Featured Events

July 20

Designer Drugs: A New Futile Front in the War on Illegal Drugs?

News organizations have recently documented the proliferation of synthetic or “designer” drugs that produce physical and psychological effects similar to those of traditional mind-altering substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Policymakers have scrambled to outlaw substances that can sometimes regain legal status with a modest change in chemical makeup. Some of the new drugs even masquerade as such innocuous, perfectly legal products as air fresheners or potpourri. Can these new mind-altering substances be outlawed without resorting to tortured legal rationales? Are there alternatives to a prohibitionist strategy? Could policymakers better promote public safety by requiring strict production standards, but not attempting to ban their use? Cato senior fellow Ted Galen Carpenter will discuss his recent study on synthetic drugs, followed by a discussion with other experts on the future of drug policy in the United States.

June 18

Millennials and U.S. Foreign Policy

Millennials and U.S. Foreign Policy

The Millennial Generation, those roughly 87 million men and women born between 1980 and 1997, now represent one-quarter of the U.S. population. With those on the leading edge of Millennials now hitting their mid-thirties, this cohort is becoming increasingly influential. A new study from the Cato Institute finds that the end of the Cold War, 9/11, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have imprinted Millennials with a distinct pattern of foreign policy attitudes. Millennials perceive the world to be significantly less threatening than do their elders and are more likely than earlier generations to support international cooperation than the unilateral use of military force. They may also have a permanent case of an “Iraq Aversion.”

In this special Cato policy forum, the authors, George Mason University scholars A. Trevor Thrall and Erik Goepner, will present their findings, followed by a lively discussion on the impact that the Millennial Generation may have on U.S. foreign policy and domestic politics.

July 9

Sovereign Patent Funds — A New Issue at the Nexus of International Trade and Intellectual Property

As U.S. policymakers debate how best to deal with the problem of abusive patent litigation, some other governments have decided to fight fire with fire by creating state-owned patent assertion entities. The phenomenon deserves more attention from policymakers in Washington, who are bound to play an important role in shaping international rules to regulate these government “patent trolls.” Known formally as sovereign patent funds, these public-private entities amass large patent portfolios they can use to help domestic companies—sometimes through litigation against foreign competitors. Is this policy a reasonable response to the difficulties many companies face managing patents in a global economy, or is it merely a new form of protectionist industrial policy? Come hear our expert panel discuss the peculiar complexities of this emerging issue.

Past Events

June 30

A History of Free Market Energy Thought

Featuring Rob Bradley, Founder and CEO, Institute for Energy Research; moderated by Patrick J. Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute.