Economics

Pinochet’s Chicago Boys versus Freedom

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Ever since the U.S.-supported military coup in Chile that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power in 1973, American and Chilean conservatives have extolled the economic policies that the Pinochet regime brought to Chile. The policies, which conservatives have long described as “free-market,” originated within a group of Chilean economists known as the Chicago Boys, who accepted governmental positions in ... [click for more]

Capitalism and How Expectations Coordinate Markets

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Open, competitive markets have a resilient capacity to successfully coordinate the actions of, now, billions of people around the world. With an amazing adaptability to changing circumstances, the actions and reactions of multitudes of suppliers and demanders are brought into balance with each other. Yet, none of this requires government planning, regulation or directing control. But how does this ... [click for more]

America’s Great Depression and Austrian Business Cycle Theory

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When Murray Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression first appeared in print in 1963, the economics profession was still completely dominated by the Keynesian Revolution that began in the 1930s. Rothbard, instead, employed the “Austrian” approach to money and the business cycle to explain the causes for the Great Depression, and to analyze the misguided and counterproductive policies that were followed ... [click for more]

Capitalism and Competition

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Market competition is at the heart of the capitalist system. It serves as the driving force for creative innovation, the mechanism by which market supplies and demands are brought into coordinated balance for multitudes of goods, and an institutional setting for individuals to freely find their own place to best earn a living in society. Yet, listening to the critics ... [click for more]

A Bad Attack on Libertarian Economics

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Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality by James Kwak (Pantheon Books, 2017; 237 pages) There is a nasty genre of writing: books and articles that seek to build the case for socialism and interventionist government policies by smearing those of us who oppose them. That approach appeals greatly to Progressives who think that they are virtuous and their ... [click for more]

Ludwig von Mises on Collectivist Fallacies and Interventionist Follies

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For more than a century the world has been caught in the grip of social engineers and political paternalists determined to either radically remake society from top to bottom in collectivist directions, or to use various government regulatory and redistributive policies to try to modify existing society into desired “social justice” forms and shapes. Both are based on false ... [click for more]

Ludwig von Mises and the Real Meaning of Liberalism

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Liberalism has become one of the most widely misused and abused words in the American political lexicon. It represents, some say, politically “progressive thought,” based on the goal of “social justice” through greater “distributive justice” for all. Others declare it represents moral relativism, political paternalism, governmental license, and just another word for “socialism.” Lost in all of this is ... [click for more]

Freedom of Contract: A Bedrock of Freedom

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Freedom of contract used to be understood as a cornerstone of civilization and a crucial element in economic progress. The Constitution’s Framers included in Article 1, Section 10, a clause stating that Congress was forbidden to enact any law impairing the obligation of contracts. And in the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Congress included the freedom to enter into ... [click for more]

Austrian Monetary Theory vs. Federal Reserve Inflation Targeting

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One of the leading policy guideposts for central banks and many monetary policy proponents nowadays is the idea of “inflation targeting.” Several major central banks around the world, including the Federal Reserve in the United States, have set a goal of two percent price inflation. The problem is, what central bankers are targeting is a phantom that does not ... [click for more]