You are browsing the archive for 2013 October 08.

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The Mises Institute is Building a New mises.org

October 8, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Go to http://mises.org/webhelp and help us build a new website worthy of our ideas and our learners, one that serves young people and all of us with the most cutting-edge design and internet.

Over the years, millions of people have come to our site to learn about the Austrian School and its wonderful tradition of freedom, prosperity, and peace.

The time has come to make Mises.org even better, and to make sure it is compatible with new technologies.

So many of our users now engage Mises.org through smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. And every day, we have a growing number of first-time users who know little about the Austrian School. We need to make sure our website intelligibly and effectively guides them through the basics, and into the advanced material.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How to Read Mises

October 8, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

October 10th is the 40th anniversary of the death of Ludwig von Mises. He was one of the most notable economists and social philosophers of the twentieth century who created an integrated, deductive science of economics. He based system on the fundamental axiom that human beings act purposely to achieve their desired goals. Mises left a legacy of books and articles that continue to teach and inspire people in a method and science that makes an undeniable case for a society based on freedom and peace.

Many have tried and failed to grasp the enormity of Mises’s contributions. I have been asked many times about “how to read Mises.” For a long time my only answer was “don’t start with Human Action, Mises’s magnum opus. Then, a few years ago, I set out to produce The Quotable Mises where I collected quotes from all his books. This book gives readers quick access to Mises’s contributions and viewpoints. It also serves as a handy tool for researchers and journalists.

It also gave me some insight into the question of how to read Mises. My suggestion now is to begin reading his shorter, popular articles, as well as audio and video lectures on Mises.org. Then proceed to his shorter books like Bureaucracy and Planned Chaos before moving to longer treatments such as Liberalism, A Critique of Interventionism, Omnipotent Government, and Nation, State, and Economy. Next take on the big four Theory of Money and Credit, Socialism, Epistemological Problems, and Theory and History. Finally, you are ready for the centerpiece of Mises’s system of economics, Human Action.

I believe that this approach to reading Mises works because Mises system was comprehensive and cohesive, but his writings represent a building process in which economics is constructed and where concepts are repeated in finer and more elaborate detail. What you might not understand at one level becomes increasingly clear, coherent, and relevant for understanding his overall system.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Paul Appears on Fox's Hannity- October 7, 2013

October 8, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Higgs Wins Nobel Prize!

October 8, 2013 in Economics

By Peter G. Klein

I awoke to the headline, “Higgs Wins Nobel Prize.” Unfortunately it was not a story about the Nobel Prize in economics going to Robert Higgs, the distinguished economic historian and Senior Fellow of the Mises Institute. I’m certainly happy for Peter Higgs, who today received (with François Englert) the Nobel Prize in physics. But concepts such as the ratchet effect and regime uncertainty are as important for economics as the Higgs Boson is for physics. Happily, Bob has received the Gary G. Schlarbaum Prize for Lifetime Defense of Liberty.

Here is a Festschrift for Bob from his former students and colleagues. Here are his scholarly article, popular article, and media archives on Mises.org.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Stepping on the Bureaucrat's Cape

October 8, 2013 in Economics

By Richard W. Rahn

Richard W. Rahn

Should government employees have privileges and legal immunities that the rest of us do not have? The government shutdown battle is, in part, a dispute about the extra subsidies members of Congress and their staffs are slated to get from Obamacare.

Civilian government employees often whine about the lack of respect they receive from their fellow Americans. Part of the antipathy many feel toward the government class is because they, on average, are paid more, receive more benefits, are almost impossible to fire, and are rarely penalized for abusive, rude and even illegal conduct that would get civilian workers fired, fined and, in some cases, sent to jail.

Congress needs to pass corrective legislation to rein in government employees who engage in lawless, abusive and irresponsible behavior, allowing private suits against them.”

It can be argued that it is unfair to paint all government workers with a charge that they are impertinent slackers when, in fact, many government employees work very hard and take many risks to help their fellow Americans. If civilian government employees were put on a more level playing field, where the real slackers and abusers were either fired or forced to shape up, the respect for all government employees would grow. Most Americans have a high respect for those in the military because people understand the real risks they take, and they also understand that the military does not tolerate incompetence or misbehavior regardless of rank. For example, two generals have just been dismissed because they failed to adequately protect some of their troops in Afghanistan.

If someone unfairly causes a person to suffer loss or harm resulting in a legal liability, it’s known as a “tort.” The victim may recover the loss as damages in a lawsuit. Legal injuries may be physical, emotional, economic or reputational, as well as violations of privacy, property or constitutional rights. If someone commits a tort in the course of his employment, both the employee and the employer may be sued. However, if a tort is committed by a government employee for approximately the same offense, it is far harder to sue the government because of the doctrine of “sovereign immunity.” Likewise, it is far harder to sue the government employee because of the concept of “official immunity” and certain laws designed to protect government employees. The Federal Tort Claims Act specifies and authorizes which tort suits can be …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Mainstream Economists on Policy Uncertainty

October 8, 2013 in Economics

By Robert Higgs

Mainstream economics has a tremendous ability to take any substantive idea and transform it into an ooze of technicalities from which an endless stream of competing theoretical and econometric models may be squeezed indefinitely, or until the researchers’ fancy shifts to a newer sexy issue on which they can lavish their talent for pyrotechnics. As the researchers push forward their work, it becomes ever more distant from the empirical realities that first gave rise to it, until eventually it evaporates entirely into a debate over conceptual, methodological, and theoretical issues that wafts like a thin, ethereal fog over the real world from which it arose.

I continue to believe that my idea of regime uncertainty is important for understanding how mixed economies function — or fail to function. However, policy uncertainty is not equivalent to regime uncertainty; the former is only a subset of the latter; and all of the latter is important. I continue to note, without great astonishment, that the paper I wrote on this topic in 1997 has somehow evaded the notice of virtually every mainstream analyst who has leaped into this research pond during the past few years. If only I’d pitched my paper in the form of a formal mathematical model complete with some fancy bells and whistles, it might have attracted more notice.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Freer Political Speech Strengthens Our Democracy

October 8, 2013 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

As the Supreme Court held in the key free-speech case of Roth v. United States (1957), the First Amendment broadly protects political expression in order to “assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people.”

Election-campaign contributions and expenditures facilitate such discourse and are thus vital to our democracy. Yet our current laws — including the aggregate-contribution limits at issue in McCutcheon v. FEC — stifle political speech and inhibit the unfettered exchange of ideas. While someone can spend any amount on his own political advocacy, the amount he can donate to political parties and candidates is strictly limited by laws that the Supreme Court upheld in the seminal campaign-finance case of Buckley v. Valeo (1976).

Free speech fosters political change, holds officials accountable and sustains a healthy democracy.”

Buckley correctly held that spending money is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. But the court only found caps on expenditures — and not on the contributions that enable them — to be unconstitutional, reasoning that “while contributions may result in political expression if spent by a candidate or an association to present views to the voters, the transformation of contributions into political debate involves speech by someone other than the contributor.” While the court has since abandoned the concept of “speech by proxy,” the contribution-expenditure distinction remains. That distinction has been the target of persistent criticism and its underlying logic was repudiated in subsequent decisions.

Even in Buckley itself, Chief Justice Burger argued that contributions and expenditures are “two sides of the same First Amendment coin.” Justice Thomas now maintains that Buckley’s framework should be replaced with “strict scrutiny” of all campaign-finance restrictions, such that the government must demonstrate a compelling interest for limits on individual rights and closely tie its actions to that interest.

Buckley’s contribution/expenditure distinction also causes various practical issues. Politicians spend inordinate time fundraising rather than legislating. Money has been pushed away from political parties and towards advocacy groups, leaving the former with relatively fewer resources and muddled messaging. Most importantly, the scope of the constitutional right to engage in political speech changes at the government’s whim. Just like banning printing presses or computers would violate the First Amendment, so does allowing the government to approve the size and scope of political contributions.

Nor does “stare decisis” — the idea that precedents should …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Why Growth Is Getting Harder

October 8, 2013 in Economics

For over a century, the trend line for the long-term growth of the U.S. economy has held remarkably steady. Looking ahead, however, there are strong reasons for doubting that the historic norm can be maintained. In a new paper, Cato scholar Brink Lindsey demonstrates how four constituent elements of economic growth have fallen off simultaneously, and suggests that the sluggish performance of the economy since the Great Recession is likely to persist in the coming years.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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FREE eBook!!! "Senator Obama" EPUB

October 8, 2013 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster

In the spirit of laying literary foundations for libertarian culture, I’ve launched my “Senator Obama” story onto various online bookstores.

Senator Obama has been expanded and is now available at the Lulu Bookstore for FREE. This is an EPUB file which will work on almost any e-reader device. Now YOU can curl up by the fire place and enjoy some libertarian/Constitutional conservative fiction on your e-reader!
Download the free EPUB eBook here. Be sure to also check out my author’s spotlight page at Lulu so you can also download a free Ron Paul eBook.
Very soon Senator Obama will be available on the Nook Bookstore, Kindle Store, and iTunes Bookstore. I’ll keep you folks updated! THANK YOU for supporting what I do.

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Source: ZACH FOSTER RANTS

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Robert Murphy on His New Mises Academy Class

October 8, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

monday

Robert Murphy’s new Mises Academy course on the basics of economics: Action and Exchange. Murphy describes his new course in Monday’s Mises Daily:

I am pleased to announce that on October 17, we will begin a six-week Mises Academy course that offers an introduction to the Austrian understanding of action and barter exchange. This course, titled “Action and Exchange,” is the first of a three-part series that uses my Lessons for the Young Economist as the main textbook. Previously at Mises Academy I have offered a course titled “Principles of Economics” that covered just the highlights of Lessons. In this new series, we will go through the material much more methodically, covering everything from the textbook, as well as including supplemental discussion from the broader Austrian tradition.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE