On Pope Francis, think deeper

Pro-market Christians in America could learn much from Pope Francis about holy living and compassionate thinking if only they’d think more deeply about his message. Instead, they’re too quick to extract superficial, tangential inferences about what his teaching means for the cause of free market capitalism. Indeed, advancing free markets is no end in itself […]

Hayek on competition and discovery

From F.A. Hayek’s Competition as a Discovery Procedure: I should like to begin with the observation that market theory often prevents access to a true understanding of competition by proceeding from the assumption of a “given” quantity of scarce goods. Which goods are scarce, however, or which things are goods, or how scarce or valuable […]

How to argue with the Pope

If you’re going to argue with Pope Francis, at least respond in kind. When the Pope speaks about immigration reform, wealth redistribution or climate change, he’s proclaiming God’s perspective. You may not believe he knows anything more about God’s perspective than you do, but you can, I hope, acknowledge that he believes this is true. […]

Are Americans generally wealthier than Brits?

From Fraser Nelson at The Spectator: That fits our general idea of America: a country where the richest do best while the poorest are left to hang. The figures just don’t support this. As the below chart shows, middle-earning Americans are better-off than Brits. Even lower-income Americans, those at the bottom 20 per cent, are better-off […]

Imagination, boldness, and modeling human choice

Israel Kirzner on entrepreneurial discovery: For neoclassical theory the only way human choice can be rendered analytically tractable, is for it to be modeled as if it were not made in open-ended fashion, as if there was no scope for qualities such as imagination and boldness. Even though standard neoclassical theory certainly deals extensively with decision-making under (Knightian) risk, this […]

No one needed stuffed animals

From the Facebook page of Steve Horwitz: Isn’t it interesting that Bernie Sanders (and GOOD FOR HIM for doing so) can give a speech at the religiously conservative Liberty University, where his views are absolutely noxious to those students and where being pro-choice effectively makes him a supporter of mass murder in their eyes, yet […]

Larry White on lowering long-term risk

I’m taking Larry White’s Monetary Theory and Policy class this fall at George Mason University. Here’s a selection from his book, The Theory of Monetary Institutions on one interesting utilitarian argument for adhering to a gold standard. A more reliable unit of account lowers the risk of long-term nominal contracts, as we have just noted with respect to […]

OCA as normative theory

From a 1998 paper by Charles A.E. Goodhart (a great read, by the way): One possible rationale is that the [Mengerian-form] theory was never meant to be a positive, explanatory theory, but instead a normative theory, of what should be. As one referee commented: ‘‘OCA theory is a normative, not a positive theory.’’ A weak […]

Misusing “perfect competition”

From Peter Boettke’s 1997 paper Where did Economics Go Wrong? Modern Economics as a Flight from Reality: Previously, the model of a perfectly competitive market was primarily used in thought experiments designed to be contrasted with real-world market institutions. Such counterfactual thought experiments illuminated the positive function of those institutions. In a world of complete information, […]