Sustaining the Economic Rise of Africa

President Barack Obama this coming week will be meeting 50 African leaders to discuss “America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.”  However, a new bulletin from Cato scholars Marian L. Tupy and Dalibor Rohac reminds us that African problems cannot be solved in Western capitals. “Persistent poverty in Africa is caused primarily by flawed domestic policies and institutions,” say Tupy and Rohac. “African governments must ultimately embrace the free market reforms that have made other regions of the world prosper.”

Rapid Bus: A Low-Cost, High-Capacity Transit System for Major Urban Areas

Prompted by federal funding, more than 30 American cities have built or are building new rail transit lines. These expensive lines have debatable value as they put transit agencies in debt and impose high maintenance costs, yet they carry few riders more than the buses they replace and produce minimal, if any, environmental benefits.  In a new study, Cato scholar Randal O’Toole proposes an alternative to rail transit: a “rapid bus” system that would offer fast, frequent, and comfortable transportation to most people in an urban area.

Argentina Defaults Again

Argentina entered into economic default on Wednesday for the second time in 13 years after the country was unable to reach an agreement with U.S. creditors.  Cato scholar Juan Carlos Hidalgo sums up the recent news: “The authorities in Buenos Aires were given multiple opportunities to reach a deal with the holdout bondholders and yet they decided to make a political rallying point of defying the rule of law. The ultimate losers are the Argentine people who will suffer from a deepening recession, a more pronounced devaluation, and a continuation of their country’s long-term decline.”

A Case against Child Labor Prohibitions

Provisions against child labor are part of the International Labor Organization’s core labor standards. Anti-sweatshop groups almost universally condemn child labor and call for laws prohibiting child employment or boycotting products made with child labor.  But a new paper from Benjamin Powell argues that much of what the anti-sweatshop movement agitates for would harm the very children they intend to help.  Powell contends that the process of economic development, in which sweatshops play an important role, is the best way to raise wages and improve working conditions.

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