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Mises Institute USA

The Problem with Historical Illustrations of Free-Banking Systems

Neo-banking authors devote strong efforts to historical studies which they intend to support the thesis that a free-banking system would protect economies from cycles of boom and depression, owing to the “monetary equilibrium” mechanism. Nevertheless the empirical studies produced thus far have not focused on whether free-banking systems have prevented credit expansion, artificial booms and economic recessions. Instead they have centered on whether bank crises and runs have been more or less...

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How US Sugar Subsidies Bring a Red Tide of Algae to Florida’s Shores

ABC News reports that “Toxic red tide blooms are creeping up Florida's west coast, killing marine life and irritating humans.” The red (or maroonish) tide is truly a nasty problem that I have experienced first-hand in the form of a ruined vacation. It is a potentially toxic algae to wildlife when it occurs in high concentrations. The Karenia brevis algae can be a threat to fish, birds, and even manatee. At least 92 manatees have been killed so far and at least one whale shark! This creates...

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Liberalism and “Classical Liberalism” — An Unfortunate Evolution

Nineteenth-century European liberalism stemmed from two main sources. First, John Locke developed traditional natural law theory in a new direction. In his Second Treatise on Government, he argued that everyone has a property in his own person; this is exactly the self-ownership principle of Murray Rothbard’s libertarianism. On this basis, individuals could acquire property through appropriation. Given self-ownership and property rights, there is very little scope left in Locke’s system of...

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Why Scandinavia Isn’t Exceptional

[From the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.] The Scandinavian countries, and primary among them Sweden, are commonly referred to as anomalies or inspirations, depending on one’s political point of view. The reason is that the countries do not appear to fit the general pattern: they are enormously successful whereas they “shouldn’t” be. Indeed, Scandinavians enjoy very high living standards despite having very large, progressive welfare states for which they pay the world’s highest...

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Why the Quota System Is One of the Worst Ways of Regulating Immigration

When it comes to the immigration debate, very few people advocate for either totally closed borders or totally open borders. However, as soon as it is admitted that at least some movement across borders ought to be allowed — or that at least some of the migrants are to be regulated — the question quickly arises: which migrants are to be allowed, and which are to be prevented entry? Rhetorically, this problem is often dealt with today by an appeal to government authority. Namely, it is often...

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British Manufacturing Slumps as Bank of England Raises Interest Rates

An audio version of this article is available here. On August 2nd, the Bank of England announced that its Monetary Policy Committee had unanimously voted to raise interest rates. This recent decision by Britain’s central bank saw its key ‘base rate’ of interest rise for only the second time since the 2007/8 crash. The 25 basis point hike brought the base rate up to 0.75%, its highest level since March 2009. This is likely a reflection of the Bank of England’s growing confidence in the...

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Interview with Murray Rothbard on Man, Economy, and State, Mises, and the Future of the Austrian School

The following is an interview conducted in the Summer of 1990 with Murray Rothbard for the Austrian Economics Newsletter.  AEN: Any recent thoughts on hermeneutics? MNR: That’s a history-of-thought question, since hermeneutics has been crushed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe and David Gordon. Part of their critique is that the hermeneuticists were unable to demonstrate in concrete terms how this new “turn” would improve our understanding of economics. But if they hadn’t been challenged, they could have...

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IMF Produces Another Bogus Venezuela Inflation Forecast

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has done it again. In an attempt to garner some press, the head of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department Alejandro Werner forecasted that Venezuela’s annual inflation rate will reach 1,000,000% by year’s end. By my calculations, this inflation forecast implies that the exchange rate will reach 923 million VEF/USD by December 2018. To put this into context, the exchange rate at the end of July was 3.3 million VEF/USD, and at the end of June it was 3.1...

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