The Economic Nationalism of Donald Trump

Donald Trump has hardly taken his hand off the Bible upon which he took the presidential oath to preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, and he has already radically and rapidly begun to transform the direction of the American government. Taking up (at least metaphorically) Barack Obama’s pen, he has signed a series of executive orders. Several of ... [click for more]

Economic Ideas: David Ricardo on Wealth, Inflation, and Freedom

David Ricardo (1772-1823) was one of the most influential economic theorists of the first half of the nineteenth century. Born in London, England, his father’s family were orthodox Jews originally from Portugal who had moved to England from Holland. His father was a highly successful stockbroker. David Ricardo learned the family business, and most likely would have ... [click for more]

Freedom in Transactions

On entering Paris, which I had come to visit, I said to myself — here are a million human beings who would all die in a short time if provisions of every kind ceased to flow towards this great metropolis. Imagination is baffled when it tries to appreciate the vast multiplicity of commodities that must enter tomorrow through the ... [click for more]

Economic Ideas: Adam Smith on Free Trade, Crony Capitalism, and the Benefits from Commercial Society

Adam Smith’s central contribution to economic understanding was surely his demonstration that under an institutional arrangement of individual liberty, property rights, and voluntary exchange the self-interested conduct of market participants could be shown to be consistent with a general betterment of the human condition. The emergence of a social system of division of labor makes men interdependent for the necessities, ... [click for more]

Economic Ideas: Adam Ferguson and Society as a Spontaneous Order

One of the most cherished misunderstandings, if not delusions, of the social engineer – the individual who would presume to attempt to remake society through conscious and planned design – is the confident belief that he (and those like him) can ever know enough to successfully remold mankind and human institutions. An appreciation of how limited is our individual knowledge ... [click for more]

Economic Ideas: Francis Hutcheson and a System of Natural Liberty

Scotland would seem a strange place for the emergence of center of intellectual development that would influence the stream of ideas throughout the world. Scotland had been unified with England near the beginning of the eighteenth century. It was considered a “backwater” of European civilization. But perhaps because of the strong nationalist sentiments and resentments that still lingered among many ... [click for more]
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