Economics

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]

Economic Ideas: Jean-Baptiste Say and the “Law of Markets”

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Whatever economic freedom we enjoy in the world today is due, to a great extent, to the ideas and efforts of the classical liberals and economists of the first half of the nineteenth century. Inspired by the eighteenth-century writings of the French Physiocrats and Scottish Moral Philosophers (for example, David Hume and Adam Smith), they forcefully and insightfully demonstrated ... [click for more]

Economic Ideas: Frédéric Bastiat on the Law of Liberty and Free Markets

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The defense of economic liberty has never been an easy task. Adam Smith expressed his own despair at this problem in The Wealth of Nations. After presenting his powerful criticisms of mercantilism—the eighteenth-century system of government regulation and planning—he despondently suggested that free trade in Great Britain was as unlikely as the establishment of a utopia. He said that two ... [click for more]