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Some Call it Treason

By Scott Sumner | May 27 2024
It has been discouraging to see that the lessons learned in the first half of the 20th century have now been forgotten, as nationalism is on the rise in many regions. And now we are seeing a repeat of the McCarthyism of the early 1950s. Here’s Foreign Policy: Not so long ago, consultancies and other ...

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The Ukraine War: Who should sacrifice?

By Scott Sumner | May 10 2024

I recently came across three news stories that are worth thinking about. The first story discussed the US government’s role in encouraging gun exports, which often lead to violence in developing countries. Here’s Bloomberg: Last October, a recently fired police officer walked into his stepson’s nursery school in the remote northeast of Thailand and, in .. MORE

Featured Comment

Congressional Black Caucus members have long been intensely supportive of the war on drugs, and were fully on-board for the development of mass incarceration. Black voters have displayed no less sympathy to prohibition than Whites...

Nicolas, May 28

Most Recent

Public Choice Theory

Transfers Rather Than Transactions: Rent-Seeking Is Costly

By Art Carden | May 29, 2024 | 1

In 1967, Gordon Tullock published a paper titled “The Welfare Costs of Tariffs, Monopolies, and Theft” that described the mechanics of what Anne O. Krueger would later call “the rent-seeking society.” Rent-seeking might seem a little abstract, but if you understand why robbery makes the world worse off, on net, then you understand why the .. MORE

Foreign Policy

The Fight for Memorial Day

By David Henderson | May 29, 2024 | 3

  You might think this article comes a little late since it’s being published after Memorial Day. But now that Memorial Day has come and gone, it’s worth thinking about what it represents and why the debate about Memorial Day is so crucial. “Debate,” you might say. “What debate?” Yes, there is a debate. On .. MORE

Labor Market

Economic theory and reality

By Scott Sumner | May 28, 2024 | 32

Kevin Corcoran recently did a post discussing the distinction between being wrong in theory and wrong in fact.  Here I am interested in another situation, the case where theory matches reality quite closely, but people are reluctant to accept the implications of that fact. For instance, basic economic theory suggests that higher tax rates ought .. MORE

Economic Growth

Brigadoon versus the Hockey Stick

By David Henderson | May 28, 2024 | 16

I happened to wake up in the middle of the night last week and turned on Turner Movie Classics (TCM). Playing at the time was the 1954 movie Brigadoon. I’d heard about it but never seen it. It’s about 2 guys on a hunting trip to Scotland who discover a place in mid-18th century Scotland .. MORE

Business Economics

Cell Phones and Competition

By Kevin Corcoran | May 28, 2024 | 4

Here’s a hot shopping tip that I suspect most readers won’t be able to take advantage of – at the moment, Apple is discounting the iPhone in China. But I don’t bring that up because I’m actually hoping to influence anyone’s shopping behavior. I find it noteworthy for other reasons.  It may seem odd that .. MORE

Economics of Crime

Conclusions and Consequences Abroad

By Tarnell Brown | May 27, 2024 | 2

Consequences of the War on Drugs™ Abroad In 1996, Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Chuck Grassley testified that a recent poll revealed that eighty percent of Americans viewed as their primary foreign policy concern the stopping of illegal drugs being trafficked into the United States. The Senator was responding to his own concerns that .. MORE

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Book Club

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

“Junk Fees” Typically Serve an Important Purpose 10

  Charging extra for specific preferences, such as a seat selection on a flight, enables lower basic prices, increasing access to no-frills options for lower-income customers, while allowing businesses to customize their services to individual customers’ preferences. Airlines unbundle in-flight food and checked bags, for example, leading to more profit opportunities and lower base fares. .. MORE

Austrian Economics

My Life as an Austrian Economist: My Philosophical Vision and the Critique of Scientism 7

As with any tale, it is useful to begin at the beginning.  And in my instance, all my beginnings related to Austrian economics are found at Grove City College.  How I ended up at Grove City is an extremely unlikely journey with zigs and zags, the probability of which defies all calculation.  I was not .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Free Markets Against Discrimination on eBay 3

I live in Alabama, where college football is the major religion. The two major denominations are the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn University Tigers. They have fought a storied and ludicrously overwrought rivalry since 1893, except for the four-decade gap between 1907 and 1948 when they didn’t play one another because the .. MORE

Book Reviews and Suggested Readings

Using Reason to Understand the Abuse and Decline of Reason

By Rosolino Candela

A Liberty Classics Book Review of Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason: Text and Documents, by F.A. Hayek (edited by Bruce Caldwell). 1 According to F.A. Hayek, what are the theoretical and historical reasons for the tragedies of socialism that emerged in the 20th century? Hayek attempted to answer this question in what .. MORE

The Regulator’s Calculation Problem

By Arnold Kling

If federal regulators are thought to have better judgment about risk than the bankers themselves (due to the bankers’ presumed moral-hazard problems), then there really is no reason to allow private banking to continue. — Jeffrey Friedman and Wladimir Kraus1 We tend to think of regulated markets as if they were a far cry from .. MORE

The Revanchist Right

By Arnold Kling

… despite spending billions of dollars supporting its infrastructure, and publishing untold thousands of white papers, the establishment Right has registered no clear gains and many clear losses. Much of the nation was conquered on its watch. … In terms of political and moral power, the Left currently rules every consequential sector of society, from .. MORE

Follies in the History of Economic Thought

By Jeremy Horpedahl

A Book Review of Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages, by Michael Keen and Joel Slemrod.1 Introduction What do you think would happen if suddenly beards and bachelorhood were taxed? Ridiculous, you say? Not so! In the later 17th century, Tsar Peter the Great instituted a beard tax to change .. MORE