Monday , September 16 2019
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Robert P. Murphy



Articles by Robert P. Murphy

Using World War I to Prove the Incompetence of State Militaries

4 days ago

Bob Murphy uses some samples from Dan Carlin’s amazing podcast, Hardcore History, to illustrate the flaws with state-provided military services. Bob concludes that minarchists have nothing to fear, and they should embrace the full vision of a voluntary society with no institutional coercion. Mentioned in the episode: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History series on World War …

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How the Left and the Right Move the Goalposts in Economic Arguments

19 days ago

Bob Murphy explains a common rhetorical dodge that he’s encountered from both the progressive Left and the conservative Right. On the issue of slavery and reparations, the Left will argue that modern whites benefited from the institution. When someone like Murphy points out that slavery actually made the average white person poorer, the leftist may …

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Robby Soave: Breaking the Real Story on the Covington Students

21 days ago

Robby Soave, a writer at Reason, was the first journalist to shatter the original narrative about the Covington Catholic students caught in the infamous face-off with Native American Nathan Phillips. But Soave has also tried to correct the unfair coverage of Ilhan Omar. For more information, see BobMurphyShow.com. The Bob Murphy Show is also available …

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Hannah Cox Tells Conservatives Why They Should Oppose the Death Penalty

27 days ago

Hannah Cox is National Manager of the organization Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. She is conservative/libertarian on standard policy issues, and is a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment, but even so—perhaps surprisingly to some—she is also very alarmed with the State’s abuses in the criminal justice system. For more information, see BobMurphyShow.com. The …

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Why Roddy Piper Was Too Rowdy in ‘They Live’

August 14, 2019

Bob Murphy analyzes John Carpenter’s 1988 cult classic They Live, starring Roddy Piper. After making some general observations about the major thematic elements, Bob critiques the main character’s strategy for dealing with an alien takeover of the media and government. For more information, see BobMurphyShow.com. The Bob Murphy Show is also available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, …

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Bob Explains the Highlights of His New QJAE Article on Fractional Reserve Banking

August 8, 2019

Bob Murphy explains some of the most important points in his new QJAE article on the fractional reserve banking debate. Bob shows why Mises thought any issuance of fiduciary media caused the boom-bust cycle, and he points out a major flaw in George Selgin’s defense of fractional reserve banking. For more information, see BobMurphyShow.com. The Bob …

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Karl Smith Defends Keynesian Stimulus and Carbon Taxation

June 25, 2019

Bob Murphy has a friendly discussion and debate with Karl Smith. First, Bob pushes Karl to clarify the conditions under which government deficit spending could, even in theory, help a depressed economy. Then, they switch to the economics of climate change, and Bob’s view that the case for a carbon tax is much weaker than …

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More Than Quibbles: Problems with the Theory and History of Fractional Reserve Free Banking

June 20, 2019

ABSTRACT: The extensive debate over fractional reserve free banking (FRFB) has spanned decades and includes volleys from many contributors. Consequently, relative newcomers to the controversy often wish to extend the conversation on several fronts. In this spirit, Bagus and Howden (2010) is a 27-page paper detailing numerous objections to FRFB, which they modestly entitled, “Fractional …

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Bob Nails Krugman’s Perverse Morality on Infrastructure Spending

June 19, 2019

Bob replays a recent Contra Krugman episode covering a Paul Krugman column on infrastructure spending. In addition to getting the economics wrong (as usual), Krugman also makes a shocking admission about his willingness to harm the country, as long as it denies Trump a political victory. For more information, see BobMurphyShow.com. The Bob Murphy Show is …

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Tucker Carlson Wants Affirmative Action for American Workers

June 19, 2019

Tucker Carlson gives unambiguous approval for Elizabeth Warren’s call for “economic nationalism,” saying her proposal sounds like “Trump at his best.” Carlson pillories American companies for outsourcing their operations to other countries, and blames Republican leadership for its dedication to doctrinaire libertarianism and Austrian economics. (Not a joke.) Bob disagrees with this take. For more …

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Even An-Caps Sometimes Give the State Too Much Credit

June 2, 2019

Bob Murphy points out a common fallacy among even self-described anarcho-capitalists, when they blame a social problem on “too little government.” For example, in standard arguments over drug prohibition, sometimes libertarians will argue, “A drug dealer can’t call the cops if he gets robbed, so this leads to more violence in the industry.” Bob explains …

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Economists Have Been “Useful Idiots” for the Green Socialists

June 2, 2019

In the old Soviet Union, the Communists allegedly used1 the term “useful idiot” to describe Westerners whose naïve political views furthered the Soviet agenda, even though these Westerners didn’t realize that they were being exploited in such fashion. It is in this context that I confidently declare that American economists have been useful idiotsfor the green socialists pushing …

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Harvard Astronomy Chair Avi Loeb Explains the Physics of Black Holes

May 24, 2019

Bob brings on special guest Avi Loeb, who is the Frank B. Baird Jr., Professor of Science and Chair of the Astronomy Department at Harvard University. Among other positions, Professor Loeb is founding Director of the Black Hole Initiative, and is thus ideally suited to explain the recent images of a massive black hole circulating …

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3 Modern Arguments for Tariffs, Debunked

May 19, 2019

[Adapted from “Some Subtler Arguments for Tariffs,” published December 2003.] Many proponents of tariffs recognize the absurdity of tariffs as a general rule. However, they feel that there are certain, special cases in which tariffs are justified, and indeed vital to a nation’s survival. In  this article, I will analyze three such arguments: I. REDUCE …

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Do We Really Have a Decade Left to Solve Climate Change?

May 18, 2019

Wise alecks on social media noted with amusement how Beto O’Rourke recently claimed humans had only ten years to act on climate change, thus one-upping Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who had previously gone out on a limb by putting the deadline at twelve years. Snark aside, it’s important to point out that the “consensus science” as codified, for example, in the periodic reports from …

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Capital and Interest in the Austrian Tradition, Part 3 of 3

May 17, 2019

Bob finishes his three-part series by first reviewing the contributions of Böhm-Bawerk, Fetter, and Mises to the modern Austrian explanation of interest, namely the “pure time preference theory” (PTPT). Then Bob explains some of the problems for the PTPT, especially for Austrian economists. Instead, Murphy offers a much more straightforward—and Austrian!—approach, which explains interest as …

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Why Plea Deals Are a Gross Miscarriage of Justice

May 17, 2019

Bob goes solo to explain why the common practice of “offering a plea deal” is a horrible practice, which gives us little reason to trust that those convicted are actually guilty of the crimes to which they confess. For more information, see BobMurphyShow.com. The Bob Murphy Show is also available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and …

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Hooray! The Green New Deal Will Make Us Happier—By Shrinking the Economy

May 7, 2019

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 …

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No, Ilhan Omar Wasn’t Taken Out of Context

April 26, 2019

Bob Murphy critiques an article by Conor Friedersdorf, in which Friedersdorf mocks the right-wing outrage over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 remarks as a tempest in a teapot. Why, if someone on the right made a similar slip of the tongue, Friedersdorf would expect the right-winger to be forgiven. This is of course ludicrous nonsense, as …

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Capital and Interest in the Austrian Tradition, Part 2 of 3

April 20, 2019

Bob continues his series on Capital and Interest Theory. In this episode he explains Böhm-Bawerk’s​ solution to the problem of interest, namely that present goods are more valuable than future goods. Bob also explains Böhm-Bawerk’s​ three separate causes for the higher valuation of present over future goods, including the notorious third cause, which is the higher …

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Capital and Interest in the Austrian Tradition, Part 1 of 3

April 13, 2019

Bob begins his three-part series devoted to Capital and Interest Theory in the tradition of the Austrian School. This is his area of expertise, and the focus of his doctoral dissertation. In this episode, Part 1, Bob explains Böhm-Bawerk’s critique of the “naive productivity theory” of interest, and also reconciles it with the standard approach …

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