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Review ofLiberty and Hard Cases by Tibor Machan

  • The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

Tags Political Theory

07/30/2014Dan Mahoney

Volume 6, No. 3 (Fall 2003)


Governments always attempt to exploit a crisis, and disasters provide a natural (no pun intended) excuse for them to do so. Their proffered “solutions” to problems(which they often create) invariably worsen those problems. As is the case with general standards of living, economic growth and development—in short, capitalism—has dramatically lessened the impact of Mother Nature. This collection of essays makes these points very clear, and is worth reading for that reason alone. In the end, however, the authors cannot really extricate themselves from the notion that the State simply must have some role to play in the mediation of such calamities, and so theircase is weakened as a result. By assuming that the State (i.e., institutionalized compulsion) has at least some legitimate function in this case, prospective “privatized”solutions take the form of a square peg in a round hole. In such cases there can be no substitute for private charity efforts, motivated by a true concern for the members of one’s group, and tempered by an understanding that it is each individual’s responsibility to exercise prudent judgment and to be prepared to bear the consequences.


Contact Dan Mahoney

Dan Mahoney, Ph.D., specializes in mathematics and works for Mirant-Americas. 

Cite This Article

Mahoney, Dan."Liberty and Hard Cases by Tibor Machan." The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 6, No. 3 (Fall 2003): 85–92

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