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Tag Archives: Economics

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 51 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s 1996 paper “Economics as a Public Science,” as this paper is reprinted in Economic Inquiry and Its Logic (2000), which is volume 12 of the Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: That which is observed as economic reality may, indeed, be modified by changes in the rules within which human behaviour is allowed to take place. But that which is romantically imagined is no more possible in economics than in the more clearly...

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Some Links

The editors of the Wall Street Journal rightly warn of the economic dangers – to Americans as well as to non-Americans – of Trump’s foolhardy protectionism. A slice: We’ve been warning for two years that trade wars have economic consequences, but the wizards of protectionism told Mr. Trump not to worry. The economy was fine and the trade worrywarts were wrong. But we never said tariffs would produce immediate recession. We said they—and the climate of uncertainty they were creating for...

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On Exports Being Costs

Here’s a letter to a long-time and sympathetic Café Hayek patron: Mr. B___: In response to this post you ask: “Help me to understand: How are exports costs? And to whom are they costs?” Fair questions. Exports are costs to exporters because exports are valuable things – or, alternatively, exports embody valuable resources – that exporters could have used for their own consumption but instead chose to send abroad to strangers. Even if, contrary to fact, we export exclusively out of an...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 32 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s 1997 paper “There Is a Science of Economics,” as this paper is reprinted in Economic Inquiry and Its Logic (2000), which is volume 12 of the Collected Works of James M. Buchanan (original emphasis): If economics is to be compared with natural science, economists should be able to define what can and cannot be done with the human materials and potential that exist. Economists, and economic science, should generate a...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 120 of the 1935 translation – titled “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” – of Ludwig von Mises’s 1920 paper “Die Wirtschaftsrechnung im sozialistischen Gemeinwesen,” as this translation appears in F.A. Hayek, ed., Collectivist Economic Planning (1935): A popular slogan affirms that if we think less bureaucratically and more commercially in communal enterprises, they will work just as well as private enterprises. The leading positions must be occupied by...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 88 of the 1935 translation – titled “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” – of Ludwig von Mises’s 1920 paper “Die Wirtschaftsrechnung im sozialistischen Gemeinwesen,” as this translation appears in F.A. Hayek, ed., Collectivist Economic Planning (1935): Economics, as such, figures all to sparsely in the glamorous pictures painted by the Utopians. DBx: So it was a century ago, and so it remains today. Comments

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 645 of Armen Alchian’s and William Allen’s Universal Economics (2018; Jerry Jordan, ed.); this volume is an updated version of Alchian’s and Allen’s magnificent earlier textbook, University Economics (original emphasis): The [minimum-wage] law specifies only the money wage component. The unintended consequence is that to get or retain jobs at the higher imposed wage rates, job applicants will tolerate less pleasant and stricter working conditions, less vacation, less...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 270 of the 2014 collection, The Market and Other Orders (Bruce Caldwell, ed.), of some of F.A. Hayek’s essays on spontaneous-ordering forces; specifically, it’s from Hayek’s profound 1964 article “The Theory of Complex Phenomena” (footnote deleted; the Joseph Schumpeter quotation used by Hayek is from page 241 of his posthumously published 1954 History of Economic Analysis): Schumpeter well described the task of economic theory when he wrote that “the economic life of a...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 48 of John Stuart Mill’s 1825 essay “The Corn Laws,” as this essay is reprinted in Essays on Economics and Society Part I, which is volume IV of The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006): It will scarcely, we imagine, be any longer deemed necessary to demonstrate the beneficial tendency of free trade in general, or to prove that it is for the interest of a nation to purchase its commodities where they are cheap, and not where they are dear....

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To Be Unseen Is Not to Be Abstract

In my latest column for AIER I do my best to explain the mistake of mistaking the unseen for the abstract. Unseen victims of government intervention are actual flesh-and-blood human beings. The good economist’s greatest role in society is to be a spokesperson for these unseen victims. A slice: Suppose that you observe Jones sitting alone in a small room in a university research facility. Jones, who is participating in a scientific experiment, holds in his hands a device featuring a big...

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