Milken Institute Review Third Quarter 2000

September 2000

Steven Morrison of Northeastern University andClifford Winston of the Brookings Institution offer their thoughts on who is responsible for America's airline woes - from crowded planes and delayed flights to the fact that you may have paid twice as much as the guy sitting next to you for the same trip. But unlike many critics, the authors don't blame airport hubs, frequent-flier programs or biased computer reservation systems. The government, they say, may be more to blame for these headaches than the airlines.

Greg Rushford, publisher of the Washington-based The Rushford Report, criticizes President Clinton for not explaining the importance of free trade to the American people. "Bill Clinton," he writes, "has made the calculated political judgment that the American people are not smart enough to understand why open markets are in their interest."

Marsha Vande Berg, editor ofThe World Report newsletter, takes a fresh look at the consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement - including nothing less than the transformation of the Mexican economy. "Largely because of NAFTA, Mexico has undertaken a makeover of its crony economy, emphasizing entrepreneurial enterprise, greater social equality and job creation," she writes.

Marcus Noland of the Institute for International Economics writes that while demonstrators focused their ire on the World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington last spring, the little-known International Financial Institutions Advisory Commission posed a much bigger threat to the establishment.

David Dapice of Tufts University looks at Vietnam's transition from a centrally planned economy toward a market-based economy, which has resulted in tremendous growth. But, he says, the country "has stopped well short of the changes needed to ensure its entry into the club of developed economies."

William Gale of the Brookings Institution andJoel Slemrod of the University of Michigan Business School tackle an issue that is simmering in the background of the presidential campaign: the estate tax.

Glenn Yago, Director of Capital Studies for the Milken Institute, and Leon Bijou, a New York attorney, look at the economics of peace in the Middle East.

This issue's book excerpt comes from The Fourth Great Awakening, a new book by Nobel Laureate and economic historian Robert Fogel.

And, of course, we have our regular features: The Charticle, Research F.Y.I., Institute News, a book review, and Mark Alan Stamaty's cartoon, Ekinomix.