Milken Institute Review First Quarter 2000

March 2000

Nicholas Eberstadt, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, says the trend of huge increases in Earth's population is about to change. "As the 21st century commences, the tempo of population growth is unmistakably in decline," he writes.

Timothy Taylor, Managing Editor of theJournal of Economic Perspective, offers a report card on President Clinton's handling of the U.S. economy. "Nothing in Clinton's economic record reaches beyond competence," Taylor writes, "which is why it should go down in history as only a notch or two better than ordinary."

Richard Medley and Matthew Saal of Medley Global Advisors in New York do a post-mortem on the WTO meeting in Seattle. Their view? It wasn't pretty, but in the end, it won't set back trade liberalization very much - merely change the arena in which it will take place.

Irwin Stelzer, director of regulatory studies at The Hudson Institute, looks at the merger bandwagon and says such consolidations are often the result of a CEO having run out of ideas. "Very often, the goal of a merger is the unsurprising and not entirely laudable one of job retention," he says.

Kevin Murphy and Robert Topel of the University of Chicago's Business School lay out the case for increased funding for medical research by estimating how much improvements in life expectancy are worth in dollars and cents. Between 1970 and 1990, they estimate an astounding $2.8 trillion per year was added to national wealth as a result of reduced mortality.

Stephen Cohen, J. Bradford DeLong and John Zysman of the University of California at Berkeley answer the question: Are the good times brought on by the New Economy here to stay? And surprisingly, they're almost giddily optimistic: "The evidence is mounting," they say, "that the information era is all that it's cracked up to be."

Albert Fishlow, an investment banker at Violy, Byorum and Partners in New York, looks at the state of the global economy in the aftermath of the Asian meltdown. "Despite the occasional whiff of chaos, the global economy is in remarkably good shape," he writes.

This issue's book excerpt comes from Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working, by Jonathan Rauch, author of Demosclerosis and a columnist for the National Journal.

Also in this issue: Institute View examines the impact of biotech on regional economic growth by Ross DeVol, Director of Regional and Demographic Studies at the Milken Institute; and Hilton Root, Acting Director of the Institute's Global Studies group, on the political economy of growth in emerging market countries.