Economics

Uniting Constitutional Protection for Economic and Social Liberties, Part 1: Substantive Due Process and Unenumerated Rights

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We libertarians like to distinguish ourselves from our friends on the Right and Left by the fact that we care equally about both economic liberties and social/civil liberties. For libertarians the right to engage in contract and exchange with other consenting adults is just as important as the right to engage in speech and sex with other consenting adults. ... [click for more]

Consumers’ Sovereignty and Natural vs. Contrived Scarcities

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One of the great myths about the capitalist system is the presumption that businessmen make profits at the expense of the consumers and workers in society. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the free market, consumers are the sovereign rulers who determine what gets produced, and with what qualities and features. The sovereign consumers also determine who will ... [click for more]

TGIF: The Economic Way of Thinking about Health Care

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I realize Mike Lupica is a sports columnist -- and that Howard Cosell called sports "the toy department of life" -- but maybe that's what makes Lupica's recent declaration about Obamacare all the more representative a reaction. Appearing on a morning cable news program, Lupica declared that “health insurance for all is a noble idea.” He repeated this a few ... [click for more]

How Laws Are Passed, Maintained, and Changed

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Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers: The Economic Engine of Political Change by Wayne A. Leighton and Edward J. Lopez (Stanford Economics and Finance 2013), 209 pages. Have you ever wondered why democracies so often generate public policies that are wasteful and unjust? Have you asked why such policies persist over long periods, even when they are known to ... [click for more]

Two Kinds of Income Inequality

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Income inequality is back in the news, propelled by an Oxfam International report and President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. The question is whether government needs to do something about this — or whether government needs to undo many things. Measuring income inequality is no simple thing, which is one source of disagreement between ... [click for more]

TGIF: Monopoly and Aggression

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The concepts monopoly and aggression are intimately related, like lock and key, or mother and son. You cannot fully understand the first without understanding the second. Most of us are taught to think of a monopoly as simply any lone seller of a good or service, but this definition is fraught with problems, as Murray Rothbard, Austrian economists generally, and ... [click for more]

Hayek’s Warning: The Social Engineer’s Pretense of Knowledge

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Forty years ago, on December 11, 1974, Austrian economist, Friedrich A. Hayek, formally received that year’s Nobel Prize in Economics at the official ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden. He delivered a lecture called, “The Pretense of Knowledge,” which forcefully challenged all those who believe that government has the wisdom or ability to successfully plan the economic affairs of society. His primary ... [click for more]

How Profit Benefits the Public

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Portuguese I’ve heard, like you have, about corporate greed. The profit motive, we are told, is evil and causes the little people to be trampled. Formal studies show that people perceive that profit is negatively associated with social value for specific companies and whole industries (example — that “evil” oil industry). This is probably no surprise, ... [click for more]

The Austrian Economist Who Should Have Received the Nobel Prize

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On October 13th, the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics was announced in Stockholm, Sweden, with French economist, Jean Tirole, the recipient for his work on developing models to better assist governments in regulating private enterprise. A couple of weeks earlier, Reuters news agency had reported that the Austrian School economist, Israel M. Kirzner, was on the short list for ... [click for more]
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