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Tag Archives: Featured

Understanding “Austrian” Economics Part 1

This article originally appeared in the Freeman, February 1981. Reprinted from Mises.org “Austrian” economics owes its name to the historical fact that it was founded and first elaborated by three Austrians: Carl Menger (1840–1921), Friedrich von Wieser (1851–1926), and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk (1851-1914). The latter two built on Menger, though Böhm-Bawerk, in particular, made important additional contributions. Menger’s great work, translated into English (but not until 79...

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Marx’s Path to Communism

This article is excerpted from volume 2, chapter 10 of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (1995). Reprinted from Mises.org Karl Marx, as the world knows, was born in Trier, a venerable city in Rhineland Prussia, in 1818, son of a distinguished jurist, and grandson of a rabbi. Indeed, both of Marx’s parents were descended from rabbis. Marx’s father Heinrich was a liberal rationalist who felt no great qualms about his forced conversion to official...

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The truth about GDP

Reprinted from GoldMoney.com “I can prove anything by statistics except the truth” – George Canning Canning’s aphorism is as valid today as when he was Britain’s Prime Minister in 1817. Unfortunately, his wisdom is ignored completely by mainstream economists. Nowhere is this error more important than in defining economic activity, where the abuse of statistics is taken to levels that would have even surprised Canning. Today we describe the economy as being in one of...

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Odd Defenders of China’s One-Child Policy

Reprinted from the Freeman “Before I had my first child, I was hoping for the relaxation of the one-child policy,” Chen Feng told the New York Times. But, she adds, “I changed my mind after I gave birth to my daughter.” What changed her opinion of the Chinese government’s coercive family planning? “It takes a lot of energy to take care of a child, and you want to make sure the child will have a good future,” she said. “So my husband and I have decided not to have a second...

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The Mises Brothers: Positivism and the Social Sciences Part 2

Reprinted from Mises Brazil Armed with this model, Richard von Mises argues for the unity of method (Ch. 17). Instead of criticizing the methodological dualism of his elder brother, he prefers to expose and criticize the dualism in Dilthey and Rickert, whose views were dominant in Germany. According to his concept of dualism, the natural sciences strives for simplification in order to generalize knowledge. Where as, the social sciences seeks an understanding particular to the study subjects....

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The Mises Brothers: Positivism and the Social Sciences Part 1

Reprinted from Mises Brazil Few places have witnessed so many contributions to science, philosophy and the arts as Vienna during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Although most cultural centers of the time were comprised of fragmented communities of specialists, the small elite group of intellectuals responsible for this flowering in Vienna were concerned with all cultural fronts — and enthusiastically debated them in the famous cafes of the Austro-Hungarian capitol[1]. This...

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There’s No Such Thing as a Political Problem Solver

Reprinted from the Freeman The yard sign said, “Elect a Problem Solver President.” As I drove by, I wondered why I saw no candidate’s name. It turns out the sign was not for any particular candidate but for a “No Labels, Problem Solver” convention held in October in Manchester, New Hampshire. Eight presidential candidates from both parties attended; after all, what political candidate doesn’t want to be known as a problem solver? The purpose of the “problem solver” convention is to begin to...

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Free Economy and Social Order

This article was originally published in the Freeman, January 11, 1954. Reprinted from Mises.org Most of us, and all of us most of the time, deal with the market economy as a definite type of economic order, a sort of “economic technique” as opposed to the socialist “technique.” For this view, it is significant that we call its constructional principle the “price mechanism.” Here we move in the world of prices, of markets, of supply and demand, of...

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Unintended consequences of lift-off in a world of excess reserves

Bar a disastrous NFP print this coming Friday the US Federal Reserve will change the target range for the Federal Reserve (Fed) Bank’s Funds rate from the current level of zero – 25bp to 25 – 50bp on December 16th.  The Fed will effectively raise the overnight interbank rate of interest to around 30bp from an average of only 12bp in 2015. Ironically, that will be seven years, to the day, when the Fed first lowered rates to the current band. During the period of ZIRP madness, the Fed’s...

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Oil and Natural Gas Prices in Historical Context

Reprinted from the Institute for Energy Research Memories are short, and we often mistake prices of the last few years as indicative of the historical norm. Indeed, when it comes to the price of crude oil, most Americans would probably be surprised to learn that it is still well above the long-term historical average, once we adjust for price inflation. Contrary to the popular rhetoric, cheap and plentiful energy has been the norm for the United States economy. There is nothing “unnatural” or...

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