Sheldon Richman's TGIF

TGIF: The Year That Was

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The year coming to an end has hardly been a banner one in the cause of liberty. Once again, high points are tough to find, but low points abound. In mainstream public discussion, freedom counted for nothing, if it wasn’t ridiculed outright. The presidential election saw the marginalizing (again) of the only figure in the race — Ron Paul — ... [click for more]

TGIF: Intervention Begets Intervention

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Among the many valuable doctrines associated with the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises is his “critique of interventionism.” Originally published in German in 1929, then published in English in 1977, Mises’s book A Critique of Interventionism summed up his position this way: In a private property order isolated intervention fails to achieve what its sponsors ... [click for more]

TGIF: Right-to-Work Laws and the Modern Classical-Liberal Tradition

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It’s not widely known, but an earlier generation of libertarians condemned so-called right-to-work laws as anti-market. For example, Milton Friedman, in Capitalism and Freedom, compared right-to-work to anti-discrimination laws. Ayn Rand also opposed right-to-work laws. The Spring 1966 issue of the libertarian student-run journal New Individualist Review carried Professor Hirschel Kasper’s article “What’s Wrong with ... [click for more]

The Goal Is Freedom: Individualist Collectivism

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Is the free market an individualist or collectivist social arrangement? Don’t answer too quickly. It’s a trick question. Most people — free-market friend and free-market foe alike — will answer “individualist.” And that makes perfect sense. The free market describes a political/legal environment in which individuals are at liberty to engage in any peaceful activity, with only force and fraud ... [click for more]

The Goal Is Freedom: In Praise of Profit

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In the last two weeks, I presented a defense of key libertarian concepts — the market, private property, and competition — in a way intended to make them palatable to people who believe in individual liberty yet have something like an aesthetic aversion to the market economy. (See those articles here and here.) Today let’s examine profit, another ... [click for more]

TGIF: The Virtues of Competition

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When I discussed reasons to esteem the free market last week, I conspicuously left out any reference to competition. That might have seemed strange, but I did it because the subject deserves its own treatment. Differing attitudes about market competition divide people needlessly. An appreciation of what competition makes possible could prepare the ground for a convergence ... [click for more]

The Goal Is Freedom: Love the Market?

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Libertarians are sometimes accused of being “market fundamentalists,” and there’s a sense in which I will plead guilty to the charge (though I have multiple criticisms to offer of the Longview Institute’s “vulgar liberal” take on the subject). Libertarians certainly have great esteem for “the market” — but our esteem is rooted in reason and ... [click for more]
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