Economics

Economic Fallacies

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In On Liberty John Stuart Mill wrote, “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.” This is an especially important principle for libertarians. We rely on persuasion to win adherents to the freedom philosophy. To persuade, one must use effective techniques of rhetoric. Just as important, one must know what one is arguing ... [click for more]

Government Can’t Stimulate an Economy

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Barack Obama won’t use the “stimulus” label to describe the nearly half-trillion-dollar jobs bill he sent to Congress in September, but that refusal can’t hide the fact that he has no idea how economies recover from recessions. “Stimulus” is a tainted label because his $800 billion bill in 2009 was a failure. Somehow a package about half that size ... [click for more]

Price Discrimination Is Fair and Just

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While on a recent cross-country flight, I looked around at the 200 or so other passengers on the plane and thought, not about the snacks we would be served (pretzels), the movie we would be shown (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), or whether the babies on the flight would cry the whole way (they did), but about ... [click for more]

Opponents of Occupy Wall Street Harm the Cause of Freedom

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After many weeks, Occupy Wall Street and its kindred demonstrations around the country are still a source of headline controversy — even aside from the police manhandling of protesters. And yet the disparate coalition of discontent with contemporary America has not coalesced around a single set of aims. Unfortunately, the loudest voices call for more government management of the ... [click for more]

Visible Projects, Hidden Destruction

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Today’s crop of central planners and big spending politicians could learn a thing or two about economics from Henry Hazlitt’s classic bestseller, Economics in One Lesson, published in 1946. Common sense doesn’t have an expiration date. “There is no more persistent and influential faith in the world today than faith in government spending,” Hazlitt wrote. “Everywhere government spending is presented ... [click for more]

A Real Jobs Bill

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There is a jobs bill being bandied about in the U.S. Senate. As with most government-based plans, it’s political — with warm, fuzzy rhetoric that’s designed more to garner votes at the polls than to accomplish anything truly productive. The rhetoric, as is so often the case, is based on class warfare. Let’s soak the rich, taxing them to create ... [click for more]

Wall Street Couldn’t Have Done It Alone

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The spreading Occupy Wall Street movement, despite a vague worldview and agenda, properly senses that something is dreadfully wrong in America. The protesters vent their anger at the big financial institutions in New York’s money district (as well as other big cities) for the housing and financial bubble, the resulting Great Recession, the virtual nonrecovery, the threat of a ... [click for more]

Game Theory and the Dark Side of Envy

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Von Neumann, Morgenstern, and the Creation of Game Theory by Robert Leonard, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (2010); 390 pages. Economist Oskar Morgenstern is best known as the co-developer, with mathematician John von Neumann, of game theory. Game theory emerged out of curiosities about logic and strategies of games such as chess, where each player must take into consideration the ... [click for more]

Ignorance Is Statist Bliss

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. I was with some friends (in the Delaware Libertarian Party) who were running an Operation Politically Homeless table during Newark Community Day in Delaware recently. An OPH consists of having people take The World’s Smallest Political Quiz, then plotting their position on the Nolan Chart. It’s been years since I manned ... [click for more]

Social Security Is Not a Ponzi Scheme

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It is good to see that the Republican presidential candidates are battling it out over the nature of the Social Security system. It is something that few politicians have been willing to talk about, lest they antagonize the largest class of voters in the country — senior citizens. At the Republican candidate debate at the Reagan Library in ... [click for more]
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