Michael Munger on Desires, Morality, and Self-Interest

Economist and author Michael Munger of Duke University talks about human wants and desires with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Human beings have desires about our desires. Can we change what we want? And how should economists and normal human beings think about doing the right thing, what we often call morality? Is acting morally self-interested behavior or is it possible to act selflessly? (1 COMMENTS)

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There Are Libertarians In A Pandemic, And For Good Reason

Some of the clearest comments I’ve seen on vaccine development and employment have come from the economist John Cochrane of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and formerly of the University of Chicago. Someday, when people compile the definitive documents about the Covid-19 pandemic, I hope his work gets a special place—particularly his post “Free Market Vaccines,” which was later revised and published by National Review (I ...

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Menger’s Many Lessons | The Conservative

Menger’s life and works hold many lessons for us in the twenty-first century...In 1867, the Habsburg Empire was reconstituted, after a defeat against Prussia the year before which meant that Austria gave up her role as leader of the German states. The defeat was a blessing in disguise because now the Habsburgs could turn their attention to necessary internal reforms. They accepted the division of their Empire into two parts, the old domains in ...

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Who Is Really Threatened by Innovation?

Innovation, at least in the economic sense, means creating something new and valuable or making something old in a new and more valuable way. It means making athletic shoes longer-lasting by using polyvinyl chloride instead of natural rubber, or creating a telephone that’s also a camera, an MP3 player, and a handheld computer. Innovation means change that can make waves. But I think most people generally fear change, or at least big ...

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Dolly Parton’s Powerful Message About the American Dream (and What Her Critics Get Wrong)

Everybody loves Dolly Parton. It’s not hard to see why: The country music star is a philanthropic giant with decades of charitable work, including a recent $1 million donation to fund the hugely successful Moderna COVID vaccine. And Parton’s big personality and widespread popularity have never made her egotistical; if anything, her recent decision to decline a statue being made of her at the Tennessee state Capitol offers a masterclass in ...

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Why "Stakeholder Capitalism" Is a Disaster for Entrepreneurs

Listen to the Audio Mises Wire version of this article. During the 1990s there was a legal and philosophical idea, championed by Milton Friedman among others, that a corporation exists to serve the interests of the shareholders, being that they are the rightful owners of the corporation. Progressive thought leaders responded with the countertheory of stakeholder capitalism. Under stakeholder theory the shareholders have a stake in the ...

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Econtalk on virus

About a month ago, Russ Roberts and I had a great conversation about virus, vaccine, and tests for the Econ Talk podcast, and the free market approach. It's out now, here for the podcast, or the below embed  and here video on YouTube. The podcast link already has some excellent comments. 

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Economic Impromptus from the Ordinary Business of Life: A Trip to the Park-AIER

“Political economy or economics is a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life; it examines that part of individual and social action which is most closely connected with the attainment and with the use of the material requisites of wellbeing.” – Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, 1890 A recent move put my family a short walk from Avondale Park. The park has since become a pretty important part of our lives, and joining ...

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If You Are Warm Right Now, Thank Capitalism-AIER

Last night the temperature fell 3 degrees an hour. As I write this, it is negative 10 degrees outside. A “once in a generation” polar vortex has swept into the American Midwest from the Arctic. I am lucky to be alive. It would take me just a couple of hours to die from hypothermia if I were outside in such weather. But I am not just alive, I am comfortable. It is a balmy 73 degrees in my home. I am relaxing by my gas fireplace that gives ...

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Mauricio Miller: Entrepreneurship as the Path Upwards from Anywhere, for Anyone

Entrepreneurship is the best pathway for all people out of unsatisfactory economic circumstances. Mauricio Miller, who arrived in the US as a poor immigrant from Mexico, and who also experienced living in some of America’s worst neighborhoods, spent over 20 years running social services for people growing up and living like he did. His conclusion: social services are the worst policy for such people. It is entrepreneurship that will open up ...

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Why Jeff Bezos’s Consumer Revolution Is a True American Success Story

Jeff Bezos announced earlier this month he'll soon step down as the CEO of Amazon. As he leaves his perch from atop one of only two trillion-dollar companies that have ever existed, it's worth reflecting on his legacy—a consumer revolution that empowered billions of individuals.

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Mauricio Miller: Entrepreneurship as the Path Upwards From Anywhere, For Anyone

Entrepreneurship is the best pathway for all people out of unsatisfactory economic circumstances.Mauricio Miller, who arrived in the US as a poor immigrant from Mexico, and who also experienced living in some of America’s worst neighborhoods, spent over 20 years running social services for people growing up and living like he did. His conclusion: social services are the worst policy for such people. It is entrepreneurship that will open up the ...

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Save the Rhinos!

This was my first video for Stossel TV, and now there's good news! South Africa legalized rhino horn sales shortly after this video first was posted, and since then, rhino poaching FELL. ---- Don't miss the weekly video from Stossel TV. Sign up here: https://johnstossel.activehosted.com/f/1 ---- Poachers massacre rhinos for their horns. Just one can sell for as much as $300,000. Some are carved into ornaments. Some are ground up and sold as ...

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Arthur M. Diamond, Jr.: Openness to creative destruction: sustaining innovative dynamism

Why are some countries rich and others poor? This question has driven economic science since its founding. The answers provided have ranged from deeply philosophical to rigorously technical. But at some point, they all turn on the development of new and better products, or new and better ways to make products, or new and better ways to deliver products. In short, gains from trade must be pursued, and gains from innovation must be captured for ...

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The Market Loves You--And Your Little Dog, Too-AIER

After a bit of cajoling, my wife and I capitulated and allowed our kids to get a dog. Lucy, a black lab mix, is the newest addition to our family and follows in the footsteps of JoJo, the adorable white bunny we got at the end of last summer. Naturally, there were all sorts of things we needed to get started. My wife went to the pet shop to get dishes, a leash, food, and all the other stuff you need. When she got home, I helped her unload ...

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Insight From My Mom On Freedom

There’s certainly something poetic about my existence being the son of two immigrant families that fled authoritarian regimes in Asia. My father’s side came from Taiwan, which at the time was ruled by a Fascist-Leninist military regime known as the Kuomintang. They ruled the island with an iron fist. My mother’s side fled Cambodia, which was ruled by the Communist Khmer Rouge that killed almost a quarter of the population and plunged the ...

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Minimum Wages are Economically (and Ethically) Indefensible

(Don Boudreaux) TweetThis young correspondent is bulldoggish in defending minimum wages. Mr. A___: I’m curious why you’re so attached to the case for the minimum wage. I can understand why labor unions support the minimum wage. (By making the competition artificially costly, it boosts demand for higher-paid unionized workers.) I can understand why well-meaning but economically uninformed people support it. (Failing to understand the ...

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‎Kibbe on Liberty: Ep 109 | America Has Abandoned Reason for Fear | Guest: Donald Boudreaux on Apple Podcasts

Matt Kibbe is joined by economist Donald Boudreaux to try to come to grips with the complete lack of rational risk assessment Americans have displayed with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of responding to the virus proportionally to its risk, we’ve chosen to ignore the existence of tradeoffs and take unprecedented measures to lock down the economy. Even many libertarians, who tend to be skeptical of government power and sensitive to ...

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Exploring Deeply the Economics of Price Controls

There are two different ways for you to acquire your daily bread, beef, and beer. Using the first way, you produce each of these goods yourself directly. You spend part of each day growing wheat and milling it into flour, with other parts of each day devoted to raising and slaughtering cows and distilling hops. But you likely acquire these goods using the second way – a roundabout way. You specialize at producing whatever it is you’re best ...

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Price Controls Make People Work Harder

(Don Boudreaux) TweetIn my most-recent column for AIER – titled “Exploring Deeply the Economics of Price Controls” – I elaborate on an important yet subtle point that I first encountered in F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. A slice: Just as well-meaning supporters of price ceilings are blind to the heavy costs of this policy, well-meaning supporters of minimum-wage legislation are also blind. They mistakenly suppose that the only ...

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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.