Monday , August 19 2019
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Robert Murphy

Robert Murphy

Christian, Austrian economist, and libertarian theorist. Research Prof at Texas Tech and author of *Choice*. Paul Krugman's worst nightmare.

Articles by Robert Murphy

Question about Intelligent Design

9 hours ago

Hey folks, I am sorry for being so lax in my usual Sunday postings. All I can say is, I’ve had a lot going in my personal life. I hope in September I’ll have a routine established again.

In the meantime, I think some of my spiritual thoughts will find expression in the solo episodes of my podcast. Sometime soon, I want to do an intro on the topic of “Intelligent Design.” I’m not going to go into anything empirical, but instead I just want to grapple with the concept of it.

Specifically, I am going to argue that there is nothing unscientific per se about the hypothesis that an intelligence was behind the design of particular biological structures. Yet I know that many scientists (and pop cheerleaders of science such as Bill Nye) argue that Intelligent

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Special Deal for Mises Seattle

2 days ago

Hey kids, I have a limited number of special-price ($25) tickets, which includes lunch, if you want to join us in Seattle. Details are here for the event. Contact me if you want in.

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2 days ago

==> My latest episode on the Bob Murphy Show is a fun one, where I analyze the cult classic, “They Live.”

==> At IER I coincidentally have a new post talking about Greenland’s ice sheet. Did Trump read my post and then get interested? I’ll never tell. An excerpt:

Wow, the critic seems to have a point! In his model, Nordhaus assumes that the damage from a melting ice sheet comes from rising sea levels. And, as the critic points out, Nordhaus’ calibration assumes that at a 7-meter sea lever rise (SLR), global GDP would only be reduced by 7 percent from what it otherwise would have been. Is that really plausible, since many coastal cities would be underwater?

Yet hold on a second. If you look carefully at the sea level diagram (you can click through the

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Scott Sumner Sweepstakes

10 days ago

OK, before I post these links, you have to know the context: When I’m traveling, I basically read the whole internet on my phone. And when I see something that I want to comment on, I save that page.

Since I read EconLog and TheMoneyIllusion, I end up accumulating things from Scott Sumner. The reason I pick on him, rather than, say, Robert Reich, is that everybody who’s free market knows the problems with Reich. In contrast, Scott is very influential in libertarian and even some Austrian circles, and so when he writes things that jump out at me, I feel it’s my duty to flag them. Sort of like, “OK kids, if I can’t convince you that the Fed didn’t have a super-tight monetary policy in 2009 the way Scott claims, just by appealing to charts, what if instead I

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Murphy Quadruple Play

10 days ago

==> I will be writing a weekly-ish article for now, here is my first one on Judy Shelton.

==> At IER, I point out a pretty astonishing remark from a PhD physicist who wrote a NYT article on climate change modeling. Here is her quotation: “In this situation, the best we can do is improve computer models to obtain more accurate, approximate solutions. It is knowledge we urgently need: As Earth continues to warm, we face a future of drought, rising seas and extreme weather events. But for all we currently know, this situation could be anywhere between a mere annoyance and an existential threat.”

==> Yikes I just realized I am way behind on IER posts for you folks. So here I talk about planting trees and how a new study disrupts the standard social

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24 days ago

==> When I interviewed Karl Smith for my podcast, I looked at his stuff and was pleasantly surprised to see Karl praising Art Laffer. I obviously don’t agree with him on everything, but I like Karl for his willingness to take unpopular opinions.

==> I thought this was an interesting take on the trans-bikini-wax controversy.

==> An interview with Campbell Harvey, the academic whose 1980s dissertation established the inverted yield curve’s apparent ability to “predict” a recession.

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Murphy Twin Spin

July 15, 2019

We’re back from the Contra Cruise, but now I’m headed to Mises U! Here’s some stuff to tide you over:

==> The Contra Krugman episode live from the Cruise.

==> My IER piece summarizing Oren Cass’s recent House testimony on the costs of climate change.

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Bob Murphy Show Twin Spin

July 5, 2019

In episode 43 I talk to medical doctor Michel Accad on the development of neoclassical welfare and market failure theory.

In episode 44 I talk to Steve Patterson, who challenges Rothbardians on a priori theorizing.

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Is Tyler Right About Defending Against an Inflation Tax?

July 5, 2019

In a post talking about Libra, Tyler Cowen makes this argument:

Let’s say the core rate of inflation in a country is eight percent, which is about the current rate of price inflation in Myanmar.  It is still not the case that an unbanked farmer holds currency for the entire year (he is more likely to buy land or animals as a means of large-scale saving).  I am not sure what monetary velocity is for this group of people (readers?), but say currency turns over four times a year on average.  That is in essence a two percent tax on currency holdings, not an eight percent tax.  I don’t think that individuals will switch monies for such a small gain, noting that decreasing their demand for money (i.e., increasing currency velocity) is another possible response.

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“This Is Nelson Nash”

June 27, 2019

The touching documentary on the recently deceased Nelson Nash, founder of the Infinite Banking Concept (IBC), is available for free:

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June 24, 2019

I have a lot going on right now–good stuff!–so my blogging will be sparse. Here are some things to placate you:

==> My conversation with Karl Smith. It may lead you to think about fiscal stimulus in a new way.

==> Ep . 194 of Contra Krugman, in which we bust Krugman’s attempt to say progressives are policy wonks who follow the evidence.

==> Can’t remember if I already posted this, but my article at IER on a new working paper from Kotlikoff, Jeffrey Sachs, et al. shows Krugman is doubly wrong. They show (1) government debt can burden future generations and (2) a carbon tax, even a modest one, would hurt early generations on net.

==> We’re #1–twice in a row! (I.e. we’re #11.)

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And Miles to Go Before I Sleep

June 10, 2019

I have been the Indiana Jones of economics lately (picture the map showing Indy as a moving red line). I know there are at least 3 of you who only know about my new podcast episodes and articles by checking here, so let me bring you up to speed:

==> On the Lara-Murphy Show, I facilitate Carlos’ discussion of inheritance taxes, trust planning, and IBC.

==> Contra Krugman 190 where Tom and I field listener questions such as UBI, ep. 191 where I go solo and take apart Krugman’s column on infrastructure, and ep. 192 where Tom and I yet again go to the listener grab-bag because Krugman is so boring. (This last one had some good jokes, if you must choose.)

==> On the Bob Murphy Show: ep. 37 where I interview Dr. Keith Smith on how to secede from the current

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What Can We Do?

May 29, 2019

I’ve been traveling on Sundays lately and so have been lax in my posts. Well in my Bible study we’re covering the Beatitudes (and more), so I think the least I can do is relay Jesus’ wisdom:

The Beatitudes20And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.21“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.22“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.Jesus Pronounces Woes24“But woe to you who are rich, for you

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May 22, 2019

==> At IER I make a provocative claim: Economists have been “useful idiots” for the environmental socialists.

==> This is a really neat Forbes article from 2 years ago, that the mysterious Von Pepe sent me. An excerpt:

Stating the equation a little differently illustrates the principle a little differently: ‘Assets = liability + capital’, which is to say that everything a company owns represents either an obligation to a creditor or back to the owner.If this sounds theological to you, that’s not your imagination. Much of the Bible is written with the steward/owner mindset in the center. Israel was seen as the steward of God’s land, of His law, even of His name.Jesus’ parables quite often center around the relationship between steward and owner. Paul’s

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May 20, 2019

==> On the Bob Murphy Show, I explain why plea deals are a gross miscarriage of justice.

==> Then on the next episode–which has been my favorite thus far–I interviewed the Chair of Harvard’s Astronomy department to talk about black holes and the strange object ‘Oumuamua. (Is it aliens? Hey, don’t scoff–the guy makes a convincing case.)

==> At IER, I explain why it’s simply not true that we “have a decade left” to deal with climate change. My source? The UN’s periodic compilation of the “consensus science.” Don’t be deniers, Ocasio-Cortez and O’Rourke.

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Murphy Triple Play

May 15, 2019

==> In the latest Bob Murphy Show, I interview Lew Rockwell. We get into some pretty serious stuff, including the methods by which the CIA kill people.

==> In the latest Contra Krugman, Tom and I discuss Bernie’s apparent hypocrisy on now being a millionaire in the 1%.

==> In my latest IER column, I explain that–according to the UN’s periodic report on climate change science and policy–it is absolutely not the case that we “have a decade left” to solve it.

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May 7, 2019

==> Part 3 of 3 of my scintillating series on Capital & Interest. In this one, I take aim at Bohm-Bawerk, Mises, and Rothbard. I am the Thanos of economics.

==> Dave Smith will debate Nicholas Sarwark at the SoHo Forum in September.

==> This is a fantastic SlateStarCodex piece on what’s driving big prices in Big Pharma. An excerpt:

Extreme fringe libertarians have a certain way with words. For example, they call taxes “the government stealing money from you at gunpoint”. This is a little melodramatic, but words like “patent loopholes” and “onerous review processes” sound a little bloodless for something that probably kills thousands of diabetics each year. So I would like to take a page from the extreme libertarian lexicon and speculate that the problem

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May 2, 2019

==> I explain why I think Carl Menger still added to our understanding of the origin of money, although Adam Smith definitely anticipated most of the explanation.

==> I side with David R. Henderson in thinking Scott Sumner has put forth an untenable view on how to settle questions of morality.

==> Since I’m linking to my EconLog comments, let’s do a full triple-play and go back to my discussion of Les Misfrom a while ago.

==> Larry Reed is stepping down as the head of FEE.

==> I know a lot of “hardcore” libertarians who give grief to Tyler Cowen for watering down his positions in order to curry favor with the establishment and remain “respectable” with the NYT etc. But maybe, just maybe, Tyler has been keeping his powder dry in order to get out the

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Would We Be Happier Without All That Pesky Output?

May 1, 2019

I’m actually not opposed to people arguing, “Americans work and consume too much.” But the solution is to persuade them to scale back, not to implement the Green New Deal. My snarky opening in my latest IER post:

Sometimes you have to congratulate the progressive left on their ability to turn that frown upside down. When the laws of economics hand them socialist lemons, they turn right around and make leisure lemonade. Specifically, Kate Aronoff at the Intercept has written an article that says the Green New Deal will make us all happier—in part because who needs all that work and economic output anyway?

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Podcast Potpourri

April 30, 2019

==> In the latest Bob Murphy Show, I talk with Robbie “the Fire” Bernstein about stand-up comedy, AOC, and the coming crash.

==> In episode 185 of Contra Krugman, we bring on David Stockman to help dissect Mankiw’s love letter to the Fed. (No, really.) Then in episode 186 we reluctantly retire the Krugman Collusion Avoision Meter.

==> It’s not all about me: Check out Tom’s interview with Jacob Hornberger on the CIA. It’s pretty awesome.

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