Unconventional monetary policy—characterized by “zero interest rate policy” (ZIRP) and “quantitative easing” (QE), along with macro-prudential regulation—has increased the power of central banks in the United States, Japan, and Europe. In the new issue of Cato Journal, contributors revisit the thinking behind unconventional monetary policy and the “new monetary framework,” make the case for transparent monetary rules versus foggy discretion, and point to the distortions generated by ultra-low interest rates and preferential credit allocation.
When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in 2005, Denmark found itself at the center of a global battle about the freedom of speech. The paper’s culture editor, Flemming Rose, defended the decision to print the 12 drawings, and he quickly came to play a central part in the debate about the limitations to freedom of speech in the 21st century. In The Tyranny of Silence, Flemming Rose provides a personal account of an event that has shaped the debate about what it means to be a citizen in a democracy and how to coexist in a world that is increasingly multicultural, multireligious, and multiethnic.
The Cato Institute has released its 2015 Annual Report, which documents a dynamic year of growth and productivity. The thousands of individuals who contribute to Cato are passionate about freedom and committed to ensuring that future generations enjoy the blessings of liberty, unencumbered by an overreaching state that seeks to control their lives. This is Cato’s optimistic vision for the future, and it would be unimaginable without the Institute’s longstanding partnership with its Sponsors. We will continue our diligence and dedication to seeing this vision realized.
Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness
Featuring the coauthor Cass Sunstein, University of Chicago Law School, with comments by Terrence Chorvat, George Mason University Law School and Will Wilkinson, Cato Institute.
Expanding on their widely discussed article on “libertarian paternalism,” Professors Sunstein and Thaler argue that people often make bad choices on diet, retirement savings, health insurance, and contributing to climate change. In their new book they examine how human beings make decisions. Recent scientific research shows that people are susceptible to cognitive biases and blunders. Because we are human, we are fallible, and because we are fallible, we can use all the help we can get. Sunstein and Thaler argue that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful “choice architecture” can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Will Wilkinson and Terrence Chorvat will raise questions about the proper place of “choice architecture” in a free society and the plausibility of “libertarian paternalism.”