No, Seriously, Get Rid of the Filibuster

Jay Cost has a passionate response to recent liberal criticisms of the filibuster. In his view, it’s a good thing to pass legislation that has broad (and perhaps bipartisan) support, rather than to pass legislation with increasingly partisan “simple majorities.” But there are several little problems with Cost’s argument that need to be pointed out, … Read more

Business of America

Of all the events of the recent financial crisis, none shook the American establishment as profoundly as the fall of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. News articles described the firm as an “institution” of American capitalism, employing adjectives such as “venerable,” “legendary,” and “iconic.” Commentators proclaimed the downfall of independent investment firms, certain that the … Read more

Yemen on the Brink

How a failing Yemen threatens international security One year before the 9/11 attacks, suicide bombers struck the USS Cole while it was anchored off the Yemeni port of Aden, killing 17 U.S. sailors. In response, the United States and Yemen coordinated a fierce counterterrorism campaign against al-Qaida. By 2004, their combined efforts had virtually eradicated … Read more

Whither the Fed?

In reform, a return to monetary policy With the spotlight on the Federal Reserve in the wake of the financial crisis, the Obama administration and Congress have begun debating the Fed’s role in overseeing and regulating the financial sector. Among President Obama’s July recommendations for reform was an expanded role for the Fed, including oversight … Read more

Understanding Italy’s Prime Minister

What Silvio Berlusconi represents in Italian politics Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has never been known for his subtlety. Facing trials for bribery and tax evasion, Berlusconi and his People of Freedom party recently attempted to pass a law granting judicial immunity to the four highest officials of the state, including the prime minister himself. … Read more

The Siren Call

Will Harvard’s graduates still flock to finance? From those already interning as summer analysts to those with an active disdain for such work, no Harvard student can help but notice the scores of campus recruiting visits made by financial institutions. Indeed, “I-banking,” consulting and other jobs in the finance industry are among the most popular … Read more

The Problem with Bankers’ Pay

Exorbitant compensation threatens the stability of the banking system Few people caught in the throes of last year’s financial crisis would have predicted that only one year after the fall of Lehman Brother, top Wall Street firms would be raking in record-breaking profits—and, more pointedly, doling out record-breaking bonuses. Yet October’s earning reports confirm this … Read more

The Prices of Pills

Medical innovation, now and later Conventional wisdom dictates that, to the extent that health care reform lowers drug prices, it will reduce profits for pharmaceutical companies and limit their incentives to develop new medical innovations. While this common criticism is, perhaps, founded, the effects of reform on medical innovation may not be wholly negative. Although … Read more

The Politics of Human Trafficking

Ursula Plassnik is a current member of Austria’s Parliament and is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Politics. She was instrumental in managing Austria’s 2006 EU-Presidency. Harvard Political Review: What is your personal definition of human trafficking? Ursula Plassnik: Legal definitions in various countries seem to be very different, and that is part of … Read more

The Mathematical Prophet

Should we heed his word? The Predictioneer’s Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future, by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Random House, 2009.  $27, 248 pp. Is life a game-and nations, corporations, and individuals merely players?  Bruce Bueno de Mesquita thinks so.  In The Predictioneer’s Game, the applied game theorist … Read more