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The Most Important Word in Economics is 'Or'

February 1, 2013 by Robert Asahina
Roberto Salinas-León, president of the Mexico Business Forum and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, gave a lively presentation in Dallas to the high-school students participating in the economic debates sponsored by the Bush Institute in partnership with the St. Mark's School of Texas and the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance. Salinas-León gave the young rhetoricians an object lesson in public-policy presentation, liberally sprinking his analysis of trade and infrastructure issues with examples ranging from jet planes to watermelons. Emphaticaly emphasizing the importance of education in the development of technology and policy, he underscored the need to engage in dialogue and debate about such issues as increasing the limited number of entry points through which the hundreds of billions of dollars of goods exported from South America now reach the United States. Moving from policy to theory, he stressed that the most important word in economics is "or" — that choice is the basis of a market economy and the expression of our fundamental freedom. He reminded his young audience of the choice they had made — that they could have been out playing football on a sunny Texas afternoon rather than sitting in a conference room listening to him speak. He congratulated them, as do all of us at the Bush Institute, for their commitment to the kind of free discussion that enables a robust democracy.

Author

Robert Asahina

Robert Asahina has been a newspaper and magazine editor and writer, a book publishing executive and editor, and a data management consultant. He was editor in chief and deputy publisher of Broadway Books, president and publisher of the adult publishing group of Golden Books, and vice president and senior editor of Simon and Schuster; deputy managing editor of The New York Sun and an editor at The New York Times Book Review, Harper's, George, and The Public Interest; and a consultant at Freddie Mac. He is the author of "Just Americans" and of numerous articles and reviews for The Wall Street Journal, Harper's, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere.

 

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