We Have A Crisis: Pass A Law

Problem solved. Robert Higgs looks at how the U.S. got into the ocean-shipping business and all the money that was wasted. The basic idea took shape in the midst of a “crisis”. The outbreak of World War I hampered trans-oceanic shipping and this had a large impact on trade. The solution? A government program to address the issue. To make ships, operate government run shipping lines and regulate and control shipping rates. President Wilson on the crisis,

The idea in the proposal is not that the government should permanently embark in these things, but that it should do the immediate and necessary thing…

Gee sounds like he could be talking about our current financial crisis. And consider that the U.S. government is still, to this day, heavily involved in the ocean-shipping business.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. John Burgess says:

    Sorry, Dave… that’s a step-removed too far.

    The USG doesn’t ‘do’ shipping. It regulates it. As most ships accessing US ports are not American ships, that’s probably a good thing, to some extent anyway.

    The only ships the USG owns are those marked by USCG or USN insignia, as well as a few NOAA or similar crafts.