Ideas on Liberty

Articles from Vol. 51, No. 11, November

A Myth Shattered: Mises, Hayek, and the Industrial Revolution
The standard view of the Industrial Revolution among the general public is that it led to the widespread impoverishment of people who had hitherto been enjoying lives of joy and abundance. For at least the past several decades, however, alternative interpretations...
Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy
Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell Basic Books 2000 432 pages $30.00 Thomas Sowell is one of the fine scholars of our time. He has written on a wide range of important topics, is an excellent writer, and has provided some...
Bastiat and Unionism
The Pursuit of Happiness The June issue of this magazine celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great French classical-liberal economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850). Missing was a discussion of Bastiat's views on unions. I intend partly...
Can Japan Compete?
Can Japan Compete? by Michael E. Porter, Hirotaka Takeuchi, and Mariko Sakakibara Perseus Publishing 2000 208 pages $27.50 What a difference a decade makes. In the late 1980s Japan seemed poised to dominate the world economy. The Japanese had seemingly...
Capital Letters
Is the State Needed for Defensive Force? To the Editor: Donald Boudreaux, in "The 'A' Word" (July 2001), says "it's possible that even the best feasible stateless society will be worse than a society with a well-structured government constitutionally...
Compensate Workers Harmed by Trade?
Should government financially assist workers harmed by free trade? Many people answer yes. Such adjustment assistance sounds reasonable. But a deeper investigation of the issue counsels against it. Losing a job indeed is harmful, both financially and...
Ethanolics Anonymous
Someone once said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and each time expecting different results. If that's so, then what the politicians are doing these days for a corn-based fuel called ethanol would seem to be certifiably insane. In...
It Just Ain't So!
Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about America's recent period of high growth is that consumption was the principal driver behind it. Embodied as the notion of a so-called wealth effect, the misconception is so deeply entrenched that its internal...
Liberty, Property, and Crime
No society can long exist in a climate of rampant crime, especially if it is properly defined as any act that violates the life, liberty, or property of another. And when the term "crime" is used, that is generally what people mean. Of course many people,...
Mail at the Millennium: Will the Postal Service Go Private?
Edited by Edward L. Hudgins Cato Institute 2000 233 pages $10.95 paperback The copy of Ideas on Liberty you're reading was most likely delivered to you by an employee of the United States Postal Service (USPS). If there were alternatives open to FEE...
Maximum Cooperation Means Minimum Cost
There are two big advantages to a pollution-control policy that relies on transferable pollution permits. First, firms can reduce pollution any way they choose, which will be the cheapest way possible. Second, firms will coordinate their reduction with...
Mental Illness: Psychiatry's Phlogiston
"The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason." GILBERT K. CHESTERTON In physics the same laws are used to explain why airplanes fly and why they crash. In medicine the same principles...
One Capitalist's Advice: Attract Attention!
"Individualism, private property, the law of accumulation of wealth, and the law of competition... are the highest result of human experience, the soil in which society, so far, has produced the best fruit." -ANDREW CARNEGIE1 A few days after my move...
Perspective: No Silver Lining
We often see such comments after a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake. I never expected to see it after the horrors of September 11. But there was Paul Krugman, Ph.D. in economics and a New York Times columnist, writing it on September 14 for all the...
Politicizing the Housewife
What it means to be a housewife is being revised ideologically in order to impugn the choice some mothers make to stay at home. The revisionism has been fueled by the recent case of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her five young children in...
Ten Years after the Bet: The More Things Change
The late Julian Simon's victory in his famous bet with Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich was a defining moment in the freemarket movement's victory over Malthusianism. In 1980 Simon challenged Ehrlich to choose five commodities that would become more expensive...
The Driving Force of the Market: Essays in Austrian Economics
The Driving Force of the Market Essays in Austrian Economics by Israel M. Kirzner Routledge 2000 320 pages $100.00 A new book by Israel Kirzner is like a new movie by a great director whose work and style are familiar, but who always surprises his viewers...
The Federally Mandated Toilet Still Doesn't Work
Three years ago we moved into our newly built home in Grand Blanc, Michigan. The whole family was excited. While all new houses have some problems, I was not expecting the toilets to be among them. How could this be? After all, these toilets were brand...
The Paradox of the Illiberal Cities
Cities have often been the bastions of enlightened living that abolish the prejudices which taint rural life. But while urban residents may be free from the invasive gossip and restrictive social codes of conduct that characterize small towns and villages,...
The Power of Gold: Th History of an Obsession
The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession by Peter Bernstein Wiley & Sons 2000 432 pages $27.95 When it comes to disparaging gold, Peter Bernstein can't be outdone. Among other traducements, he blames gold for: the institution of slavery; having...
The Sustainable-And Young-Hydrocarbon Energy Age
As the Bush administration confronts the economy's growing need for affordable and reliable energy, the critics of the hydrocarbon-based energy economy are back to the drawing board. The "soft" energy path of subsidies and mandates for conservation and...
The Trouble with Teacher Training
This is an article about an absurd state of affairs in the field of education, but I'd like to begin with a little thought experiment having nothing directly to do with education. Imagine two countries-Freedonia and Ruloveria-whose inhabitants like music....
The Wealth of Man
The Wealth of Man by Peter Jay Public Affairs 2000 400 pages $30.00 Peter Jay's The Wealth of Man is an attempt to trace the key episodes in man's economic course, from the time of the huntergatherer to our day. He presents his narrative as a waltz:...
Uncle Sam's False Fuel Economy
Potomac Principles IDEAS ON LIBERTY NOVEMBER 2001 A quarter century after the misguided policies of President Jimmy Carter and a Democratic Congress created an "energy crisis," President George W. Bush and a Republican Congress risk wandering down the...
Why Economies Grow
One of the consequences of living in an affluent society such as the United States is that the poverty of the majority of the world is often overlooked. For instance, a recent report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)...