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Gary Becker's views

I had mentioned many times earlier, about the book, "Economics of Life,"
by Gary Becker. Great book. It is basically a compilation of articles
written by Becker for Business Week over the years.

For those who don't have the book, an excellent web site listing the
article titles and the abstracts, is found at:


Please do read these. Excellent policy articles. Some might not be
relevant to India, but many are. e.g.:

Maybe I should write to Gary Becker to get his permission to link up
the above page to our web site.


Want to Squelch Corruption? Try Passing Out Raises

Business Week. n3551. Nov 3, 1997. p. 26, 1 pages. 

When public officials are low-paid and regulations abound, the
inducements to bribery become hard to resist. It is argued that the only
way to reduce corruption permanently is to drastically cut back
government's role in the economy. High priority should go to eliminating
the thousands of nuisance regulations and laws in most countries that do
more harm than good and that also encourage attempts to influence


If you want to cut corruption, cut

Published in Business Week. n3454. Dec 11, 1995. p. 26, 1 page.

New evidence of corruption by leading politicians and businesses is
surfacing in almost every corner of the globe. There is no magic cure to
this disease. Corruption distorts the functioning of an economy because
it leads government officials to take actions that are not in the public
interest. However, some reforms are possible without huge reductions in
government. Reducing the array of goodies that politicians and
bureaucrats dole out is the only sure-fire cure.


Is There Any Way to Stop Child Labor Abuses?

Business Week. n3526. May 12, 1997. p. 22. 

A Presidential task force recently called for a worldwide ban on child
labor and sweatshop conditions in overseas factories operated by US
companies in the apparel industry. It is suggested that while the task
force's code of business conduct may be appropriate for rich nations
such as the US, it is misapplied in Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam and
other countries that are the targets of the code. The poor in these
countries send children to work because families desperately need their
meager earnings. It is a hard life for children, but appalling poverty
forces the whole family to struggle with bad nutrition, poor health care
and dismal economic prospects. Based on past experience, there is every
reason to believe that these 3rd-world countries will eliminate child
labor when they achieve greater economic progress.


Religions thrive in a free market,

Business Week. n3458. Jan 15, 1996. p. 20, 1 pages. 

The US is among the nations that have an open "market" for religion.
Different denominations and sects compete for members through spiritual
guidance and other appeals. Competition is good for religion because
religious groups are forced to learn how better to satisfy members'
needs than they do when they have a monopoly position. As illustrated by
the booming turn to religion in the onetime communist nations of Eastern
Europe, both liberal and strict religious groups are more dynamic when
they have to compete for members on a level playing field.


The Numbers Tell the Story:
Economic Freedom Spurs Growth

Business Week. n3474. May 6, 1996. p. 20, 1 pages. 

The collapse of communism and the success of the Asian Tigers stimulated
a worldwide movement to privatize and deregulate, for these events
appeared to indicate that economic freedom is much more effective than
government control in promoting growth. Revisionists have questioned
this conclusion, but it receives resounding support from a major new
study by 3 economists. The book, Economic Freedom of the World, uses 17
categories to measure the degrees of freedom during the past 20 years in
more than 100 countries. Evidence shows why many African nations have
had the lowest growth of any continent. Apologists blame Africa's bad
record on its extended period of domination by colonial powers, but that
is not the major reason. Rather, the main cause appears to be that after
independence, many African nations were led astray by imitating the
government-dominated economies of communist and socialist countries.

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