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EconLog Library

How One Short Story Changed Someone from Left to Libertarian

I gave a talk on Milton and Rose Friedman today to an audience of about 60 law school professors and judges. It went well, by the way. One of my slides, labeled “Equality of Outcome,” was a quote from Milton and Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose: The ethical issues [with fairness] involved are subtle and complex. They are not to be resolved by such simplistic formulas as “fair shares for all.” Indeed, if we took that seriously, youngsters with less musical skill should...

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Patriotism and nationalism

Back in September 2002, a little girl was born into a Canadian family with a Western dad and an East Asian mom. In November 2002, another little girl was born into a Canadian family with a Western dad and an East Asian mom. Today, those two women face off in the US Open tennis finals. Boris Johnson says he’s rooting for the player who was born in Toronto in November 2002, not the player born in Montreal in September 2002. That’s because the one born in Toronto later...

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Dr. Moreno Comes Through

I live in Monterey County, where our county health officer is Dr. Ed Moreno. I have not been a fan, as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, here and here. But I believe in giving credit where credit is due. So here’s what I wrote in today’s Carmel Pine Cone, which is our best local newspaper. ‘We have his back’ Dear Editor, I have not been a fan of Monterey County health officer Dr. Ed Moreno because he has tended to follow the crowd rather than the science. But in...

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Is market monetarism actually “monetarist”

In a recent review of my new book, George Selgin makes the following remark: By then Sumner’s way of thinking had grown into a movement dubbed “Market Monetarism.” The moniker has stuck; but it isn’t all that felicitous. Though Sumner was himself a University of Chicago PhD, most Chicago-school Monetarists were, and are still, convinced that inflation is the best indicator of the stance of monetary policy. If prices rise too quickly, monetary policy must be too loose....

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Climate Change: Compared to What?

While in my car last week, I heard a story on NPR about how climate change makes storms like Ida even worse. I am no climate expert, and I am of the belief that the climate is changing due to both natural and manmade factors; but I know when a story sounds credible or not. This one didn’t, like many others I hear or read. During the whole thing, I kept thinking of Thomas Sowell who said: “There are three questions that would destroy most of the arguments on the left:...

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Removal of Government Statues

The government of Virginia just removed the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, erected in Richmond during the Jim Crow era. Contrary to today’s ruling intelligentsia and government, their precursors were not perfect. But let’s be serious: Jim Crow governments were certainly despicable. So was the federal government, which long promoted policies that favored discrimination. So would be a pure woke government who would simply discriminate against new hated...

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Milton Friedman’s Long-Run Impact

The truth is somewhere between the two extremes. While Milton Friedman has not had as much effect on economic thinking and policy as many of us free market advocates would like, he has nevertheless had a huge impact. On economic thinking, the following of Friedman’s ideas have held up well: that monetary policy is potent; that a contraction in the money supply between 1929 and 1933 helped put the “Great” in “the Great Depression”; that inflation “is always and...

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MRI Pricing

Two weeks ago I posted about what I thought might be rational pricing for my MRI and I ended by saying “Stay tuned.” I don’t yet have the bill and so I can’t say more about that. But the story got more interesting. A few days after I posted, I went online with SimonMed, the local in-network (I think) MRI provider to set up an appointment. But it walked me through a whole lot of questions to which I didn’t know the answers. It was almost as if you had to be my doctor...

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If you want liberty, aim for success (and vice versa)

I don’t think I have to convince libertarians like myself that liberty often leads to more successful societies, but I’m not sure how many understand that the reverse is also true. It’s not possible to just wave a magic wand and call forth more liberty. Disasters such as war, depression and pandemics often lead to repressive government policies. Thus one way to promote a free society is to do the hard work promoting policies such as peace, prosperity and good public...

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Liberty’s Crisis Crisis

I often remember the parting words of Robert Higgs’ Crisis and Leviathan: [W]e do know something – at least abstractly – about the future.  We know that other great crises will come.  Whether they will be occasioned by foreign wars, economic collapse, or rampant terrorism, no one can predict with assurances.  Yet in one form of another, great crises will surely come again… When they do, governments almost certainly will gain new powers over economic and social...

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