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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

Review: Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events

12 hours ago

Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic EventsRobert J. ShillerPrinceton: Princeton University Press, 2019xxi + 377 pp.
Abstract: Much of Shiller’s new book is about how economic narratives form, spread, and fade. Drawing on medical evidence about the spread of infectious disease, Shiller argues that “economic fluctuations are substantially driven by contagion of oversimplified and easily transmitted variants of economic narratives.” But Shiller ignores the powerful role of monetary disorder, whether in forming the narrative or determining the contagion rate, or as a competitor to the narrative. Ignoring or downplaying money’s role leaves Narrative Economics a disappointment.
recession — housing bubble —monetary policy — narrative economics — business cycle

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Private Defense in the History of Genoa

15 hours ago

The city of Genoa is often excluded from histories of medieval and Renaissance republicanism. Similarly, Genoa is also absent from discussions on the rise of territorial states in northern Italy. This exclusion can be explained in various ways. To be sure, the Genoese have demonstrated a lack of interest in writing political philosophy and in intellectualizing their civic values. But, more importantly, Genoa represents an unwelcome contradiction for all the comprehensive theses proposed by scholars to describe the “progress” from medieval chaos to modern state building and statecraft. In other words, because statist historians do not know how to tackle Genoa, they very often ignore it. In this article, I will not give a complete account of the history of Genoa—its rise as a maritime

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Will the Police Crack Down on Lockdown Violators the Second Time Around?

18 hours ago

It will be very interesting if the police—who did nothing to disperse protests that were obviously in violation of bans on mass gatherings—turn around and arrest business owners and other “violators” of a second round of stay-at-home orders.
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros.
Original Article: “Will the Police Crack Down on Lockdown Violators the Second Time Around?​“
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The Constitution Failed

1 day ago

Contrary to a certain nostalgic nationalist myth that still endures, the US Constitution as first conceived was never intended to limit government power. The primary purpose of the Convention of 1787 was to increase federal power, as the older constitution of 1776 (i.e., the “Articles of Confederation”) was regarded by centralizers as being too “weak.” The older constitution was built on a consensus model, and required acquiescence from a supermajority of member states to do much. The overwhelming preponderance of government power lay with the states themselves, which were in their own right too weak to demand much from their citizens.
Nonetheless, this loose union of states had functioned well enough. The states, working in voluntary union, had fought off the most powerful empire of the

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Man, Economy and State with Jeff Deist

2 days ago

Today’s solo show kicks off our reading of Rothbard’s landmark Man, Economy, and State with a look at Chapter 1, “Fundamentals of Human Action.” So much of what economics texts get wrong is laid out brilliantly here by Rothbard, who gives readers the basics of action, means/ends, time, ranking, factors of production, and capital in this 77 page master class. The short appendix at the end of the chapter alone is a bombshell—demystifying the correct form for economic analysis, and explaining why psychology is not praxeology. Don’t miss this introduction to the book you know you need to read! 
Use the code HAPOD for a discount on Man, Economy, and State from our bookstore: Mises.org/BuyMES
Additional Resources
Man, Economy, and State: Mises.org/MES
Bob Murphy’s Study Guide to Man, Economy,

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Nozick and the Minimal State

2 days ago

Robert Nozick’s derivation of a minimal state in the first part of Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974) has generated a lot of criticism, and you might think there is nothing new to be said about it. I have a new point, though—at any rate, I haven’t seen it discussed—and this is what I’m going to talk about.
Nozick’s starting point resembles Murray Rothbard’s anarchism. The fundamental principle of his book is that individuals have rights. There are things you can’t do to individuals without violating these rights. Individuals are separate beings. Contrasting moral views, such as utilitarianism, don’t take seriously the differences between people. There is no collective entity that is better off if some are sacrificed to others.
These rights aren’t maximizing principles, but “side

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How Historians Changed the Meaning of “Liberalism”

3 days ago

Understandably enough, the current disfavor into which socialism has fallen has spurred what Raimondo Cubeddu (1997: 138) refers to as “the frenzy to proclaim oneself a liberal.” Many writers today have recourse to the stratagem of “inventing for oneself a ‘liberalism’ according to one’s own tastes” and passing it off as an “evolution” from past ideas. “The superabundance of liberalisms,” Cubeddu warns, “like that of money, ends up by debasing everything and emptying everything of meaning.”1
In truth, a survey of the literature on liberalism reveals a condition of conceptual mayhem. One root cause of this is the frequent attempt to accommodate all important political groupings that have called themselves “liberal.” This is an approach favored by some British scholars in particular, in

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How Collecting Old Coins Taught Me to Never Trust the Government

3 days ago

Old coins vaccinated me against trusting politicians long before I grew my first scruffy beard. I began collecting coins when I was eight years old in 1965, the year President Lyndon Johnson began eliminating all the silver in new dimes, quarters, and half dollars. LBJ swore that there would be no profit in “hoarding” earlier coins “for the value of their silver content.” Wrong, dude: silver coins are now worth roughly fifteen times their face value.
History had always enthralled me, and handling old coins was like shaking hands with the pioneers who built this country. I wondered if the double dented 1853 quarter I bought at a coin show was ever involved in Huckleberry Finn–type adventures when “two bits” could buy a zesty time. I had a battered copper two-cent piece from 1864, the same

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The Disastrous Legacy of Woodrow Wilson

3 days ago

Princeton University has made it official: Woodrow Wilson’s name no longer will have any place on campus. The former president, or at least his memory, now is part of cancel culture, which is sweeping the nation. The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs will replace the former president’s name with “Princeton,” and Wilson College now will be called First College.
This hardly is surprising but in many ways discouraging, but not for reasons that many people might assume. Wilson did, after all, leave a sorry legacy of Jim Crow racial segregation and actively sought to damage if not destroy race relations in the United States, so the drive to remove his name is not a surprise given the wave of renaming and destruction of statues and monuments that has dominated the

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All You Need to Know about Alexis de Tocqueville

4 days ago

[Ralph Raico, Alexis de Tocqueville (Auburn: Mises Institute, 2017), 94 pp.]
Before he died in 2016, the historian Ralph Raico—an expert on the history of classical liberalism—donated his personal notes and library to the Mises Institute. Archivists later found among his notes a lengthy essay (or monograph) on the French political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville.
It is unclear exactly what purpose this monograph was originally intended to serve, but the Mises Institute published the essay as Alexis de Tocqueville in 2017. This short and easy-to-read book has yet to receive the attention it deserves, but in our age of moral panics over both race and disease, Twitter “cancel culture,” and bureaucrats ruling by decree, we can still learn a lot from Tocqueville’s work. Specifically,

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Mateusz Machaj on the Structure of Production in Economic Theory, and the Political Philosophy of the Star Wars Prequels

4 days ago

Austrian economist and Mises Institute Fellow Mateusz Machaj discusses two of his books. The first is a technical work explaining how the Austrian structure of production concept can help resolve puzzles in economics. Machaj’s second book analyzes the political philosophy behind the Star Wars prequels. This episode contains deep insights that will inform even advanced students of both economic theory and the Star Wars universe.
Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:
For more information, see BobMurphyShow.com. The Bob Murphy Show is also available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and via RSS.
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Review: Prosperity and Liberty: What Venezuela Needs…

4 days ago

Prosperity and Liberty: What Venezuela Needs…Rafael Acevedo, ed.Miami: Econintech, 2019xvii + 153 pp.
Abstract: Prosperity and Liberty: What Venezuela Needs is a compilation of essays gathered together by distinguished Venezuelan economist Rafael Acevedo. Venezuela has suffered from shortages of essential consumer goods, and a high inflation rate. The path forward, for a country devastated by decades of socialism, is to move toward a free market. The only missing element in this book is a discussion of the dire effects of American economic sanctions on the Venezuelan people.
socialism — economic policy — economic freedom — venezuela
David Gordon ([email protected]) is a senior fellow at the Mises Institute.
Rafael Acevedo is a distinguished Venezuelan economist, now in part-time residence

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Thomas Sowell: Understanding Markets and Free Choice

5 days ago

June 30 marks the ninetieth birthday of Thomas Sowell. But it is insufficiently celebrated, in no small part because he shares that birthday with Frederic Bastiat, one of history’s most famous economics writers, whose work attracts a great deal of attention then.
That is ironic in that Sowell and Bastiat share an uncommon ability to write sensibly about economics in ways “real people” can understand, especially in spotting the errors that are so common in public policy, without overreliance on jargon, diagrams, or mathematics.
But fortunately for modern readers, we have been able to benefit from Sowell’s much longer productive life, including roughly fifty books, decades of popular articles as a syndicated columnist, and continuing contributions on Twitter, where he is one of the few who

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Peter Klein: Four Considerations for the Delegation of Derived Judgment

5 days ago

Key Takeaways And Actionable Insights
For entrepreneurs, the future is not risky, it’s uncertain.
Risk is a calculable mathematical probability, like the result of 1000 tosses of a (fair) coin, or the likelihood of you being involved in a car accident in 40 years of driving on US interstate highways.
The outcomes of entrepreneurial decision making are not calculable. They can’t be computed. Yet entrepreneurs need to make decisions, without having all the facts in hand today, and without knowing the odds of the future results. That’s uncertainty.
Therefore they exercise judgment. Judgment is action. It’s business practice.
Judgment is not guessing, or speculating, or hoping. Judgment is action. Specifically, judgment is taking ownership of property and resources, combining and recombining

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Review: Beyond Brexit: A Programme for UK Reform

5 days ago

Beyond Brexit: A Programme for UK ReformThe Policy Reform GroupLondon: Sage Publications, 201993 pp.
Abstract: Beyond Brexit: A Programme for UK Reform is a series of essays compiled by the Policy Reform Group and published in volume 250 of the National Institute Economic Review. Contributions from 16 authors address a broad range of key policy areas: macroeconomic policy, housing, infrastructure, climate change, foreign policy, and inequality. Few of the policy proposals can be expected to find sympathy with economists of the Austrian school, but the near-mainstream proposals may be interesting as possible players in the formation of the next consensus.
macroeconomics — economic policy — brexit
George Pickering ([email protected]) is a postgraduate student at the University

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How the Monopoly Power of Police Agencies Encourages Abuse

5 days ago

Whether or not race is a factor, the monopoly power enjoyed by police agencies (and other government agencies) creates the conditions likely to lead to more abuse of power.
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros.
Original Article: “How the Monopoly Power of Police Agencies Encourages Abuse“.
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Beware Washington’s Latest Trillion-Dollar Infrastructure Scheme

5 days ago

The infrastructure zealots and the Green New Deal (GND) acolytes have returned at the tail end of the coronavirus pandemic. The Republicans are championing investments in roads and highways, while the Democrats are advancing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) grand utopian green vision. One side is falling back on this decades-old myth that America’s bridges are crumbling, while the other is willing to sacrifice the nation’s health to please the few petulant and puerile progressives. Everyone must refrain from questioning the economic logic, constitutional structure, and the waste associated with spending enormous sums of taxpayer dollars on either sewer systems or the Left’s dystopian vision.
Infrastructure back in the Spotlight
Infrastructure spending has returned to the headlines.

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The Problem with Government “Contact Tracing”

6 days ago

As states move through phases of reopening, “contact tracing” has remained a topic of national interest. For months now, talking heads in the government and media have hailed the strategy as the country’s saving grace. One NBC headline read, “Coronavirus contact tracing could stop COVID-19 and reopen America,” and a CNN article declared, “the US — or really any country — can’t safely reopen without significant amounts of contact tracing and testing.” With this starry-eyed perception, dozens of states have rushed to train and hire tens of thousands of contact tracers—what former CDC director Tom Frieden gleefully described as an “army” of tracers. 
It’s true that contact tracing has been an indispensable asset many times in the past, helping to snuff out viruses by diligently tracking their

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As the Fed Pumps, the Stock Market Is Increasingly the Only Game in Town

7 days ago

While the economic storm caused by COVID-19 has seemed to wane (temporarily?), the stock market can’t seem to go but one direction—up. Graham and Dodd’s meaty 700-page Security Analysis has soared to number 7695 on the Amazon best-seller list. According to Warren Buffett, the book is “A road map for investing that I have now been following for 57 years.” 
One wonders what roadmap the young people who saw the pandemic March meltdown as an opportunity to buy slices of familiar technology stocks are following?
CNBC reports, “The major online brokers — Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Etrade and Robinhood — saw new accounts grow as much as 170% in the first quarter, when stocks experienced the fastest bear market and the worst first quarter in history.”
What company shares was the shoeshine boy

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The Irony of Marxist Class Consciousness

8 days ago

Let’s set the scene.
You and I are at the local pub when we find ourselves thrust into a rousing debate with our neighbours regarding the vicious state of the world and how we ought to put it right. We say free the markets and spontaneous order will do the talking. They say socialism is the only way forward. As our third pints dwindle to their last dregs, it begins to look like it will be a while before we get away to the bar for another round. Onlookers turn from their tables to shoot us sympathetic looks when one of our interlocutors, frothing at the mouth, accuses me of bad faith, and you of nefarious motives.
I rouse myself hysterically to our defence, banging the table with my right hand while I adjure him not to make things personal. You back me up, insisting: “No, no! It’s not like

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COVID Lockdowns Crippled the Division of Labor, Setting the Stage for Civil Unrest

8 days ago

The division of labor promotes peaceful exchange and continues peace. But this can all break down when governments intervene to prevent peaceful interaction and when government incompetence promotes violence.
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros.
Original Article: “COVID Lockdowns Crippled the Division of Labor, Setting the Stage for Civil Unrest“.
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Not Yours to Give

8 days ago

[From The Life of Colonel David Crockett, compiled by Edward S. Ellis (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1884). Included in Free Market Economics: A Basic Reader, compiled by Bettina B. Greaves (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 1975).]
One day in the House of Representatives, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Davy Crockett arose:
“Mr. Speaker—I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead

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The Second Round of Lockdowns Won’t Be As Easy as the First

8 days ago

The pressure is already mounting for state and local governments to move again toward coerced stay at home orders and mandatory business closures.
The constant drumbeat of headlines designed to convince people to adopt new draconian government controls is more of less exactly the same as what it was back in March. Arizona “lost control of the epidemic” one headline proclaims, while another insists “ICU beds full.” A government bureaucrat in Texas says the situation is “apocalyptic” and Bloomberg dutifully features the word in its headline. The governor of California is threatening another stay-at-home order. The Texas governor has re-imposed some restrictions. Florida has “paused” its scaling back of lockdown edicts.
Americans should expect more of this as the year proceeds. Once we

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MMT: Not Modern, Not Monetary, Not a Theory

8 days ago

It’s easy to dismiss MMT out of hand, but the impulse to create something from nothing resides deep in the human psyche.
Narrated by the author.
Original Article: “MMT: Not Modern, Not Monetary, Not a Theory“.
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Are Fractional Reserve Bank Deposits Money?

8 days ago

The issue of fractional versus 100 percent bank reserves has been much debated. One of major disputes is whether fractional reserve banking (FRB) is inherently fraudulent, or whether the mix of cash and other assets to be held against liabilities is a business decision, to be made by banks and customers? This article will show that attempts to construct a nonfraudulent FRB result in assets that are not money.
Deposit Banks, Credit Banks, and Fractional Reserves
The article starts from a world in which gold is the monetary commodity. One hundred percent reserve deposit banks accept gold in exchange for a bank deposit or banknotes. Credit banks are distinct from deposit banks. They are financial intermediaries that accept funds (not deposits) as loans, and then seek profits by lending the

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Why You Should Read Man, Economy, and State

9 days ago

Rothbard fans, this is the podcast you don’t want to miss! Rothbard scholar Patrick Newman joins Jeff Deist to kick off a series of shows featuring Rothbard’s landmark treatise Man, Economy, and State. They discuss the history and background behind this important book, how it changed the landscape, and why the concluding chapters titled “Power and Market” proved so controversial at the time–and remain so today! Dr. Newman calls Rothbard’s opus “the best book I ever read,” and makes a compelling case for lay readers like you to tackle it.
Read the book free of charge in searchable HTML format here.
Use the code HAPOD for a discount on Man, Economy, and State from our bookstore: Mises.org/BuyMES
Additional Resources
Dr. Joe Salerno’s introduction to Man, Economy, and State:

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The COVID Panic Canceled Many Graduation Speeches. Thank Goodness.

9 days ago

Thanks to the COVID-19 panic this year, graduates at America’s institutions of higher education missed the “opportunity” to be lectured by some celebrity or politician about the importance of “giving back” to the community, or being yourself, or following your dreams.
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros.
Original Article: “The COVID Panic Canceled Many Graduation Speeches. Thank Goodness.“
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A Never-Ending Story of Bailouts, Moral Hazard, and Low Economic Growth

10 days ago

The recent economic downturn has created the environment for a new round of bailouts by the government and the Fed. Last time they did this they told us it would be the last one, but anyone who knows our history knew that was not going to stand. Now we are told again that this is an exceptional situation and we must bail out businesses in trouble so that the economy can restart again as quickly as possible. But this is the same argument the government has always made when pushing for a bailout. What is more, every time the government has bailed out businesses, they have promised us that this will not create moral hazard.
Moral hazard here refers to the ability to take risk without fear of suffering the consequences. As I show below, businesses profit by making bad short-term decisions, and

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Why Mises Opposed Both Eugenics and Social Darwinism

10 days ago

Mises points out that eugenicists’ aim to improve the “quality” of the human race is an incoherent and meaningless goal: there exists no clear and objective standard by which the quality of human beings can be measured.
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Millian Quinteros.
Original Article: “Why Mises Opposed Both Eugenics and Social Darwinism“.
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The Corona Crisis Could Bring a New Era of Decline for American Core Cities

10 days ago

Manufacturing company 7-Sigma made headlines when it decided to leave Minneapolis as a result of the company’s plant being burned by rioters. “They don’t care about my business,”7-Sigma owner Kris Wyrobek old the Star-Tribune. After more than 30 years in the city, the company isn’t staying, nor are any of the company’s fifty jobs.
But the costs of being victimized in protests is just one of many reasons homeowners and businesses may be realizing life and business in central cities has lost its luster. The ongoing threat of more business lockdowns, more riots, higher taxes, and failing schools may induce many Americans to flee, once again, to the suburbs as their parents or grandparents did.
This goes well beyond the fear of the disease many journalists have assumed is behind the observed

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