Economics

TGIF: Economy or Catallaxy?

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That the champions of the free market have always understood it, first and foremost, as the most basic form of social cooperation is evidenced by a dissatisfaction with the term economy itself. In volume 2 of Law, Legislation, and Liberty, F.A. Hayek claimed that we cannot properly comprehend the market order unless we free ourselves of the misleading ... [click for more]

New Deal Utopianism

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Back to the Land: Arthurdale, FDR’s New Deal, and the Costs of Economic Planning by C.J. Maloney (Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2011), 292 pages. Drive south from Morgantown, West Virginia, and you soon come to the little town of Arthurdale. At the outskirts of town, there is a roadside plaque informing those who stop to read it that Arthurdale was ... [click for more]

The Calling: The Importance of Assuming Self-Interested Politicians

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With the death last week of Nobel laureate economist James Buchanan, the freedom movement has lost one of its most important thinkers. Unfortunately, Buchanan’s work often gets boiled down to the seemingly trivial observation that politicians are self-interested. Put that way, it’s too easy for people to respond, “Everyone knows that!” Although it’s true that the assumption of self-interested politicians ... [click for more]

TGIF: James M. Buchanan and Spontaneous Order

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On Wednesday, Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan of George Mason University died at the age of 93. Best known for his pioneering work in Public Choice — or “politics without romance,” as he described it — and constitutional economics as a way to limit government power, he also made important contributions to subjectivist economics. His ... [click for more]

TGIF: Hayek’s Warning

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A little over 38 years ago F.A. Hayek, then in Stockholm, Sweden, to accept the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (popularly known as the Nobel Prize in economics), said, Economists are at this moment called upon to say how to extricate the free world from the serious threat of accelerating inflation which, ... [click for more]

The Calling: Why “Rent-Seeking”?

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Public Choice theory, especially in the hands of James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, has given libertarians a very effective set of arguments against government intervention. In the face of cries of “market failure,” when real-world imperfect markets quite understandably fall short of the unrealistic model of perfect competition that mainstream economists use to portray free markets, the Public ... [click for more]

TGIF: Intervention Begets Intervention

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Among the many valuable doctrines associated with the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises is his “critique of interventionism.” Originally published in German in 1929, then published in English in 1977, Mises’s book A Critique of Interventionism summed up his position this way: In a private property order isolated intervention fails to achieve what its sponsors ... [click for more]

The Calling: The Private and the Public

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I am thrilled that I am able to bring “The Calling” to a new home here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, and equally happy to have my friend Sheldon Richman once again as its editor. For this first column in its new home, I want to look at another example of one of my favorite concerns for modern ... [click for more]

The Goal Is Freedom: In Praise of Profit

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In the last two weeks, I presented a defense of key libertarian concepts — the market, private property, and competition — in a way intended to make them palatable to people who believe in individual liberty yet have something like an aesthetic aversion to the market economy. (See those articles here and here.) Today let’s examine profit, another ... [click for more]

TGIF: The Virtues of Competition

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When I discussed reasons to esteem the free market last week, I conspicuously left out any reference to competition. That might have seemed strange, but I did it because the subject deserves its own treatment. Differing attitudes about market competition divide people needlessly. An appreciation of what competition makes possible could prepare the ground for a convergence ... [click for more]

The Misplaced Fear of “Monopoly”

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Those of us who get drawn, often against our better judgment, into Internet debates soon discover that the case against the market economy in the popular mind boils down to a few major claims. Here I intend to dissect one of them: under the unhampered market we’d be at the mercy of vicious monopolists. This fear can be attributed in ... [click for more]
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