Freeman

A monthly journal of liberal and progressive politics. Articles include historical analysis, original research, and critical essays.

Articles from Vol. 62, No. 9, November

A Few Observations on the Efficiency of Local Government
Recent discussions of local government and state finances have focused on high-profile employees. Efforts to control costs in Wisconsin resulted in protests and a recall election. Now Scranton, Pennsylvania, has reduced its workers' wages to the legal...
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Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism
Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism by Robert Guest Palgrave Macmillan * 2011 * 256 pages * $27.00 hardcover; $12.99 e-bookReviewed by Warren GibsonRobert Guest, the business "editor for The...
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Dear Friends of FEE
Change. Every politician promises it; few deliver very much of it. Even in our own lives, activities, and businesses, change is often difficult and risky.For 30 years (1963-93) apolitical group in Canada called the Rhinoceros Party poked fun at politics...
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Diversity, Ignorance, and Stupidity
George Orwell admonished, "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." That's what I want to do - talk about the obvious.Law professors, courts, and social scientists have long held that gross statistical disparities...
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Economics and the Calculation Problem
Can a rationally planned economic order outperform the market process as a means of using resources efficiently? This is the central question behind one of the most important debates in the history of economic thought. Its answer has profound implications...
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Fantasy Football, Opportunity Cost, and Comparative Advantage
The year was 2010. I missed the live draft in my fantasy football league, so the computer's auto-draft function took over and drafted the best player remaining whenever my turn came, regardless of position.I ended up with a decent roster, yet there were...
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How FDR's Economic Bill of Rights Changed American Politics
Many people are perplexed by the new government programs that have changed American life in the last century. So much of this intervention has been damaging, and so much of it is unconstitutional. Can we pinpoint a time, or an event, that led Americans...
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Human Trafficking: The Other Good Reason to Reform Immigration
Restrictive immigration policies have long been associated with a variety of economic problems. These include the diminished availability of foreign talent, the inability of businesses to fill low-skilled agricultural and service jobs typically scorned...
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Is Being Less Productive Good for Humanity?
It is not often that one comes across an article, especially one in arguably the most important newspaper in the country, that is so misguided across the board that one hardly knows where to begin in pointing out its errors. Unfortunately, such an article...
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Klinging to Reality
Up until recently, one of the brightest lights in today's blogosphere was EconLog's Arnold Kling. (Alas, he recently decided to opt for the essay form.) He was one of the few bloggers whose every post I read and pondered carefully. When I found myself...
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Methodological Individualism
I am just now rereading Ludwig von Mises's magnum opus, Human Action. What a joy it is to get reacquainted with this masterful work and to use it as a benchmark to gauge my own intellectual Odyssey since first reading it more than 40 years ago.Early...
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No War for Oil: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East
No War for Oil: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East by Ivan Eland Independent Institute · 201 1 · 224 pages · $2 1.95 hardcover; $15.95 paperbackReviewed by George LeefEver since the Royal Navy converted its ships from coal to oil in 191 1, oil has been...
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Outsourcing Is Bad for the Economy? It Just Ain't So!
Presidential campaign demagoguery hit full stride when President Obama released ads accusing Mitt Romney of "shipping jobs overseas" as CEO of private-equity firm Bain Capital. Romney responded not by denying this aspect of Bain's operations, but rather...
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Robust Political Economy: Classical Liberalism and the Future of Public Policy
Robust Political Economy: Classical Liberalism and the Future of Public Policy by Mark Pennington Edward Elgar · 2011 · 320 pages · $125.00 hardcover; $40.00 paperbackReviewed by Donald BoudreauxIn Robust Political Economy, Mark Pennington offers one...
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Stripping off the Gray Flannel Suit
Stripping off the Gray Flannel SuitSloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is one of those business novels about which everyone has heard - especially since it was referenced on Mad Men - but which almost no one reads any more. This is a shame...
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Subjective Value
For an undetermined period of time I felt myself cut off from the world, an abstract spectator. . . . The road kept descending and branching off, through meadows misty in the twilight.-Jorge Luis Borges, "Garden of the Forking Paths"The eye of the beholder...
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The Law of Demand
The law of demand is a simple principle with profound consequences and incredible explanatory power. The law is so simple, it can be expressed as haiku:All else held constantquantity demanded fallswhen the price rises.When tomato prices rise, people...
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The Magic of Free Trade
The fifth graders looked up as I placed a gift on each of their desks. Each student randomly received a small item, such as candy, a box of crayons, a magic trick, or a comic book.After giving each child a gift, I told the students they could each trade...
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The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward L. Glaeser Penguin * 2011/2012 * 352 pages * $29.95 hardcover; $16.00 paperback; $9.99 e-bookReviewed by Angel Martin OroIn 2007,...
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The Virtue of Market Inefficiency
Markets are often rightly characterized as extraordinary problem solvers. Under the right rules of the game (including private property, free exchange, and the rule of law) people following their own self-interests can coordinate their plans with one...
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What Is Profit?
Basically, profit is revenue minus costs. It sounds simple, but the concepts of "revenue" and "cost" are complex when we examine them closely.In economics "cost" is not the money one pays for a purchase. If you buy a lunch for $10, the money is not an...
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Wrapping an Enigma in a Mystery: Why Inflation Is So Misunderstood
In his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, John Maynard Keynes observed, "There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law...
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