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 ...

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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, ...

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‘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...

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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 ...

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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”; ...

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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 ...

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‘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?

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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.

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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, ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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‘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 ...

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Breakfast Bounty - HumanProgress

Between 1919 and 2019, the time price of breakfast fell by 93 percent. For the same length of time required to earn enough money to buy one breakfast in 1919, you could get 9.54 breakfasts in 2019 – an 854 percent increase in breakfast abundance. If you are interested in how we got those numbers, read on. We started by comparing the nominal prices of 12 breakfast items in 1919 to the nominal prices of the same items in 2019. The items ...

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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 ...

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Rachel Laudan: The Human Progress Podcast Ep. 10 Transcript - HumanProgress

The full interview between Marian Tupy and Rachel Laudan can be found here. The transcript is below. Marian Tupy: Hello, and welcome to a new episode of Human Progress podcast. Recently, I’ve posted a number of articles about the dramatically declining prices of food in the United States over the last 100 years. And a couple of my correspondents complained that food today is less healthy, leads to obesity, and has lower nutritional value ...

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What the New York Times Gets Wrong about Automation

Are robots really coming to steal our jobs?

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I, Meal: The Symphonies of Cooperation on Made in a Day

Recently, my family watched a series on Disney+ called Made in a Day. It’s a steady diet of wonders with episodes explaining Tesla automobiles, rockets, fire trucks, John Deere tractors, Jeep Wranglers, fire trucks, Gibson guitars, Tabasco sauce, Jack Daniel’s, New Balance sneakers, and GateGourmet airplane meals. Every product is a mundane miracle of knowledge, cooperation, and how “civilization advances” according to Alfred North ...

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Most of the People, Most of the Time

Do you consider yourself to be “free market”? If so, what does that mean? Can you be a fan of the free market, but not necessarily its results? Maybe sometimes you feel like arguing for free markets is like choosing the prettiest pig. Perhaps you’ve always been uneasy with the idea of free markets. Do you know why? In this episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomes back Mike Munger to work through these questions. For Munger, the ...

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How Societies Save For an Uncertain Future

Last week I wrote about how money is society’s technology for moving value across time. Without defining it more narrowly (which monetary economists do to their heart’s content), money is the technology by which we arrange the division of labor: I do my thing; you do yours; and we can trade the surplus production with one another. I explained how this fundamental insight of human civilization doesn’t require money – we can trade in ...

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Are Big Companies Ripping Us Off?

About a year ago, a former student of mine complained to me that they were being ripped off by a large Seattle-based coffee company (that shall go nameless to protect the innocent). “What’s the problem?” I asked. The student responded, “Every time I buy a 16 oz iced coffee, I only get about 8 ounces of coffee and the rest is ice. They should be charging me for the smaller size. It’s a rip off!”  “Every time?” I followed ...

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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.