Rock the Non-Vote, Part Two

25 03 2007

I’ve often been mistaken, as I would guess most published writers have, about the level of response a particular article of mine will elicit. There have been times when I was convinced that some column would really strike a chord with readers, only to receive almost no feedback after its publication. On the other hand, I have written pieces that I feared were too esoteric or obscure to draw much interest, but whose public debut elicited a flood of comments.

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Introduction (1904) to Gustave de Molinari’s

20 02 2007

It is fortunate for the modern world that there is a considerable number of persons who have time, inclination, and ability to inquire how human communities may best secure a prosperous existence and ultimate salvation from disasters or even annihilation. It is fortunate that the necessity is so widely felt of making such inquiries, and that there is so great an accumulation of facts, and of arguments based thereon, as to enable thinkers to arrive at a complete knowledge of the dangers which menace society, and of the best way of dealing with them. We greatly need light from men who are capable of giving answers to such questions as the following: “What should be the definite aim of all human societies? Whither tend the communities and nations now in existence? What are their special dangers, and how can they best be averted? What should be the true ideals of every people, so that they may be kept clearly in view and realised?”

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The Use of Knowledge in Society

4 02 2007

What is the problem we wish to solve when we try to construct a rational economic order? On certain familiar assumptions the answer is simple enough. If we possess all the relevant information, if we can start out from a given system of preferences, and if we command complete knowledge of available means, the problem which remains is purely one of logic. That is, the answer to the question of what is the best use of the available means is implicit in our assumptions. The conditions which the solution of this optimum problem must satisfy have been fully worked out and can be stated best in mathematical form: put at their briefest, they are that the marginal rates of substitution between any two commodities or factors must be the same in all their different uses.

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Anti-trust, Anti-truth

31 01 2007

Joel Klein, the third-rate lawyer/political hack who is in charge of the government’s Microsoft persecution, recently tried to rationalize the lawsuit by saying that it was in keeping with the long history of consumer protection regulation, beginning with the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. In reality, the history of antitrust has been a history of politically-inspired witch hunts launched against America’s most innovative and entrepreneurial businesses.

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America’s Great Depression

23 01 2007

Study of business cycles must be based upon a satisfactory cycle theory. Gazing at sheaves of statistics without “pre-judgment” is futile. A cycle takes place in the economic world, and therefore a usable cycle theory must be integrated with general economic theory. And yet, remarkably, such integration, even attempted integration, is the exception, not the rule. Economics, in the last two decades, has fissured badly into a host of airtight compartments—each sphere hardly related to the others. Only in the theories of Schumpeter and Mises has cycle theory been integrated into general economics.

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A Primer on Jobs and the Jobless

22 01 2007

With the economics of employment and unemployment constantly discussed on the business pages and political campaigns, let us turn our attention toward fundamentals and root out some fallacies.

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Democracy: The God That Failed

18 01 2007

On the most abstract level, I want to show how theory is indispensible in correctly interpreting history. History – the sequence of events unfolding in time – is “blind.” It reveals nothing about causes and effects. We may agree, for instance, that feudal Europe was poor, that monarchical Europe was wealthier, and that democratic Europe is wealthier still, or that nineteenth-century America with its low taxes and few regulations was poor, while contemporary America with its high taxes and many regulations is rich. Yet was Europe poor because of feudalism, and did it grow richer because of monarchy and democracy? Or did Europe grow richer in spite of monarchy and democracy? Or are these phenomena unrelated?

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