Learning about Liberty and Its Loss

I am now in my 70s. No longer a spring chicken but not a dead duck yet either, with, I hope, a few good years left. When I was in my mid 20s, I had the opportunity and good fortune to meet and interact for most of two summers with the noted Austrian economist and Nobel Prize winner Friedrich A. Hayek (1899–1992). He was in his mid 70s at the time, and he seemed ancient to me. Over the summers of 1975 and 1977, I had research fellowships ...

Read More

A Brief Lesson on Manufacturing, Mercantilism and Economic Resilience

Scott Lincicome If you were to listen to certain politicians and pundits, the U.S. economy would be stronger today — more “resilient” — if we manufactured more and imported less. Many of these same folks point to Germany, which has an economy more focused on manufacturing and exports, as a model for a new American industrial policy that would allegedly strengthen the national economy in the face of future economic shocks like ...

Read More

Quotation of the Day…

(Don Boudreaux) Tweet… is from page 11 of the soon-to-be-published 2021 35th anniversary edition of Steven Rhoads’s 1985 book, The Economist’s View of the World: And the Quest for Well-Being: The opportunity cost to society of taking from expanding industries the scarce investment capital needed to modernize declining textile and apparel industries is likely to be so high that the use of antiquated machinery by declining firms is ...

Read More

Three Forces That Threaten Liberalism and How to Counter Them | Discourse


Read More

The “Fortune of the Commons”: Why Are There Still Blueberries in the Fields?

I live in quite a sparsely-populated place, with lots of wilderness and nature. This time of year, we have plenty of late-summer berries in season, and it isn’t uncommon to find stray hikers hunched over bushes eagerly picking blueberries and crowberries. This is what most people, economists included, would expect: Mother Nature provides us with free stuff, stuff that most people highly value, and all you have to do is reach out your hand ...

Read More

“You tell me the rules and I’ll tell you what outcomes to expect.”

We hear a lot about the Chicago and Austrian schools of economics, but what about the UCLA school? In this episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomes EconLog’s David Henderson, who recently co-authored The Essential UCLA School of Economics with Steven Globerman. The theme of the conversation might as well be, as the title above suggests, Armen Alchian‘s famous dictum about understanding the role of incentives in economics and in everyday ...

Read More

The Misuse of Knowledge in Society: Intervention Means Prices are Lying

In his excellent book The Undercover Economist, Tim Harford referred to a competitive market as a “world of truth.” The free market’s invisible hand leads us to produce the right things the right way in the right proportions and for the right people. In other words, competition, which Friedrich Hayek called “a discovery procedure,” leads people to produce the highest-value goods and services. People don’t systematically make too ...

Read More

Corporate Welfare: Where’s the Outrage?

A new documentary, Corporate Welfare: Where’s the Outrage?, tells the personal stories of how people are affected by the tax exemptions, subsidies, government regulations, and bailouts used to help big business. Hosted by Free to Choose Executive Editor and Cato Institute Senior Fellow Johan Norberg and featuring former CEO of BB&T John Allison, the documentary reveals the government’s role in the 2008 financial crash.Please join us for ...

Read More

The Inevitable Failure of Socialism

Among the most important articles ever written in economics is Ludwig von Mises’s 1920 paper “Die Wirtschaftsrechnung im sozialistischen Gemeinwesen” – which is normally translated as “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.” In this paper Mises argued that socialism will not only fail to achieve improved living standards for ordinary people, it will impoverish them. Inevitably. Socialism that is meant to outperform ...

Read More

Opinion | Notable & Quotable: Miraculous Economics

Sept. 16, 2021 6:51 pm ET Fund for American Studies president Roger Ream. Photo: TFAS From remarks by Fund for American Studies president Roger Ream, a recipient of the 2021 Bradley Prize, in Washington, Sept. 13: Taught properly, economics provides a lens to understand the way the world works. It is about how humans interact and make choices, and how an undirected market process unleashes the forces of invention, innovation, ...

Read More

‘Win-win denial’: The roots of zero-sum thinking

One of the basic insights of economics is that trade is mutually beneficial, making both parties better off than they were before. It’s a proposition about human exchange that stretches back to Adam Smith’s foundational treatise, “The Wealth of Nations.” Continue Reading...

Read More

Entrepreneurial Economies

Academic institutions increasingly are recognizing the importance of entrepreneurship to the performance of an economy, and in response, many (including my own institution, Florida State University) have established entrepreneurship programs to give students some skills that can help them succeed as entrepreneurs. I’m supportive of these efforts, but the degree to which individuals in an economy are entrepreneurial is affected more by an ...

Read More

Milton Friedman’s Long-Run Impact

The truth is somewhere between the two extremes. While Milton Friedman has not had as much effect on economic thinking and policy as many of us free market advocates would like, he has nevertheless had a huge impact. On economic thinking, the following of Friedman’s ideas have held up well: that monetary policy is potent; that a contraction in the money supply between 1929 and 1933 helped put the “Great” in “the Great Depression”; ...

Read More

Economics in Three I’s: Incentives, Institutions, and Intentions

Recently, I asked my students to submit questions they had about Principles of Macroeconomics. A lot of students asked, “What’s the major takeaway?” I will be thrilled if students understand three I’s: Incentives, Institutions, and Intentions. Specifically, they should know… Incentives Matter.Institutions Matter.Intentions Don’t Matter. Obviously, I write “Intentions Don’t Matter” with tongue in cheek–I sincerely hope that ...

Read More

‘Paw Patrol’ Might Be the Most Libertarian Kids Movie Ever

Is Paw Patrol the most libertarian movie since Disney rolled out Robin Hood, the 1973 classic that depicted the wonderfully evil Prince John (Peter Ustinov) punitively raising taxes to “squeeze every last drop out of those insolent musical peasants" in Nottingham?

Read More

The Outlook for the Future of Capitalism (Part 10 of 10)

Let the advocates of capitalism proceed in the knowledge not only that socialism is dead, but also that what the world still needs to learn is why capitalism deserves to live.

Read More

Don’t Forget to Celebrate Capital on Labor Day, Too

Editor's note: This article also appeared in El American and The Epoch Times. From Mexico to the south and everywhere in between, Labor Day falls on May 1 each year. In Canada and the United States, it’s always the first Monday of September—which in 2021 means September 6. Over the past century, the holiday’s purpose and meaning have changed somewhat. Early in its history, its advocates used the day to push for better working conditions, ...

Read More

Corporate Welfare: Where’s the Outrage? – A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg - Full Video

Personal stories of the effect of tax exemptions, subsidies, government regulations, and bailouts – all commonly used to help big business – are presented in the new documentary, Corporate Welfare: Where’s the Outrage?. Hosted by Free To Choose Media Executive Editor and Cato Senior Fellow Johan Norberg, the provocative documentary examines America’s system of farm subsidies, Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Big Oil subsidies, government ...

Read More

The Friedmans on Equality of Outcome

The ethical issues [in equality of outcome] involved are subtle and complex. They are not to be resolved by such simplistic formulas as “fair shares for all.” Indeed, if we took that seriously, youngsters with less musical skill should be given the greatest amount of musical training in order to compensate for their inherited disadvantage, and those with greater musical aptitude should be prevented from having access to good musical ...

Read More

‘Space Barons’ & Advantages of a Free Economy - HumanProgress

On July 11, 2021, the British businessman Richard Branson fulfilled his lifelong dream of flying into space. At 8:40 a.m., Branson’s Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity 22 and its mothership Eve took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Having reached an altitude of over 50 miles, which is the U.S. government’s definition of space, and zero gravity, Unity 22 delivered the crew, consisting of Branson and five Virgin Galactic staffers, safely ...

Read More

DAILY EXCHANGE

FAVORITES

Is life today bad? Or is it awesome?  “Economics Made the World Great” shows changes that have taken place in the past three centuries that have made the world better. Can it be better still?

Jon Favreau’s heartwarming 2014 independent film, “Chef”, is a case study in entrepreneurial value creation. Even better, it shows us how we can achieve economic success and personal fulfillment simultaneously, provided that we figure out how to take our passions and turn them towards making other people’s lives better.

Magatte Wade was born in Senegal but spent much of her childhood in France. Growing up, she saw the extreme differences in wealth between Africa and Europe. This disparity sparked a question… Why are some countries rich, and others poor?

How do we summarize the 2010s? Many think it was an awful decade, ten years of horror, unfair distribution and environmental disaster.

It’s a Wonderful Loaf is an ode to the hidden harmony that is all around us–the seeming magical ways that we anticipate and meet the needs of each other without anyone being in charge.