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Alcohol’s Secondhand Harms in the United States: New Data on Prevalence and Risk Factors [More...]
"One in five adults experienced at least one of ten 12-month harms because of someone else’s drinking." And if you consider lifetime harms, it is probably a much larger fraction. From the Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute. [more...]
Discrediting the Free Market [More...]
A review of The Progressive Assault on Laissez Faire which briefly clarifies both Barbara Fried's work and Robert Hale's work. A nice explanation of Hale's rejection of the concept of negative liberty and his idea that liberty can only be redistributed. [more...]
History of Libertarianism
Libertarianism, especially the economic aspects, has always been a front for monied interests. [more...]
The Decline of American Journalism Is an Antitrust Problem [More...]
"Weak antitrust enforcement set the stage for Facebook and Google to extract the fruits of publishers’ labor. We won’t be able to save journalism and solve our disinformation problem unless we weaken monopolies’ power." [more...]
Child Care
There is a large body of evidence that investments in child care pay back significant dividends in both the short run -- by helping mothers remain employed -- and in the long run, because well-cared-for children grow up into more productive adults. [more...]
Welcome to the Age of Surveillance Capitalism [More...]
All that information we’ve handed over can be used in insidious ways in the absence of government oversight. [more...]
Seeing Like a Communist [More...]
The viewpoint of communists and why that differs from that of libertarians. Lots of good things, such as: "It’s a childish delusion that you just so happen to live in the only civilization without propaganda." [more...]
The economic record of command economies in perspective [More...]
China and the former Soviet Union had very strong growth under centrally planned command economies. [more...]
The Invention of Fire [More...]
We need to move beyond arguments about whether there should be markets, or what proportion of production should be organised through markets. We need to instead start thinking about how we can control markets and when we should use them- the difference between free range fire, and fire in a hearth or forge. [more...]
Sometimes a story lets us think a bit more deeply about a subject. [more...]
Redistribution is not bad for economic growth: Evidence from the IMF [More...]
“…redistribution appears generally benign in terms of its impact on growth; only in extreme cases is there some evidence that it may have direct negative effects on growth. Thus the combined direct and indirect effects of redistribution — including the growth effects of the resulting lower inequality — are on average pro-growth.” [more...]
The Cost of not Redistributing Money Part 1 [More...]
"... from a utilitarian point of view, the United States is ‘wasting’ (again, not factoring in the costs of redistribution), at least a third and a bit of its income through the distributive inefficiency of its income allocation." [more...]
Median incomes aren’t keeping up with growth- however closely you look [More...]
"Over the period 1986–2015, the size of the economy per person grew by about 59%, whereas individual median salary income plus our estimate of non-wage compensation grew by about 31%." [more...]
Human nature isn’t a persuasive objection to left-wing ideas [More...]
Comparison between cultures and current societies show most "limitations" due to "human nature" to be ridiculous. [more...]
Against Libertarian Criticisms of Redistribution [More...]
The non-aggression principle tells us nothing, at least directly, about the topic of redistribution because rightful ownership is complex. theories of property rights would need to justify the existing distribution of property and do so without appealing to the state. That doesn't work at all in the real world. [more...]
The Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom Index is bad [More...]
The problem with freedom indexes is this. They are aggregates of separate variables, some of which indicate small government, others of which indicate what would uncontroversially be regarded as ‘good government’. It is the good government indicators, not the small government indicators, which actually correlate with GDP per capita- the measure that the Heritage foundation uses to tout the success of their metric. [more...]
Drug overdoses killed more Americans last year than the Vietnam War [More...]
"According to the report [CDC 2016], more Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 than the number of American lives lost in the entirety of the Vietnam War, which totaled 58,200." This is a capitalist harm, exceeding homicides, suicides, and motor vehicle deaths. [more...]
Libertarianism Without Foundations [More...]
Thomas Nagel savages Anarchy, State, and Utopia. "Nozick starts from the unargued premise that individuals have certain inviolable rights which may not be intentionally transgressed by other individuals or the state for any purpose." Nagel explains why that is begging the question. [more...]
WE’rE a rEPuBLiC nOt A dEMoCRacY [More...]
To say that the United States is not a democracy is correct if democracy is defined in a way that no government on Earth, past or present, qualifies as one. It is as useful to say, “The Vietnam War wasn’t a war, because Congress didn’t declare war.” [more...]
Peace Through Trade
An idea credited to Cordell Hull, who was Secretary of State to FDR and a co-founder of the United Nations. Part of the Good Neighbor policy. [more...]
The Tragedy of the Tragedy of the Commons [More...]
The man who wrote one of environmentalism’s most-cited essays was a racist, eugenicist, nativist and Islamaphobe -- plus his argument was wrong. [more...]
The Full Extent of Subjective Valuation [More...]
"The reality is that this consent-coercion dichotomy is a false one, and that instead the monopolisation of coercion, and the limitation of alternatives are better areas for libertarians to oppose when developing critiques. The full extent of subjective valuation presents one such mechanism, but libertarians need to unchain themselves from false narratives that focus on private property, profit or markets as the main axiomatic functions of systems of subjective valuation." [more...]
James Buchanan Calling the Kettle Black [More...]
"Buchanan’s assertion was substantively problematic in two respects. The first, which is straightforward and well-known, and which Buchanan was obviously wrong not to acknowledge, is that there are obvious circumstances in which a minimum-wage law could simultaneously raise wages and reduce unemployment without contradicting the inverse relationship between quantity demanded and price." [more...]
A Glut of Easy Money Is Clogging City Streets [More...]
"Lyft and Uber have artificially reduced the price of a car ride in dense global cities such as New York—and so they have artificially increased the demand for such rides. Over the past decade, the number of registered for-hire cars in New York City, for example, has nearly tripled. Traffic speeds have fallen to record lows." [more...]
Market Incomes Will Always Produce Hideous Inequality [More...]
"Due to the fact that half of the population is locked out of market income, there simply is no path to low social inequality that does not rely heavily on the welfare state, aka taxes and transfers." [more...]
Worst-case deadweight loss: Theory and disturbing real-world implications [More...]
The deadweight loss from a monopolist’s not producing at all can be much greater than from charging too high a price. The column argues that the potential for this sort of deadweight loss is greatest when the market demand curve has a particular (Zipf) shape. Calibrations based on the world distribution of income generate this shape, with disturbing consequences for potential deadweight loss in global markets. [more...]
Corporations are endangering Americans. Trump doesn't care [More...]
"These are just tips of a vast iceberg of regulatory neglect, frozen into place by Trump’s appointees, of which at least 187 were lobbyists before they joined the administration." [more...]
Who is paying for Monsanto's crimes? We are [More...]
A US court ordered Monsanto to pay $80m in damages because it hid cancer risks. That’s a small consolation for victims. [more...]
Charter schools are starting to look a lot like payday lenders and for-profit colleges [More...]
The daily drip of charter school scandals is revealing an industry that often preys on those they claim to be trying to help. [more...]
The Hohfeldian Analytical Framework [More...]
According to Hohfeld, "the term 'right' tends to be used indiscriminately to cover what in a given case may be a privilege, a power, or an immunity, rather than a right in the strictest sense". [more...]
Why Isn’t There More Progress in Philosophy? [More...]
There has not been large collective convergence to the truth on the big questions of philosophy. On 23 of 30 important modern questions, there is less than 60% support for the leading answer among philosophers. 8 explanations are presented for the lack of convergence in philosophy. [more...]
Invisible Middlemen Are Slowing Down American Health Care [More...]
"In stories about PBMs [pharmacy benefit managers], the word shadowy comes up, as does cockamamie. They don’t disclose publicly how much they profit from rebates, and there are so many players in any given health transaction that the buck is very easily passed on to someone else. " [more...]
Progressive Capitalism Is Not an Oxymoron [More...]
"As an economist, I am always asked: Can we afford to provide this middle-class life for most, let alone all, Americans? Somehow, we did when we were a much poorer country in the years after World War II." [more...]
Restoring Antimonopoly Through Bright-Line Rules [More...]
"From the first, effective antimonopoly policy has relied on simple, bright-line rules. Today again, a comprehensive set of simple structural limitations -- implemented through legislation, regulation, and policy guidance -- is critical to protecting our democracy and our most fundamental liberties." [more...]
What explains occupational licensing? [More...]
"... the standard public choice account tends to emphasize professions such as florists and horse masseuses, for which the public interest rationale seems implausible, but which do not make up a large fraction of workers. This emphasis obscures the fact that some of the most important and consequential harms of licensing occur in traditionally licensed fields such as health care and law where there is a stronger justification for licensing..." [more...]
How Your Employer Uses Perks Like Wellness Programs, Phones And Free Food To Control Your Life [More...]
Don't assume those benefits are just for you. Employers have their own reasons for offering them, too. [more...]
The 140-Year-Old Dream of ‘Government Without Taxation’ [More...]
"In 1879, a political economist argued that wealth derived from land value belonged to the American public. Today, economists are reviving interest in his ideas as a way to combat wealth disparities." [more...]
Private Prisons Are a Failed Experiment [More...]
"Implementing criminal justice is one of the most critical, central functions of a state. Prison privatization turns this function over to contractors with comparatively little accountability. That opens the door for both cost overruns and mistreating inmates." [more...]
Yes, Government Should Regulate Automated Decision-Making [More...]
"Evidence is mounting for the idea that algorithms should be subjected to public policy tests, and political will is gaining momentum. " [more...]
Blockchain Hype Missed the Mark, and Not by a Little [More...]
The technology might still change the world, but all the skepticism seems warranted. [more...]
Immigration Policy Guide: Pro [More...]
A Columbia University guide to the diversity of active organizations. Libertarians are not there. [more...]
Why the U.S. Should Adopt the Nordic Approach to Private Roads [More...]
A puff piece for privatization that ignores the fact that Nordic Private Road Associations are mandatory socialist organizations licensed by government with power to assess dues (taxes) to people adjacent to roads. And if they receive government subsidy (40+% do), they are required to be open to all. [more...]
Private Road Associations (PRAs)
Based on European models. Overlooks the fact that association membership is not voluntary, dues (taxes) are assessed, government provides support, and that such roads handle roughly 4% of traffic per year (the rest being on government-operated roads.) We already have a similar system in the USA: county and town operation of roads through local governance. It obviously isn’t an instance of solving the coordination and freeloading problems without government. Thus it’s useless as an example. [more...]
Thomas Sowell: Idiot Emeritus [More...]
"Godwin’s Law states that the longer an online discussion goes, the greater the chance of a Nazi reference. No matter what the forum, unless the subject is the Nazis or genocide, anyone making such a comparison automatically loses the argument. Period. By this standard alone, syndicated Conservative columnist Thomas Sowell is the Biggest Loser. [more...]
Violence, the Fundamental Attribution Error, and Contempt for the Poor [More...]
Paul Gowder lambastes Bryan Caplan. "Caplan leaps to a single explanation for all of the self-harming behavior of poor people: it’s because they’re irrational and stupid. This reflects less on the supposed inability of the poor to run their lives than it does on Caplan’s inability to imagine the circumstances of anyone other than himself." [more...]
A Poverty of Imagination: Blaming the Poor for Inequality [More...]
"Many British people still prefer to blame the poor for their poverty, just as they did in the nineteenth century. One can only wonder whether, and indeed how, such pervasive attitudes will ever change." [more...]
Blaming the Poor
Blaming the poor for their poverty is a classic right-wing trope that bears little relationship to reality. Poverty is built into our society the way the game of musical chairs has one winner and several losers. What may seem irrational may be due to different options and the psychological effects of poverty. [more...]
Coercion (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) [More...]
Includes Robert Nozick's framework, which pretty clearly indicates that property is coercive. Peculiarly, Nozick's framework overlooks direct, forcible coercion such as compulsion, injury or imprisonment. [more...]
The Tilted Political Compass, Part 2: Up and Down [More...]
Completion of the alternative, and comparison to some already-existing alternatives. [more...]
The Tilted Political Compass, Part 1: Left and Right [More...]
An excellent criticism of the methodology of the Political Compass and a good derivation of an alternative. [more...]
The 24 Types of Libertarian [More...]
Balding white guy: no fair oversimplifying our simplistic philosophy! [more...]
Propertarianism and Fascism [More...]
"That the new “libertarians” were not particularly libertarian has been noted by many perplexed observers for they regularly express authoritarian ideas while wholeheartedly supporting the authoritarian social-relationships which genuine libertarians had opposed. This is why the ideology is better termed propertarianism." [more...]
States' Rights
A term that in recent political usage is a dog-whistle code word for discrimination, segregation, and opposition to civil rights. It also has a valid constitutional law meaning. [more...]
Child Sex
AKA pedophilia, hebophilia, child pornography, etc. Libertarian ideology provides no check on this, and in some cases actively promotes it by proposing eliminating age of majority and other regulations. Libertarianism is a refuge for pedophiles and the like. [more...]
The crackpot idea that unlimited despoliation of the environment and unending population increase are a good. Makes the pollyanna assumption that technical solutions to problems of resource exhaustion and other crises will always arrive in time to prevent catastrophes. Promoted extensively by Julian Simon. [more...]
When Workers Decide: Workplace Democracy Takes Root in America
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Economyths: 11 Ways That Economics Gets it Wrong
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The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations are Laying the Foundation for Socialism
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On Freedom
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Libertarians on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books
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Too big to ignore [More...]
Monopolies and oligopolies have come to dominate Western economies, and the case for breaking them up is strong. [more...]
Advancing White Supremacy Through Academic Strategy [More...]
The report’s chapters describe the interwoven infrastructure of neo-confederate scholars, funded by the Charles Koch Foundation, who are training and recruiting the next generation of anti-civil rights Austrian economists. We explore the dangerous ideologies involved in this network, past and present, including recent influence on the violent Alt-Right and Neo-Nazis. These ideas are also inflicted upon prisoners. [more...]
Self-Driving Cars May Hit People With Darker Skin More Often [More...]
We already knew that some facial recognition systems struggle to accurately identify people with darker skin. Now we know that many of the artificially intelligent systems designed to help autonomous cars navigate roads have the same problem. [more...]
The New Deal Wasn’t What You Think [More...]
The new deal worked in large part by encouraging capitalism, and channelling private investment into publicly desirable investments. It innovated new systems of insurance to guarantee loans, and delivered profits to businesses in peril during the Depression. Unionists, farmers, and consumers benefited as well, all without the government needing to spend a dime of taxpayer money. [more...]
Ron Paul and his Libertarians are waking up [More...]
An enumeration of the many reactionary Austrian libertarian authors who have supported fascism, monarchy, dictatorship and other anti-democratic systems. [more...]
The Public Really Can Own Everything [More...]
The genius of modern finance has been to create corporate ownership arrangements that allow basically anyone, including the government, to own shares of any company in any sector while being as involved (or uninvolved) as they want to be in steering the company. A federal social wealth fund, like the one I advocate, should be able to take advantage of modern shareholding institutions to expand public ownership into every aspect of the US economy. [more...]
The Road to Digital Serfdom? The Visible Hand of Surveillance Capitalism [More...]
"The combination of knowledge and freedom works to accelerate the asymmetry of power between surveillance capitalists and the societies in which they operate. This cycle will be broken only when we acknowledge as citizens, as societies, and indeed as a civilization that surveillance capitalists know too much to qualify for freedom." [more...]
Why Americans Don’t Cheat on Their Taxes [More...]
The weirdly hopeful story of how the U.S. came to be a leader in tax compliance. "The majority of Americans (88%) say it is not at all acceptable to cheat on taxes; this ethical attitude is not changing over time." [more...]
Koch Brothers Pushing Garbage Libertarian “Textbook” On Poor Schools [More...]
5 good links to articles about the Kochs trying to inject their views into pre-college education. [more...]
Widespread "Libertarian" Spam on Wikipedia [More...]
A simple exploration of one layer of libertarian propaganda injected into Wikipedia. There is a great deal more. [more...]
A Centuries-Old Idea Could Revolutionize Climate Policy
Hamilton, in short, successfully used the power of the federal government to boost manufacturing, to pick winners and losers, and to shape the fate of the U.S. economy. He is the father of American industrial policy: the set of laws and regulations that say the federal government can guide economic growth without micromanaging it. And the Green New Deal, for all its socialist regalia, only makes sense in light of his capitalistic work. [more...]
Little Libertarians on the Prairie: The Hidden Politics Behind a Children’s Classic [More...]
Neither woman set out to indoctrinate children with their political views, but their beliefs in individual freedom, free markets and limited government can be seen in the pages of the “Little House” books. [more...]
Economics After Neoliberalism [More...]
Many of the dominant policy ideas of the last few decades are supported neither by sound economics nor by good evidence. Neoliberalism—or market fundamentalism, market fetishism, etc.—is not the consistent application of modern economics, but its primitive, simplistic perversion. [more...]
The friendly extortioner takes it all [More...]
Libertarians frequently claim non-violent cooperation beats other strategies. That's not true in the Prisoner's Dilemma. [more...]
Private Mossad for Hire [More...]
Covert operations can be purchased for commercial and political puposes. [more...]
Police Policy For Sale [More...]
Lexipol, a private for-profit company, has quietly become one of the most powerful voices in law enforcement policymaking in the country. As a result, a large portion of American police policy is now being drafted by a little-known private company with no public oversight. [more...]
Ron Paul’s Campaign Manager Died Sick and Uninsured, the Way ‘Freedom’ Allows [More...]
Ron Paul cried cocodile tears for his campaign manager's death due to lack of health insurance that he should have provided. [more...]
Canadian case is another warning about the murky world of cryptocurrency [More...]
Canadians who have lost about $200 million escaping the control of "fiat currency," backed by governments, and market regulation are now asking for help from the authorities to try to get their money back. [more...]
Amazon Can’t Fix Facial Recognition [More...]
"The whole ecosystem of artificial intelligence is optimized for a lack of accountability. Neither the builders nor the users need think too much about the potential consequences of its application, or of mistakes in the code. This is particularly troubling in the realm of facial recognition, which can easily cross the line between useful and creepy. " [more...]
Zoning Reform Alone Won’t Make Housing More Affordable [More...]
Zoning reform results in speculative increases in land value, but not necessarily lower costs of housing. [more...]
When is more competition bad? [More...]
Applying Economics To Bacon [More...]
The market is too complex for consumers to understand and compare all the options. We have neither the time, the knowledge nor the patience to buy and taste 40 different types of bacon and find which is the best. Instead we guess. This means that an inefficient (either overpriced or poor quality) product can remain on the market for a long time and may even dominate. [more...]
4 Ways We Are Not Rational And How It Affects Economics [More...]
Economics is still taught as if people were unemotional rational actors, unswayed in their quest for maximum efficiency. [more...]
No One Has Time For A Completely Free Market [More...]
No human has the time or willingness to do a full and comprehensive comparison of all the economic costs and benefits... This is why regulation is actually helpful to consumers and simplifies life." [more...]
Regardless Of Its Price, Bitcoin Is A Flawed Currency [More...]
It doesn’t matter how high or low the price soars, if people don’t spend it then it has failed as a currency. [more...]
11 questions to see if libertarians are hypocrites [More...]
"But the libertarian movement has seen a strong resurgence in recent years, and there’s a simple reason for that: money, and the personal interests of some people who have a lot of it... This revival is Koch-fueled, not coke-fueled, and exists only because in political debate, as in so many other walks of life, cash is king." [more...]
The Uneasy Case Against Occupational Licensing (Part 1) [More...]
"Licensing rules are not interventions against a backdrop of natural non-intervention. Law governing market structure is always a matter of determining which privileges and responsibilities one brings to potential exchanges. " [more...]
The Politics of Professionalism: Reappraising Occupational Licensure and Competition Policy [More...]
Occupational licensing should reflect an expansive conception of the public interest and be the product of democratic decisionmaking — not a technocratic mission to advance an esoteric notion of “efficiency.” [more...]
The Uneasy Case Against Occupational Licensing (Part 2) [More...]
The anti-licensing juggernaut makes sweeping claims that cannot be supported on the basis of extant empirical evidence. Nor are they theoretically compelling. [more...]
Leave John Locke in the Dustbin of History [More...]
Some scholars and writers are trying to rehabilitate John Locke. They shouldn't — he was an apologist for slavery, not a champion of freedom. [more...]
The State as the Foundation of Property [More...]
"... property rights depend not simply on government recognition but recognition by the right government, the government with the power to declare title valid or invalid." [more...]
Stealing from the Poor and Giving to the Rich in the Workplace [More...]
Many companies treat wage theft as part of their business model. [more...]
The Greatest Anticompetitive Threat of Our Time: Fixing the Horizontal Shareholding Problem [More...]
"Common sense and economic theory indicates that firms with the same leading shareholders are less likely to compete vigorously against each other." [more...]
Review of Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy [More...]
"Sowell's presentation is severely unbalanced in thepresentation of basic economic issues... Sowell treats market vs. state as a competition in which the market is almost always "good" and the state intervention almost always a disaster. By contrast, modern economic theory presents economic development as the joint growth and inextricable interaction of both state and market." [more...]
Kirkus Review -- Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy [More...]
"Sowell’s economics in a social vacuum is as meaningful as color in the absence of light." [more...]
Thomas Sowell
A black neoliberal propagandist with The Hoover Institution for the past 40 years. While he does have a legitimate PhD from U. of Chicago, he has not written any peer-reviewed research articles in those 40 years. Instead, he churns out Economics 101 propaganda opposing liberal policies. [more...]
Worse Than Lead? [More...]
An extensive history corporate malfeasance with lead additives in gasoline and the history of the marketing of flame retardants despite knowledge that they were not safe nor effective. [more...]
The Secret History of Lead [More...]
"There is at least one simple lesson to be drawn from the tetraethyl lead story. Industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself, as Clair Patterson -- the man who dated the earth and single-handedly deflated ethylized science -- once remarked." [more...]
Congo Free State [More...]
King Leopold II of Belgium privately owned the Congo Free State. The atrocities (including cutting off hands for failure to meet rubber quotas) may have killed half the population. [more...]
Private ownership on the scale of a state.
Private ownership of large areas is not much different than a state, except that the profit motive can incentivize harming the people. Atrocities result, as we see with the Congo Free State and the British East India Company. [more...]
The magical thinking of guys who love logic [More...]
A good job of ridiculing young me who claim to be using "reason". "facts", "logic" and "unbiased". "These words are usually used interchangeably and without regard to their proper usage, squished together in a vague Play-Doh ball of smug superiority..." [more...]
John Galton Wanted Libertarian Paradise in ‘Anarchapulco.’ He Got Bullets Instead. [More...]
"A bitcoin millionaire created a haven for ‘anarcho-capitalists’ in Mexico. When one of his followers was killed, he said it was just the cost of doing business." [more...]
A festival for anarcho-capitalists run by scammers in Acapulco, Mexico, with hopes of encouraging many to become residents of the region and build a new community of government-evaders. [more...]
Libertarians frequently ignore the problem of risks to pretend that liberties, "victimless crimes" and unregulated industries have no externalities. [more...]
The Role of Public Health Improvements in Health Advances: The 20th Century United States [More...]
"Rough calculations suggest that the social rate of return to these [clean water] technologies was greater than 23 to 1 with a cost per life-year saved by clean water of about $500 in 2003 dollars." [more...]
Clean Water
The public provision of clean water has saved countless millions of lives since Roman Times. [more...]
Why Blacks Aren’t Libertarians [More...]
"As long as leaving America’s most vulnerable unprotected remains a core piece of libertarianism, it is unlikely that the libertarian movement will find many allies in communities of color." [more...]
Rethinking collective action and U.S. labor laws in a monopsonistic economy [More...]
"Many economists point to this disconcerting rise in market power as leading to a simultaneous rise in monopsony power—the ability of the firm to have an influence over the determination of workers’ wages—which may contribute to the persistence of stagnant wages despite relatively low headline unemployment numbers in recent times." [more...]
Ayn Rand Was an Illegal Immigrant [More...]
Rand lied and bent every rule to gain entry into the United States. [more...]
Hayek, the Common Law, and Fluid Drive [More...]
"Hayek’s confusion of customary and common law ultimately caused his argument for the law of liberty to crash." [more...]
Is “Know It When I See It” Enough? [More...]
"Spontaneous orders arise out of planned, intentional actions, so the phenomenon of spontaneous order cannot counsel us against planned, intentional actions. Since constructivism is a component of spontaneous order, spontaneous order gives us no traction for a critique of planning." [more...]
Unmade, Amoral Orders Composed of Made, Moral Orders? A Response to John Hasnas [More...]
"Hayek has given insufficient ground for distinguishing a constructed from a spontaneous order. Indeed, the basic problem is that Hayek incorporates constructed orders into his definition of spontaneous orders, resulting in a sort of logical nesting doll or fun-house mirror in which any action can qualify as constructed or spontaneous depending on how one frames the issue." [more...]
Some Problems with Spontaneous Order [More...]
"It is not possible to distinguish in principle, either descriptively or normatively, between spontaneous and constructed orders. Instead, the difference depends entirely on the observer’s frame of reference." A convincing explanation of how Hayek pulls a hand-waving fast one. [more...]
Broken Window Fallacy
This fallacy does not let us distinguish between an arsonist destroying a building and an investor who demolished the building. In either caase something new would be put in its place, often much better. [more...]
Ancient Ireland Was Not Libertarian [More...]
"So the claim that Celtic Ireland was Libertarian isn’t a historical claim, its a propaganda claim. This can be seen by the fact that this claim has never been published in a historical journal or by any historian, instead it is only made by Libertarian political and philosophical theorists." [more...]
How To Debunk Most Conspiracy Theories [More...]
The flaw is that they fall apart if you reverse them. Usually, people take an event and work backwards to form a theory about what group planned it as a conspiracy. However, if you work from the opposite direction by taking the alleged group and asking if the event is the best way to fulfil their aims, the answer is almost always no. [more...]
Ecosystem services [More...]
Ecosystem services are the many and varied benefits that humans freely gain from the natural environment and from properly-functioning ecosystems. Such ecosystems include, for example, agroecosystems, forest ecosystems, grassland ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are becoming known as 'ecosystem services', and are often integral to the provisioning of clean drinking water, the decomposition of wastes, and the natural pollination of crops and other plants. [more...]
Single principles of Libertarianism
Libertarians have a dazzling array of conflicting and irrational single principles that they use to define their ideology. (Under Construction) [more...]
Revealed: the free-market groups helping the tobacco industry [More...]
Free-market thinktanks around the world provide a powerful voice of support to cigarette manufacturers in battles against tougher regulations, a Guardian investigation shows. [more...]
Literature Critical of Capitalism
Capitalism is criticized in a great deal of literature. This isn't necessarily opposition to ANY capitalism, but rather a call to limiting its harms. [more...]
A Lazy New Year's Eve Morn on Twitter... [More...]
I have heard a lot of people who call themselves "libertarians" say and sagely nod at others’ saying that utility derived from satisfying a taste for discrimination is a proper thing to include in a social welfare function—and they are often the same people who are outraged at counting utility from redistribution, envy, or theft. [more...]
Tom the Dancing Bug: A Desert Island Recession [More...]
A simple and clear comic example of how a shock can cause a recession. [more...]
Libertarianism Is Conservative
Conservative in the sense that the Koch-sponsored movement would create an aristocracy based on wealth, a plutocracy. [more...]
Last Week Tonight Asks, How Is Ayn Rand Still A Thing? [More...]
"John Oliver's Last Week Tonight takes on the Ayn Rand loving right wing conservatives and wonders why they don't find another hero to worship when there are so many others to choose from given Rand's views on abortion, God and St. Ronnie." [more...]
Economics in Two Lessons: Why Markets Work So Well, and Why They Can Fail So Badly
An excellent academic (but readable) rebuttal to the propaganda in Economics in One Lesson, the fallacies of Economics 101, some Chicago Economics and some Austrian Economics. Very simply, markets do not take into account ALL opportunity costs. [more...]
The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great
"Harvey Kaye gives passionate voice to the Greatest Generation and argues not only that the root of their “greatness” stemmed from their commitment to equality, change, and progressive politics, but why modern generations should follow their lead." [more...]
The Four Freedoms: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Evolution of an American Idea
"In this sweeping look at the way American conceptions of freedom have evolved over time,The Four Freedoms brings to light a new portrait of who Americans were in 1941 and who they have become today in their own eyes-and in the eyes of the entire world." [more...]
R/Libertarian encouraging countries to do away with speed limits in the name of safety [More...]
A Reddit posting where the example of the German Autobahn is shown to work because of non-libertarian principles such as other much higher regulation and more public spending on road quality. [more...]
The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition
A few very powerful companies dominate key industries that affect our daily lives. Digital monopolies like Google, Facebook and Amazon act as gatekeepers to the digital world. Amazon is capturing almost all online shopping dollars. We have the illusion of choice, but for most critical decisions, we have only one or two companies, when it comes to high speed Internet, health insurance, medical care, mortgage title insurance, social networks, Internet searches, or even consumer goods like toothpaste. [more...]
A Forgotten Legacy of George H. W. Bush [More...]
Acid rain was and international problem solved with a cap-and-trade program in the 90s, despite industry resistance and denialism. [more...]
The Mercatus Center’s Estimate of the Costs of a National Single-Payer Healthcare System: Ideology Masquerading as Health Economics [More...]
Blahous’ biased, anti-single payer estimate inadvertently bolsters the evidence that a single payer reform would greatly increase the efficiency and fairness of the U.S. health care system. [more...]
The Alternative to Ideology [More...]
Jerry Taylor of the Niskanen Center claims to ditch corporate libertarianism in favor of more social justice. He accuses most libertarians of having drunk the kool-ade of Koch ideology. [more...]
The problem with Michael Bloomberg’s massive donation to Johns Hopkins University [More...]
This $1.8 billion dollar donation will only assist a few less-needy students. Very inefficient. [more...]
How Did Private Property Start? [More...]
"Libertarians tend to get flummoxed when confronted with this simple question... How does something that was once unowned become owned without nonconsensually destroying others’ liberty? It is impossible. This means that libertarian systems of thought literally cannot get off the ground." [more...]
The Second Half of Watergate Was Bigger, Worse, and Forgotten By the Public [More...]
The monumental extent of corruption of foreign governments by corporations. An excerpt adapted from Kickback: Exposing the Global Corporate Bribery Network. [more...]
The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy
A history and rebuttal of industry-funded climate change denialism. [more...]
Existential Comics 259: A Dialogue on Freedom [More...]
An Existential Comics explanation of how Robert Nozick's criticism of Utilitarianism hoists him by his own petard. A good criticism of oppression of non-owners, but misses the fact that corporations are real-world immortal "freedom monsters". Both monsters are unrealistic in that they differ strongly from (are unequal to) rather equal humans. "Realistic" philosophy would concern itself with the rather equal humans. [more...]
What is Capitalism? [More...]
"The term “capitalism” gets thrown around an awful lot, both by those who take it to represent one of humanity’s great innovations, and those who take it to represent a system of oppression. But what is capitalism, such that it might be a scourge or savior? " [more...]
Authoritarian Capitalism: Sovereign Wealth Funds and State-Owned Enterprises in East Asia and Beyond
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Understanding Power: The Indispensible Chomsky
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Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
"The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and incontestable, even when they're wrong." [more...]
Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society
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The Invisible Hook: How Pirate Society Proves Economic Self-Interest Wrong [More...]
Capitalism, Socialism, and Unfreedom [More...]
Minimal government doesn’t remove power from our lives [more...]
The Case for Low Capital-Gains Taxes Grows Weaker [More...]
Evidence shows that rate cuts in 2003 did nothing to spur business investment. [more...]
Behind Janus: Documents Reveal Decade-Long Plot to Kill Public-Sector Unions [More...]
"The Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME is poised to decimate public-sector unions—and it’s been made possible by a network of right-wing billionaires, think tanks and corporations." [more...]
Libertarians, Welfare and Private Charities: Why Haven’t They? [More...]
'libertarians know that human altruism is never strong enough to eradicate poverty. If it was, we’d have done it already, many times over. When libertarians trot out private charities and churches as the obvious sources of aid for a welfare-free society, what they’re doing is plugging the hole in their sinking argument because it’d be just too crass to say, “Let them eat cake.”' [more...]
Pharyngula Wiki: Libertarians [More...]
Yes Libertarians really do hate the Poor [More...]
"Just as the advocates of slavery and segregation claimed that their system helped blacks by upholding “the natural order of things”, the advocates of laissez faire claim that their policies will help the poor by doing the same. However, in reality, just like slavery and segregation, laissez faire is nothing more than a system which benefits affluent white males at the expense of everyone else." [more...]
Urban Dictionary: libertarian [More...]
Libertarian economics: A philosophical critique [More...]
Libertarians And Charity [More...]
A Libertarian Fallacy: Returning to Private Charity Is Freedom [More...]
Virtue Ethics and Broken Windows or Why I Am Not A Libertarian [More...]
The Problem of Private Ambulance Services [More...]
"Taxation Is Theft" will continue to alienate potential voters until it is revised [More...]
Transaction Costs and Tethers: Why I’m a Crypto Skeptic [More...]
Gurgaon: what life is like in the Indian city built by private companies [More...]
Why I am Not a Libertarian [More...]
I used to be a Libertarian [More...]
I used to be a libertarian. But then someone stole my gold clubs. [More...]
Paine on Basic Income and Human Rights [More...]
The New Road to Serfdom: The Curse of Bigness and the Failure of Antitrust [More...]
"Consolidated power -- both governmental and commercial -- threatens freedom. Just as constitutional law is a key tool for limiting consolidated governmental power, antitrust law is a key tool for limiting consolidated commercial power. An antitrust policy that forgets that reneges on one of its most critical historical roles." [more...]
One of Thomas Sowell's best ideas is one conservatives/libertarians never use. And neither does he. [More...]
Sowell and most other libertarians and economic conservatives are guilty of not considering second and third stage consequences of their preferred policies. (Or at least not publicly considering them since they might not be popular.) [more...]
How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country [More...]
Elon Musk: Greatest Man Alive [More...]
A Basic Economics/Free Market Guide to Making Sports Great Again [More...]
What Does Sweden Teach Us About Fighting Inequality? [More...]
Why We Should Worry About Monopsony [More...]
Libertarian Punishment Theory: Working for, and Donating to, the State [More...]
The Case for a US Public Banking Option [More...]
The Promise and Peril of South African Land Reform [More...]
Economic Security Programs Cut Poverty Nearly in Half Over Last 50 Years, New Data Show [More...]
Creating a Science of Liberty [More...]
The Malaria Clock: http://junksciencearchive.com/malaria clock.htmlA Green Eco-Imperialist Legacy of Death [More...]
Steven Milloy's Junk Science website claims 18 billion cases of malaria in 45 years (as of 2018), and blames them all on a ban WHICH APPLIED ONLY TO AGRICULTURAL USES, not on uses in homes. This guy's the worst. [more...]
Alcohol responsible for one in 20 deaths worldwide: WHO [More...]
"Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year -- more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said..." [more...]
The Alcohol Industry
The alcohol industry is responsible for roughly 6 times more deaths than are due to violence. In addition, there are high secondhand harms. Taxation to raise the price and bans on advertising are very effective at reducing sales and demand. Worldwide, public health measures are reducing consumption. [more...]
Alternatives To Markets
It is easy to forget that the vast majority of economic activity occurs outside of markets, and is outside of markets for good reasons. Environmental services, household production (including raising children), production of public goods and central planning of production within corporations all lie outside of markets. There are also important non-market mechanisms such as Matching Theory. [more...]
World War II Rationing [More...]
"Rationing was introduced to avoid public anger with shortages and not to allow only the wealthy to purchase commodities." [more...]
Rationing is a non-market solution for shortages which emphasizes fairness, as opposed to Price Gouging which burdens the poor. In wars and disasters, temporary rationing is an important tool. [more...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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 market failures. 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...]