AIMS President Marco Navarro-Génie responds to an editorial that appeared in two P.E.I. newspapers, which questioned the bias of research institutes, such as AIMS. Far from being hidden in our biases, he argues, AIMS puts its pro-market point of view right in the name: the Atlantic Institute for “Market” Studies.
A recent editorial in the Journal-Pioneer has resurrected the old boogeyman of bias at Canadian research institutes, including the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. The editorial was inspired by a New York Times article, which called into question the Brookings Institution, one of the most-influential think tanks in the United States.
Accusing someone of bias has long been a subtle way to impugn someone’s motivations. Calling into question supposed bias is usually a sign of lacking an argument or evidence of one’s own.
“The idea is that it’s scholarly research, even if the institutes have their own clear ideological bent,” the editorial argues. “In fact, it’s fair to suggest that there might be bias not in how a study was done, but in exactly what you chose to study.”
It is perfectly fair to suggest that there is a bias in someone’sresearch, but it is less fair to intimate that there is something nefarious or hidden going on as a result.
The notion that anyone can be completely unbiased is a benevolent fiction. It suggests that we can be completely objective in relation to what we know and believe. To claim perfect objectivity, or that one has no bias of any sort, is to acknowledge that one has no singular perspective on anything. It is an admission of intellectual poverty.
We all have biases. In this sense, ignorance is a bias too.
At AIMS, we have a bias and it is not at all hidden. It is so not-hidden that we put it right on our name: We are the Atlantic Institute for “Market” Studies.
The market is our bias. We choose to study economic issues that will improve markets or will raise awareness of the virtues of markets.
We openly favour markets that are not constrained by unnecessary or duplicating regulations, crushing tax burdens, or unjust obstacles. We oppose marketing boards and cartels that favour and enrich producers at the disproportionate expense to consumers. Better markets make for wealthier societies.
Our bias is to promote market benefits for all citizens, and not just a select few. This is the reason we oppose subsidies of all kinds, including corporate welfare that supports certain businesses. Subsidies distort and distract market decisions. They exaggerate the role of government in the market. Typically, subsidies also weaken the subsidy recipient and the market.They rob people of their creativity and entrepreneurship.
Our bias is against impediments and obstacles for the unfettered movement of goods, services, and capital.
We want to restore the proud economic history of this region to its rightful place, and to develop an economy that will allow our children to remain in the same communities with their parents and grandparents, permitting our culture to thrive.
We favour growth and development. For this we make no apology.
We concede, of course, that markets and market mechanisms bring no perfection to human affairs. But for all the imperfections, markets and free enterprise have secured wealth, comfort, and civilizational advances that were never attained by other means.
As the tortuous history of the 20th century shows, the direct and derivative accomplishments of free enterprise has lowered illiteracy, poverty, infant mortality, and disease around the world.
That is the excellent legacy of the market bias, and one we are proud to embrace openly at AIMS.