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NEW 9/19/2018: Communism
The great libertarian (and conservative) bugaboo conflated with Marxism. Single party authoritarianism is the problem, but is not essential to communism (though it has always been present in Communist states.) Libertarians attempt to tarbrush all government with communism. [more...]
NEW 9/19/2018: The Stable-Coin Myth [More...]
"All of this will be familiar to anyone who has encountered even a single study of speculative attacks on pegged exchange rates, or to anyone who has had a coffee with an emerging-market central banker. But this doesn’t mean that it is familiar to the wet-behind-the-ears software engineers touting stable coins. And it doesn’t mean that the flaws in their currently fashionable schemes will be familiar to investors." [more...]
NEW 9/19/2018: Jennifer Burns' harsh review of Nancy MacLean's Democracy In Chains [More...]
Admires the objectives, but concludes "Ultimately it is not a book of scholarship, but of partisanship, written to reinforce existing divides and confirm existing biases." [more...]
NEW 9/18/2018: Anti-price gouging laws can increase economic welfare [More...]
"An article by Robert Fleck of Clemson, forthcoming in the International Review of Law and Economics, presented a theoretical case that price gouging restrictions can be value-enhancing under certain conditions." [more...]
NEW 9/18/2018: Price Gouging Has Its Defenders, But They Ignore Morality [More...]
"The moral condemnation of price gouging is a recognition that in certain social situations, raising prices is kicking vulnerable people when they are down. Our reaction to price gouging is not some silly knee-jerk rejection from people who don’t know enough about economics, as it is sometimes portrayed. It is, rather, deeply reflective of the societal need for mechanisms other than markets." [more...]
NEW 9/18/2018: What's the Matter with Price Gouging? [More...]
"I argue that gouging takes the form of a specific failure of respect for persons by undercutting equitable access to essential goods." This undermines the very purposes of markets. [more...]
NEW 9/18/2018: Price Gouging
Price Gouging during disasters is strongly defended by libertarians and others using bad Economics 101 arguments that presume only money matters and ignore non-monetary externalities. Price Gouging occurs during non-equilibrium situations and does not support the justifications made for markets in the first place. [more...]
The Chapo Guide to Revolution ridicules libertarianism.
Starting with a comparison to the recruiting methods of Scientology. Then they justly slam the ridiculous excesses of Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe [more...]
A Dim View of Libertarianism, Part I: What Is Libertarianism? [More...]
A review of seven important doctrines in libertarianism. [more...]
A Dim View of Libertarianism, Part II: The Myth of Social Atomism [More...]
The liberal replies that this denial of the very existence of “society” and “the public” is reductionism, plain and simple – what the Brits call “nothing-buttery.” It is comparable to saying that Hamlet is “nothing but” words, that Beethoven’s music is “nothing but” notes, that the Mona Lisa is “nothing but” pigments on canvas, and that the human brain is “nothing but” cells and electro-chemical events. [more...]
A Dim View of Libertarianism, Part III: Market Fundamentalism [More...]
"The widespread acceptance has been accomplished through simple repetition, devoid of argument and rich in the rhetoric of “freedom.” About the only supporting argument forms of note are anecdotal evidence and false generalization." [more...]
A Dim View of Libertarianism, Part IV: The Privatization Panacea [More...]
"They believe this unproved dogma despite an abundance of practical historical evidence to the contrary. And they are endeavoring to impose this dogma in place of regulations and social programs that have been tested, implemented and proven through several twentieth century administrations, both Democratic and Republic." [more...]
A Dim View of Libertarianism, Part V: Corporations – Invaluable Servants, Ruthless Masters [More...]
The libertarians’ position on corporations is divided. One faction holds that there should be no legal and regulatory curbs on corporations, since they are the result of free association of individuals... But corporate power depends crucially on government intervention in the marketplace. [more...]
A Dim View of Libertarianism, Part VII -- Some Concluding Questions [More...]
"The libertarian regards a morally well-ordered society as a free gift, to which nothing is owed for its maintenance." [more...]
A Dim View of Libertarianism, Part VI -- The Inevitability of Government [More...]
"markets, private property and corporations are good things, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. For these worthy and indispensable servants of the body politic can become cruel and insufferable masters, to prevent which, we establish laws and regulations -- i.e., government." [more...]
A Dim View of Libertarianism
Ernest Partridge's multi-part criticism of some of the major aspects of libertarianism. [more...]
What’s Wrong With Libertarianism? [More...]
A very complete (but not too long) summation of most of the problems of libertarianism. [more...]
Try to Answer the Hardest Question in Economics [More...]
"once agriculture is going well, countries should focus on manufacturing, and use export promotion as a way to force companies to learn to be more productive." [more...]
The Koch Brothers' Best Investment [More...]
How a $40 million political outlay yields a $420 million tax cut for each Koch brother alone. Not to mention the numerous others who contributed smaller amounts. [more...]
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers on Medicare-for-All [More...]
Mercatus coached authors of 3 supposed fact-checking articles to accept its misrepresentations of Medicare-forAll. [more...]
How BBC balance and bad think tanks discourage evidence based policy [More...]
"The rigid application of political balance in the broadcast media is in danger of negating the KTM [the Knowledge Transmission Mechanism], and therefore evidence based policy." The bad kind of think tanks "produce ‘research’ that conforms to a particular line or ideology, rather than conforming to evidence or existing academic knowledge." [more...]
Conservatives Can’t Decide If Nordic Socialism Is a Totalitarian Nightmare or Actually What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy? [More...]
"The common theme and universal accomplishment of the neo-Keynesian governments of the postwar era was their remarkable success in curbing inequality... It was social democracy that bound the middle classes to liberal institutions in the wake of World War II..." [more...]
Conservatives Can’t Decide If Nordic Socialism Is a Totalitarian Nightmare or Actually Capitalist [More...]
“Actually, according to the data, the best government is that which governs most” is no small concession! [more...]
For Fancy Racists, Classical Liberalism Offers Respect, Intrigue [More...]
On the origin of the modern usage of classical liberal. "Alas, the term “classical liberal” would have been novel to Smith, Locke or Mill. Mill called himself a socialist, Locke called for a state ban on Catholicism, and Smith favored all manner of encroachments against the free market." [more...]
The biggest economic policy mistake of the last decade, and it had nothing to do with academic economists [More...]
Austerity: “Its predictions have proved utterly wrong; its founding academic documents haven’t just lost their canonized status, they’ve become the objects of much ridicule.” [more...]
Austerity
A harmful supposed antidote to recession that has failed miserably both in academia and the real world. Popular among politicians only for achieving right-wing goals. A shibboleth. [more...]
Libertarians haggling over price.
It seems obvious. [more...]
Elizabeth Warren has a plan to save capitalism [More...]
The Accountable Capitalism Act: starts from the premise that corporations that claim the legal rights of personhood should be legally required to accept the moral obligations of personhood. Includes the German practice of codetermination (40% worker representation on corporate boards.) [more...]
Mondragon Corporation [More...]
The Mondragon Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. It is the tenth-largest Spanish company in terms of asset turnover and the leading business group in the Basque Country. At the end of 2014, it employed 74,117 people in 257 companies and organizations in four areas of activity: finance, industry, retail and knowledge. [more...]
Yuppie Fishtanks: YIMBYism explained without "supply and demand" [More...]
Simple supply and demand models which assume one type of good do not work on complex housing problems where there are several types of goods as well as social goals. [more...]
What do we really know about worker co-operatives? [More...]
"[F]ar from being a niche business form only appropriate in special circumstances, worker co-operatives constitute a serious alternative -- a high-performing firm type suited to all or a very broad range of industries, and possibly more sustainable than conventional businesses." [more...]
Worker Owned Cooperatives
A socialist model that ranges from wholly worker owned to codermination (worker representation on corporate boards.) A long history of successful businesses, including the German model of 40% worker representation on all corporate boards. They compete quite well with capitalist ownership. [more...]
Fail Quote: Penn Jillette calls social welfare “immoral self-righteous bullying laziness” [More...]
"Look, I’m all for encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their own actions and to do things themselves rather than rely on others, but this sort of libertarian “government is bad and shouldn’t be relied on for nothin’!” rhetoric is as ridiculous as any other fringe schtick." [more...]
My Favorite Entertainer Penn Jillette is Fucking Wrong about Libertarianism [More...]
Points out that Penn Jillette disastrously oversimplifies morality and freedom. "But the problem with freedom is that morality is complicated. And certain freedoms are more important than other freedoms." [more...]
Penn Jillette on libertarianism [More...]
Points out that many of Penn Jillette's arguments overlap the liberal side of the Venn Diagram, and yeilds on a few on the libertarian side. Then points out some prime bullshit about education. [more...]
Regarding Penn Jillette's Libertarianism [More...]
Shreds the claim that not knowing how to help the poor and sick justifies libertarianism. Also dissects the bullying claim. The first commenter points out also: "Regarding the use of force to redistribute food to the poor as bullying: Isn't it also bullying to use government force to protect private property? " Another commenter observed: "Shouldn't the response to the answer of "I don't know" be "Let's find out?"" [more...]
Penn Jillette’s Deceptively Simple Rhetoric of Libertarianism [More...]
Debunks Penn Jillette's two major claims "Libertarianism as Penn describes it claims to offer principles that relieve us from having to actually think through specific, complicated cost-benefit scenarios, but there is no philosophy that can deliver us from thinking." [more...]
Penn Jillette
A popular libertarian entertainer, with some glib, bullshit explanations of how he is in favor of libertarianism because he is ignorant of what is best for all people and because he wants to reduce violence. A typical wealthy entrepreneur who doesn't understand what ordinary people need, and conveniently overlooks that what he needs from government is violence to protect his fortune and create the environment in which he earns it. [more...]
Libertarians and Charity [More...]
Leo Buzalsky debunks Penn Jillette's "Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness" claim. [more...]
I've heard that Switzerland is the closest nation in the Free World to capitalist anarchy [More...]
A troll making that stupid claim (and many others) is taken to task by people who know better. [more...]
Here's How Not to Improve Public Schools [More...]
The Gates Foundation’s big-data experiment wasn’t just a failure. It did real harm. [more...]
Propaganda and Debating Techniques [More...]
184 propaganda techniques and 61 debating techniques with examples and explanation. [more...]
Hyping the Cost of Regulation [More...]
"Ultimately, the Crain and Crews “studies” prove nothing at all about the cost of federal regulation. But they do reveal the existence of a highly influential echo chamber of scholars-for-hire and industry-funded centers dedicated to driving deregulation by hyping the cost of regulation and peddling bogus findings to powerful lawmakers." [more...]
Welfare Beats Jobs When It Comes to Poverty Reduction [More...]
What we see across countries is that low inequality and poverty is overwhelmingly about social spending. Even a very low unemployment rate will produce a high poverty rate if the welfare spending is not there. [more...]
Moral Foundations Test [More...]
6 imprecisely defined and measured "foundations" that read like half an astrology column. The questions suffer from the usual yes to no spectrum that doesn't allow expression of other answers such as under what conditions yes or no. Pseudoscientific. Note also that the default of no foundations is judged libertarian. [more...]
Moral Foundations
Pseudoscience from Jonathan Haidt and Ravi Iyer. Sometimes used to claim libertarians have various characteristics. Peer review does not make the psychology of personality assessment any less a pseudoscience. [more...]
The Republic of Beliefs: A New Approach to Law and Economics
Argues that the traditional economic analysis of the law has significant flaws and has failed to answer certain critical questions satisfactorily. [more...]
Inconvenient Truths About Migration [More...]
"Standard economic theory says that net inward migration, like free trade, benefits the native population after a lag. But recent research has poked large holes in that argument, while the social and political consequences of open national borders similarly suggest the appropriateness of immigration limits." [more...]
Victimless Crimes
[Or crimes without victims.] If this term was explained honestly, it would be "crimes where we choose not to count the perpetrator as a victim and conveniently ignore distributed or indirect harms to family, friends, and other people through the environment, social relationships, and institutions." [more...]
The New Model for a Health-First Approach to Legalizing Weed [More...]
In Canada, "There will be “strict limits” on advertising, and marijuana will “likely be sold in uniform packages that carry health warnings as their only decoration,” and candies and other edibles will be banned... the critical balance of effective marijuana policy is to incentivize producers to make enough to meet demand, but not to substantially grow the market. [more...]
Why South Korea's Samsung Built the Only Outdoor Skating Rink in Texas [More...]
Corporations are able to subvert juries using public relations techniques. Demonstrated for patent cases, but maybe that's the tip of the iceberg. Based on research from Lauren Cohen and Umit Gurun. [more...]
What Did the Romans Ever Do for Us? [More...]
"The Pax Americana, the three generations of relative peace and prosperity that followed World War II,... has been held together mainly by soft power rather than violence. Even when America was an overwhelmingly dominant economic and military power, it generally exercised restraint, getting its allies to buy in to our system rather than resorting to raw compulsion. [more...]
An Introduction to market failures [More...]
"A market failure is something that is inherent to the market that causes the market equilibrium allocation to be inefficient." [more...]
Unions Did Great Things for the Working Class [More...]
"Other than massive government redistribution of income and wealth, there’s really no other obvious way to address the country’s rising inequality. Also, there’s the chance that unions might be an effective remedy for the problem of increasing corporate market power -- evidence suggests that when unionization rates are high, industry concentration is less effective at suppressing wages." [more...]
Noam Chomsky Explains Exactly What's Wrong with Libertarianism [More...]
"Well what’s called libertarian in the United States, which is a special U. S. phenomenon, it doesn’t really exist anywhere else -- a little bit in England -- permits a very high level of authority and domination but in the hands of private power: so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes. " [more...]
How Ideology Blocks Reality [More...]
"Upon encountering an objection to one's ideology, divert the discussion into something that is related to the objection but actually does not respond to it at all. Make a valid point about that side-topic. From then on, whenever someone raises that objection, note the valid point made on the side-topic, and then say, "So that is handled in the literature: I can't believe you don't know that!"" [more...]
My mortgage payments, stolen from me at gunpoint [More...]
"Of course, taxes are no more "stolen from me at gunpoint" than are my mortgage payments. After all, if I stop paying the mortgage and try to keep living in my house, eventually people with guns will show up to clear me out." [more...]
Rational argument with an ideologue is not possible [More...]
"There is no sense trying to reason with anyone in such a condition: their ideology acts as a filter, turning any opposing view into a ridiculous caricature of that view, the ridiculousness of which then confirms the truth of their ideology... And that is how ideologies sustain themselves." [more...]
Ideological jujitsu [More...]
There has been a continuous drumbeat of promotion for Hayek from conservatives and libertarians since the 1940's. Recently, there has been extensive propaganda use of Hayek's ideas to oppose Keynesian ideas. The propaganda often attempts to show two theories as equal in standing. But Keynes resoundingly defeated Hayek, despite recent libertarian historical revisionism. [more...]
What if Rothbard had been against Newton's politics? [More...]
Gene Callahan explains one of Murray Rothbard's sillier anti-Keynsian arguments. [more...]
Atomism [More...]
"Private property was an innovation (and a very useful one) granting some individuals greater rights in regards to some resource than anyone else. But being granted to an individual by their social group, it is quite naturally subject to revocation by the group and to whatever other conditions the group puts upon its possession. Such as, for instance, "You may have control over this land, and the proceeds you earn from using it, on the condition that you return 10% of those proceeds to the group."" [more...]
The Purpose of Property Rights [More...]
"It turns out that any property scheme will prevent conflicts over the use of scarce resources, just so long as everyone agrees to it." [more...]
Tom Woods Illustrates My Point Very Nicely [More...]
"... "taxation is theft" is a terrible libertarian argument for convincing non-libertarians, because it already assumes a libertarian view of the State, and is therefore circular." [more...]
On the Slogan “Taxation is Theft” [More...]
"... this is a post about why, even assuming arguendo that taxation is illegitimate, slogans like “taxation is theft” are not a helpful way to express that claim, because they equate a good faith disagreement about what rights people have with malicious disregard for those rights." [more...]
The NAP Isn’t a Knock-Down Argument for Libertarianism. On the Contrary, It Begs the Question. [More...]
"Many libertarians think they have powerful knock-down argument for anarchist libertarianism, but, on the contrary, that argument is completely impotent." [more...]
Libertarian Slogans That Are False: II [More...]
"... the libertarian asserting "The government doesn’t create resources or wealth, it simply redistributes them," has to be claiming is that no government project ever returns an accounting profit. And that is an extraordinary claim, given, say, that several of the TARP investments seemed to have clearly resulted in large accounting profits, as did the Mexican bailout." [more...]
Do Nordic Countries Really Have Less Regulation? [More...]
"The truth is that nobody has found a good way to measure the substantive regulatory differences between the Nordics and the US." [more...]
The State Owns 76% of Norway’s Non-Home Wealth [More...]
"Norway at minimum proves that it is possible to mix high levels of state ownership with a high degree of prosperity. And no, this is not just about its oil: high levels of state ownership prevailed even before the oil fund began in 1996." [more...]
A Plan To Nationalize Fossil Fuel Companies [More...]
"Climate change cries out for ambitious solutions... a publicly controlled energy transition whose profits finance a secure, collectively-owned clean energy industry will do more good for America, and the world, than any spending on F-35s or foreign interventions.]] [more...]
How Capitalist Is Singapore Really? [More...]
"Singapore (and Norway, among others) shows that it is quite possible to collectively own the means of production while also using price systems to assist in the allocation of productive factors. This is what market socialists have been saying for a hundred years." [more...]
Initial Property Continues to Vex Libertarians [More...]
"Perhaps the most interesting thing about libertarian thought is that it has no way of coherently justifying the initial acquisition of property. How does something that was once unowned become owned without non-consensually destroying others’ liberty? It is impossible. This means that libertarian systems of thought literally cannot get off the ground. They are stuck at time zero of hypothetical history with no way forward." [more...]
The Norwegian State Owns Most Of The Country’s Wealth [More...]
"There is little doubt that, in terms of state ownership at least, Norway is the most socialist country in the developed world and, not coincidentally, the happiest country in the world according to the UN’s 2017 World Happiness Report." [more...]
Why Social Wealth Funds Are Not Just Taxes [More...]
"Bringing the public in as one of the governors of the corporate sector (alongside remaining private investors and labor) is both good in itself from a small-d democratic perspective and also probably good instrumentally as a way to get the corporate sector more interested in sustainable, long-term value creation." [more...]
Does Direct Democracy Reduce Regulatory Capture? [More...]
"New research by John Matsusaka of the University of Southern California, however, suggests that the sequestering of economic policymaking from special interest influence may be precisely what direct democracy is for." [more...]
A collection of 434 Austrian Economics books.
For the self-indoctrination completist. All uploaded to a free downloading site. [more...]
Check your knowledge - Ancap studies booklist - March 2017 [More...]
Features a graphic with 43 books for self-indoctrination at 3 levels. There is a "refutations" section, but that doesn't do much good after you've drunk the Kool-Aid, and nobody will read it first to be inoculated against the propaganda. [more...]
Freeing Econ 101: Beyond the Grasp of the Invisible Hand [More...]
An explanation of behavioral economist David Laibson's Economics 101 textbook, and how it attempts to avoid the usual mistakes of 101ism. [more...]
Hayek, the Mind, and Spontaneous Order: A Critique [More...]
Richard Posner finds Hayek's refutation of universal central planning to be useless in real-world mixed economies. He points out Ronald Coase has shown that central planning works better than markets for some problems, hence firms (including governments.) [more...]
Why Taxation Is Not Theft (Chappell) [More...]
Three justifications: Georgist ground rent, externalities, and communitarian nature of production. [more...]
The very worst version of the sham known as “right-to-try” is poised to become law [More...]
"... powerful forces are backing right-to-try, including the Koch brothers and Vice President Mike Pence... Right-to-try is only a little about helping patients. It’s far more about dismantling the FDA and giving drug and device manufacturers more freedom to market drugs and devices with much less testing." [more...]
Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America [More...]
"Nobel laureate James Buchanan is the intellectual linchpin of the Koch-funded attack on democratic institutions, argues Duke historian Nancy MacLean" [more...]
What Venezuela Tells Us About Socialism [More...]
"According to the Wall Street Journal, almost nothing… the collapse of Venezuela tells us a lot more about the problems of dictatorship, corruption, and incompetence than it does about “socialism.” [more...]
Why Is Venezuela in Crisis? [More...]
"Much of it is due to government blundering. But opposition protests, often violent, and destabilization from Washington have wreaked havoc as well." [more...]
Venezuela
Often claimed as a failure of Socialism, even though it is a European-style Social Democracy with a Mixed Economy. Its failure is much better explained by kleptocracy, oil crisis, currency mismanagement, and US economic interference. [more...]
Talent vs Luck: the role of randomness in success and failure [More...]
"... we show that, if it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by mediocre but sensibly luckier individuals." [more...]
A Nobel for Planning? [More...]
Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley's 2012 Nobel Prize in economics was for non-market interactions, where the matches are actually formed by centralized exchanges. "In these situations, decentralized and uncoordinated matching can produce unstable and inefficient matches, and gains are possible from centralization of some sort." [more...]
Rights (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) [More...]
An excellent summary: so good that it even makes Hohfeld comprehensible. However, gives only a glancing mention to enforcement of duties. [more...]
2 Paths of Bayer Drug in 80's: Riskier One Steered Overseas [More...]
"A division of the pharmaceutical company Bayer sold millions of dollars of blood-clotting medicine for hemophiliacs -- medicine that carried a high risk of transmitting AIDS -- to Asia and Latin America in the mid-1980's while selling a new, safer product in the West, according to documents obtained by The New York Times." [more...]
Markets: Guided by an Invisible Hand or Foot? [More...]
"Adam Smith and his disciples today see markets working as if they were guided by a beneficent, invisible hand, allocating scarce productive resources and distributing goods and services efficiently. Critics, on the other hand, see markets working as if they were guided by a malevolent, invisible foot, misrepresenting people's preferences and misallocating resources." [more...]
Invisible Foot
A term used by E. K. Hunt to describe the second half of the capitalist incentives to privatize gain and socialize costs. It increases private gain to create negative externalities (such as pollution) rather than bear their costs: thus negative externalities will be maximized "as if by an invisible foot". See also the propaganda term Invisible Hand. [more...]
History of Economic Thought, 3rd Edition: A Critical Perspective
A readable textbook that will clarify your understanding of the pitfalls of different economic ideas, starting with the "invisible foot of the market". [more...]
Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work
_placeholder_ [more...]
The 'freest economies in the world' [More...]
"Taken together, the governments of the two territories thus make it easy to believe that the Cato Institute's criteria for economic freedom do not include a category for a country's common citizens and consumers." [more...]
Looking Back to Look Forward: Blacks, Liberty, and the State [More...]
If you can ignore the standard libertarian tropes, this makes the good point that libertarians must not ignore racism but must actively combat it if they want to attact blacks. [more...]
Why Aren’t There More Black Libertarians? [More...]
If you can ignore the standard libertarian tropes that lard this article, it points out that blacks are familiar with the historic racism of capitalism both in the USA and abroad. And the extent of past and current racism within the libertarian movement. [more...]
Safety of electronic cigarettes [More...]
"A systematic review suggests that e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking and since they contain no tobacco and do not involve combustion, users may avoid several harmful constituents usually found in tobacco smoke. However, e-cigarettes cannot be considered harmless." [more...]
E-cigarettes may be more harmful than beneficial, according to evidence-based research [More...]
"A new study finds that e-cigarette use could do more harm than good by substantially increasing the number of adolescents and young adults who eventually become cigarette smokers and marginally decreasing the number of adult cigarette smokers who quit." [more...]
Even One Is Too Much: The Economic Consequences of Being a Smoker [More...]
"Smokers, on average, earn lower wages than nonsmokers. The analysis in this paper tells us that roughly 60 percent of the wage differential between smokers and nonsmokers comes from differences in the characteristics these workers bring to the labor market, especially educational attainment." [more...]
The Fallacy of the Free Market [More...]
"It makes little sense to ask whether a market is free or regulated. The important questions are who governs a market, how, and for what ends; and the key public policy question is how the government (which is, at least theoretically, an instrument of the people) should act to modify the resulting market in pursuit of the public interest." [more...]
Robin Hanson
Another Koch-financedpropagandist at the George Mason University Economics Department and the Mercatus Center. [more...]
Is Robin Hanson America’s Creepiest Economist? [More...]
"But fundamentally, Hanson’s repeated forays into the subjects of rape, “cuckolding,” and male sexual pleasure are just creepy -- as in, it’s impossible to read his stuff without feeling an ambient sense of unease. Peruse his blog, and it’s not hard to come away with the impression that he believes men are owed sex, that women are devious about it, and that rape is a subject that can be toyed with lightly as an intellectual exercise." [more...]
Uncovering Koch Role in Faculty Hires [More...]
"George Mason says some of its past donor agreements with Charles Koch Foundation have afforded the organization a say in faculty appointments, in violation of the norms of academic freedom." [more...]
The public choice of public choice [More...]
10 formerly secret agreements between Koch-funded donations to public George Mason University reveal what has long been expected: an appalling breach of academic responsibility. "The ordinary protection against conflict of interest, and against donors using the university’s reputation as an ideological/financial cutout or flag of convenience is to build institutional firewalls..." [more...]
Two modes of pop-economics reasoning popular among libertarians. [More...]
A quick rule of thumb is that when someone seems to be acting like a jerk, an economist will defend the behavior as being the essence of morality, but when someone seems to be doing something nice, an economist will raise the bar and argue that he’s not being nice at all. [more...]
Desert Island Economics (Existential Comics) [More...]
Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg are shipwrecked on Liberty Island, owned by Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard. "Save the brandy!" [more...]
Basic income and a public job offer: complementary policies to reduce poverty and unemployment [More...]
"Such a combination seems to be the only policy which offers hope for at least approaching the now largely abandoned goals of full employment and ending poverty in both developed and developing economies at relatively low cost, while all face a future of increasingly precarious labour markets and even secular stagnation." [more...]
Legalize Drunk Driving [More...]
Based on the ridiculous assertions: "Now, the immediate response goes this way: drunk driving has to be illegal because the probability of causing an accident rises dramatically when you drink. The answer is just as simple: government in a free society should not deal in probabilities." And why not? The private sector is allowed to. [more...]
There is no necessary trade-off between good work and more work [More...]
"A macroeconomic perspective also shows the short-sightedness of laissez-faire fundamentalism. Even if, in the short term, a “low road” of exploitive labor practices benefits many in their role as consumers, they will eventually end up losing out as producers." [more...]
Guns and Privatized Sovereignty [More...]
"Constitutions, citizens, and markets are all made. Over the past forty years, we have made a gun market that follows the rules of almost no other markets in American life, supported by a gun jurisprudence that both draws on and amplifies divisive, inegalitarian, and misarchic strains in American politics." [more...]
Deconstructing Libertarianism: A Critique Prompted by the film Thrive [More...]
"The reactionary program sold as a "vision" on the Thrive website is nothing short of a dark fantasy that would catapult us back to the 19th century with “voluntary” types of social regulation; i.e., no taxes, no labor laws, no child labor laws, no environmental regulations, no Social Security, no Medicare, no public education, no civil rights, and no government programs for the people. We see how well that worked in the 19th century." [more...]
These Urban Experiments Prove Charles Murray Is Wrong About Race Science [More...]
"These are experiments designed to gauge the ability to teach broad populations of poor, nonwhite students. And it is indeed possible to get them to perform as well as white students." [more...]
Standard Oil and Predatory Pricing: Myth Paralleling Fact [More...]
How and possibly why John McGee's false and revisionist history of Standard Oil became so influential. (Behind JSTOR paywall.) [more...]
Revisiting the Revisionist History of Standard Oil [More...]
How John McGee of the Chicago School rewrote the antitrust history of Standard Oil, how the US Supreme Court credulously applied his revisionist history, and how modern economic and legal research has exposed the errors. [more...]
Standard Oil, Monopoly and Predatory Pricing
For decades libertarians have relied on the egregious revisionist history of Standard Oil by John McGee of the Chicago School to declare predatory pricing and monopoly rare and impractical. This claim has been thoroughly refuted by legal and economic research, both empirical and theoretical. Now it is up to the courts to catch up with academia. [more...]
Underpants Gnomes
A South Park idea satirizing wishful thinking about incomplete plans and explanations. [more...]
Rational Self-Interest
Objectivist bullshit that is supposed to sanitize selfishness from all naughtyness. Never fleshed out coherently. See: Underpants Gnomes. [more...]
Who Has More of Your Personal Data Than Facebook? Try Google [More...]
"Google gathers more personal data than Facebook does, by almost every measure -- so why aren’t we talking about it?" [more...]
Why America Needs More Social Housing [More...]
"Subsidizing market prices to make housing affordable is a losing strategy. There’s a better way -- on display for a century in Vienna." [more...]
Palantir Knows Everything About You [More...]
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What it means to be libertarian (Anarchist) [More...]
A discussion of how left-libertarian precepts of liberty has been trampled by Lock, Mises, and others. [more...]
Deconstricting the Administrative State [More...]
Regulation is an instrument of innovation and economic growth as well as a guardian of public safety and health. "Throughout America’s history, regulation not only has shaped the foundation of our modern economy, but has also advanced the values we’ve come to believe are vital to the functioning of “free” markets -- an insight that earlier policymakers fully recognized." [more...]
The Libertarian Who Accidentally Helped Make the Case for Regulation [More...]
"George Mason economist Alex Tabarrok set out to prove that federal regulations are strangling the economy. That’s not what he found." [more...]
Liberland (Wikipedia) [More...]
Liberland... is a micronation claiming an uninhabited parcel of disputed land on the western bank of the Danube, between Croatia and Serbia... There has been no diplomatic recognition of Liberland by any country from the United Nations..." [more...]
Galt's Gulch
An attempted libertarian community in Chile that showed how credulous and easily scammed libertarians are. [more...]
Liberland
A supposed micronation that has yet to actually be recognized as having any territory. So far a joke and possibly a future scam like Galt's Gulch. [more...]
How to Do Things with Hohfeld [More...]
"... an effort to provide an accessible and sawdust-free account of Hohfeld’s article, as well as to show how and why his analysis of “legal relations” (e.g., right/duty, etc.) matters." Long and professional level. Worth study! [more...]
Noncompete Agreements Take a Toll on the Economy [More...]
Noncompetes aren’t just hurting workers; they're hurting economic dynamism. [more...]
Elon Musk Isn’t All He’s Cracked Up to Be [More...]
Elon Musk suggests the typical Robert Heinlein Science Fiction solution of special people running away from problems, leaving everybody else stuck with them. [more...]
Econ 101 No Longer Explains the Job Market [More...]
"Together with the evidence on minimum wage, this new evidence suggests that the competitive supply-and-demand model of labor markets is fundamentally broken. If employers have the power to set wages, then not just minimum wage, but other labor market policies -- for example, union-friendly laws -- can be expected to help workers a lot more than popular introductory economics textbooks now predict." [more...]
Privacy Rights
Libertarians only want privacy rights against government based on property rights. This empowers corporations to invade your privacy and financial secrecy for the wealthy as well. Europe is far ahead of the US in protecting our information. [more...]
Are you ready? Here is all the data Facebook and Google have on you [More...]
"Want to freak yourself out? I’m going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it." And they can sell that to government or anybody else if they want, or be forced to reveal it under a court order. [more...]
Yeah, Ron Paul Is Racist After All, Sorry [More...]
Yet more confirmation of Ron Paul's racist politics, this time from hacking by Anonymous. [more...]
The Blockchain Pipe Dream [More...]
"Just as we cannot record all of the world’s transactions in a single centralized database, nor shall we do so in a single distributed database. Indeed, the problem of “blockchain scaling” is still more or less unsolved, and is likely to remain so for a long time." [more...]
Why libertarianism is a marginal idea and not a universal value [More...]
A YouTube video by Steven Pinker. Click HERE for the transcript. "Pinker says it's no coincidence that there are zero libertarian countries on Earth; social spending is a shared value, even if the truest libertarians protest it, as the free market has no way to provide for poor children, the elderly, and other members of society who cannot contribute to the marketplace." [more...]
Weak states: Causes and consequences of the Sicilian Mafia
"This column describes how in an environment with weak state presence[...] Within a few decades, the presence of the Mafia appears to have significantly reduced literacy, increased infant mortality, limited the provision of a variety of local public goods, and may also have significantly reduced local political competition." [more...]
Milton Friedman’s Rabble-Rousing Case for Abolishing the Fed [More...]
"But although Friedman was often sensitive to the subtleties and nuances of policy making when rendering scholarly historical and empirical judgments, he rarely allowed subtleties and nuances to encroach on his denunciations when he was operating in full rabble-rousing mode." [more...]
Federal Reserve
A traditional libertarian hobby horse. [more...]
What Does a True Populism Look Like? It Looks Like the New Deal [More...]
"If our economic rules empower corporations and financial interests excessively, then the correct response is to rewrite those rules -- at home as well as abroad. If trade agreements serve mainly to reshuffle income to capital and corporations, the answer is to rebalance them to make them friendlier to labor and society at large..." [more...]
Some Thoughts About Economic Exposition in Math and Words [More...]
How economists can conceal fallacies by combining mathematics and prose. [more...]
Growing Public: Volume 1, The Story: Social Spending and Economic Growth since the Eighteenth Century
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Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us
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Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism
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We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights
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Rational Markets Theory Keeps Running Into Irrational Humans [More...]
"In theory, the smart money weeds out foolish speculators. The reality is different." [more...]
The Nordic Myths That Never Seem to Die [More...]
Conservatives (including libertarians) can't decide whether (a) Nordic countries are good because they are more capitalistic than the US or (b) Nordic countries are bad because they are more socialist than the US. They are completely wrong. [more...]
Relational conceptions of paternalism: a way to rebut nanny-state accusations and evaluate public health interventions [More...]
"The conceptions of paternalism implicit in nanny-state accusations generally depend on libertarian conceptions of autonomy. These reflect unrealistic views of personal independence and do not discriminate sufficiently between trivial and important freedoms." [more...]
Some (academic) rebuttal arguments to the nanny state line [More...]
A great overview of the recent literature. [more...]
Which nanny – the state or industry? Wowsers, teetotallers and the fun police in public health advocacy [More...]
"This paper explores a series of examples which illustrate how public health is being undermined by the ‘Nanny Industry’ and how industry uses fear of government regulation to maintain its own dominance, to maintain its profits and to do so at a significant financial and social cost to the community and to public health." [more...]
Case studies in nanny state name-calling: what can we learn? [More...]
"The nanny state critique is ultimately a call for the state to be agnostic about the health of citizens, allowing market forces to dominate." [more...]
Singapore: Tough Love in the Nanny State [More...]
Singapore is the most thorough nanny state in the world. Somehow libertarians seem to overlook this. Probably because they really only care about freedom for corporations and the rich. [more...]
One hundred and fifty ways the nanny state is good for us [More...]
"Nanny state critics are almost always self-interested. They’re rarely motivated by the freedoms they purport to defend. And invariably their arguments crumble under scrutiny." [more...]
Nanny State
People who taunt "nanny state" forget just how dependent they are on the infrastructure of state institutions. Their real goals are to change who bears the burdens of society to benefit the rich and create misery for the needy. They should go off to Somalia to see what it's like without a good state. [more...]
Michigan's weakened helmet use law leads to costlier injury claims [More...]
"The average insurance payment on a motorcycle injury claim rose substantially in Michigan after the state changed its helmet law to exempt most riders last year, a new analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) finds." [more...]
Black History Is American History [More...]
David Boaz writes: 'But I was asked not long ago, what’s the most important libertarian accomplishment in history? I said, “the abolition of slavery.”' This barefaced, jaw-dropping revisionism ignores the fact that all slavery was ended by government fiat, in this case during an enormous war. [more...]
Begging the Question with Style: Anarchy, State and Utopia at Thirty Years [More...]
Barbara Fried's brilliant analysis of the rhetorical (propaganda) techniques used by Robert Nozick in Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Starts with a list of substantive questions begged, moves on to some of his self-contradictions, and then addresses many rhetorical maneuvers. [more...]
TANSTAAFL
Acronym for "There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch". Used by libertarians to point out that "free" government programs have hidden costs in taxes. But of course the private sector has always been loaded with examples as well. Why is it OK for the private sector but not for government? [more...]
Liberty for me, but not for thee.
Libertarians want liberties for themselves, but don't really care about the liberty of others. Their primary desire is liberty for property owners (and thus the rich.) Libertarians want to dictate what liberties will exist for everybody. Examples abound. [more...]
Elon Musk is Not the Future [More...]
"Tech CEOs are out for themselves, not the public good." [more...]
Nudge Policies [More...]
"Once you have admitted that people's decisions are affected by these kinds of factors, an obvious question is whether public policy might make use of how decisions are presented to influence behavior." [more...]
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
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Gaps in the Market [More...]
"Standard economic theory tells us that firms [that discriminate] will be driven out by market competition... If men cannot overcome their sexism toward women when discussing the qualifications of female economists, then how can they assume that any job market -- or any market -- is free of discriminatory bias?" [more...]
Libertarianism Is Still a Mess [More...]
"The Libertarian Party is as ineffectual as it's ever been and has even managed to regress some... An enclave of stoners, sex hounds, basement-dwellers, pagan ritualists, amateur philosophers, goldbugs, and crypto-currency enthusiasts isn't fit to run a laundromat, let alone a country." [more...]
Crypto Cynics Stand to Profit the Most [More...]
"Bubbles, therefore, may be a uniquely predatory financial phenomenon -- a natural and perfectly legal equivalent of a Ponzi scheme that happens every time a new asset class or a new type of investing becomes legal or technologically feasible." [more...]
Billionaire's Failed Education Experiment Proves There's No Shortcut To Success [More...]
"Three years is a long time in the technology world, and there should have been several notable successes from the batches of 20–24 students that the Thiel Foundation admitted. If Thiel had delivered what he promised, these startups should have all been in the category of “world-changing”—and vast majority should still exist." [more...]
Timely Abraham Lincoln quote: Who defines Liberty? [More...]
"The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one." [more...]
Quantum Epistemology for Business [More...]
Decision making based on any data has problems analogous to those of Quantum Mechanics. These make pretenses to "rationality" heuristic at best. [more...]
Not an argument: The free market would have ended slavery [More...]
Stefan Molyneux's "The Truth About Slavery" is dismembered and ridiculed. "Even if you’re the Second Coming of Ayn Rand, you can’t deny that the profit motive was core to the entire enterprise of slavery." [more...]
Thomas Jefferson Feared an Aristocracy of Corporations [More...]
"The author of the Declaration of Independence warned against the threat to democracy posed by big banks and big corporations. Too bad the Supreme Court doesn't respect the original intent of the founders." [more...]
Big Tech: The New Predatory Capitalism [More...]
"The five largest global corporations by market value are the five tech firms named above... We already know these firms have crippled entrepreneurship... We already know they’ve concentrated economic gains in a few small enclaves... The question is no longer whether we have a problem with Big Tech; it’s what we’ll do about it." [more...]
Ludwig von Mises Explains (and Solves) Market Failure [More...]
David Glasner points out that Hayek was not a libertarian and Mises supported conscription and taxes. "[Mises] says that voluntary self-defense will not work. Why won’t it work? Because the market isn’t working." [more...]
State of innovation: Busting the private-sector myth [More...]
"Forget Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. It is government that should be credited for backing wealth-creating technology." [more...]
Financial Times 404notfound Application Errors Explained as Economics [More...]
The best 404 page ever, using 22 popular economics ideas to explain why you couldn't get the page you wanted. [more...]
Libertarianism is an Ideology Built on Neoclassical Economics [More...]
"One of the things that has always put me off libertarianism is that it clearly has neoclassical economics at its heart. The only difference is that all of the flaws – assumptions, rational economic man, framing issues as governments versus markets – are transposed onto a political ideology." [more...]
Governments, Markets and Class (and Libertarians) [More...]
Class analysis is a far superior tool for analysis than the libertarian false dichotomy between government and market. [more...]
How Natural is Capitalism, Exactly? [More...]
"The fact is that capitalism is a highly planned system with a questionable history -- there is nothing ‘natural’ about it." [more...]
Economic Decision Making and Libertarianism [More...]
"Behavioural economics makes the central libertarian mantra of being ‘free to choose’ completely incoherent." [more...]
A Brief Anti-Economist History [More...]
"The conclusion is clear, and something I have said before: western capitalism is neither harmonious nor natural. It is a product of specific historical circumstances, some of which were incredibly brutal. " [more...]
Milton Friedman on Corporations [More...]
"If corporations have no social responsibility, then presumably they are, in abstract, permitted to steal, defraud and coerce for their customers and shareholders?" [more...]
Milton Friedman’s Distortions [More...]
"He is generally perceived as able to shut down arguments from the left with simple, easy to understand, often amusing one liners. However, I have always found him unconvincing, and here I hope to show why." [more...]
The Fantasy of a Pure Market [More...]
The distinction between markets and government is blurred because property and contract rights are not obvious, and whatever their definitions end up as, they make the market not "pure". [more...]
Dispatches from Libertopia: An Anthology of Wingnut Chestnuts and Democratizing Remedies [More...]
151 brief statements about the nature of politics that mostly ridicule libertarian and other right-wing ideology and attitudes. [more...]
Libertarian Fundamentalism [More...]
"Many of the most powerful promoters of libertarian fundamentalism are themselves unscrupulous crony capitalists who gain advantage by corrupting and manipulating our legal and political institutions." [more...]
RationalWiki: John Stossel [More...]
The RationalWiki article on John Stossel. "In a 1996 address to the Federalist Society, Stossel was asked why he gave up being a consumer advocate in favor of being a corporatist/libertarian shill. His response: I got sick of it. I also now make so much money I just lost interest in saving a buck on a can of peas." [more...]
RationalWiki: Bryan Caplan against the childfree movement [More...]
A RationalWiki article which includes good ridicule of Bryan Caplan. [more...]
RationalWiki: Hans-Hermann Hoppe [More...]
The RationalWiki article on Hans-Hermann Hoppe. One section title says a lot: "Life from Rothbard's groupie to wingnut welfare recipient". [more...]
RationalWiki: Murray Rothbard [More...]
The RationalWiki article on Murray Rothbard. Includes a number of Rothbard's most extreme positions. [more...]
RationalWiki: Ayn Rand [More...]
The RationalWiki article on Ayn Rand. A relatively short summary, with funny summary of the TLDR Atlas Shrugged. [more...]
RationalWiki : Objectivism [More...]
The RationalWiki article on Objectivism. A readable big-picture overview of the innumerable faults. [more...]
RationalWiki : Political Compass [More...]
The RationalWiki article on the Political Compass, with four significant criticisms. [more...]
RationalWiki : Nolan chart [More...]
The RationalWiki article on the Nolan Chart, especially criticizing the The Worlds Smallest Political Quiz. [more...]
RationalWiki : Libertarian paradise [More...]
The RationalWiki article on libertarian experiments, frauds, and wishful thinking. [more...]
Under Neoliberalism, You Can Be Your Own Tyrannical Boss [More...]
Perfectionism makes us scornful of each other, afraid of each other, and unsure of ourselves at best. It prohibits the types of solidaristic bonds and collective action necessary to take on neoliberal capitalism, the very thing that generates it. The only possible antidote to atomizing, alienating perfectionism to reject absolute individualism and reintroduce collective values back into our society. [more...]
A Recession-Era Economic Myth Goes Up In Smok [More...]
"For years, the media was filled with stories about jobs going unfilled due to a lack of qualified workers. Now we know how wrong they were... It’s also a victory for left-wing economists, dealing a blow to the supply-side argument that inadequate worker skills are to blame for high unemployment." [more...]
Koch network laying groundwork to fundamentally transform America’s education system [More...]
"Making a long-term play, the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and his like-minded friends on the right are increasingly focused on melding the minds of the next generation by making massive, targeted investments in both K-12 and higher education." [more...]
Why Economists Should Look At Horses [More...]
This is an example of something common in economics – “as if” modelling. When real world evidence is not used for modelling. [more...]
Bubble, Bubble, Fraud and Trouble [More...]
"So is Bitcoin a giant bubble that will end in grief? Yes. But it’s a bubble wrapped in techno-mysticism inside a cocoon of libertarian ideology. " [more...]
Bitcoin and Illegal Activity [More...]
How much illegal activity is financed through cryptocurrencies? The estimate is 20% of the dollar value of transactions and 50% of holdings. [more...]
Privatisation is deeply unpopular with voters. Here's how to end it [More...]
"It is striking that, given the near-universal political consensus in favour of neoliberalism, and particularly privatisation, that the public has never embraced this idea. Indeed, far from becoming accustomed to privatisation, voters have become more resolutely hostile, as numerous Australian governments have found to their cost." [more...]
Decreasing the size of the state is very unpopular [More...]
More than 90% of Britons think taxation should stay the same or increase. High support for most government functions. [more...]
Libertarian Ideas the Public Rejects Strongly
Many fundamental ideas of libertarianism, such as greatly reducing or eliminating government, are vey strongly rejected by the public. [more...]