Economics

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]

Bastiat on the Socialization of Wealth

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That … veil which is spread before the eyes of the ordinary man, which even the attentive observer does not always succeed in casting aside, prevents us from seeing the most marvelous of all social phenomena: real wealth constantly passing from the domain of private property into the communal domain. Wealth marvelously passing from the private to the communal domain? ... [click for more]

Ignoring the Difference between Free markets and State Capitalism

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Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (Belknap 2014), 696 pages. The basic phenomenon that Thomas Piketty devotes this book to describing is simple: “When the rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy..., then it logically follows that inherited wealth grows faster than output and income.” His historical account ... [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]

TGIF: The State Is No Friend of the Worker

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The election season is upon us, and we’re hearing the usual political promises about raising wages. Democrats pledge to raise the minimum wage and assure equal pay for equal work for men and women. Republicans usually oppose those things, but their explanations are typically lame. (“The burden on small business would be increased too much.”) Some Republicans endorse raising ... [click for more]
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