Economics

The Economics Lesson Obama Needs to Learn

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President Obama is again turning his attention to the elusive economic recovery. His “pivot” will be for naught, however, as long as he continues to ignore two important points: first, government is a major squanderer of scarce resources, and second, its regulations are impediments to saving and investment. We live in a world of scarcity. At any given time our ... [click for more]

The Calling: Public and Private Risk

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There’s nothing like a good Facebook debate to provide fodder for explaining core ideas in political economy. I recently expressed concern about the risks of a proposal in Oregon to allow students to pay for their education at state schools by having their postgraduation wages garnished by 3 percent for 24 years. In response, a friend asked ... [click for more]

FFF Webinar: Bastiat’s Economic Harmonies (Audio)

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On May 15, 2013, FFF vice president and editor Sheldon Richman hosted a free, interactive online webinar entitled “Bastiat's Economic Harmonies,” which focused on Federic Bastiat's classic Economic Harmonies. The webinar was an interactive experience with Sheldon and the participants.  Download the audio. Subscribe to FFF Podcasts. [click for more]

The Calling: Markets Turn Waste into Want-Satisfaction

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A frequent criticism of markets is that private owners have every incentive to dump the waste byproducts of their production processes into the air, water, or land without concern about the harmful effects. More sophisticated critics understand the idea of negative externalities and love to jump up and down about how they demonstrate the need for government intervention. There ... [click for more]

Collapsing the Tent on the Mercantilist Revival

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Harvard professor Dani Rodrik’s recent mercantilist apology attempts to illustrate the unappreciated benefits of a much-maligned political-economic system: mercantilism. “Today, mercantilism is typically dismissed as an archaic and blatantly erroneous set of ideas about economic policy,” Rodrik acknowledges. Thus his essay provides a defense of this system, which he believes has much to offer over the alternative ... [click for more]

The Calling: The Problem with Political Heroes and Villains

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It’s sometimes hard to tell the coverage of politics from the coverage of sports. People seem to root for political parties as though they were sports teams, cheering Team Red or Team Blue on to victory with the same passion they bring to the Super Bowl. Individual team members are followed with the same intensity as are star players ... [click for more]

The Calling: In Defense of Complex, Global, Fast Living

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In the wealthy Western world, many of the products we buy come from the far reaches of the earth, made by people we don’t know, with inputs about which we are ignorant. The increased number and variety of consumer products give us a range of choices that would boggle the minds of earlier generations. And technology enables us to ... [click for more]

A Century of Economic Servitude

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Americans pay taxes all year round — sales taxes, tolls, investment taxes, user fees, estimated taxes, et cetera. And most of them were paying more on April 15 one way or the other. That’s because at the tax-filing deadline, a slight majority of Americans owed more, according to the annual Capital One Tax and Savings Survey. Some 51 percent of ... [click for more]

TGIF: The Market Is a Beautiful Thing

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Market advocates tend to respect the intellect of their fellow human beings. You can tell by their reliance on philosophical, moral, economic, and historical arguments when trying to persuade others. But what if most people’s aversion to the market isn’t founded in philosophy, morality, economics, or history? What if their objection is aesthetic? More and more I’ve come to think ... [click for more]
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