Free Market

The Free Market versus the Bureaucratic State

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The U.S. presidential election of 2016 may still be well over a year away, but those who dream of sitting at the desk in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. are busy scrambling for campaign supporters, financial contributions, and potential voters in the party primaries that will influence who will run in the general election. As ... [click for more]

Business Is No Business of the State

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Uncle Sam Can’t Count: A History of Failed Government Investments from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy by Burton W. Folsom Jr. and Anita Folsom (Broadside Books, 2014), 239 pages. The day after the 2010 mid-term elections, the federal government quietly announced the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a “green energy” company that had been touted by Barack Obama as a ... [click for more]

The Case for Economic Freedom

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I shall identify my brand of economics as that of economic freedom, and I shall define economic freedom as that set of economic arrangements that would exist in a society in which the government’s only function would be to prevent one man from using force or fraud against another — including within this, of course, the task of national ... [click for more]

Innovation, Patents, and the Industrial Revolution

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The Most Powerful Idea in the World: The Story of Steam, Industry and Invention by William Rosen (University of Chicago Press 2012), 376 pages. This is the story of an important microcosm of the Industrial Revolution: the development of the railroad. Although the story is one of personalities — and the book is engaging and a good read ... [click for more]

How Technology Can Create Political Change

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Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World by Jeffrey Tucker (Liberty.me 2015), Kindle, 130 pages (estimated). Jeffrey Tucker opens with the story of Fereshteh Forough, who set up a chain of clinics in Afghanistan to empower women by teaching them coding, design, and other computer skills that they could market directly on the web. The problem they ... [click for more]

Americans See Big Corruption in Big Business

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A recently released report on the degree of confidence that Americans have in the country’s leading political and economic institutions showed that few of these institutions are held in high regard by the public. The survey was conducted by NORC, a respected research organization at the University of Chicago. It was found that only 11 percent of those asked expressed ... [click for more]

Missing the Point about Flourishing

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Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change Movement by Edmund Phelps (Princeton University Press 2013), 392 pages. Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps evaluates economic systems with a view to how they promote human prosperity, or “flourishing”: engagement, meeting challenges, self-expression, and personal growth.... A person’s flourishing comes from the experience of the new: new situations, new problems, ... [click for more]

The Real Story Remains Untold

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Liberty’s Dawn: A People’s History of the Industrial Revolution by Emma Griffin (Yale University Press 2013), 320 pages). Emma Griffin calls this a “People’s History of the Industrial Revolution,” and uses documentation of much the same kind as E.P. Thompson in The Making of the English Working Class — a work she explicitly frames her work as a ... [click for more]

Nothing to Fear from New Technologies If the Market Is Free

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The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (W.W. Norton & Company 2014), 320 pages. The subject of this book is the “second machine age,” in which “computers and other digital advances are doing for mental power — the ability to use our brains to understand ... [click for more]

I Love Loosies and the People Who Sell Them

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The cops who ganged up on Eric Garner, got him into a chokehold, and mashed his face into the sidewalk didn’t intend to kill him. They intended only to show him who’s boss on the streets of Staten Island — and show him in a way he would never forget. As a Facebook friend of mine put it, instead they ... [click for more]
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