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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Origins of the Welfare State in America

7 01 2007

Standard theory views government as functional: a social need arises, and government, semi-automatically, springs up to fill that need. The analogy rests on the market economy: demand gives rise to supply (e.g., a demand for cream cheese will result in a supply of cream cheese on the market). But surely it is strained to say that, in the same way, a demand for postal services will spontaneously give rise to a government monopoly Post Office, outlawing its competition and giving us ever-poorer service for ever-higher prices.

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Pennsylvania’s Anarchist Experiment: 1681-1690

5 01 2007

In the vast stretches of America, William Penn envisaged a truly Quaker colony, “a Holy experiment…that an example may be set up to the nations.” In his quest for such a charter, Penn was aided by the fact that the Crown had owed his father, Admiral Sir William Penn, the huge sum of 16,000 pounds for loans and back salary. In March 1681 the king agreed to grant young William, the admiral’s heir, proprietary ownership of the lands west of the Delaware River and north of the Maryland border in exchange for canceling the old debt.

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Modern Historians Confront the American Revolution

3 01 2007

The historian must be more than a chronicler, a mere lister of events. For his real task is discovering and setting forth the causal connections between events in human history, the complex chain of human purposes, choices, and consequences over time that have shaped the fate of mankind. Investigating the causes of such a portentous event as the American Revolution is more, then, than a mere listing of preceding occurrences; for the historian must weigh the causal significance of these factors, and select those of overriding importance.

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Society without a State

28 12 2006

In attempting to outline how a “society without a state” — that is, an anarchist society — might function successfully, I would first like to defuse two common but mistaken criticisms of this approach. First, is the argument that in providing for such defense of or protection services as courts, police, or even law itself, I am simply smuggling the state back into society in another form, and that therefore the system I am both analyzing and advocating is not “really” anarchism. This sort of criticism can only involve us in an endless and arid dispute over semantics. Let me say from the beginning that I define the state as that institution which possesses one or both (almost always both) of the following properties: (1) it acquires its income by the physical coercion known as “taxation”; and (2) it asserts and usually obtains a coerced monopoly of the provision of defense service (police and courts) over a given territorial area. An institution not possessing either of these properties is not and cannot be, in accordance with my definition, a state.

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Murray Rothbard on War

23 12 2006

Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) was just one man with a typewriter, but he inspired a world-wide renewal in the scholarship of liberty. During 45 years of research and writing, in 25 books and thousands of articles, he battled every destructive trend in this century socialism, statism, relativism, and scientism – and awakened a passion for freedom in thousands of scholars, journalists, and activists.

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The Life and Death of the Old Right

10 12 2006

The libertarian movement was once a mighty movement, hardcore but not kooky, part of the mainstream of American ideological and political life. In the XVIII and XIX centuries (for example, in the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian movements), libertarians were even the dominant political force in the country. America was, indeed, conceived in liberty. But right now, I’m not going back that far: I’m talking about the origins of the modern XX century movement.

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