In a recent post on his blog, the creator of the Dilbert comic relates a personal tragedy caused by government.
My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s as close to a living Hell as you can get…
I’d like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can’t make that decision. Continue reading
Startups versus the State
The free market tends to destroy opportunities for unusually high rates of profit as entrepreneurs reallocate resources from areas of normal profit rates to areas with higher rates of profit. In the short run, there is money to be made in satisfying neglected consumer demand, but in the long run competition makes it so that each opportunity eventually becomes less and less lucrative.
This process is great for both consumers and entrepreneurs. Consumers either get an inexpensive solution to an old problem, or they get an expensive solution to a problem that previously had no solution (and even this product will fall in price over time). Entrepreneurs get rewarded with unusually high profit rates for creating new and better products.
Unfortunately, this process gets interrupted when the state hampers the market with regulations, monopolies and other arbitrary laws. The taxi medallion monopolies are one well known system that causes economic havoc. These laws artificially reduce the supply of taxis in major cities which means some people have to stand around in the rain. Mass transit monopolies are not any better, resisting any and all demands for better roads, brides, tunnels and railways. Continue reading
Norms of Liberty is a meandering defense of classical liberalism which gives it some relevance to libertarianism. David Gordon gives an excellent discussion of the book in the Mises Review. Writes Gordon:
This remarkable book is a sustained attempt to solve what its author term “liberalism’s problem.” In a liberal society, people are free to live as they wish, so long as they do not violate the rights of others. There is no “official truth”, whether religious or secular, that prescribes for people the content of a good life. (The authors are classical liberals rather than adherents of the modern leftist distortion of liberalism; but the problem that concerns them is not confined to classical liberalism.)
Liberalism’s problem might be summarized as: ‘what sort of ethical system is needed to produce the sort of society that liberalism would produce?’ Continue reading
Shield of the Ludwig von Mises Crest
The Ludwig von Mises Institute is an organization that promotes Austrian Economics and libertarian political philosophy. It has produced an incredible amount of educational literature, media, events and programs.
Founded by Lew Rockwell in 1982, it has been heavily focused on academia, trying to produce economic scholars of the Austrian tradition, who could then influence students, journals, and the political landscape. To this end it provides research grants, fellowships, academic awards and academic conferences.
One particularly promising conference is the annual Mises University. It is a one week immersive program in Austrian Economics that is not just an accelerated economics course, but also ties in libertarian ethics and revisionist history. This conference brings together bright young minds in an environment where they can learn from and debate with experts in various fields. The Mises Institute hosts many other events aimed at students on its beautiful campus in Auburn, Alabama. Continue reading