Bitcoin Bubble or New Virtual Currency?

Yves here. I’ve heretofore avoided the topic of Bitcoin, since I recall the brief fad of the Second Life currency, which then flamed out impressively. And Bitcoin already has had the US Treasury clear its throat and say if market participants try exchanging Bitcoin for dollars, it takes a dim view of that. Recall that […]

Who Ya Gonna Call? Entrepreneurs!

Just a decade ago it seemed we were stuck with landlines. State-owned telephone companies were largely entrenched, sclerotic organizations that provided poor, delayed, or simply unavailable service —even in some rich European countries, and nearly universally in poor countries. These maps (with data from 2001, 2004, and 2008) show how cell phones have quickly bypassed the dysfunctional […]

In Praise of Roads

Historians attribute Rome’s extensive network of roads to be one of the main factors behind its growth and stability. With 400,000 kilometers of roads, including more than 80,000 kilometers of paved highways, Rome was well connected with its most faraway provinces and vassals. The Incas also used a system of roads to integrate its vast Andean empire—with more than 25,000 kilometers of paved thoroughfares. Military leaders were always enamoured of them as conduits to move men and equipment. Indeed, President Dwight Eisenhower pushed for the creation of the U.S. Interstate Highway System after seeing how effectively the autobahns moved German soldiers and tanks. Indeed, the original name of the legislation package was the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956. In spite of its defense features, such as providing long straightaways to allow the Air Force to use them as backup airstrips, the highway system helped mobilize the country’s massive resources. The automobile industry in Detroit lobbied hard for the legislation, and it helped wean the public off mass transportation. Nevertheless, it provided North American companies with the economies of scale needed to take on the global marketplace.

Net Neutrality, Two More Words You Can Never Say on Television

On Monday, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the roll-out of plans to implement network neutrality rules covering internet, mobile and other data networks. Many, if not all, data networks in the U.S. engage in some form of traffic management, either by capping bandwidth, blocking ports or protocols and traffic shaping. The FCC’s […]

The Response to Climate Change “Can Be Gradual—and Affordable”

When the topic of climate change legislation comes up, Republicans predictably respond with “but what about small business?,” though the concerns generally extend to big business as well. Again and again we hear that any attempt to reduce carbon emissions will significantly reduce economic growth. For example, tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal asks “Can Countries Cut […]