ally, leads to only one conclusion: protectionism and autarky are reaching 1930s levels. There are other parallels; for example, wars are breaking out all over the world, as they […]