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BlogMarch 11, 2015

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The Moral Case for the Free Market Economy

BooksJuly 6, 2006
Tibor Machan makes the case for the free market system of economics based on the view of human beings as moral agents with the legal system of a good community as designed to nurture this moral agency.

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The New Despotism

BooksMarch 16, 2010
When the modern political community was being shaped at the end of the 18th century, its founders thought that the consequences of republican or representative institutions in government would be the reduction of political power in individual lives.

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The Return to Laisser Faire

BooksJune 5, 2009
Government means, or should mean, the right ordering of all. Modern government has degenerated into tinkering with the wants or rights or liberties of classes or sections or groups, and it is rare, in these days, to hear a political discussion which takes adequate account of the interests of the...

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How to Keep Our Liberty

BooksJuly 17, 2009
"Individualities may form communities, but it is institutions alone that can create a nation." This was a comment by Benjamin Disraeli a century ago when he was beginning the task of building the Conservative Party, a party that still lives a lusty, constructive life...

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The De Moneta of Nicholas Oresme and English Mint Documents

BooksFebruary 14, 2009
Nicole Oresme has been called the most brilliant scientist of the 14th century: mathematician, musicologist, physicist, philosopher, and economist. On top of that, he was a Bishop and a theologian. His writings of money bear much in common with Carl Menger. Oresme's treatise on money, De Moneta...

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2. Implicit Moralizing: The Failures of Welfare Economics

Online Text Page from Power and Market: Government and the Economy, Ch. 7. Conclusion: Economics and Public Policy

As we have reiterated, economics cannot by itself establish ethical judgments, and it can and should be developed in a Wertfrei manner. This is true whether we adopt the modern disjunction between fact and value, or whether we adhere to the classical philosophical tradition that there can be a “science of ethics.” For even if there can be, economics may not by itself establish it.

2. Direct Effects of Intervention on Utility

Online Text Page from Power and Market: Government and the Economy, Ch. 2. Fundamentals of Intervention


The first step in analyzing intervention is to contrast the direct effect on the utilities of the participants, with the effect of a free society. When people are free to act, they will always act in a way that they believe will maximize their utility, i.e., will raise them to the highest possible position on their value scale. Their utility ex ante will be maximized, provided we take care to interpret “utility” in an ordinal rather than a cardinal manner.

7. Alleged Joys of the Society of Status

Online Text Page from Power and Market: Government and the Economy, Ch. 6. Antimarket Ethics: A Praxeological Critique

One common related criticism of the free market and free society (particularly among intellectuals who are conspicuously not craftsmen or peasants) is that, in contrast to the Happy Craftsmen and Happy Peasants of the Middle Ages, it has “alienated” man from his work and from his fellows and has robbed him of his “sense of belonging.” The status society of the Middle Ages is looked back upon as a Golden Age, when everyone was sure of his station in life, when craftsmen made the whole shoe instead of just contributing to part of its production, and when these

5. The Incidence and Effects of Taxation Part III: The Progressive Tax

Online Text Page from Power and Market: Government and the Economy, Ch. 4. Binary Intervention: Taxation

Of all the patterns of tax distribution, the progressive tax has generated the most controversy. In the case of the progressive tax, the conservative economists who oppose it have taken the offensive, for even its advocates must grudgingly admit that the progressive tax lowers incentives and productivity. Hence, the most ardent champions of the progressive tax on “equity” grounds admit that the degree and intensity of progression must be limited by considerations of productivity.

2. Resource-Using Activities: Government Ownership versus Private Ownership

Online Text Page from Power and Market: Government and the Economy, Ch. 5. Binary Intervention: Government Expenditures

The bulk of government activities use resources, redirecting factors of production to government-chosen ends. These activities generally involve the real or supposed supply of services by government to some or all of the populace. Government functions here as an owner and enterpriser.

6. The Incidence and Effects of Taxation Part IV: The "Single Tax" on Ground Rent

Online Text Page from Power and Market: Government and the Economy, Ch. 4. Binary Intervention: Taxation

We have refuted elsewhere the various arguments that form part of the Henry Georgist edifice: the idea that “society” owns the land originally and that every new baby has a “right” to an aliquot part; the moral argument that an increase in the value of ground land is an “unearned increment” due to external causes; and the doctrine that “speculation” in sites wickedly withholds productive land from use.

III. The Solution: Theory and History

Online Text Page from A Short History of Man: Progress and Decline, Ch. 1. On the Origin of Private Property and the Family

The technological invention, then, that solved (at least temporarily

7. Permitting Banks to Refuse Payment

Online Text Page from What Has Government Done to Our Money?, Ch. III. Government Meddling With Money

The modern economy, with its widespread use of banks and money-substitutes, provides the golden opportunity for government to fasten its control over the money supply and permit inflation at its discretion. We have seen in section 12, page 20, that there are three great checks on the power of any bank to inflate under a "free banking" system: (1) the extent of the clientele of each bank; (2) the extent of the clientele of the whole banking system, i.e., the extent to which people use money-substitutes, and (3) the confidence of the clients in their banks.

I. Nation and Nationality

Online Text Page from Nation, State, and Economy, Ch. Nation and State

1. The Nation as a Speech Community

The concepts nation and nationality are relatively new in the sense in which we understand them. Of course, the word nation is very old; it derives from Latin and spread early into all modern languages. But another meaning was associated with it. Only since the second half of the eighteenth century did it gradually take on the significance that it has for us today, and not until the nineteenth century did this usage of the word become general.

2. Private Property and Its Critics

Online Text Page from Liberalism: In the Classical Tradition, Ch. 2. Liberal Economic Pollicy

Man's life is not a state of unalloyed happiness. The earth is no paradise. Although this is not the fault of social institutions, people are wont to hold them responsible for it. The foundation of any and every civilization, including our own, is private ownership of the means of production. Whoever wishes to criticize modern civilization, therefore, begins with private property.

12. Money Warehouses

Online Text Page from What Has Government Done to Our Money?, Ch. II. Money in a Free Society

Suppose, then, that the free market has established gold as money (forgetting again about silver for the sake of simplicity). Even in the convenient shape of coins, gold is often cumbersome and awkward to carry and use directly in exchange. For larger transactions, it is awkward and expensive to transport several hundred pounds of gold. But the free market, ever ready to satisfy social needs, comes to the rescue.

9. Phase IX: Fluctuating Fiat Currencies, March 1973-?

Online Text Page from What Has Government Done to Our Money?, Ch. IV. The Monetary Breakdown of the West

With the dollar breaking apart, the world shifted again, to a system of fluctuating fiat currencies. Within the West European block, exchange rates were tied to one another, and the U.S. again devalued the official dollar rate by a token amount, to $42 an ounce. As the dollar plunged in foreign exchange from day to day, and the West German mark, the Swiss franc, and the Japanese yen hurtled upward, the American authorities, backed by the Friedmanite economists, began to think that his was the monetary ideal.