What comes out from reading Mises’s policy writings from this period of his European career is that if you had asked him a fiscal, or monetary, or regulatory-policy question in the context of his role as analyst at the Chamber of Commerce, he would not have said, and did not simply say, “laissez-faire” — abolish the central bank, deregulate the economy, and eliminate taxes.
Mises accepted the context of which his policy options must be worked out. Ebeling went on to note that Mises seemed to think in three policy horizons:
- The most optimal institutional and policy arrangements in society for the fostering of the classical-liberal ideal of freedom and prosperity, based on the knowledge that he thought sound economic theory could provide;
- the actual circumstances of the…
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Last week I put out a post on possible mechanisms to enable groups of neighbours to protect their interests in their own and each others’ properties, while allowing the flexibility for them, rather than councils, to determine what, if any, and when changes in the land use rules affecting that group of properties would be put in place. It was prompted by a combination of the Productivity Commission’s recent discussion of the private covenants that reportedly apply to most new developments, and the conflict in various Wellington suburbs around the council’s desire to determine which suburbs should be more intensively built and which should not. Neither the Commission’s apparent distaste for private covenants, nor the situation where councils can somewhat arbitrarily – and without any compensation for the regulatory taking – alter private property rights, seemed very appealing.
This afternoon, I stumbled on this post from the Not PC blog. It is several years old, but still seems very…
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Since the 1930s, the racial unemployment gap has widened dramatically. Economics and history, rather than verbose rhetoric, explain the influences that caused a sustained gap in the unemployment rates. The attached graph shows that blacks had about the same unemployment rate during the early 1900s; even less than whites at one point. There are many reasons why and each have their own merit. The most important reason, however, is the minimum wage.
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Over at Stoat, William Connolley has just discovered that some alarmists have labeled either global warming or climate change as ‘catastrophic.’ This upsets him, as he is one of many who maintained that ‘catastrophic’ is something that skeptics say that alarmists write, but that in fact it is only skeptics putting words in the mouths of sober scientists and politicians who would never exaggerate.
Connolley is referring to this open letter, which indeed does talk about preventing ‘catastrophic climate change.’ And it indeed is fairly silly, as Connolley rightly points out.
So, are skeptics falsely accusing alarmists of shouting fire in a crowded theater?
This open letter is not unusual, as Connolley surely knows. Many activists, alarmists and even more who should know better have been describing future climate change in apocalyptic terms for decades.
It’s in the academic literature: “On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic
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I received word today that Douglass North passed away yesterday at the age of 95 (obit here). Professor North shared the Nobel Prize in Economic with Robert Fogel in 1993 for his work in economic history on the role of institutions in shaping economic development and performance.
Doug was one of my first professors in graduate school at Washington University. Many of us in our first year crammed into Doug’s economic history class for fear that he might retire and we not get the chance to study under him. Little did we expect that he would continue teaching into his 80s. The text for our class was the pre-publication manuscript of his book, Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Doug’s course offered an interesting juxtaposition to the traditional neoclassical microeconomics course for first-year PhD students. His work challenged the simplifying assumptions of the neoclassical system and…
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Sad news today arrives, as we hear that Douglass North has passed away, living only just longer than his two great compatriots in Cliometrics (Robert Fogel) and New Institutional Economics (Ronald Coase). There will be many lovely pieces today, I’m sure, on North’s qualitative and empirical exploration of the rise of institutions as solutions to agency and transaction cost problems, a series of ideas that continues to be enormously influential. No economist today denies the importance of institutions. If economics is the study of the aggregation of rational choice under constraints, as it is sometimes thought to be, then North focused our mind on the origin of the constraints rather the choice or its aggregation. Why do states develop? Why do guilds, and trade laws, and merchant organizations, and courts, appear, and when? How does organizational persistence negatively affect the economy over time, a question pursued…
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