Laissez faire

‘Political capitalism’ explained in Wichita

In Wichita this Monday, Robert L. Bradley, Jr. explained the state of capitalism in America today, using his experience working in a high-level position at the failed energy conglomerate Enron as a backdrop. Bradley asked: What happened to business prudence? What has happened to capitalism? The answer is that what we have today is not free market capitalism. Rather, it's a very different type of capitalism: political capitalism. A common question today is has capitalism failed? Problems are automatically blamed on greed, self-interest, and profit maximization -- in other words capitalism. Historically, robber barons have been condemned as examples of…
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The real right to medical care versus socialized medicine

In 1994, George Reisman wrote a pamphlet explaining the problems with America's health care system. He criticized the Clinton plan for reform, and offered an alternative based on freedom and markets rather than government interventionism. It is a brilliant work, and still relevant today: "I wrote this essay to help defeat the Clinton plan for socialized medicine. In all essentials it’s as valid today as it was then. It’s a demonstration that government intervention inspired by the philosophy of collectivism is the cause of America's medical crisis and that a free market in medical care is the solution for the…
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80 Years Later: Parallels Between 1929 and 2009

Austrian economist Walter Block delivers a lecture that draws the parallels and differences between now and the Great Depression. Block lays blame for the current mess squarely on the Federal Reserve System. "Hoover was no free-enterpriser," Block says. Neither was George W. Bush, or Ronald Reagan, for that matter.
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Some misunderstand what they criticize …

But it doesn't stop them. Over at the Kansas Jackass blog, it appears there's been a discussion about libertarianism and how it doesn't work. I think however, that the Jackass and some of his sycophants are misinformed about a few things. Here's something the Jackass wrote: "The Libertarian views the world like nature. If a lion eats a zebra, we shouldn't interfere because that's the way of nature." This illustrates the Jackass's lack of knowledge about being a libertarian, for one of the most important things about libertarianism is the nonaggression axiom. Quoting from Rothbard in chapter 2 of For…
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Financial crisis caused by government

Did the "excesses" of capitalism cause the current financial crisis? First, we really don't have capitalism in the United States, at least not any reasonable semblance of laissez faire capitalism, as explained in my post The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Present Crisis, based on the work of Professor George Reisman. The Wall Street Journal article How Government Created the Financial Crisis: Research shows the failure to rescue Lehman did not trigger the fall panic explains more in these excerpts: Many are calling for a 9/11-type commission to investigate the financial crisis. Any such investigation should not…
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The bailout reader

The events taking place in the financial market offer an illustration of the soundness of the Austrian theory of money, banking, and credit cycles, and Mises.org, which has long warned of precisely the scenario playing itself out today, is your source not only for analysis of these events but also the economic theory that helps explain what is happening and what to do about it. There are many thousands of articles available, and also the full text of thousands of books as well as journal articles. The Bailout Reader at the Ludwig von Mises Institute continues to be the best…
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I, Pencil turns 50!

The Foundation for Economic Education has a new version of I, Pencil to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Click here to view the announcement and read this short book. I've written about I, Pencil in the past. I, Pencil is one of the most important and influential writings that explain the necessity for limited government. A simple object that we may not give much thought to, the story of the pencil illustrates the importance of markets and the impossibility of centralized economic planning. The size and scope of government, both at the national and local level, has been growing. Now our…
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Introducing Economics in One Lesson

In This Book is So Me, Walter Block introduces a book that I've quoted from and used extensively: Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. Every widespread economic fallacy embraced by pundits, politicians, editorialists, clergy, academics is given the back of the hand they so richly deserve by this author: that public works promote economic welfare, that unions and union-inspired minimum-wage laws actually raise wages, that free trade creates unemployment, that rent control helps house the poor, that saving hurts the economy, that profits exploit the poverty stricken; the list goes on and on. Exhilarating. No one who digests this…
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Pragmatism must recognize reality

Any editorial that starts with "Karl Marx was right about at least one thing ..." deserves close examination, especially when it appears in Kansas' largest newspaper and is written by that newspaper's former editor. The thrust of Davis Merritt's article is that the theory of free markets hasn't worked: "We're painfully experiencing right now the unraveling of neat free-market theory." (Pragmatism needs to trump ideology, November 18, 2008 Wichita Eagle) Here's the first problem with Mr. Merritt's argument: what we live in is anything but a free market society. George Reisman details just how far removed we are from anything…
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Joe Scarborough: Please Stop Saying Laissez-faire

I'm listening to Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, and he says: "Laissez-faire capitalism is a wonderful thing except in this case ..." I've heard stuff like this over and over the past few months: A politician says "I'm a big free-market guy, but ..." What's sad to realize is that these people think that what we have in American is free markets and laissez-faire capitalism. We don't have these. See my post The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Present Crisis. The sooner that we understand that it is largely government that is the cause of the present crisis,…
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