Planning an Economy Is Not Elementary

Опубликовано в Articles in English марта 10 2014

Jim Fedako
March 06, 2014

In the absence of prices, could a central planner efficiently run an economy? Before you answer, I'll drop the Hayekian proviso that the planner be vile. Instead, I'll only ask you to consider a planner who is a soccer mom wanting to maximize happiness among all. Would you still answer in the negative?

Another Four Falsehoods About the Free Market

Опубликовано в Articles in English февраля 24 2014

Sandy Ikeda

As a follow-up to my two earlier columns on falsehoods about the free market (here and here), I wanted to cover some more falsehoods that I've heard again recently. I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to add to the list sometime down the road.

The Right To Take (Even Really Stupid) Risks

Опубликовано в Articles in English февраля 13 2014

J.D. Tuccille
February 10, 2014

The value of life is determined not by the mere drawing of one breath after another, but by the freedom to make our own decisions.
There's nothing like the feeling of a motorcycle sliding out from beneath you on a busy thoroughfare to focus the mind beautifully on the value of life. As your ass bounces from the cushioned seat toward the hard tarmac with the screech of unseen cars slamming on their brakes to your rear, you have one glorious moment in which to ask yourself: "What the hell am I doing?"

How Central Banks Cause Income Inequality

Опубликовано в Articles in English февраля 04 2014

Frank Hollenbeck
February 01, 2014

The gap between the rich and poor continues to grow. The wealthiest 1 percent held 8 percent of the economic pie in 1975 but now hold over 20 percent. This is a striking change from the 1950s and 1960s when their share of all incomes was slightly over 10 percent. A study by Emmanuel Saez found that between 2009 and 2012 the real incomes of the top 1 percent jumped 31.4 percent. The richest 10 percent now receive 50.5 percent of all incomes, the largest share since data was first recorded in 1917. The wealthiest are becoming disproportionally wealthier at an ever increasing rate.

More of the Same From the Keynesians in 2014

Опубликовано в Articles in English января 27 2014

Harry Goslin
January 23, 2014

The first rule I teach my economics students is that when the economy fails, it's usually safe to blame the government. To paraphrase Winston Smith in 1984: If we accept that the state is the source of economic misery, "all else follows."

As a science, economics is really not that difficult because it encompasses decisions we make every day that impact our well-being and the well-being of those around us.

Welfare, Minimum Wages, and Unemployment

Опубликовано в Articles in English января 20 2014

Greg Morin

January 16, 2014

Of the various flavors of government interventionism in our lives, the minimum wage is perhaps the most welcomed. It appeals not only to our innate sense of “fairness” but also to our self-interest. Its allure may erroneously lead us to the conclusion that because “it is popular,” ergo “it is right.”

Patrick Barron

 January 13, 2014

Hyperinflation leads to the complete breakdown in the demand for a currency, which means simply that no one wishes to hold it. Everyone wants to get rid of that kind of money as fast as possible. Prices, denominated in the hyper-inflated currency, suddenly and dramatically go through the roof. The most famous examples, although there are many others, are Germany in the early 1920s and Zimbabwe just a few years ago. German Reichsmarks and Zim dollars were printed in million and even trillion unit denominations.

Studying Real People

Опубликовано в Articles in English декабря 23 2013

Teaching and learning economics has become detached from human beings

 December 17, 2013

Peter Boettke

 One of the most common criticisms of economics is that it relies on unrealistic assumptions and abstract models of the economy. If only economists studied the real world they would know that people are not always rational, exchange is not always mutually beneficial, and that markets do not always clear. Instead the real world is full of mistakes, unequal power, and inefficiency.

How the Paper Money Experiment Will End

Опубликовано в Articles in English декабря 16 2013

Philipp Bagus

December 13, 2013

A paper currency system contains the seeds of its own destruction. The temptation for the monopolist money producer to increase the money supply is almost irresistible. In such a system with a constantly increasing money supply and, as a consequence, constantly increasing prices, it does not make much sense to save in cash to purchase assets later. A better strategy, given this senario, is to go into debt to purchase assets and pay back the debts later with a devalued currency. Moreover, it makes sense to purchase assets that can later be pledged as collateral to obtain further bank loans. A paper money system leads to excessive debt.

Emile Phaneuf

December 5, 2013

Why do beliefs cluster the way they do?

If someone believes that only police and military should have guns, why is that person also likely to support socialized healthcare and a government-imposed minimum wage, and be unsupportive of school vouchers? In his 1987 book A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, economist Thomas Sowell put forth two conflicting visions of man that he believes explain many of the underlying reasons for the clustering of beliefs. 

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