Libertarian Papers

Displaying 1 - 20 of 105
Michael E. Marotta

This anthology delivers 17 authoritative essays by accomplished scholars, surveying the sweep of history as seen from the vantage point of  trade and commerce. The presentations on ten cultures from 20 different researchers are necessarily varied in perspective. Uniting them are their answers to the question, “What is entrepreneurship?” In the Preface by William J. Baumol, three hypotheses are presented. First, entrepreneurs find practical application for new inventions. However, in addition to those obviously creative actions, corrosive enterprises enrich their operatives without apparent net benefit to others. That, too, is enterprise because (third) “the direction taken by entrepreneurial activity depends heavily, at any particular time and in any particular society, on the prevailing institutional arrangements and the relative payoffs they offer...” Of course, other definitions have been offered. Peter Schumpeter, Israel Kirzner, Fran Knight, and even John Keynes, are referenced across the essays. But these three hypotheses frame those other views.

Dan Mahoney

Abstract: In this paper we extend an argument originally developed in Hülsmann (2009) to analyze changes to the structure of production that occur when the demand for money changes. In particular, we show that Hülsmann’s argument, which contrasted such changes under commodity and fiat systems, applies as well to the case of 100% reserve systems contrasted with fractional reserve free banking systems (FR/FB). Specifically, we argue that under a 100% reserve system, the structure of production will change in response to a change in demand for money, and that it will not under FR/FB. In fact, such changes are beneficial. Since one of the central arguments in defense of FR/FB is precisely the fact that it avoids such changes to the structure of production (at least more readily than 100% reserve systems), we conclude that this argument amounts to comparing different mechanisms for attaining different equilibrium states, and hence is invalid as a defense of that mechanism (FR/FB) as such.

Wendy McElroy

One intellectual circle in particular exerted a profound influence on the development of my thinking on intellectual property: the anarcho-capitalists who banded around Samuel Konkin III.

Morgan A. Brown

In the Preface to his new book, Why Marx Was Right  University of Lancaster professor of literature and literary critic Terry Eagleton sums up his latest approach to Marxian apologetics in a bout of wishful thinking: “What if all the most familiar objections to Marx’s work are mistaken?”


Graham Dawson

Abstract: The goal has been to devise a strategy that protects as much as possible the rights and liberties of all agents, both users of fossil fuels and people whose livelihoods and territories are at risk if the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis is true. To achieve this goal the standard climate policy instruments, taxes and emissions trading, should be discontinued. There are weaknesses in the theoretical perspectives used to justify these policy instruments and climate science cannot provide the knowledge that would be needed to justify their implementation. In their place I propose a privatised policy, based on Austrian and libertarian frameworks of thought, which share an interpretation of climate change as a putative interpersonal conflict rather than market failure. The use of fossil fuels, like any other economic activity, should be subject to side-constraints designed to avoid the infringement of other people’s property rights. Tort litigation on the basis of strict liability would protect these rights, insofar as they need protecting. By providing a public arena for the competitive testing of scientific hypotheses concerning climate change, such litigation would also promote the public understanding and even the advancement of climate science.

Nikolay Gertchev

Abstract: This paper raises the question whether the Economic Nobel Prize is ideologically biased. Based on a review of a significant number of the Prize Committee’s award justifications, the article concludes at a persistent bias against private property and the free market and in favour of collectivism and state interventionism. From a methodological point of view, the Prize has contributed to the widespread use by professional economists of formal mathematics within the positivistic approach. With respect to research findings, the Prize has favoured the doctrine that market processes are faulty, while government policies are an appropriate fix. Additionally, the paper casts doubts on the scientific integrity of the Prize, given the Committee’s acknowledged lack of concern for fundamental revisionism and outright dismissal of possible criticisms.

Nikolay Gertchev

Abstract: In this paper, I investigate the issue of whether there exists an objective element of well-being, completely independent of anyone’s desires, interests and preferences. After rejecting health-based and convention-based approaches to objectivity, I conclude that the element in question consists in respecting autonomy, voluntariness of every purposive agent and the principle of non-aggression.

Abstract: Block (2011) has offered a second round of counterarguments to my criticisms (Wisniewski 2010a, 2010b) of the claim that his theory of evictionism is compatible with libertarianism. In this paper I attempt to demonstrate that my critique still stands. In particular, I focus on analyzing the argumentative weight of such issues mentioned in Block’s latest response as, among others, the distinction between proper ex post punishment and proper ex ante defense, the question of whether my causal analyses of trespass imply a commitment to positive obligations, Rothbard’s distinction between contracts and premises, the supposed irrelevance of the principle of pacta sunt servanda in the context of abortion, and the extent to which custom can qualify the ambit of applicability of the non-aggression principle.



*Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski

Edward Wayne Younkins

Abstract: This article makes an argument for Atlas Shrugged as a highly unified and integrated novel. All of the sections of the paper explain how integration and unity are embodied in Atlas Shrugged. Part one discusses the philosophical and literary structure of Rand’s masterpiece. The next section is concerned with issues of political economy. Section three then examines Rand’s techniques of characterization and character development as demonstrated in Atlas Shrugged. The following part analyzes the philosophical speeches. The final major part considers Atlas Shrugged as a means for social change. The conclusion then discusses Atlas Shrugged as the manifestation of a fully-integrated philosophical novel.

Don Stacy

Individualist John Frederic Kosanke's new book Instead of Politics is an intriguing addition to the literature of freedom. Logical economic arguments against a political society and for a free–market society are skillfully presented by the author. Ultimately, the comprehensive nature of the work identifies Kosanke as a noteworthy newcomer to the consequentialist camp of the libertarian movement.


Patrick Tinsley

Abstract: This essay attempts to show that Plato’s thought makes important contributions to libertarian theory.  Plato diagnoses the state as essentially a state of mind, one in which irrational desires replace natural reason as a guide to ethical conduct.  The statist mindset is therefore marked by profound self-deception about what is truly good.  Importantly, Plato contends that this self-deception plagues the rulers of the state as much as, or more than, the subjects.  They mistakenly believe that wielding unjust power will bring them happiness, when in fact it brings them misery.  The aim of Plato’s philosophy is to convince aspiring rulers of that truth.

Patrick C. Tinsley

Vijay Boyapati

Abstract: This article provides an Austrian overview of the inflation versus deflation debate which has captured the attention of the economics profession in the years following the US housing bust. Much of the Austrian analysis of this debate has focused on the massive expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet and attendant creation of new reserves. Several Austrian economists have predicted that the creation of new reserves will cause a massive increase in inflation. The money multiplier theory, on which these predictions are based, is criticized and an overview of the Austrian business cycle theory is provided to explain why banks are reluctant to issue new credit. Finally, an analysis of the politics of deflation is provided and a class theory is presented to explain why a policy of controlled credit deflation is more likely than a policy that would result in mass inflation or hyperinflation.

Brad Lowell Stone

Friedrich Hayek's views of the evolution of society and reason have often elicited strident denials, as Gerald Gaus notes in his contribution ...

Abstract: In this article I summarize Friedrich Hayek’s cultural group selection theory and describe the evidence gathered by current cultural group selection theorists within the behavioral and social sciences supporting Hayek’s main assertions. I conclude with a few comments on Hayek and libertarianism.