Robert Higgs Archive

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at The Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

The Mountain of Legal Injustice in the USA



In view of the thousands of laws in the USA for whose violation people are punished even though no identifiable person has been harmed by their actions, is it not wholly appropriate to say that those who are punished are in fact being punished for political crimes? For example, persons entering or leaving the...
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The Government’s Tax on Peace of Mind



In the USA, thousands of distinct actions that violate no one’s natural rights have been declared illegal. Often the law provides for draconian punishment of those who violate such unjust laws. Sometimes, especially in cases involving alleged violation of tax laws or drug laws, the government may seize an alleged violator’s assets, making it...
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In Memoriam: Nathan Rosenberg (1927-2015)



I have just received the sad news that Nathan Rosenberg has died. Nate was an outstanding economic historian, and in my early years in the profession I viewed him as the very model of the kind of economic historian I wanted to become. He reviewed many of my early papers before their publication, and...
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Employers Do Not Systematically and Persistently Pay Women Less than Men for Equally Valuable Work



The quality of economic journalism in the United States is terrible. Day after day, journalists write about the causes and consequences of economic conditions and events without understanding the underlying economics of the situation, and their articles are, as a rule, simply bunk. Here is an example. I have not examined the actual report...
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Immigration Policy Is Unjust



Like you and every other person, I have no just right to prescribe for another person where he may come and go, with whom he may contract as employer or employee, and with whom he may buy, sell, and otherwise associate, so long as he does not violate anyone’s justly acquired private property rights...
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How Big Is Government in the United States?



How big is government in the United States? The answer depends on the concept used to define its size. Although many such concepts are available, and several are used from time to time, by far the most common measure, especially in studies by economists, is total government spending (G) as a percentage of the...
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The Power Elite



Women are equal Madeleine lusts for murder Hillary’s on board Uncertain prospect Cheney and Wolfowitz weep ‘Cause peace might break out Mission accomplished Bush II stages a cool stunt Women and kids die So sorry, Saddam No nukes, yet Shrub keeps his seat Condi skips debate No one’s in prison Guilty parties sit pretty...
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The Consummate Fallen Angel



The devil is agile and quick on his feet He fought at Gettyburg From beginning to end And never got a single scratch At Verdun and the Somme back in ‘16 He displayed his great flair For adding large numbers Of young souls wickedly squandered

Are the Ruling Elites in China Now More Pro-market than the Ruling Elites in the USA?



The current issue of the Cato Policy Report (January/February 2015) contains a short article about a book by Zhang Weiying called The Logic of the Market: An Insider’s View of Chinese Economic Reform, which was originally published in Chinese (and said to be a best-seller in China in that form) and was recently translated into English....
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It’s Called Recovery, but Where’s the Beef?



Many economists and other analysts have recognized that the recovery from the U.S. economy’s most recent contraction has been unusually weak—weaker, for example, than any other since World War II. But analysts have disagreed in characterizing the current recovery, which according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the semi-official arbiter of business-cycle chronology,...
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