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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

Carl Menger and the Sesquicentennial Founding of the Austrian School

5 days ago

There are few works in the history of economics that may be truly considered “revolutionary” and “pathbreaking,” in their starting premises, logic, and implications. But one that is in this category is Carl Menger’s Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftsliche, his Principles of Economics in its English translation. This year marks the 150th anniversary of its publication in 1871.
Menger’s work is often classified as one of the first formulations of the theory of marginal utility, along with the works of British economist William Stanley Jevons (1835–82) and the Frenchman Leon Walras (1834–1910), whose writings also appeared in the early 1870s. But Menger’s contribution also marked the beginning of a uniquely distinct Austrian school of economics based on the theory of subjective value, of which

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The Upside of Lockdowns: More Saving

5 days ago

Something good is coming out of the covid lockdowns. Economist David Rosenberg released a special report via the eponymous Rosenberg Research, concluding “the pre-COVID-19 ‘norm’ of a 7% personal savings rate will morph into a post-COVID-19 norm of 10%.”
Rosenberg makes frequent TV appearances after he was chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch in New York from 2002 to 2009, when he was consistently included in the Institutional Investor All-Star analyst rankings. From there he spent ten years as chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff.
Rosenberg doesn’t portray his prediction of a savings rate increase necessarily as a positive, instead writing, “for the 70% of aggregate demand called ‘the consumer,’ this will exert an everlasting drag on the pace of economic activity.”

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The Truth about January 6, and Where We Should Go from Here

5 days ago

What can be done now? President Trump should not urge us all to “come together.” Instead, he should support secession.
Original Article: “The Truth about January 6, and Where We Should Go from Here??”
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.

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Food Prices Soaring

6 days ago

By: Robert Wenzel
The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows twelve-month food prices climbing at a 3.9 percent annualized rate for 2020.

Overall price inflation for the same period, as measured by the government’s Consumer Price Index, rose 1.4 percent.

Bottom line: the goods people are buying during this lockdown period such as food are soaring.

The advance in food prices was pretty much across the board.

All subcategories from cereals to fruit showed gains far in excess of the Federal Reserve’s “target” inflation of 2 percent. But, hey, if you don’t eat, price inflation is not as high.

In the EPJ Daily Alert, I am warning that as the lockdowns ease, price inflation across the board will rise to meet the advance in prices we are seeing in food prices.

Hug your gold

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There Is No Such Thing as Treason

6 days ago

“Treason” is quickly becoming a favorite word among Washington politicos and their media allies. One need not look hard to find countless examples. For example, a late-night talk show host called the January 6 Capitol riot the “treason finale” of the Trump era. A Washington Post columnist concludes “the founders” would have “denounced it as treason.” The Mayor of New York says Trump is guilty of “treason” for his supposed role in the riot.
What is perhaps surprising about the use of the word this time around is that it’s being used by the Left against adversaries in the Right. Usually, it’s the other way around. During the second half of the twentieth century, it was not particularly unusual to hear rightwing Cold Warriors denounce as traitors those who were allegedly too soft on their

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How the State Preserves Itself—and What the State Fears

6 days ago

Once a State has been established, the problem of the ruling group or “caste” is how to maintain their rule.1 While force is their modus operandi, their basic and long-run problem is ideological. For in order to continue in office, any government (not simply a “democratic” government) must have the support of the majority of its subjects. This support, it must be noted, need not be active enthusiasm; it may well be passive resignation as if to an inevitable law of nature. But support in the sense of acceptance of some sort it must be; else the minority of State rulers would eventually be outweighed by the active resistance of the majority of the public. Since predation must be supported out of the surplus of production, it is necessarily true that the class constituting the State—the

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Surviving Tech Purges: What We’re Doing at the Mises Institute

6 days ago

The Mises Institute was born of the “build your own platform” ethos.
In the early 1980s few outlets existed for anyone interested in the Austrian school of economics or robust libertarian scholarship. Few universities taught Hayek, much less Mises or Rothbard. Libraries and bookstores carried little of interest for serious economists and thinkers in the old liberal tradition.
Lew Rockwell and others set out to build an institutional home for the Austrian school, and to resuscitate Mises as the most important and most comprehensive leader of that school. In those early years the Institute used the platforms at its disposal to get the message out, chiefly in the form of physical mail, book catalogs, conferences, and video cassettes. It wasn’t easy, but there were no alternatives.
Today that

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What the Literature Actually Reveals about Raising the Minimum Wage

7 days ago

By: Joseph Solis-Mullen
Despite economist Thomas Sowell’s laconically phrased observation that the real minimum wage is zero, progressive elements within the Democratic coalition are likely to push for increasing the federal minimum wage once Biden takes office. While whether or not to raise the minimum wage is therefore ultimately a political question, a school of thought has gained purchase within mainstream economic circles in recent decades that contravenes long held classical assumptions about supply and demand. If the cost of a commodity increases, demand should fall if the price rises beyond the point at which the marginal utility of acquiring another unit of that commodity is less than the cost of another unit of that commodity (Sowell 2011). Not so with labor, argue these

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Why We Think We’re Free

7 days ago

By: Shane J. Coules
There is a famous routine by the late, great American comedian George Carlin in which he talks about why he refuses to vote. In less than four minutes, he brilliantly captures the deep flaws of the US political process, and the futility of a system that has become irredeemably corrupt (“I’m sure as soon as the election’s over your country will improve immediately. . . This country was bought, sold, and paid for a long time ago.”).

Italian-American lecturer and writer Piero Scaruffi opines that “a comedian is someone who tells the truth. Truth is the set of all jokes, told by all comedians in the world.” There is certainly more than an ounce of veracity in Carlin’s bit. But while that may be the case, the idea of abstaining from voting is seen by many as nothing less

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There Is Money and Then There Are Money Substitutes

7 days ago

Claims to a definite amount of money, payable and redeemable on demand, against a debtor about whose solvency and willingness to pay there does not prevail the slightest doubt, render to the individual all the services money can render, provided that all parties with whom he could possibly transact business are perfectly familiar with these essential qualities of the claims concerned: daily maturity and undoubted solvency and willingness to pay on the part of the debtor.
We may call such claims money-substitutes, as they can fully replace money in an individual’s or a firm’s cash holding. The technical and legal features of the money-substitutes do not concern catallactics. A money-substitute can be embodied either in a banknote or in a demand deposit with a bank subject to check

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Low Rates and Limited Liability Mean Hot Markets

7 days ago

What clear-eyed mortgage underwriter would sign on to a thirty-year loan at less than 3 percent? After all, in Las Vegas, for instance, the unemployment rate in November was 11.5 percent, second highest in the country. The city’s main engine, tourism, has been stymied by covid. But, as if there were nothing wrong, nothing to see, or no risks to consider, new home sales are on the verge of being the highest in 2020 since the historic housing-boom year of 2007. 
“Heading into the final month of 2020, the housing market in Southern Nevada continues to impress and defy normal seasonal trends,” Smith wrote in the Home Builders Research monthly report cited by Eli Segall in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Despite the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic, low interest rates and low inventory

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The “War On Terror” Comes Home

7 days ago

Last week’s massive social media purges—starting with President Trump’s permanent ban from Twitter and other outlets—was shocking and chilling, particularly to those of us who value free expression and the free exchange of ideas. The justifications given for the silencing of wide swaths of public opinion made no sense and the process was anything but transparent. Nowhere in President Trump’s two “offending” Tweets, for example, was a call for violence expressed explicitly or implicitly. It was a classic example of sentence first, verdict later.
Many Americans viewed this assault on social media accounts as a liberal or Democrat attack on conservatives and Republicans, but they are missing the point. The narrowing of allowable opinion in the virtual public square is no conspiracy against

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Jeff Deist: Animating Economics to Serve Real People and Real Businesses

7 days ago

Economics is an animating science.
Economics is treated by many as an arid field of mathematical modeling. Human beings are treated as data in the model, almost the way physics regards atoms and molecules. This approach to economics doesn’t help people much; it doesn’t help us understand the world, and isn’t helping us build a better future.
Austrian economics is humanistic; it treats humans as people, pursuing their hopes and dreams, frequently changing, seldom predictable, and never acting like data in a model.
That’s why we see our brand of economics as animating: helping people to understand better how to identify the best means for their chosen ends. For businesspeople, that translates into knowledge, processes and tools to help businesses grow and thrive.
The role of the

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Let Unsound Money Wither Away

8 days ago

[This is a revised version of written testimony submitted to the the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology of the Committee on Financial Services, US House of Representatives, “Fractional Reserve Banking and Central Banking as Sources of Economic Instability: The Sound Money Alternative,” June 28, 2012.]

Chairman Paul and members of the subcommittee, I am deeply honored to appear before you to testify on the topic of fractional-reserve banking. Thank you for your invitation and attention.
In the short time I have, I will give a brief description of fractional reserve-banking, identify the problems it presents in the current institutional setting, and suggest a potential solution.
A bank is simply a business firm that issues claims to a fixed sum of money in receipt for

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Fiscal Stimulus vs. Economic Growth

8 days ago

For most experts a key factor that policymakers should be watching is the ratio between actual real output and potential real output. The potential output is the maximum output that the economy could attain if all resources are used efficiently. In Q3 2020, the US real GDP–to–potential US real GDP ratio stood at 0.965 against 1.01 in Q3 2019.

A strong ratio (above 1) can be of concern because according to experts it can set in motion inflationary pressures. To prevent the possible escalation of inflation, experts tend to recommend tighter monetary and fiscal policies. Their preferred policy would be to soften aggregate demand, which is considered as the key driving factor behind the ratio’s rise above 1.
However, a greater concern to most experts is if the ratio falls below 1, which is

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No, We Don’t Need a New New Deal

9 days ago

There are few sacred cows in American politics more revered than the New Deal. Yet the New Deal did nothing to end the Depression and it still negatively impacts our economy today. Now we’re being told the United States needs a new New Deal.
Original Article: “No, We Don’t Need a New New Deal?”
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.

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California Is Worse Than You Think

10 days ago

My colleague from the philosophy department was becoming increasingly angry. He was trying to be polite, but it was clear that he was raging inside. After a few minutes, he smiled a very strained smile and excused himself.
Our conversation was about California, or to be more specific, California governance. As readers can imagine, he was bullish on how the Democratic Party governs the state, California being perhaps the most one-party state in the USA. Every statewide election has gone to a Democrat in the last decade, and Democrats have a supermajority in the state legislature, which means that there is no meaningful Republican opposition and whatever the Democrats want, they get.
Not surprisingly, California governance is squarely progressive. The unions representing government employees

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Corporatism: Influential Farmers in India Oppose Profreedom Agricultural Reforms

10 days ago

Farmers from the major wheat- and rice-growing provinces of India have filed into the capital region to voice their displeasure with recent farm reforms. This comes as India’s government undermines longstanding privileges for farmers in a major transition toward free market agriculture.
For weeks farmers have been camping out along major highways near New Delhi to protest the deregulation of agriculture markets. Demonstrators have blocked traffic, clashed with police, and brought trucks full of food and supplies, indicating that they do not plan on going anywhere until the reforms are repealed.
The reform that has generated the most outrage, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Act, grants farmers the freedom to sell directly to private traders and retailers, allowing them to bypass

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Why Mainstream Economic Forecasts Are So Often Wrong

11 days ago

Every end of the year, by the end of the year, we receive numerous estimates of global GDP growth and inflation for the following year. Historically, almost in all cases, expectations of inflation and growth are too optimistic in December for the following year.
If we look at the track record of central banks, it is particularly poor in predicting inflation, while large supranational entities tend to err on the side of optimism in GDP estimates. The international Monetary Fund or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, for example, have been particularly poor at estimating recessions, but mostly accurate at making long-term trend estimates. Contrary to popular belief, it seems that most forecasts are better at identifying long-term economic dynamics than short-term

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Freedom vs. the Collective

11 days ago

In a famous lecture delivered in August 1819, the great classical liberal Benjamin Constant contrasts the ancient and modern conceptions of liberty. By the “ancient conception,” Constant means the liberty of the citizens of a state to rule themselves, as opposed to rule by despots, whether foreign or domestic. He has primarily in mind the ancient Greek city-states. He says that ancient liberty

consisted in exercising collectively, but directly, several parts of the complete sovereignty; in deliberating, in the public square, over war and peace; in forming alliances with foreign governments; in voting laws, in pronouncing judgments; in examining the accounts, the acts, the stewardship of the magistrates; in calling them to appear in front of the assembled people, in accusing, condemning or

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The Wall Street Journal Disappoints Yet Again

11 days ago

By: Robert Aro
The Wall Street Journal asked a valid question on Tuesday in an article titled: How Much Debt Is Too Much? It Depends on Your View of Inflation. Spoiler Alert: for those who love liberty and freedom, this doesn’t end well…

The tone is quickly set when the author notes how Western nations have the highest debt-to-GDP ratio since World War II, citing “the pandemic” as the cause, not socialist governments nor their anti-capitalist central banks. Considering that long before COVID, the world was already reaching exponential increases in debt and money supply, it seems unfair to absolve those responsible by putting the blame on the pandemic.

Per the article, we are told fears of high debt-to-GDP ratios have been repeatedly proven wrong. Despite this, some, like the UK Treasury

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The Capitol Riot Wasn’t a Coup. It Wasn’t Even Close.

12 days ago

On Wednesday, a mob apparently composed of Trump supporters forced its way past US Capitol security guards and briefly moved unrestrained through much of the capitol building. They displayed virtually no organization and no clear goals.
The only deaths were on the side of the mob, with one woman—apparently unarmed—shot dead by panicky and trigger-happy capitol police, with three others suffering non-specific “medical emergencies.”
Yet, the media response has been to act as if the event constituted a coup d’etat. This was “A Very American Coup” according to a headline at The New Republic. “This is a Coup” insists a writer at Foreign Policy. The Atlantic presented photos purported to be “Scenes From an American Coup.”
But this wasn’t a coup, and what happened on Wednesday is conceptually

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Hayek, Friedman, Buchanan: The Villains of “Neoliberalism”

12 days ago

In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the Westby Wendy BrownColumbia University Press, 2019viii + 248 pages
Wendy Brown, a well-known political theorist who teaches at UC Berkeley, does not like Friedrich Hayek very much. She in part blames him and others as well, including Milton Friedman and James Buchanan, for policies that have led to the bad state of the world in general and America in particular today. In the Ruins of Neoliberalism covers other topics, ranging from the case of the Colorado cake maker who refused to create a cake for a same-sex couple to the rise of nihilism about values and Herbert Marcuse’s “repressive desublimation” (not a good thing, I assure you); but I shall concentrate on what she says about Hayek.
Her most fundamental criticism

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MAGA Mobs the US Capitol: What Comes Next?

12 days ago

Jeff Deist, Ryan McMaken, and Tho Bishop discuss Wednesday’s takeover of the US capitol building. What are the potential long term effects, and just how much of a double standard does the American media have? 
Be sure to follow Radio Rothbard at Mises.org/RadioRothbard.
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Climate Activism, Captured in One Instagram Post

12 days ago

The other day, during my daily dose of immersion in the cesspool of leftist propaganda that is Instagram, I came across a post that perfectly captures the essence of climate activism. The post comes from Bill Nye, the man who was once a well-liked and entertaining television personality and children’s science educator. Many younger Americans during their primary schooling watched episodes of his PBS show, Bill Nye the Science Guy. From his glory days of acting as a twenty-minute substitute for our exhausted middle school science teachers, he has now entered into the endless abyss of what I like to call “scientific absolutism,” a tactic that the climate fanatics, and the administrative left in general, hold near and dear.
In the post, Nye stands in front of a thermometer reading 108

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Why the 2020s Won’t Be like the Roaring 20s

12 days ago

The 1920s featured political détente, debt liquidations by prior consumer price inflation, an introductory stalling of monetary inflation, a German economic miracle, and a broad-based technological revolution. The 2020s have none of these.
Original Article: “Why the 2020s Won’t Be like the Roaring 20s”
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.

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Why Trump Voters Don’t Trust the People Who Count the Votes

13 days ago

Perhaps not since the nineteenth century have so many American voters so fervently doubted the outcome of a national election.
A Slate headline from December 13 reads: “82 Percent of Trump Voters Say Biden’s Win Isn’t Legitimate.” If even half true, this poll means tens of millions of Americans believe the incoming ruling party in Washington got its political power by cheating. 
The implications of this are broader than one might think. Under the current system, if many millions of Americans doubt the veracity of the official vote count, the challenge to the status quo goes beyond simply thinking that Democrats are cheaters. Rather, the Trump voters’ doubts indict much of the American political system overall, and call its legitimacy into question. 
For example, if Trump supporters are

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Si el Congreso estuviera genuinamente interesado en la democracia, acogería una comisión electoral

13 days ago

By: Tho Bishop
Estados Unidos se encuentra a más de dos meses del día de las elecciones, y aún así la tensión permanece en el aire por el resultado de la carrera presidencial. Legalmente, poco ha cambiado. La expectativa debería ser, como lo ha sido desde el principio, que Joe Biden termine siendo inaugurado a finales de este mes. Apropiadamente, el evento será muy limitado para el público.

Aún así, a pesar de la clara ventaja legal que tiene Joe Biden, el comportamiento de varias instituciones de poder es de creciente inquietud. Es comprensible que Donald Trump siga siendo una figura política populista dispuesta a derribar a cualquier líder político, independientemente de su partido, que no se mantenga fiel a sus convicciones de haber sido víctima de una elección fraudulenta. En

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Double Standards, Reparations, and War Crimes

13 days ago

On the Judgment of Historyby Joan Wallach Scott Columbia University Press, 2020xxiii + 117 pages
Joan Wallach Scott, a historian who is a professor emerita at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, has come up with a most valuable insight. She is decidedly not “one of us,” but her insight makes her sound as if she might be. She says,

the notion of the judgment of history rests on a progressive linear view about the necessary superiority, in every domain, of the future as compared to the past, but also—crucially—about the state as the political embodiment of that future. . .As articulated by Hegel, the “autonomy of the state”  was “the ethical whole itself”—the modern state was at once the fulfillment and the embodiment of the telos of history. (p. xvi)

Scott rejects this

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California Now Wants to Tax People Who Live in Other States, Too

13 days ago

California’s government has become infamous for abusing its citizens, from steep taxation to burdensome regulations to arbitrary covid impositions. But less noticed is how it is also trying to abuse other Americans as well.
As reported in a December 28 Los Angeles Times editorial, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), which oversees sales and use tax collections, is trying to retroactively impose sales taxes on out-of-state retailers as far back as 2012.
Prior to 2018’s South Dakota v. Wayfair Supreme Court ruling, states had the power to mandate that companies with a physical presence in their borders collect and remit taxes on sales in the state, even if the products involved came from outside the state. But they could not force companies with no physical

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