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Today: Fri, September 30 2016  -  Last modified: April, 26 2007
 Economy
05 October 2016
 
 
Free Trade is Fair Trade - Part 2
by Laurence J. Vance
 sub-topic» General

Although this is all true, the linchpin of free trade is actually freedom: the freedom of an entity in one country to buy goods from or sell goods to an entity in another country, for any reason, and without interference from the government. Just as free trade does not depend on trade organizations, trade treaties, trade agreements, an export-import bank, or government oversight, so free trade is not beholden to comparative advantage — or efficiency, factor endowments, technological competencies, or labor productivity. Free trade does not depend on a certain set of conditions that must first be met. And free trade is not beholden to the economic philosophies of some dead economist.

 more» 
04 October 2016
 
 
Free Trade is Fair Trade - Part 1
by Laurence J. Vance
 sub-topic» General

That is all well and good. There is certainly nothing wrong with going to third-world countries and trying to institute health and safety standards, improve living and working conditions, advance labor rights, and change farming and environmental practices. And there is certainly nothing right about forced labor and worker oppression. But that doesn’t mean that free trade is exploitive. It doesn’t mean that Americans who choose not to pay higher prices for “fair trade certified” products should be shamed for not doing so. And it doesn’t mean that foreign “sweatshops” and “child labor” are inherently evil. The terrible truth is that jobs in sweatshops may enable people, including children, in poorer countries to feed and clothe themselves. To limit imports from those countries or shame people into not buying the products they produce or the crops they harvest may actually hurt the very people that the trade restrictions are meant to help.

 more» 
02 October 2016
 
 
This is Not Capitalism, This is Economics
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

Whatever our economic system we become richer by increasing the efficiency with which we allocate those scarce resources. All economic systems therefore, at least those that make us richer which seems to be rather the point of the exercise, aim to destroy jobs for that is increasing the efficiency with which we use human labour, one of those scarce resources.

The only point at which capitalism enters the picture is that this mixture of that capitalism plus free markets is the most efficient system devised as yet to reach that desired goal. Of us all being able to consume more, sate more needs and desires, while employing less human labour to get there.

 more» 
01 October 2016
 
 
The Great Blessings of Cash
by Fred Foldvary
 sub-topic» General

It is bad enough now that savers, especially retired folks, are getting close to a zero return on their retirement savings. Negative returns on, say, large certificates of deposit would further ruin those who depend on income from savings. Again, the artificial device of pushing the nominal rate of interest below zero is an attempt to treat the symptoms rather than cure the causes.

 more» 
19 September 2016
 
 
A first stab at explaining the surging money supply
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

Think of the equation MV = PQ. Money times the velocity of circulation equals prices times quantity demanded. One way to think of monetary policy is that to try to gee up the economy we try to increase V - we do this by lowering the interest rate. Thus, hopefully, Q increases. Similarly, if P is rising, that is we've got inflation, raise interest rates so as to reduce V and thus stop the rise in P.

Again, please note that proper monetary economists will have conniption fits at this explanation. We're really trying perhaps too hard to make it simple.

 more» 
17 September 2016
 
 
How Much Would Be Lost If Uber Simply Went Away?
by Tyler Cowen
 sub-topic» General

Going beyond the work of the authors of this study, it is possible to try to tease out a better estimate the future of Uber. Do these consumer gains mean that Uber will convince local governments to let it operate without major hindrance? Or will that consumer surplus attract more market entrants into ride-sharing, possibly even Google, thereby eroding Uber’s current dominance?

The real lesson here is an old one, namely that the fight between progress and protection never goes away. Progress is painful to some precisely because it is a big step forward for all the others.

 more» 
11 September 2016
 
 
It’s wonderful how this profit motive thing works, isn’t it?
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

We see the same facts and consider them rather differently. In pursuit of filthy lucre, of gelt, a profit hungry organisation is now providing free, even if to a limited version of it, access to the internet to the poor (or perhaps will be when they can manage to loft a satellite). In the absence of this profit hungry company, motivated by absolutely no more that the desire to stack the cash ever higher in the vault, there would be no such internet access for the poor, limited or not.

At which point Hurrah! for greed and the profit motive say we. And it puzzles us deeply that people will fret over the motivation and not look instead at the actual result.

 more» 
14 August 2016
 
 
Almost All Imports are Inputs
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» General

It follows that when, say, textile producers in South Carolina collude with Uncle Sam to inflict a special tax on Americans who buy imported bed linen, that tariff most directly raises the cost to American producers – in this example, Wal-Mart and other consumer-goods retailers – of producing their final output (“shopping convenience”). Such a tariff is no less one that artificially raises the price of an input used by American producers than is a tariff on steel one that artificially raises the price of a input used by other American producers (such as General Motors and Ford).

 more» 
11 August 2016
 
 
Brexit Post-Mortem
by Alasdair MacLeod
 sub-topic» General

We cannot know what the future holds, particularly when governments attempt to micro-manage their citizens’ economic activities. There is no evidence that compels us to argue that a British government and the Bank of England are much better than any other Western government and central bank. Nor can we assume that an escape from the EU is an escape from their group-think.

We do know with reasonable certainty, on the balance of firm evidence, that if the British or European economies tank, it will have nothing to do with Brexit.

 more» 
01 August 2016
 
 
Britain's Minimum Wage Short-Changes Young Workers
by Chris Shaw
 sub-topic» General

The destructive consequences of the UK's minimum wage are there for the world to see. Only a political class as stupid and stultified as that in Westminster could seriously ignore it for as long as they have. From major youth unemployment and underemployment, to the creation of extremely unfree, non-flexible labour markets, the young people of the UK have been disadvantaged by short-term political strategies with long-term consequences.

 more» 
06 July 2016
 
 
That Brexit induced stock market disaster in full
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

But it is only ever so slightly that cheap shot. Because of course the same effect applies to the whole economy. Everything British is now some few percentage points cheaper than it was. Yes, modern trade is complex and all that but economics really does happen at the margin. There will be some increase in what foreigners buy from us, some boost to the domestic production of things for domestic consumption. A stimulus to the economy that is.

 more» 
05 July 2016
 
 
An Economy is Not a Business
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» General

Trump, like many a business person, judges an economy as he judges his business: he asks ‘By how much are our production and sales expanding relative to our purchases?’ This question is the wrong one to ask about an economy, whose performance should be judged only by how much ordinary people’s ability to consume improves over time (rather than by how much the economy’s sales grow relative to its purchases). So when Trump sees Americans buy imports, he sees money flow out of what he mistakenly imagines to be America, Inc. Thinking of the American economy as being one gargantuan business, Trump mistakenly sees imports as costs that drain this ‘business’ of resources rather than as goods and services made possible because the economy is successfully fulfilling its ultimate purpose – namely, to improve people’s standard of living by giving them ever-greater access to goods and services for consumption.

 more» 
10 June 2016
 
 
My Son and I Are Inspired by McDonald’s to Discuss Economics
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» General

Then, simultaneously, it struck both Thomas and me that leftists – by applauding and praising only firms that are currently in decline while despising and criticizing firms that are currently at their peak – applaud and praise only firms that use resources inefficiently (which is what accounts for these firms’ current decline) and despise and criticize only firms that use resources efficiently (which is what accounts for these firms’ current success).

To criticize the success of private firms in competitive markets is to display a failure to understand that these firms’ high profits reflect their unusual success at improving the lives of countless input suppliers (including workers) and consumers. And to seek to use government force to prevent the demise of firms being driven into bankruptcy by market forces is to seek to use government force to enable such firms to continue to use resources inefficiently – that is, to use resources in ways that worsen the lives of many input suppliers (including workers) and consumers.

 more» 
13 May 2016
 
 
Free Trade is Easier Outside of the European Union
by Ryan Fiske
 sub-topic» General

Whatever happens, European trade will continue as it is not governments that do business, but people and consumers. It will not suddenly become uneconomical for Germany to buy our medical products and for us to buy their cars. Trade between Britain and Europe will continue to flourish. It is our trade with the rest of the world which needs work – and it is there where the EU completely fails us.

 more» 
30 April 2016
 
 
Something of a blow to Piketty’s thesis
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

The more research that gets done into the details of Thomas Piketty's thesis (essentially, wealth concentration will leave us all as serfs again) the more there seem to be great gaping holes in it. For example, a central piece of the logic is that wealth will pile up, this will be inherited, and that wealth inequality will thus get worse over the generations. We're not convinced that such a bourgeois world would be a bad one but that thesis does depend upon the idea that inheritance concentrates wealth.

 more» 
05 March 2016
 
 
Negative Rates, Negative Outcomes
by Sean Corrigan
 sub-topic» General

There has been much head-scratching of late as to why, with interest rates lower than they have been since the Universe first exploded out of the Void, businesses are not undertaking any where near as much investment as that hoped for beforehand by the academic cabal whose ‘effective demand’ and ‘transmission channel’ fixations have helped drive rates to today’s mind-boggling levels.

 more» 
27 January 2016
 
 
Liberty and Money, Money and Liberty (A Rant)
by Nathan Barton
 sub-topic» General

Money IS A TOOL: like ANY tool, it can be used for evil or for good. The same knife or scapel that can be used to perform life-saving surgery can take away life with a single stroke. The same drug that can prevent death can cause it. The same pistol that can save a woman from rape or a child from being murdered can be used to snuff out an innocent life. The same rock can be used to build a house or bash out someone’s brains. And the same money can pay a nurse or a jack-booted thug, a demagogue or a real teacher.

 more» 
15 January 2016
 
 
Traditionalism and Free Trade: An Exercise in Libertarian Outreach
by Sean Gabb
 sub-topic» General

In the world as it is, the British working classes have been smashed not by free trade, but by systematic state interventions so longstanding that we are liable to take them as inevitable. The answer is not to call for the State to make up sliding scale tariffs or to set quotas on South Korean washing machines. Rather, it is for the initial interventions to be swept away. Two centuries of the world as it is cannot be undone at once. But we can hope that a root and branch attack on the enabler of that world will allow something more natural to take its place.

I have said that there are differences between libertarians and traditionalists over what constitutes the substance of the good society. Rightly considered, I increasingly wonder where the real differences need to be about the form of that society, and over how to get there.

 more» 
09 January 2016
 
 
No Seller Has a Right to a Buyer’s Income
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» General

Your faulty premise is that workers have a property right in continuing to be paid their current incomes. But because human labor is just one of countless goods and services that people in search of economic gain routinely sell to, and buy from, each other, your premise implies that any seller of any good or service has a property right in whatever income he or she currently earns. It follows from your premise, therefore, that no buyer has a right to unilaterally reduce the amounts that she spends on any of the goods and services that she currently buys. The reason is that if she reduces her expenditures on, say, beef in order to spend more on fish or on fowl, the incomes earned by ranchers – and by ranchers’ employees – necessarily fall.

 more» 
08 December 2015
 
 
Freedom Makes Bigots Pay
by Howard Baetjer Jr.
 sub-topic» General

Of course, some prejudiced employers who run their companies well could stay in business on the strength of other capabilities, but their profits would be lower. That’s one of many great things about freedom, isn’t it? It makes the bigots pay.

 more» 
06 December 2015
 
 
The truth about GDP
by Alasdair MacLeod
 sub-topic» General

The following is what happens when new money or bank credit enters the economy. The banks create money out of thin air and lend it to a favored customer. The customer spends it before prices adjust, reaping the full benefit of prices that do not take the creation of the new money into account. Only then will the prices of goods bought with this new money reflect the extra demand that has materialized seemingly out of thin air, and this price effect subsequently spreads, always one step behind the new money being spent. The large majority of consumers will find prices have already risen against them, without any compensation in their income, or if they are retired, the value of their pensions and savings. So the end result is wealth has been transferred from the weakest in society up the line incrementally to the first receivers of the new money.

 more» 
29 September 2015
 
 
What’s With Income Inequality?
by Fernando Teson
 sub-topic» General

In my view, income-equality peddlers have one chief motivation: to avoid conceding that Rawlsian normative commitments require them to support markets. This is just a conjecture, but I have some evidence for it: I have yet to find one Rawlsian liberal who abandoned her prior hostility to markets and accepted, in the light of the massive empirical evidence, that she is required to support capitalism. Her move is instead to change tacks and suddenly declare that reducing income inequality, and not alleviating poverty, is the new ethical goal. You be the judge.

 more» 
15 September 2015
 
 
Occupational Licensing is a Scam
by David S. D'Amato
 sub-topic» General

Libertarians believe that an individual’s right to select her occupation, to earn a living in the manner of her choosing, is a fundamental one, entitled to the most exacting standard of legal protection. Under current constitutional jurisprudence, however, these basic economic rights are afforded so little protection that governments can restrict them practically without limit. Refusing to consider underlying motives or the context provided by empirical data, courts ask only whether occupational licensing rules are rationally related to a legitimate government interest. Countless judicial decisions have given meaning to this rather opaque legal terminology, the results proving that judicial review of occupational licensure programs is in fact a hollow, perfunctory gesture. While constitutional law may not currently require any narrow tailoring of licensing rules, the White House report states that for these rules to accomplish their stated health and safety goals, they must be “narrowly tied to the specific public health and safety concerns of the work.”

 more» 
14 August 2015
 
 
In Greece, Reliance on Public Funds Is the Central Problem
by Justin Murray
 sub-topic» General

The numbers imply that 67 percent of the population of Greece is wholly reliant on the Greek government to provide their incomes. With such a commanding supermajority, changing this system with the democratic process is impossible as the 67 percent have strong incentives to continue to vote for the other 33 percent — and also foreign entities — to cover their living expenses.

 more» 
09 August 2015
 
 
The sharing economy creates growth, so let it!
by Elias Garcia
 sub-topic» General

Companies like Uber were unheard of prior to the Great Recession, but they have made a substantial economic splash since appearing. As a result of using technology to connect sellers to buyers, the sharing economy has created companies such as Uber that provide services like transportation at much lower prices.

 more» 
03 August 2015
 
 
Coercion is Bad Economics
by Chris Edwards
 sub-topic» General

In sum, coercion imposes deadweight losses and creates winners and losers, which is the polar opposite of the win-win exchanges in markets. Politicians may hope that their interventions create more winners than losers, but that is wishful thinking because their decisions are based on no more than guesswork.

 more» 
23 July 2015
 
 
Personal Teaching Breaks Through Nationally
by Nat Hentoff
 sub-topic» General

Defending the Early Years argues that “the CCSS for young children were developed by mapping backwards from what is required at high school graduation to the early years. This has led to standards that list discrete skills, facts and knowledge that do not match how young children develop, think or learn (and) require young children to learn facts and skills for which they are not ready.”

The standards, in short, “devalue the whole child and the importance of social-emotional development.”

 more» 
17 July 2015
 
 
Greece’s Biggest Problem is its Anti-Capitalist Culture
by Russell Lamberti
 sub-topic» General

But really the lesson is clear. An economic crisis can jolt a fundamentally pro-capitalist (or mostly pro-capitalist) nation that had lost its way back onto the straight and narrow. But there is no guarantee of recovery when the culture has descended into infantile anti-capitalism, dysfunctional statism, and an antagonism toward entrepreneurial dynamism and self-reliance. For these a crisis may not herald recovery but instead a longer, deeper national decline. Only a culture shift resulting from the spread of sound ideas can make Greece (and other countries) a fertile ground to accept real solutions. The need to spread the good news of liberty and free markets is clearly as urgent as ever.

 more» 
16 July 2015
 
 
We need to get this right about what the Millennium Development Goals have achieved
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

What did work last time is that the rich world finally started buying things made by poor people in poor countries. Thus we should do more of this: more globalisation in short. And given that the bureaucrats, the UN, and their targets had almost nothing to do with it all the best thing we should set them as targets is that they should shut up, go home, and let the rest of us get on with making our fellow humans richer.

As we have been and as we’ll all continue to do as long as no one interferes.

 more» 
10 June 2015
 
 
Is Global Wealth Inequality Unjust?
by Jonathan Anomaly
 sub-topic» General

Not surprisingly for economists, the main explanation for the Great Divergence is trade, fostered in part by favorable cultural and political institutions. This may seem obvious to those who understand that trade is a positive sum game, and that there are exponential gains from trade as markets expand and the division of labor becomes more fine-grained. The problem is that most philosophers who write about global poverty are convinced otherwise. They think that people in wealthy countries are in some sense responsible for poverty in less developed countries, and that we therefore have an obligation to do something about it.

So, who’s right? Moller thinks that if citizens in wealthy countries did not cause poverty among citizens in other countries, we are not violating any obvious moral duties by failing to offer aid.

 more» 
23 May 2015
 
 
The 100th Man
by Olumayowa Okediran
 sub-topic» General

"The 100th Man" tells the story of an African village that is burdened by a two-hour uphill walk to fetch water from the nearest river each day. That is, until one entrepreneurial tribesman has the idea to divert part of the river into a small stream flowing downhill to the village. An economy quickly emerges, but it is not without its challenges. I don't want to spoil the ending for you, so I'll stop there.

 more» 
29 April 2015
 
 
The Benevolent State Fantasy
by David S. D'Amato
 sub-topic» General

Free marketers and state socialists end up talking past each other because we simply cannot agree on the terms of the debate, on the basic historical and theoretical assumptions that we take into the conversation. They don’t believe our claim that true free markets (which they correctly complain have never existed) would yield equitable results for the poor and underprivileged, and we don’t believe theirs that the state can be remade into a quasi-charity serving the greater good. They see the state as “the things we do together,” a means of social cooperation and community, while we think such a description much more accurately describes market relationships.

 more» 
09 February 2015
 
 
The Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom
by David R. Henderson
 sub-topic» General

8. Creating jobs is not the same as creating wealth.

 more» 
06 February 2015
 
 
The Circular Flow of Nonsense
by Keir Martland
 sub-topic» General

So, the circular flow of income is, I think, a very pretty diagram which does a good job of illustrating just how a domestic economy works. If the diagram were in black and white and if the terms leakage and injection were kept away from it, then that would be one way of improving it. Only by avoiding the Keynesian colouring of the circular flow of income can we avoid the palpable falsehoods that follow from it.

 more» 
29 January 2015
 
 
The Cashless Economy: Are We Sacrificing Privacy for Convenience?
by Gemma Hunt
 sub-topic» General

In effect, the drive towards a cashless economy is forcing you to provide the kind of information about the way you spend as loyalty schemes have been collecting for years. This information is an incredibly valuable commodity. It has the potential to be used by retailers to target you with personalised advertising messages, and it could even be sold on to other companies. Even if your data is being used alongside your personal information, or you are able to opt out of these kinds of schemes, your data might still be harvested anonymously for market research purposes. If we accept a cashless economy, we may effectively be agreeing to join a huge loyalty scheme. We might get convenience rather than points for participating, but the effect is the same. We share everything we do with the companies that want to sell to us.

 more» 
25 January 2015
 
 
How to destroy crony capitalism
by Richard Wellings
 sub-topic» General

Tackling the cronies will not be easy, but identifying some of the most egregious special interests provides a useful starting point. A combination of honest, free-market money and deregulation would destroy the privileges of the financial sector. Dramatically shrinking public spending would undermine the government contractors. Scrapping patents would subvert that insidious form of protectionism. Planning liberalisation would reduce the advantages of crony-capitalist property developers. And land restitution (which raises many difficult issues) might start to address the widespread government-corporate theft of individual and communal property. Finally, abolishing occupational licensing would bring much-needed competition to state-protected professions.

 more» 
14 December 2014
 
 
The Pensions Scandal
by Godfrey Bloom
 sub-topic» General

Fractional reserve banking, money printing, government deficits, nothing new. But in the last 5 years the UK national debt has doubled. The conservative coalition has printed £350 billion. A figure too great for the human mind to conceive. How can any fund manager possibly run a pension fund on this basis? What should a yield be to protect a pension scheme which has a vesting date 20 years hence? Even if one accepts inflation at the absurd official rate of circa 2 percent grade A paper will barely wash its face. But we know that pensioners do not buy much in the way of white goods or technology products the areas where inflation has been subdued. Pensioners face significant inflation in real costs, fuel, heating, travel and food. The real inflation here is nearer 4.5 percent. This means over 20 years the saver must lose money. There is nothing his investment manager can do for him.

 more» 
13 December 2014
 
 
Is privatisation to blame for high rail fares?
by Richard Wellings
 sub-topic» General

Clearly there are strong grounds for criticising the privatisation model imposed on the rail industry. The productivity gains associated with private enterprise were largely suffocated by heavy-handed regulation; a complex and fragmented structure pushed up costs; and huge sums have been wasted on uneconomic projects. In this context, it is unsurprising that fares have not fallen. However, it is also the case that these problems are symptoms of government intervention rather than the result of privatisation per se. Indeed they would not have occurred had the railways been privatised on a fully commercial basis under a ‘light-touch’ regulatory framework which allowed the organisation of the industry to evolve according to market conditions.

 more» 
07 December 2014
 
 
Open Letter to Merrill Matthews on Minimum-Wage Legislation
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» General

In short, minimum-wage legislation enriches more-advantaged workers by rendering the least-advantaged workers unemployable. Such redistribution is not only unjust; it is downright cruel – and made all the more so by the fact that not one in a thousand of its victims understands the true cause of his or her plight.

 more» 
03 November 2014
 
 
To Paul Krugman: Thou Art the Man
by Kevin Carson
 sub-topic» General

The Robber Barons are with us just as much as ever, their power depends entirely on the capitalist state, and “progressives” like Paul Krugman — wittingly or unwittingly — are their shills.

 more» 
26 October 2014
 
 
Do We Need a Lender of Last Resort?
by Nicolás Cachanosky
 sub-topic» General

It is not, then, that banks don’t have access to lenders absent a central bank. The issue is whether the “lender of last resort” should extend credit to banks under any circumstances or only to banks that are illiquid but solvent. If the central bank, as a lender of last resort, is just going to mimic the market, what’s the point of having one? And if the central bank is not going to behave like the market, namely, easily extend credit to insolvent banks, then it does not only add moral hazard problems to the banking market, but it also fails to add efficiency to the market. A financial market with insolvent banks that are able to subsist thanks to the lender of last resort is less efficient and stable than a market where insolvent banks need to become solvent or discontinue business (like in any other market).

 more» 
17 October 2014
 
 
Outsourcing Makes Us Richer
by Robert P. Murphy
 sub-topic» General

The logic of free trade is irresistible once a person takes the first step on its path. By effectively paying foreign workers with US dollars when they send us TVs, clothes, and other goods, we give them the purchasing power to buy American exports such as wheat and aircraft components. The opposite holds as well: If American consumers reduce their purchases of foreign-made TVs and other goods, then those foreigners will cut back on their purchases of American wheat and so forth. Ultimately, the video’s suggestion to “buy American” won’t create more American jobs in total, but instead will merely rearrange employment among sectors, making Americans poorer in the process.

 more» 
03 October 2014
 
 
Very Dry Water, Hard-Frozen Fire, and the Ostentatiously Invisible Rich
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» General

In his New York Times blog on Wednesday - in a post entitled “Having It and Flaunting It” – Paul Krugman complained that America’s rich are obsessed with exhibiting their wealth in the form of “ostentatious” consumption. Indeed, Mr. Krugman asserted that “for many of the rich flaunting is what it’s all about…. [I]t’s largely about display.” And this display, Mr. Krugman alleged, “imposes negative externalities on the rest of the population.”

A mere five days later, in his New York Times column today - a column entitled “Our Invisible Rich” – Mr. Krugman gripes that the reason more Americans aren’t infuriated by today’s great income inequality is that “the truly rich are so removed from ordinary people’s lives that we never see what they have.”

 more» 
22 September 2014
 
 
Top-Rated Economies of the World Are Not By Coincidence
by Lawson Bader
 sub-topic» General

But perhaps most impressive is Hong Kong’s growth—not in people or buildings, but in actual land surface. In 1987 I walked along the Kowloon Peninsula Hotel’s harbor promenade. Since then, the city has reclaimed from the water nearly three city blocks in its desire to grow. Now, the Peninsula, while still a grand property, has only an urban promenade out its front door. On most economic freedom indexes, Hong Kong is king—among the top-rated economies in the world for the past 20 years. And it’s no wonder. Creative destruction, not whimsical history, is its modus operandi.

 more» 
14 September 2014
 
 
The Root of Inequality: The Free Market or the State?
by David S. D'Amato
 sub-topic» General

Market anarchism is a form of decentralism, a libertarian socialism that sees voluntary exchange and cooperation as solutions to the widespread inequality we struggle with today. Politicians and CEOs rather like the system we have in the United States; they depend on it, and it depends on them. The rest of us, quite unlike political and economic elites, don’t mind working for a living, aren’t asking for special legal privileges, and just want to be left free to undertake our own projects and pursue our own goals. That kind of free market offers an exit from present day inequalities, not an encouragement to them.

 more» 
24 July 2014
 
 
The Great Salt Solution
by Norman Imberman
 sub-topic» General

Today we are witnessing the devastating effects of the thousands and thousands of price controls, wage controls, rent controls and other regulations that have passed into law over the past 120 or more years, starting perhaps with the first anti-trust laws. The majority of citizens know nothing about the retrogressive domino effects of price controls and other regulations, so they constantly call for further controls whenever they are dissatisfied with anything. The government representatives, whether or not they are familiar with these retrogressive domino effects, don’t care, since their goal is to be re-elected, not to serve justice.

Let’s serve economic stability, justice, peace and harmony by calling for the repeal of all of the governmental controls in our lives. Better yet, let’s peacefully eliminate the State.

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22 June 2014
 
 
It doesn't seem to be true that inequality damages the economy
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

Which leads us to two observations: the first being that we don't actually have any evidence that inequality harms the growth prospects of the economy. The second is that even if it does whether reducing that inequality will reduce the performance of the economy depends upon precisely how we reduce the inequality. We might try price controls, rationing, import substitution, nationalisation, the Venezuelan route, or we might try a properly free market economy with a high VAT to give us the money to redistribute, the Swedish way. That latter works, in that the country is more equal (if that's something you want to worry about and we don't) and also remains competitive. The former doesn't work in either sense: but sadly if we look around UK politics we see those concerned with inequality arguing for those Venezuelan policies rather than those Swedish ones.

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15 June 2014
 
 
The Libertarian and Catholic Social Teachings
by David S. D'Amato
 sub-topic» General

Free markets don’t have to mean the particular incarnation of corporate world dominance we see all around us today. For an entire tradition, an individualist anarchism that once blossomed in the United States, free markets meant simply voluntary exchange between sovereign individuals with equal rights and liberties. If consistently adhered to, such a system would, these anarchists argued, distribute wealth and property more evenly and equitably, effectively ending the exploitation of the working poor.

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11 June 2014
 
 
It's Not the Technology That Causes "Technological Unemployment"
by Kevin Carson
 sub-topic» General

The phenomenon of capital cheapening relative to labor should raise an obvious question, but of course it does not because we have been conditioned to think of work as something we are given by the owning and employing classes in the form of “jobs” rather than something we do.

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27 May 2014
 
 
A Champion of Economic Freedom
by Michael D. Tanner
 sub-topic» General

Balcerowicz himself has contrasted the experiences of what he refers to as the BELLs (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) with that of the troubled PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain). The BELLs took immediate steps in response to the recession, significantly cutting spending in an attempt to get debt and deficits under control. The PIIGS muddled through with tax increases, some spending cuts spread over a number of years, and stimulus in some cases. While the BELLs all saw an initial contraction, they recovered quickly, and their economies have emerged stronger than those of most other countries in the region.

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25 May 2014
 
 
Minimum wages cost jobs
by Eamonn Butler
 sub-topic» General

A minimum wage raises the cost of employing people. That is its whole purpose. But higher wage costs mean that employers – already under financial pressure from domestic and foreign competition, from everyday business costs, and from the costs of government regulation and taxation – have only two options. They can either hire fewer people, or toughen working conditions – cutting holidays, providing fewer breaks, spending less on the work environment.

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04 May 2014
 
 
How do we solve unemployment?
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

It appears that the correct method to reduce unemployment is to reduce unemployment benefits, increase in work benefits, abolish the minimum wage and insist that those unemployed take a job, any job, at any price.

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28 April 2014
 
 
The Sad State of the Economics Profession
by Frank Hollenbeck
 sub-topic» General

Most economists today, however, have sold themselves to the enemy. They work for government agencies such as the IMF, OECD, World Bank, central banks, or academic institutions where their research is heavily subsidized by government agencies. To succeed they have to “toe the line.” You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

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15 April 2014
 
 
Just Money
by Samuel Gregg
 sub-topic» General

In this context, it should be mentioned that one need not be a conspiracy theorist or Occupy Wall Street activist to worry about the revolving door that exists between some sectors of the financial industry and senior positions in central banks and government finance departments. Of course, it’s hardly surprising that people with significant private-sector financial expertise will be recruited for public service in the world’s treasuries or central banks, and vice versa. Nor should we simply assume impropriety. That would be unfair. Nevertheless, the very real potential for crony capitalist trends to develop in the conduct of monetary policy shouldn’t be underestimated, and crony capitalism is, by definition, unjust and corrupting.

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13 April 2014
 
 
Just MY opinion on the ethical re-selling of rubber stamps
by Julie Pialet
 sub-topic» General

If you are a SELLER of unmounted rubber stamps, you should always give proper manufacturer credit when you know it. It is what is right and fair. It is what we ask for when we sell a huge grab bag of unmounted rubber stamps at a price low enough to allow the buyer to re-sell many of them. We specifically ask in those auctions that if they will be resold, they should be sold as "My Heart Stamps For You" rubber stamps. That is really all we can do...ASK, and then hope that sellers will be ethical enough to sell them with our name attached. Those who do, we thank you. Those who know the stamp company, but choose to market them as "unknown" for whatever reason, shame on you.

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17 March 2014
 
 
Why the Founding Fathers Made Their Own Money
by Paul Rosenberg
 sub-topic» General

The primary reason that rebels create their own currency is that monetary control is far more of a force than people realize. Baron Rothschild was not being overly flamboyant when he said, “Give me control over a nation’s money supply, and I care not who makes its laws.” Being able to manipulate a money supply is a fantastic power, affecting every part of an economy. If you know in advance that the money supply will go up (diluting its value) or contract (concentrating its value), you immediately gain a massive advantage over everyone else – and you can target this advantage to help or hurt almost any group you choose.

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15 February 2014
 
 
Digging Out
by Richard W. Fulmer
 sub-topic» General

Congress and the president must stop the spending that is soaking up goods, services, and labor, and crowding out both consumers and producers; stop the high taxes that are discouraging capital formation; stop trying to pick corporate winners and losers; stop bailing out financial institutions; stop the regulatory machine that is destroying innovation and misdirecting labor and resources; and, most of all, stop manipulating the nation’s currency.

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01 February 2014
 
 
What's Wrong with Income Inequality?
by Jacob G. Hornberger
 sub-topic» General

The real issue is the manner in which people earn their money, not the fact that some have more while others have less. In the type of economic system in which we live — a welfare-warfare state and a regulated society — many people earn their money and get wealthy in morally illegitimate ways, e.g., through political plunder and political privilege. If people are getting wealthy that way, that’s something we should object to. But that’s a different issue from income inequality.

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29 January 2014
 
 
Five Libertarian Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For - Part 3
by Kevin Carson
 sub-topic» General

So any agenda of gradually scaling down government should take this context into account. The first things to go should be welfare for the rich and big business, and the last should be welfare for ordinary people. If we start by eliminating all the forms of artificial property, artificial scarcity, subsidies and entry barriers that concentrate wealth in a few hands, and let free competition destroy enormous concentrations of wealth and redistribute it downward, we might not even notice whether welfare, minimum wages or food stamps still exist because they would be used by so few people as to be a moot point.

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27 January 2014
 
 
Five Libertarian Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For - Part 2
by Kevin Carson
 sub-topic» General

The mines of South Africa should go to the workers, they whose labor (and that of their ancestors) developed them, sometimes with slave labor. The haciendas of Latin America should go to the landless peasants. Every piece of land in the world held by a parasite with a title of nobility should become the property, free and clear, of those now living and working it. Every acre of America which is currently held out of use by an absentee title should be regarded as unowned.

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25 January 2014
 
 
Five Libertarian Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For - Part 1
by Kevin Carson
 sub-topic» General

The effect of the credit monopoly in the existing capitalist economy is to make capital artificially scarce and expensive to labor, so the capital-owning class is able to control access to opportunities for work and charge a monopoly price for it. As a result the number of employment opportunities is artificially scarce compared to the number of workers, so that workers are competing for jobs rather than the reverse; since the employer has a superior ability to walk away from the table, workers must accept work on the bosses’ terms rather than vice versa.

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22 January 2014
 
 
In Defense of Inequality
by John Goodman
 sub-topic» General

Let’s take expatriation. After John Templeton renounced his citizenship and moved to Nassau (where there is no income tax), the federal government imposed penalties — to discourage other wealthy people from doing the same thing. That was because the government wants to tax them. But when a wealthy person expatriates, the distribution of income and wealth becomes more equal. Should we reverse course and encourage the John Templetons of this world to get out of town? If equality is a serious goal, we should at least relax the penalties.

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20 January 2014
 
 
Who is Really Threatened by Innovation?
by Sandy Ikeda
 sub-topic» General

Another excellent economic historian, Daron Acemoglu, explains how historically people who wielded political power have feared innovation and have done all they could to stamp it out. The same holds true today. Radical, unpredictable change that comes with innovation—what Joseph Schumpeter called “creative destruction”—threatens the tight control essential to keeping political power. The state hates what it can’t control, and it can’t control innovation. When government officials talk about reimagining society or harnessing human energies or regulating unbridled capitalism, what they want is to bring pesky innovators and independent thinkers under their thumb. That is not “innovative governance.” It is the death of innovation.

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10 January 2014
 
 
The effect of rising consumerism
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

We only ever moved out of the caves because someone thought that house sharing with a hungry bear was unsatisfactory, only ever invented the car because of the rising tide of horse dung, it's the very things that we find unsatisfactory currently that drives the vast wave of innovation that has been sweeping us along these past few centuries.

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29 December 2013
 
 
Questions About and For Those People Obsessed with Income Inequality
by Don Boudreaux
 sub-topic» General

Fortunately, most Americans do not (yet) care as much about income differences as do the hand-wringing professors and pundits - a fact that itself casts doubt on the prescience and observational skills of those professors and pundits who prattle on endlessly about the dangers of income inequality. In a modern, prosperous market-oriented economy, even stupendously large differences in monetary incomes or in wealth are not so visible to the naked eye – another fact that casts doubt on the underlying theory of those who worry about income envy erupting into social strife.

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09 December 2013
 
 
Do-It-Yourself vs. the Minimum Wage
by Bryan Caplan
 sub-topic» General

So what happens when the minimum wage goes up? In manufacturing, there's little substitution into do-it-yourself, so labor demand is relatively inelastic. In services, in contrast, there's a lot of substitution into do-it-yourself, so labor demand is relatively elastic. Precisely the opposite of the Unz view.

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26 November 2013
 
 
The joy of markets
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

A commissar most certainly could (and would) decide that those properties in the most desirable area of London should only be for the use of those the commissar approved of, as happened everywhere that commissars allocated property. But even such a lauded and senior functionary would not be able to work out what they should be used for without some method of determining the relative values that the people themselves placed upon the alternative uses.

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11 November 2013
 
 
Regulation isn't the way to ensure a diverse marketplace
by Tim Worstall
 sub-topic» General

However, what is actually happening is that we're getting ever greater regulation of those financial markets. And that's a problem, for being able to deal with regulation is a fixed cost: and increasing those reduces the number of smaller players.

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03 November 2013
 
 
Markets are solving the food waste problem
by Eamonn Butler
 sub-topic» General

The counterintuitive fact is that, thanks to capitalism, we actually have a system that produces food so efficiently that we don't actually mind throwing it out if it looks and tastes a bit elderly. If only we could spread this production system to other places in the world where food is scarce and expensive because it is not produced efficiently at all. Again, you can blame governments in those countries for resisting the market economy, and our own EU authorities for trying to protect their own famers behind trade walls, for that crime – not a crime against food, but against humanity.

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