Freeman

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

Articles from Vol. 59, No. 6, July/August

Bad Regulation Drives out Good
In 1969 economist Harold Demsetz identified a flaw in much public policy analysis, the "Nirvana Fallacy":"The view that now pervades much public policy economics implicitly presents the relevant choice as between an ideal norm and an existing 'imperfect'...
Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World
Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World by Patrick J. Buchanan Crown Books * 2008 *544 pages * $29.95 hardcover and e-book; $20 paperbackReviewed by Robert HiggsAs a soldier, politician, and...
Dim Bulbs
"Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something."- Thomas A. EdisonEdison's words may have been true in the 180Os. Today, however, we have plenty of rules, thanks to the U.S. Congress. Some are so bizarre that you have to question...
FDR's Lucky Timing
On his NewYork Times blog page, Paul Krugman displayed a graph showing that the post- 1929 U.S. economy began to expand before Franklin Roosevelt took office. Certainly the economy was recovering before any of FDR's policies had time to play out through...
From Good Samaritan to Robin Hood
Unjust forms of accumulating wealth have always been open to, and practiced by, human beings, but progress depends on the restraints placed on this type of money-making. If six billion people can be fed today, it is because the normal way of becoming...
Give Up? Are You Kidding?
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is...
Government Must Keep Track of Derivatives? It Just Ain't So!
In a surprising Wall Street Journal op-ed (www.tinyurl.com/cj6jge), property-rights advo- cate Hernando de Soto writes that our current financial woes resulted from government's failure to keep tabs on the derivatives market. De Soto has been a hero...
In Praise of Tax Havens
"The proprietor of stock is properly a citizen of the world, and is not necessarily attached to any particular country. He would be apt to abandon the country in which he was exposed to a vexatious inquisition, in order to be assessed to a burdensome...
Keynes's Ghost
Underlying the belief that increased govern- ment spending can stimulate the economy is the "expenditure multiplier" theory formal- ized by Richard Kahn in 1931 and later enshrined in modern macroeconomic analysis through John May- nard Keynes 's 1936...
School Choice
The overall quality of primary and secondary education received by white students is nothing to write home about. The very fact that 30 per- cent of college freshmen require remedial education, at a cost of over $2 billion, is pretty good evidence that...
The American Land Question
In 1934 in the depths of the Great Depression, Southern agrarian (and historian) Frank Owsley called for an American land reform. He suggested that "unemployed or underemployed families be staked to a homestead, even subsidized, to remain on the land...
The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism Edited by Ronald Hamowy Cato Institute/Sage Publications * 2008 * 664 pages * $125.00Reviewed by Martin Morse WoosterThhere have been all sorts of books about libertarianism, from introductory treatises to memoirs and...
The Fatal Conceit
We've been rolled again.Sure, the economy is in bad shape though the late '70s and early '80s were worse in many ways. But is it true that every economist agrees that massive "stimulus" is the solution?"A failure to act, and act now, will turn a crisis...
The Founders, the Constitution, and the Historians
The first step in getting Americans to disregard the Constitution is to get them to distrust the men who wrote it. This assault on the Founders, subtle at first, began in earnest almost 100 years ago. The first historian to challenge the motives of the...
The Shame of Medicine: The Depravity of Psychiatry
Responding to my May 2009 column (www.tinyurl.com/ddl5p6), George Mason University economics professor Bryan Caplan commented: "In the last couple of decades, a lot of people have apologized for the past crimes of the groups with which they identify:...
Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World
Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World by Timothy Brook Bloomsbury Press * 2008 * 288 pages * $27.95 hard cover; $17.00 paperbackReviewed by George LeefTimothy Brook has written a fascinating work on the pivotal seventeenth...
What Is Seen and What Is Unseen: Government "Job Creation"
Barack Obama says his roughly $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan could save or create between three and four million American jobs by 2010. Many of these pro- posed jobs - building or repairing roads, bridges, and buildings - recall...
What the Drug Warriors Have Given Us
Violence among Mexico's drug cartels and gov- ernment has spilled over the U.S. border and beyond. The New York Times reports, "In the past few years, the cartels and other drug trafficking organizations have extended their reach across the United States...
Who Killed the Constitution? the Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush
Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. and Kevin R. C. Gutzman Crown Forum * 2008 * 272 pages * $25.95 hard cover and e-book * $15.00 paperbackReviewed by J. H. HuebertThere...