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NEW 3/10/2019: Too big to ignore [More...]
Monopolies and oligopolies have come to dominate Western economies, and the case for breaking them up is strong. [more...]
NEW 3/10/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/10/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/10/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/10/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/10/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/10/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/10/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/10/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/10/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: Private Mossad for Hire [More...]
Covert operations can be purchased for commercial and political puposes. [more...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: When is more competition bad? [More...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/09/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/06/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/06/2019: 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...]
NEW 3/06/2019: 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...]
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. 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...]
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...]
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. Used to oppose Keynesian economics. [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...]