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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

Yes, Paul Krugman, Booms Are Unsustainable

3 days ago

That Austrians and Keynesians do not share many views on economics (or probably anything else) is obvious, so a difference of opinion between the two hardly should surprise anyone. However, it still is important to point out the differences between the two camps, especially at the current time when Keynesians are all the rage in Washington (When did they ever leave?) and especially in the Joe Biden administration and, of course, the editorial pages of the New York Times.
Perhaps there is no greater difference between Keynesians and Austrians than their beliefs on economic booms. In short, Keynesians believe that all policies should promote the booms and even when they crash, that government should employ all means to continue the boom. Austrians, on the other hand, see booms as times when

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“Infrastructure” Is Now Anything the Government Wants To Do

3 days ago

A common rhetorical tactic is to change the definition of a key word in a debate to fit a preferred conclusion. This tactic is now being used by President Biden and other lawmakers in support of an anticipated $2 trillion infrastructure bill they are expected to propose by arguing that the definition of “infrastructure” should be expanded to include anything remotely connected to the economy.
The forthcoming bill is expected to propose approximately $400 billion for childcare and other care programs under the heading of “infrastructure,” the argument being that spending taxpayer money on these programs would free up more mothers and others who currently devote their time to providing care to take jobs outside the home. Because it would enable more mothers to work outside the home, the

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Biden Wants a Global Minimum Tax to Offset His Proposed Huge Corporate Tax Increase

3 days ago

In the classic 1939 film, The Roaring Twenties, a desperate James Cagney tells Priscilla Lane, “You want the Brooklyn Bridge, all you gotta do is ask for it. If I can’t buy it, I’ll steal it.” Like a desperate lovesick puppy trying to force the object of his affection to fall in love with him, President Joe Biden has promised the American people the Brooklyn Bridge, relying on an elixir of higher taxes to carry out his plans. But suppose he fails to satisfy the two-thirds of Americans who endorse his spending plans. In that case, these folks might fall in love with the potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate who can deliver the goods of prosperity and growth. Biden might try everything under the sun to woo his crush and make sure he showers the love of his life with diamonds and

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These Are the Real Effects of a Minimum Wage Law

4 days ago

By: Dakota Hensley
In recent years, there’s been a movement among the American Left to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This is under the assumption that having a minimum wage helps workers and makes corporations pay their fair share. However, this is the opposite effect of a minimum wage, especially one that high. It keeps low-skilled (often black or other ethnic minority) workers from finding employment, forcing them to depend on government, and leads to closures of small businesses (especially black-owned businesses) which benefits corporations. To truly help workers and small businesses, we must abolish the minimum wage.

In 1931 came one of the first minimum wage laws, the Davis-Bacon Act. It required $2,000 (about $35,000 today) for contractors working on public works

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A Synthetic Anarcho-Capitalist Perspective on Public Goods

4 days ago

By: Fabrizio Ferrari
Among the several misgivings non-anarcho-capitalist people might have with anarcho-capitalism, there is the issue of public goods. Public goods, in fact, are supposed to be those goods which free markets cannot efficiently supply and allocate because of two properties: non-rivalry, i.e., the fact that A’s consumption of (public) good X does not impair B’s consumption of it; and non-excludability, i.e., the fact that A, the owner of (public) good X, cannot prevent B from enjoying it as well.

So, the argument goes, public goods supposedly need to be produced by governments; otherwise, they would be underproduced or overused—that is, free markets would fail to deliver optimal (i.e., desired) quantity and allocation. However, even setting aside historical instances of

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Vaccine Passports and Medical Paternalism

4 days ago

Vaccine passports have been implemented, or are being developed, in a number of countries around the world. In February 2021, Israel introduced its “Green Pass,” which becomes “effective the week after receiving the second dose” of the vaccine and expires after six months. It was followed by China, which launched its digital “International Travel Health Certificate” in March. Subsequently, in April, Denmark implemented its “Coronapas” and Estonia introduced its “VaccineGuard.” Although the United States government recently dismissed the idea of a national vaccine passport, the state of New York has already launched its own “Excelsior Pass,” and several other states are developing similar programs, whereas South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Florida, Texas and Arizona have banned the use of

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Vaccine Passports Are Just a Way for the Regime to Expand Its Power

4 days ago

Advocates for vaccine passports are a bit like abusive husbands. They say they want to be nice to you. But you keep screwing up and refusing to take your vaccines. So now you’re forcing them to keep you locked down forever. 
Original Article: “Vaccine Passports Are Just a Way for the Regime to Expand Its Power”
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.

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America’s Corporate Thought Police

4 days ago

In my column last week, I said that Senator Josh Hawley’s book The Tyranny of Big Tech raises important issues, and I’d like this week to go into one of these. He notes that Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Search have immense influence on the news and political opinions people see.
As he points out, the

tech platforms are destroying Americans’ control over their lives … by manipulating what news Americans can see and influencing the political decisions they make. By 2019, Facebook was boasting it could change election outcomes…. In the days leading up to the 2020 presidential vote, Facebook and Twitter seemed determined to try. Both platforms censored the distribution of a New York Post report detailing illicit foreign profits by Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and alleging Joe

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Denying Reality Leads to Tyranny and Societal Failure

4 days ago

By: Patrick Barron
The common thread that connects failed societies, from Weimar Germany to the Soviet Union, is an almost pathological insistence on denying reality. Weimar Germany denied that masses of printed money would destroy civilized society. The Soviet Union insisted that Soviet Man would emerge spontaneously from the ashes of capitalist society. Weimar Germany spawned Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany was completely destroyed, both physically and politically, by the World War II Allies. Mercifully, the Soviet Union simply collapsed after seventy years of consuming capital to achieve the phantom of the classless society. Today both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are synonymous with tyranny and failure. Both nations murdered millions. Both nations no longer exist. True, Germany exists

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What Happened When These “Neoliberal” European Countries Tried Low Taxes and Low Regulation

4 days ago

Democratic socialists frequently laud the Nordic countries as examples of the success of progressive taxation, generous welfare states, and powerful labor unions. Free marketers have responded by pointing out that not only did these countries get rich long before these policies were implemented, but they also have as much regulatory flexibility as the United States, according to World Bank data. However, we should also point to countries that embraced so-called neoliberalism as a means to getting richer and reducing poverty. It turns out that this strategy has been proven to work and these areas of Europe have living standards that are just as high, if not higher, than that of the Nordics. Here, we’ll look at three examples.
Luxembourg
The World Economic Forum is famous for its belief in

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The US Government Is On Track to Top Last Year’s Record-Breaking Deficits

5 days ago

The Treasury department has issued its spending and revenue report for April 2021, and it’s clear the US government is headed toward another record-breaking year for deficits.
According to the report, the US federal government collected $439.2 billion in revenue during April 2021, which was a sizable improvement over April 2020 and over March 2021. Indeed, April 2021’s revenue total was the largest since July of last year when the federal government collected 563.5 billion following several months of delays on tax filing deadlines beyond the usual April 15 deadline. (Not surprisingly, in most years, April tends to be the federal government’s biggest month for tax collections.)
In spite of April’s haul, however, the federal government managed to spend much more than that, with spending

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¿Existe un «problema inflacionario»?

5 days ago

By: Robert Aro
¿Cómo responde uno cuando un amigo, un colega, un profesor, o uno de los economistas más condecorados del planeta, afirman que no prevén un problema inflacionario? Janet Yellen, secretaria del Tesoro de EEUU afirma, según informa Reuters:

No creo que vaya a haber problemas de inflación. Pero si lo hay, se contará con la Fed para solucionarlos.

Henry Hazlitt dedicó un libro entero a la inflación, abriendo con la frase

Ningún tema es tan discutido hoy en día —o tan poco comprendido— como la inflación.

¡Eso fue hace casi 60 años! Volviendo a Mises, se trató, pero se ignoró durante más de un siglo.

El problema empieza por tratar de calibrar la comprensión de «inflación» de su interlocutor. Existe la idea comúnmente aceptada de que la inflación es un «aumento de los precios»

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The Fed Embraces Its Inner Zimbabwean

5 days ago

With Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen focusing on using monetary policy to manage climate change, the M1 money supply has gone parabolic, from just over $4 trillion in February to $18.6 trillion in March. This is right out of Zimbabwe’s playbook.
Original Article: “The Fed Embraces Its Inner Zimbabwean?”
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.

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There’s No Reprieve in Sight from the “Monetary Repression Tax”

5 days ago

Who has heard of the monetary repression tax (MRT)? 
Very few, it seems, judging by the lack of popular anger. Yet revenues from this tax have swollen under the 2 percent inflation standard. They are now set to reach a new record level as the pandemic recedes, with guesstimates for the US alone this year around $600 billion.
There is nothing new in a fiat money central bank imposing an effective tax on the public’s holdings of government bonds and bills (including those in the banking system) by manipulating interest rates to artificially low levels, especially in real terms. Until the twenty-first century, however, no one thought this could continue for long without triggering some combination of accelerating consumer price inflation and a nonsustainable, highly speculative economic

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The Dystopian Future in Which Almost No One Owns a Car

5 days ago

By this point readers are more than familiar with the previously unthinkable infringements on our traditional rights and liberties due to “health and safety” lockdowns that the state has inflicted upon us over the last year. While thankfully more and more restrictions are being lifted, it is important not to forget the period of veritable universal house arrest that was enacted in many states, in which even the freedom to go for a drive was denied to us. It unfortunately seems inevitable that we will face such scenarios again when a convenient excuse comes along, though I fear that the next time will be even worse thanks to the advent of self-driving cars.
Self-driving cars seem like a truly amazing advancement in human technology. As someone who is not particularly fond of driving, I once

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Excess Mortality in The US Has Plummeted to Pre-Covid Levels

6 days ago

In any given year during the past decade in the United States, more than 2.5 million Americans have died—from all causes. The number has grown in recent years, climbing from 2.59 million in 2013 to 2.85 million in 2019. This has been due partially to the US’s aging population, and also due to rising obesity levels and drug overdoses. In fact, since 2010, growth rates in total deaths has exceeded population growth in every year.
In 2020, preliminary numbers suggest a jump of more than 17 percent in all-cause total deaths, rising from 2.85 million in 2019 to 3.35 million in 2020.
The increase was not all due to covid. At least one-quarter to one-third appear to be from other causes. In some cases, more than half of “excess deaths” were attributed to “underlying causes” other than covid. But

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The Media Wants You to Trust Washington Again Now That Trump Is Gone

6 days ago

Former CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski declared on Twitter last week that American journalists would “never expect … Your own govt to lie to you, repeatedly” and “Your own govt to hide information the public has a right to know.” Kosinski denounced “Trump’s unAmerican regime” and declared, “No one should accept this.” Kosinski’s comments epitomize the “Trump-washing” of American history that explains much of the media’s rage, hypocrisy, and follies in the last five years.
Kosinski’s mindset also helps explain why Americans’ trust in the media has collapsed. Kosinski spent years as CNN’s State Department correspondent, but her inside sources apparently never mentioned to her how she was helping them con the world. As history professor Leo Ribuffo observed in 1998,

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Why Fungibility Is Important in Understanding Money and Crypto

6 days ago

As the decentralized revolution gains momentum and cryptocurrency adoption reaches new heights, concerns pertaining to the quality of money are too often ignored. According to a Crypto.com report, the number of bitcoin owners surpassed 71 million in January 2021, but how many of them are aware that bitcoin is not anonymous but rather pseudonymous, or recognize the pitfalls of embracing a currency lacking fungibility? While bitcoin’s provable scarcity signifies a return to the tenets of sound money, its creator’s peer-to-peer vision ultimately falls short without fungibility, because counterparty risk is created. Bitcoin’s fungibility issues come from the history that is attached to the coins. The insertion of trust into transactions by scrutinizing coin history has the potential to

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Does an “Inflationary Problem” Exist?

6 days ago

By: Robert Aro
How does one respond when a friend, colleague, professor, or one of the most decorated economists on the planet, claim they don’t foresee and inflationary problem? Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary claims, as reported by Reuters:

I don’t think there’s going to be an inflationary problem. But if there is the Fed will be counted on to address them.

Henry Hazlitt dedicated an entire book on inflation, opening with the sentence:

No subject is so much discussed today — or so little understood — as inflation.

That was nearly 60 years ago! Going back to Mises, it was addressed, yet ignored for over a century!

The problem starts with trying to gauge your interlocutor’s understanding of “inflation.” There’s the commonly accepted idea of inflation being a general “increase

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Boom to Bust: How Inflation Turns into Deflation

6 days ago

In order to understand the effects of inflation it is helpful to understand that inflation is not a general rise in prices as such, but an increase in the supply of money which then sets in motion a general increase in the prices of goods and services in terms of money.
Consider the case of a fixed stock of money. Whenever people increase their demand for some goods and services, money is going to be allocated toward these goods and services. In response, the prices of these goods and services are likely to increase—more money will be spent on them.
Since we have an unchanged stock of money, less money can now be allocated toward other goods and services. Given that the price of a good is the amount of money spent on the good, this means that the prices of other goods will decline, i.e.,

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Two Invisible Hands: Politics vs. the State

7 days ago

By: Nicholas Baum
In 1759, economist and philosopher Adam Smith wrote one of the greatest descriptions of the free market ever produced. Writing about a market economy based on voluntary exchange, Smith likened the process of self-minded producers catering to the consumers’ interests as a process managed by an invisible hand. He states, “Every individual… intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

This quote, perhaps the most famous passage from his book The Theory of Moral Sentiments, reveals both the morality and simplicity in which a free economy operates.

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We Cannot Build an Economy on Lies

7 days ago

In a recent issue, Time Magazine boldly declared, “The Free Market Is Dead,” and then added: “What Will Replace It?” Of course, one always can expect Time to be disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst, and as an academic economist, I have come to realize that after reading Time off and on for more than five decades, this is a publication that rarely gets it right when it comes to economic analysis.
Yet, we also are dealing with a publication that effectively reflects whatever the current spirit might be. In the mid-1980s, Time gave its readers the infamous cover condemning the bacon-and-eggs breakfast and gave massive publicity to the eat-more-carbs “experts.” America’s climb into obesity followed shortly afterward, and even Time had to backtrack on its original claims in 2014,

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The Corrupt Bargain and the Preservation of Slavery

8 days ago

[Chapter 19 of Rothbard’s newly edited and released Conceived in Liberty, vol. 5, The New Republic: 1784–1791.]
The most important battle of the August days of the Constitutional Convention was waged, as had been the battle over the three-fifths clause, between the North and South and had at its heart the institution of slavery. One of the small number of restrictions on Congress in the draft Constitution was a prohibition of any tax on exports, or of any tax or prohibition on the “migration or importation of such persons as the several States shall think proper to admit”; in short, there was to be no restrictions on the slave trade. Furthermore, no navigation act could be passed except by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress: a hallmark of the southern distrust of the northern

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Keynes Thought Scarcity Would Disappear in the Near Future. Boy, Was He Wrong.

8 days ago

The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynesby Zachary D. CarterRandom House, 2021 [2020]xxii + 628 pages
For many people, though not, to be sure, readers of The Austrian, John Maynard Keynes ranks as the greatest economist of the twentieth century; but for Zachary D. Carter, this is a restrained understatement. Carter, a writer on economics at the HuffPost, says this about Keynes:

No European mind since Newton had impressed himself so profoundly on both the political and intellectual development of the world. When the [London] Times wrote Keynes’ obituary, it declared him ”the greatest economist since Adam Smith.” But even praise so high as this sold Keynes short, for Keynes was to Smith as Copernicus was to Ptolemy—a thinker who replaced one paradigm with

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Should the State Support the Arts?

10 days ago

Ought the state to support the arts?
There is certainly much to be said on both sides of this question. It may be said, in favor of the system of voting supplies for this purpose, that the arts enlarge, elevate, and harmonize the soul of a nation; that they divert it from too great an absorption in material occupations; encourage in it a love for the beautiful; and thus act favorably on its manners, customs, morals, and even on its industry.
It may be asked, what would become of music in France without her Italian theater and her conservatoire; of the dramatic art, without her Théâtre-Français; of painting and sculpture, without our collections, galleries, and museums? It might even be asked, whether, without centralization, and consequently the support of the fine arts, that exquisite

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An Autoethnographic Account of the Free Market: My Father

10 days ago

Instead of approaching the free market abstractly, in this short series, I’ll approach it from the standpoint of my own experience. In short, I’ll treat the free market in an autoethnographic account. Autoethnography is just what the word suggests: it is a genre of ethnographic writing and research that connects the personal to the cultural, placing the self within a social, historical context. For the Marxists who may by chance read this essay, one might think of it in terms of what the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci referred to as a means to knowing oneself as a product of history1—although I do not subscribe to the belief that we are merely historical products.
As we approach Mother’s Day, ironically, I want to trace some of my memories of my father. My mother is living, at ninety-six

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Thanks to Covid Stimulus, Employers Can’t Find Workers. Montana’s Governor Is Having None of It

11 days ago

By: Alice Salles
Montana governor Greg Gianforte has had enough of President Joe Biden’s covid relief bills. Instead of paying people to stay unemployed, he’s giving them a bonus for finding work.

After scrapping what he called the “impractical government mandates” imposed by former governor Steve Bullock in 2020, businesses in his state were still struggling.

We got rid of hours of operation, capacity limits. We got rid of our statewide mask mandate. We put lawsuit protection in place for businesses and nonprofits. And now, as we have opened up, employers can’t find workers. It’s across all industries. Restaurants are having to shut down for days because they can’t find cooks or wait staff.

Addressing the media, Gianforte said that because the federal government extended unemployment

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Rothbard on the Betrayal of the American Right

11 days ago

America’s “Old Right”—rooted in 19th century liberalism but birthed in the 1930s to oppose the New Deal—was strongly laissez-faire and non-interventionist. Murray Rothbard wrote the comprehensive story of that movement, it’s influences and influence, and its destruction at the hands of Buckleyite Cold Warriorism. Modern conservatism sadly bears little resemblance to the Old Right, and America is worse off for it.
Dr. Patrick Newman and Tho Bishop join the show to dissect the book, which is both a critical history and a fascinating political memoir of Rothbard’s own journey to libertarianism.
Read this historic work at Mises.org/Betrayal
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An American Classical Liberalism

11 days ago

Every four years, as the November presidential election draws near, I have the same daydream: that I don’t know or care who the president of the United States is. More importantly, I don’t need to know or care. I don’t have to vote or even pay attention to debates. I can ignore all campaign commercials. There are no high stakes for my family or my country. My liberty and property are so secure that, frankly, it doesn’t matter who wins. I don’t even need to know his name.
In my daydream, the president is mostly a figurehead and a symbol, almost invisible to myself and my community. He has no public wealth at his disposal. He administers no regulatory departments. He cannot tax us, send our children into foreign wars, pass out welfare to the rich or the poor, appoint judges to take away our

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Decentralization and Political Satisfaction

11 days ago

By: Kyle Ward
As the State grows larger and more centralized, combat in the political arena will grow more desperate and extreme because there is more to be won and lost in each conflict. The States are trapped in an unhealthy relationship that deteriorates more each day. Rioting and looting have become acceptable responses to injustices both perceived and real. The Capital is walled off and surrounded by military personnel. As dire as the situation is, the solution is both obvious and simple: a breakup. The Mises Institute features numerous articles and podcasts on the ethical and philosophical arguments supporting radical decentralization. This article supplements those arguments with an analysis of the 2016 Presidential election to show that local elections lead to happier citizens.

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