The System of Liberty

by Jerry O’Driscoll I have just completed George Smith’s The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism. I recommend it highly to all. It is a tour de force, and an essential read for all those interested in classical liberal ideas. Many of the debates today on the political right have their … Continue reading The System of Liberty

Big Bank Breakup or Tea Party?

by Chidem Kurdas We’ve been going back and forth on the economics of too-big-to-fail banks but paying less attention to the politics. The most recent ThinkMarkets broadside on banks is Jerry O’Driscoll’s post on the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas annual report. In part of the report, the Dallas Fed’s director of research Harvey Rosenblum argues … Continue reading Big Bank Breakup or Tea Party?

How’s Your Compulsory Holiday Giving Coming Along?

by Mario Rizzo I wish people would perform the following intellectual experiment. Find out how much in federal taxes you have paid in the past year. Don’t worry about making any distinctions between the various payroll taxes and the income tax. It all goes into the same pot in the final analysis. Now assume that this … Continue reading How’s Your Compulsory Holiday Giving Coming Along?

Fishy Federal Asset Seizures

by Chidem Kurdas A Wall Street Journal article reports that the number of federal statutes giving the government the right to confiscate citizens’ assets has nearly doubled since the 1990s, by one count.  This is not something that happens only to convicted gangsters. Among the more than 400 federal statutes allowing for forfeiture is the Northern … Continue reading Fishy Federal Asset Seizures

China Catch-Up and Two Freedoms

by Chidem Kurdas China is expected to produce more than Japan this year, thereby becoming the world’s second largest economy after the US.   Chinese annual output is only $5 trillion compared to American $15 trillion and per person income is only a fraction of the US, but it is clear that China is catching up. … Continue reading China Catch-Up and Two Freedoms

Understanding Markets: Point/Counter-Point

by Thomas McQuade and Chidem Kurdas Though it should be obvious to all that markets are of immense benefit to humanity, any appreciation of these institutions is almost always hedged with a perceived need to constrain and regulate—in short, to subject them to conscious outside control.  The reasoning is understandable: the unconstrained pursuit of self-interest … Continue reading Understanding Markets: Point/Counter-Point

The Cost of Making Exceptions

by Mario Rizzo   As a political and legal culture, we do not know how to deal with slippery-slope tendencies. The recent discussion (here and here, and many other places) of the public-accommodations provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has made me more conscious of this issue.   I am willing to agree for purposes … Continue reading The Cost of Making Exceptions

France’s Foolish Idea

by Mario Rizzo   After having written about “Germany’s Foolish Idea,” I see that the French are not immune either.   First, I apologize to the many French (and Germans) who do not share their governments’ ideas or agree with their policies. It has, unfortunately, become a habit in journalism and even in the professional writing of historians … Continue reading France’s Foolish Idea

Virtuous Capitalism

by Jerry O'Driscoll  Over at the Austrian Economists, Steve Horowitz has posted a challenging statement and asked for reactions: "The great virtue of the free market is that it requires so little virtue to work effectively."  The thrust of the responses is that defenders of free markets have had little to say about virtue (at least since … Continue reading Virtuous Capitalism

The Real David Hume: A Curmudgeonly Reaction

by Mario Rizzo   I admit upfront that I did not find David Brooks’s New York Times column on Mr. Bentham and Mr. Hume as updated characters at all amusing, funny or informative. I am sure I am in the minority. It is no comfort to me that Brooks seems to favor “Mr. Hume.” I leave … Continue reading The Real David Hume: A Curmudgeonly Reaction

We Are All Fascists Now

by Roger Koppl   We are all fascists now.  That is true in an empty sort of way I suppose.  Unfortunately, it is also true in a more historically accurate way.  When I was in college “fascist” meant, “You are to the right of me and therefore bad.”  Today, “fascists” in that old fashioned sense have … Continue reading We Are All Fascists Now

Airports: Coase, but no cigar

by Sandy Ikeda A year ago the Bush administration proposed auctioning landing slots at Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark airports in the New York region. Yesterday the Obama administration canceled these plans. From the NYT article: "In proposing to rescind the auctions, the department noted that the rule making was highly controversial and that most of … Continue reading Airports: Coase, but no cigar

The Quality of Price Signals

by Mario Rizzo In an under-appreciated book, The Foundations of Morality (1964), the Wall Street Journal and New York Times economic journalist, Henry Hazlitt, wrote that the price system does not send accurate signals in the absence of private property rights. “It is important to insist that private property and free markets are not separable … Continue reading The Quality of Price Signals