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Mises Institute

The Mises Institute, founded in 1982, teaches the scholarship of Austrian economics, freedom, and peace. The liberal intellectual tradition of Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) and Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) guides us. Accordingly, we seek a profound and radical shift in the intellectual climate: away from statism and toward a private property order.

Articles by Mises Institute

Why Joe Biden Is Keeping the Cap on SALT Deductions

1 day ago

When the Trump administration pushed capping the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), the plan was billed as a way to punish Democrats in high-tax states. But the move also increased federal revenues by as much as $100 billion. Now the Biden administration is showing little enthusiasm for undoing Trump’s cap. The cap means more federal revenues to help pay for Biden’s infrastructure plan.
Nonetheless, Democrats in high-tax states like California, New Jersey, and New York are now threatening to hold up President Joe Biden’s plan in the hope of eliminating the cap on the SALT deduction. The SALT deduction divides the Democratic Party between socialist activists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who oppose the repealing of the SALT deduction as a “gift to

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The Ratification Debate: A Standing Army vs. the Militias

1 day ago

[This passage is excerpted from Murray N. Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty, vol. 5, The New Republic: 1784–1791.] 
One of the most important aspects of the proposed Constitution was its authorization for a permanent national standing army, a striking contrast to the simple reserve constituting the state militia. The standing army was a particular objection of the Antifederalists, who, in the liberal antimilitary tradition, believed such an army to be inimical to the liberty of the American people. In contrast, the ex-Continental Army officers, particularly the higher officers, yearned for the power, the pelf, and the prestige that would come to them once again, and this time permanently, should there be a standing army. The leading and most aristocratic ex-army officers were cohesively

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Why the Regime’s Regulatory Power Is a Standing Threat to America

1 day ago

Whenever some foreign regime that is independent of the U.S. Empire goes after dissenters, U.S. officials trot out the First Amendment to show how different the United States is. Here, people are free to criticize government officials without fear of being put in jail or otherwise punished for exercising their free speech rights, they proudly point out. 
However, what goes unexplained in such pious proclamations is why so many leading executives in big American companies remain silent when it comes to America’s foreign wars, foreign interventions, coups, alliances with dictators, torture, mass secret surveillance, indefinite detention, denial of due process, Gitmo, state-sponsored assassinations, and other dark-side activities of the U.S. national-security establishment.
The reason is that

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Critical Race Theory and Our Weaponized Schools

2 days ago

Government schools have always been tools of the regime for teaching state-approved ideology and culture. The rise of critical race theory is just the latest phase for America’s public schools system.
Be sure to follow Radio Rothbard at Mises.org/RadioRothbard.
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Capitalism Isn’t a Modern Invention. It’s Medieval.

2 days ago

During the eighteenth century, capitalism in Europe “took off” in a way it had not done before, and as a result the West surpassed all other areas of the world in economic growth. What led to this transformation? Max Weber offers the most famous answer. In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), he traces the new system to the Puritans. Before them, though there were rich merchants, substantial savings and investment by private individuals was unusual. The Puritans changed matters. They viewed the self-disciplined pursuit of wealth without indulgence in luxury consumption as a sign that God had predestined them to salvation. 
Murray Rothbard rejects this interpretation. In his History of Economic Thought, volume 1, he says,

There has been considerable dispute over the

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The Fed Plans to Raise Interest Rates—Years from Now

2 days ago

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee voted to continue with a target federal funds rate of 0.25 percent, and to continue with large-scale asset purchases. According to the committee’s press release:

The Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and expects it will be appropriate to maintain this target range until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Committee’s assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time. In addition, the Federal Reserve will continue to increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $80 billion per month and of agency mortgage?backed securities by at least $40 billion per

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Wages, Prices, and the Demand for Money: Keynes Got It All Wrong

2 days ago

Markets clear. Or so was the accumulated wisdom in the half century before John Maynard Keynes. The British economist proposed a novel theory of economics in 1936 based on the opposite premise: markets don’t clear. While Keynesian theory is quite complex and his book widely regarded as unreadable, in his system, chronic idleness of useful resources is the rule. In Keynes’s world, the market can find a market-clearing price through decentralized adjustments for most preferences among most goods. But two particular preferences are problematic in that the price system does balance supply and demand. The two troublemakers are time preference and the reservation demand for money. Those two bad actors cause the market process to fail for everyone else.
The British Austrian school economist

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Auberon Herbert : “Reject Compulsion in Every Form”

2 days ago

By: Gary Galles
Voluntaryism. It is an awkward term. Yet that was what political philosopher Auberon Herbert called the only social arrangement that respected people’s self-ownership—mutually voluntary, noncoercive cooperation. Government compulsion, on the other hand, inherently violates it. Herbert saw that preventing violations of others’ self-ownership was the core of the moral case for liberty.

At a time when the practical philosophy of governments is that they own as much of any individual as they choose, it is worth commemorating Herbert’s June 18 birthday by reconsidering his challenge to the idea that others have “a commission to decide what [their] brother-man shall do or not do.” 

This is the question…. Do you believe in force and authority, or do you believe in liberty?
The

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Biden Is Trying to Seize Control of Local Land-Use Regulations

2 days ago

In recent years, there’s been a push to move zoning decisions further from the local level. In 2019, Oregon passed House Bill 2001, making it the first statewide law to abolish single-family zoning in many areas. By expanding the state government’s jurisdiction to include zoning decisions previously handled by local agencies, the law entails an alarming centralization of state power. This was quickly followed by the introduction of similar bills in Virginia, Washington, Minnesota, and North Carolina. Now President Biden is attempting to increase federal influence over local zoning.
Included in Biden’s American Jobs Plan is a proposal that would award grants to jurisdictions that move to eliminate single-family zoning and other land-use policies the administration deems harmful. Biden’s

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Why Didn’t China Industrialize First?

3 days ago

By: Lipton Matthews
Historians still ponder why, despite its dominance in prior centuries, China failed to industrialize before Europe. Some contend that the culture of conformity engendered by Confucianism prevented the influx of disruptive ideas able to spark an economic revolution. Meanwhile, there are those who posit that the Chinese preferred employment in the government service, instead of pursuing commercial activities. Although there is a kernel of truth in these arguments such assumptions are insufficient to explain the sluggishness of China, relative to Western Europe.

For example, notwithstanding the perceived conformity of medieval Europe there were pockets of intellectual dissent. Eminent medievalist Edward Grant posits that contrary to the stereotype of medieval Europe being

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The Value of Taking Risks

3 days ago

Curiosity and Its Twelve Rules for Liveby F. H. BuckleyEncounter Books, 2021xx + 228 pages
Frank Buckley, a Canadian-born lawyer who teaches at the Scalia School of Law at George Mason University, has given us in this remarkable book a philosophy of life, based on unusually wide knowledge and penetrating reflection. In what follows, I shall discuss only a few of the topics he covers, concentrating on his observations about politics and economics. In doing so, I risk conveying a wrong impression of the book, as these topics by no means exhaust it; but Buckley himself emphasizes the value of taking risks.
Buckley says, “Survival is not enough. We also need to create, to struggle and not to yield, to be curious about the world and what we owe other people. Every leap of knowledge and every

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Matt Asher Talks to Jeff Deist about the Reality of Post Covid America

3 days ago

Matt Asher is an investor, writer, and host of The Filter podcast. He has a background in journalism and statistics.
Matt Asher: My guest today on The Filter is Jeff Deist. Jeff is president of the Mises Institute, where he serves as a writer, public speaker, and advocate for property, markets, and civil society. He previously worked as a longtime advisor and chief of staff to legendary congressman Ron Paul, for whom he wrote hundreds of articles and speeches. In his years with Dr. Paul, he worked with countless grassroots advocates and organizations dedicated to reducing the size and scope of government. Maybe you could start by telling us a little bit about your work at Mises, in particular what you’re focused on right now.
JEFF DEIST: Like most people we’ve been focused on covid, which

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Consent of the Governed?

3 days ago

What gives some people the right to rule others? At least since John Locke’s time, the most common and seemingly compelling answer has been “the consent of the governed.” When the North American revolutionaries set out to justify their secession from the British Empire, they declared, among other things: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” This sounds good, especially if one doesn’t think about it very hard or very long, but the harder and longer one thinks about it, the more problematic it becomes.
One question after another comes to mind. Must every person consent? If not, how many must, and what options do those who do not consent have? What form must the consent take — verbal, written, explicit, implicit? If implicit, how

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The Intangible Benefits of Economic Freedom

3 days ago

By: Lipton Matthews
Societies are more prosperous when citizens produce and innovate without government intervention. Undoubtedly, regulations can slow the progress of innovation and by extension economic  growth. Because economically free societies enable the efficient creation of wealth it is unsurprising that the Fraser Institute and the Heritage Foundation have documented a positive relationship between economic freedom and income growth.

However, less appreciated is that economic freedom improves well-being in ways not easily calculated on any ledger. Higher incomes afford people the opportunity to purchase high-quality amenities thereby enriching their quality of life. When increasing affluence allows people to secure better health care and superior schools they can expect to live

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Understanding the “Private” in “Private Security”

3 days ago

Recently in the pages of the Mises Wire, Jason Morgan argued that private security isn’t enough in terms of ensuring personal security and that America needs militias. While I agree with much of the spirit of Dr. Morgan’s essay, there are a few things I wish to clarify and say in defense of private security.
We Should Be Clear about What We Mean by “Private Security”
The word “private” is often used to describe (and conflate) things that are quite different. Your barber’s private business is quite distinct from a “private prison” (which I consider to be more accurately referred to as a “contract prison”). The former is funded voluntarily by people looking to beautify their mullets whereas the only customers of the latter are governments financed through taxation. And while it is surely the

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Governments Are Failing at Their Most Basic Duties—While Promising Free Stuff

3 days ago

Three city blocks were systematically burned to the ground as hundreds of the local police stood by and viewed the violence. They were obeying orders not to harm the arsonists. The National Guard was called, adding more armed watchers. A passive gendarmerie consorting with open rebellion has rarely been seen in American history, until recently.
Except for variation in detail and numbers, this sort of thing is happening today.

Does the above sound as if it had been written recently? While it could easily have been written earlier this year, it was not. Leonard Read wrote it in “Social Reformers as Keepers of the Peace,” chapter 8 in his 1969 The Coming Aristocracy. But it offers keen insights into America’s recent turmoil and violence.
Most important for us today, however, is Read’s

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Frank Buckley on Secession

4 days ago

By: David Gordon
Because of the deep division in America between Red States and Blue States, there has been much talk of secession. Is the United States too big? Would people be happier in smaller communities? Frank Buckley, a distinguished professor at the Scalia Law School, breaks with most of his fellow legal academics by taking these questions seriously. In a recent article in The American Mind, he suggests that secession today would be difficult but not impossible. “As I argued in  American Secession  (2020), a civil war would be unlikely, and we’d be more likely to see a pacific James Buchanan in the White House than an indominable Abraham Lincoln.”

Against those who argue that secession is unconstitutional, Buckley offers some strong arguments: “Finally, the legal barriers to

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Wall Street Journal Remembers the Great Inflation

4 days ago

By: Robert Aro
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) joined the chorus of headlines about rising prices by recounting price inflation with the article: When Americans Took to the Street Over Inflation, warning readers:

Today, after decades of nearly invisible inflation in the U.S., many Americans have little idea what it looks like… But America’s long inflation holiday shows signs of ending…

Ringing the alarm after the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) reading showed 5% in May, the author tells us:

History provides some useful lessons.

This is precisely the problem. How can any supposed solution of the 1970’s be applied to today?

The author begins the narrative:

The nagging inflation of the late 1960s and 1970s didn’t happen overnight. It took root over years, building

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Why Big Business Ends up Supporting the Regime

4 days ago

Policymakers know they hold immense power to regulate and punish firms that don’t play ball. Industry leaders know this too. So it’s likely both sides will indeed end up “playing ball.” 
The Democrats in Congress want comprehensive regulation of social media which will ultimately allow regime regulators to decide what is and what is not “disinformation.” This has become very clear as Congress has held a series of Congressional hearings designed to pressure tech leaders into doing even more to silence critics of the regime and its preferred center-left narratives.
Back in February, for instance, Glen Greenwald reported:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure

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People Change Their Minds. That Doesn’t Make Them Irrational.

4 days ago

According to a relatively new field of economics called behavioral economics (BE), emotions play an important role in an individual’s decision-making process. On this the Nobel laureate Vernon Smith writes, 

People like to believe that good decision making is a consequence of the use of reason, and that any influence that the emotions might have is antithetical to good decisions. What is not appreciated by Mises and others who similarly rely on the primacy of reason in the theory of choice is the constructive role that the emotions play in human action.1

For example, if consumers become more optimistic regarding the future, then this is going to send an important message to businesses regarding investment decisions. According to BE followers, whether consumers are generally patient or

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They Don’t Hate Gold Because It’s Gold. They Hate It Because It’s Not Government Money.

4 days ago

That gold was used as money in the past is merely a historical fact. But the fact that gold was a form of private money, and thus not easily manipulated for government schemes, made it a target of countless intellectual and governmental assaults.
Original Article: “They Don’t Hate Gold Because It’s Gold. They Hate It Because It’s Not Government Money.”
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.
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Thanks to Federal Megaspending, the Trade Deficit Has Only Gotten Worse

4 days ago

President Trump’s protectionist trade measures against China and other external partners have not caused a reduction of the total US trade deficit. The latter actually grew further as China’s exports found indirect ways into the US and massive domestic spending schemes were expanded during the pandemic.
Almost three years after the Trump administration unleashed the trade war on China, hostilities have not ended, but only entered a truce with the Phase One trade deal signed in January 2020. The US tariff hike on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods has remained in place until today. Washington imposed four rounds of tariffs in 2018 and 2019, with the bulk of the tariffs ranging from 10 to 25 percent coming into force in September 2018 and September 2019. Beijing has gradually retaliated

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In Defense of Debt Collection

5 days ago

You know hypocrisy, as when the pot calls the kettle black? Well, this news report gives new meaning to the idea:

The rise in American consumer debt has been accompanied by a sharp increase in complaints about aggressive and sometimes unscrupulous tactics by debt collection agencies, a phenomenon that has government regulators increasingly concerned.

So the government is concerned about rough tactics, huh? Try skipping out on your taxes this year and see how rough the tactics can become. Try hiring an employee at less than the official wage floor and see what becomes of your business. Try to put a tool shed on the “wetland” in your backyard and see what the regulators do.
If foreign producers try selling too many peanuts or t-shirts, or attempt to charge a genuine market price, the whole

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Andrew Frazier on Running Your Business

5 days ago

There’s a middle class of businesses that are the backbone of the economy. Professor Saras Sarasvathy coined that term, and we’re pleased to adopt it.
These businesses sit between the big corporations of the major stock indexes and the VC-funded gazelles and unicorns of Silicon Valley and Silicon Hills. The watchwords for these backbone businesses are duration and durability. They last and prosper because they are well-run, following the entrepreneurial method.
Entrepreneurship is usually portrayed from the perspective of ends: identifying unmet customer needs, creating new and innovative solutions, taking them to market, making a success.
That’s all true. However, there is another perspective that comes from actually running a business, ensuring that operations are smooth and efficient,

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This Is What Could Trigger Big Growth in CPI Inflation

5 days ago

Many episodes of monetary inflation, some even long and virulent, do not feature a denouement in a sustained high CPI inflation over many years. Instead, these episodes have the common characteristics of asset inflation and the monetary authority levying tax in various forms – principally inflation tax or monetary repression tax. For the monetary inflation to undergo combustion into sustained high CPI inflation it must generate necessary one or two necessary conditions. First, currency collapse; or second, a credit boom which spawns a persistent tendency of demand to exceed supply at present prices across a broad range of markets in goods and services.
That combustion happened in the 1970s in the US well into the severe monetary inflation which started in the early 1960s; it did not happen

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Why Stimulus Does Not Stimulate

5 days ago

Congress is hard at work on a stimulus bill. Doubtless their efforts will pay off. Does anyone stop to ask what it is about stimulus that stimulates? And what, exactly, does it stimulate? Start by spending a lot of money that the government does not have, borrow the difference, and the central bank prints the difference and buys up the debt. But does that increase the production of useful things? To answer this, we look at an unlikely friend, Keynes and his General Theory.
The British Austrian school economist William Harold Hutt penned a devastating critique of the new economics, The Keynesian Episode: A Reassessment. In this book, Hutt explained why Keynes’s views were able to gain a foothold in the Britain of 1937. The economy was stuck in an intransigent slump of many years’ duration.

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3 Common Criticisms of Crypto—and Why They’re Wrong

6 days ago

By: Kyle Ward
Peter Schiff is a well-known critic of Bitcoin, and while he is an excellent resource on many economic and political topics, he misses the mark on cryptocurrency. To be fair, he is right that Bitcoin and other crypto assets are high risk and volatile, and he correctly points out that using leverage or going into debt to buy Bitcoin could end in financial disaster. However, he makes several errors in his analysis of Bitcoin. He is wrong about its scarcity and its ability to hedge inflation, but his largest mistake is his guiding principle: that Bitcoin (unlike gold) has no fundamental value.

For example, Schiff is quick to point out that gold has uses outside of being money. It is used in electronics, dentistry, and jewelry to name a few. Given this, it’s easy to see how —as

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The G7’s Reckless Commitment To Mounting Debt

6 days ago

Historically, meetings of the largest economies in the world have been essential to reach essential agreements that would incentivize prosperity and growth. This was not the case this time. The G7 meeting agreements were light on detailed economic decisions, except on the most damaging of them all. A minimum global corporate tax. Why not an agreement on a maximum global public spending?
Imposing a minimum global corporate tax of 15 percent without addressing all other taxes that governments impose before a business reaches a net profit is dangerous. Why would there be a minimum global corporate tax when subsidies are different, some countries have different or no VAT rates (value added tax), and the endless list of indirect taxes is completely different? The G7 “commit to reaching an

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Is Guaranteed Basic Income the Solution to Robots Taking Our Jobs?

6 days ago

The idea of universal basic income (UBI) is near the peak of the hype cycle. Democrat Andrew Yang made it the flagship issue of his presidential campaign. A small industry of advocates tirelessly push arguments in its favor. I will address two in this piece. The first: the claim of permanent elimination of jobs. The second: the resulting need for income to compensate for the fall in purchasing power from the lack of work. Both rely on long-discarded economic fallacies. 
No one doubts that robots, software, and automation eliminate some need for human labor where adopted. But the automation doomers’ scenario assumes that when jobs are eliminated by automation in one place, that number of jobs are permanently gone. For this to be true, there would have to be no compensating growth in the

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A Brief History Of Secession Referenda in Europe

8 days ago

Scotland still hasn’t given up on holding another independence referendum within the next several years. Although London opposes the measure, it is notable that the debate over Scottish secession is not over whether or not a secession vote is moral or legal. Rather, the question is over whether or not such a vote is prudent at this time.
This is quite a departure from American politics in which any suggestion of independence for any region of the US—a country that is not even as old as the 300-year union between England and Scotland—is considered obviously illegal and beyond the pale of serious political discussion.
Moreover, in spite of the US’s (rather unwarranted) reputation for expansive local autonomy, we can find many cases in which European regimes were far more willing to

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