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Chris Calton

Chris Calton



Articles by Chris Calton

Who Will Build the Roads? Anyone Who Stands to Benefit from Them.

6 days ago

Any freshman economics major can attest that nobody gets through their introductory economics courses without learning the theory of public goods and the so-called free-rider problem. As espoused by Paul Samuelson in the 1950s, public goods are consumed collectively, therefore making them nonrivalrous and nonexcludable—or, putting aside economic jargon, consumers do not compete against each other …

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Why Producer Prices (Like Lumber Prices) Are Rising Faster Than the CPI

July 8, 2021

Why have prices of building materials soared while consumer prices are relatively stable? This is easier to understand once we reject the myth of monetary neutrality and see how price inflation enters the market in different ways.  Original Article: “Why Producer Prices (Like Lumber Prices) Are Rising Faster Than the CPI​” This Audio Mises Wire …

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There’s a New “Study” Showing 26% of Americans Are Right-Wing Authoritarians. There’s Nothing Scientific about It.

July 5, 2021

“1/4 of Americans Qualify as Highly ‘Right-Wing Authoritarian’ New Poll Finds,” runs a recent headline from Business Insider. This shocking headline is only one of many similar articles reporting on a recent study. If the headline’s implications are true, this is certainly terrifying news. But before we start checking under our bed for fascists every …

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Why Producer Prices (Like Lumber Prices) Are Rising Faster Than the CPI

June 24, 2021

“Homebuilding rebounded less than expected,” NBC reported recently, “as very expensive lumber and shortages of other materials continued to constrain builders’ ability to take advantage of an acute shortage of houses on the market.” Lumber isn’t the only material that has experienced significant price increases over the past year. The same NBC article notes that …

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To Understand Economics, First Understand Private Property

March 12, 2021

Rothbard recognized that money and exchange could not develop without first establishing private property. So Rothbard also recognized that it was important to develop theories of how private property might come about.  Original Article: “To Understand Economics, First Understand Private Property” This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.  

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To Understand Economics, First Understand Private Property

March 6, 2021

In Man, Economy, and State, Murray Rothbard expounds the principles of economics by reconstructing an economy from the ground up. Following the practice of classical economists, he opens the book by imagining Robinson Crusoe alone on an island. After identifying the operative laws that apply even to isolated individuals, Rothbard’s second chapter considers Crusoe on …

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How the Progressives Conquered Corporate America

February 9, 2021

The concern over concentrated influence of corporate special interests is valid, but not because corporate special interests will prevent economic regulation. The problem is corporate executives consistently agitate for more government control.  Original Article: “How the Progressives Conquered Corporate America” This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.  

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How the Progressives Conquered Corporate America

February 5, 2021

In 1924, King Camp Gillette—the inventor of the disposable razor blade—coauthored a book with Upton Sinclair, the progressive journalist famous for triggering the pure foods movement after publishing The Jungle, a muckraking account of the meat-packing industry. Sinclair was lending his writing talents to Gillette in the hopes of offering a more persuasive case for …

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No, the Stock Market Isn’t a “Leading Indicator” of Economic Prosperity

October 20, 2020

In an unhampered economy, stock prices would reflect the availability of savings for investment and capital. But in an inflationary economy, rising stock prices suggest something very different. This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack. Original Article: “No, the Stock Market Isn’t a “Leading Indicator” of Economic Prosperity”.

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No, the Stock Market Isn’t a “Leading Indicator” of Economic Prosperity

October 19, 2020

“STOCK MARKET UP ANOTHER 300 POINTS,” Donald Trump tweeted on October 12, with characteristic overcapitalization. “GREATEST LEADING INDICATOR OF THEM ALL!!!” President Trump’s use of the stock market as an economic indicator is hardly unusual. Democrats like to tout the stock market performance under Obama as a counterpoint to Trump’s boasting. This type of thinking, which equates stock …

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When It Comes to Masks, There Is No “Settled Science”

July 31, 2020

A survey of the research shows that the science of mask wearing is hardly “settled.” And this up-in-the-air nature of it all is a reminder of how immoral it is to impose mandates on people, backed with state violence. This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros. Original Article: …

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When It Comes to Masks, There Is No “Settled Science”

July 28, 2020

As the “fifteen days to slow the spread” continues to extend indefinitely, the issue of mask mandates has become increasingly contentious. The debate has been exacerbated by the inconsistency of the recommendations of authorities (political, scientific, and imaginary). Early in the pandemic, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health …

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The First Socialists: The Saint-Simonians and the Utopians

July 20, 2020

While collectivism was implied in Sismondi’s idea of a “general interest,” Owen and Fourier offered the first formal expression of full socialist collectivization. This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros. Original Article: “The First Socialists: The Saint-Simonians and the Utopians​​”.

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The First Socialists: The Saint-Simonians and the Utopians

July 13, 2020

At the turn of the nineteenth century, classical economics—as represented by Adam Smith in Britain and Jean-Baptiste Say in France—seemed unassailable. The American Revolution, to many people, demonstrated the failures of the old economic order of mercantilism and colonialism. The flourishing trade after the war proved protective tariffs useless, and the rise of industrial production …

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What If We Didn’t Have Police at All?

June 10, 2020

As a thought experiment, try to imagine what people would do if there were no public police forces (as was the case in most places for much of the nineteenth century). I know some people will immediately imagine widespread looting and criminality—not unlike what we’re seeing currently despite the proliferation of police forces—but the thought …

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Why It’s Rational to Fear Cops

June 10, 2020

Not all (or even most) police are needlessly violent. But it is rational to conclude, upon seeing a person in a police uniform, that this person can—if he wishes to—abuse his power with near impunity. This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros. Original Article: “Why It’s Rational to …

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Why It’s Rational to Fear Cops

June 5, 2020

In economics, branding serves an important purpose. Brands allow people to economize on knowledge, a scarce resource. We make decisions with imperfect information, and brand labeling and trademarks help us navigate these decisions. As Thomas Sowell writes: When you drive into a town you have never seen before and want to get some gasoline for …

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Coerced Confessions: How the Plea Bargain Replaced Physical Torture

February 15, 2020

In 2010, Chicago police commander Jon Burge was convicted on counts of perjury and obstruction of justice and sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Although he was convicted of lying under oath, his real crime was what he was lying about. Over the course of his career, he participated in or oversaw …

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Henry Ford Did More for Workers than Unions Did

January 6, 2020

A Car for the Masses When Henry Ford came up with the Model T, his goal was to build a car for the masses. Although history teachers typically present this as pertaining to price, Ford actually had to do much more than make his automobile cheaper. In fact, when the Model T was released in …

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Bernie Sanders Wants to Kill Pro Baseball

January 2, 2020

Bernie Sanders loves baseball. He loves it so much, that when he learned of Major League Baseball’s decision to phase out 42 of their 160 minor league teams, he called for the government to pressure the MLB to keep the teams, protecting the jobs of minor league players while raising their annual salaries. He has …

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All Human Beings — Not Just Capitalists — Are Self-Interested

October 22, 2019

In Why Not Socialism?, G. A. Cohen presents the scenario of a camping trip to highlight the desirability of socialism as the best form of social organization. After outlining a trip where the friends work together to provide food and firewood, rather than engaging in the division of labor and exchanging competitively, Cohen poses his …

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Reduced Sentences in Exchange for Lies: A Government Tradition

October 9, 2019

In 1992, Mark Young was sentenced to life in prison for trafficking marijuana. His conviction came from the testimonies of two other convicted marijuana dealers who turned on Young in order to get their own sentences reduced. The two informants, Ernest Montgomery and Claude Atkinson, depicted Young as a marijuana kingpin — the primary broker …

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Bring Back the Constitution’s Prohibiton of Double Jeopardy

August 23, 2019

When Donny Clark was arrested in 1990 as part of a twenty-eight-man conspiracy to grow marijuana, he was the only defendant who refused to accept a plea bargain. Clark insisted he was innocent. Five years earlier, Clark was convicted in a Florida court for growing marijuana, but he served his time and was now working …

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Government Prosecutors Are Out of Control

August 21, 2019

When Paul Hayes was arrested in Kentucky for writing a fraudulent check, he faced his third felony charge. At the time, Kentucky had a law in effect known as the Habitual Criminal Act, which imposed a life sentence for any third-time felony conviction. The prosecutor in the case, however, was at liberty to decide whether …

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