Robert Higgs Archive

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute, author or editor of over fourteen Independent books, and Editor at Large of Independent’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.

Full Biography and Recent Publications

Nativists Don’t Know the Future



Immigrants continue to blend into American culture, generally speaking, in the same way that previous arrivals blended in.

Optimality—The Mainstream Economist’s Holy Grail



In discussing the economy and especially economic policy, mainstream economists have been in love with optimality for a century or so. They have built many mathematical models from which they have derived conditions related to optimal tariffs, optimal population, optimal money supply, optimal taxation, optimal subsidies, and so forth. Indeed, for talking about the…
Read More »

A Reconsideration of “The Personal Is Political”



“The personal is political” is a slogan that has been around for a long time, used especially though not exclusively by radical feminists. In practice it has served as an exhortation that people make ideology the sole dimension of their personal identity, that they set aside all other bases on which to evaluate their…
Read More »

Against the Maternal State



In the late nineteenth century, many Americans took pride in living in a country that boasted so much freedom. In describing their society and polity, they often contrasted them with what they called paternalism, which they believed was the rule in certain European countries, such as Germany, where a proto-welfare state began to be…
Read More »

Our Land, Our Infrastructure, Our Country—a Lot of Loose Talk



Many Americans talk about “our country,” “our public lands,” and “our infrastructure.” Such terminology is inaccurate and misleading. Genuine de facto ownership entails control of the property and the benefits it generates. No one owns the country, though the thousands of governmental entities make and enforce claims to various parts and aspects of it….
Read More »

Consent of the Governed, Revisited



What gives some people the right to rule others? At least since John Locke’s time, the most common and seemingly compelling answer has been “the consent of the governed.” When the North American revolutionaries set out to justify their secession from the British Empire, they declared, among other things: “Governments are instituted among Men,…
Read More »

Voluntary Provision of a So-called Public Good



For the past few days, several men and a fair-sized tractor front-end loader have been working on the beach road where I live north of Xcalak. None too soon, either, as the potholes have become immense in the past year or so since the last repairs. A gringo neighbor down the road organized this…
Read More »

Knowledge Better Left Unknown



They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. About certain things, however, any knowledge at all is dangerous and potentially fatal. One such piece of purported knowledge pertains to the size distribution of income and wealth. This knowledge serves no good purpose; it is wholly unnecessary for defensible government policy or action….
Read More »

A Poor Politician



“Un político pobre es un pobre político” is a well-known Mexican aphorism attributed to Carlos Hank González. My translation: “A politician who is poor is a poor politician.” Bill and Hillary Clinton certainly took that maxim to heart, as have nearly all other politicians who ever got their filthy mitts into the Treasury and…
Read More »

The Boon of Growing U.S. Imports from Mexico



Since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, U.S. imports of goods from Mexico have grown from about $4 billion per year to about $28 billion (annual rate as of March 2017). Americans have also purchased a lot more services, not counted in this measure, from Mexicans during the past two decades (e.g., tourist services…
Read More »

  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org