Economics

Productivity and the Wealth of Nations

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The Power of Productivity by William W. Lewis (University of Chicago Press 2004); 323 pages; $28.00. “Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves,” Benjamin Franklin said. We might, in a similar vein, explain the key message of William Lewis’s book The Power of Productivity by saying, “Watch the ... [click for more]

Economics for the Citizen, Part 3

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 There are four classes of behavior that can be called economic behavior. They are: production, consumption, exchange, and specialization. The discussion of ... [click for more]

What’s Wrong with Public Schools?

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The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Separating School & State: How to Liberate Americas Families (1994) by Sheldon Richman. Its time to admit that pubic education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybodys role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. Its ... [click for more]

Some Civics Lessons for My Son

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My son, Thomas Macaulay Boudreaux, is seven years old. He’s the most precious creature in the world to me. My wife, Karol, and I will never indoctrinate him, but we do and we will teach him as best we can. Here’s a list of some of the lessons that he’ll get from me as he grows into manhood. Even in ... [click for more]

Bureaucracy: A Mises Classic, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 Last month I discussed Ludwig von Mises’s presentation of profit management in his great little book Bureaucracy. He explains in detail how consumers “use” the price and profit-and-loss systems to direct entrepreneurs toward producing the things they want most urgently. (Of course, they don’t self-consciously use these systems; they simply buy and abstain ... [click for more]

Bureaucracy: A Mises Classic, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 Ludwig von Mises, the great expositor of the Austrian school of economics, left an awesome, even intimidating, body of work. Human Action and Socialism are among the most important books written in economic and social theory, yet most people with little spare time will probably not try to tackle them. Mises’s shorter works ... [click for more]

The Myth of the Level Playing Field

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One of the catch phrases of the day is “a level playing field.” Some businessmen are using it to refer to the competitive situation in which they would prefer to be, but allege they are not for some reason. And, not surprisingly, the reason they usually give for not having “a level playing field” is that a competitor has ... [click for more]

Seeing and Not Seeing

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A key element in understanding reality is an accurate representation of reality. And this headline in the November 10 Washington Post — “N. Va. Boom Sparks Economic Recovery” — demonstrates how poorly is the average newspaper editor equipped to accurately describe economic affairs, which may help ... [click for more]

Corporatism and Socialism in America

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Principled advocacy of the free market requires an understanding of the differences between genuine free enterprise and “state capitalism.” Although the Left frequently exaggerates and overemphasizes the evils of corporate America, proponents of the free market often find themselves in the awkward position of defending the status quo of state capitalism, which is in fact a common adversary of ... [click for more]

The Danger of Science

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Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig Lachmann, among other members of the Austrian school of economics, often lamented that the discipline of economics alienated itself from flesh-and-blood existence to the extent it imitated the natural sciences, such as physics. With that in mind, I received the news that Cambridge University economist Partha Sarathi Dasgupta, ... [click for more]
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