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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

Three Haiku on Regime Uncertainty



Aphorism says Personnel is policy Trump’s team in chaos — No one knows what’s next Actors and actions in flux, Regime’s uncertain — Situation grim Investment makes little sense No prospect of growth    

Carl Christ—Eminent Yet Sensible Econometrician and Mentor Supremo



I transferred to the Department of Political Economy at Johns Hopkins University in 1966 to continue my work for the Ph.D. degree, which Hopkins awarded me in 1968. During my two years at Hopkins, I never took a course from Carl Christ, a highly regarded econometrician and macroeconomist there. Yet Carl turned out to...
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The Health-Care Insurance Quagmire as a Linguistic Problem



The House of Representatives has just passed a statute it represents as “repealing and replacing Obamacare.” This legislation, now awaiting what promises to be major challenges in gaining the Senate’s approval, does amend certain aspects of the Obamacare setup, but all in all the changes are less than earth-shaking, and the previous system will...
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Think Twice before You Find Fault with Modernity



Modernity has never lacked for critics, people who see only regression from a nobler or more glorious past when men were men and women liked them that way. But for the economic or cultural historian, such an outlook is the sheerest balderdash. If I had lived a thousand years ago, I would almost certainly...
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State Governments Are Becoming the Biggest Drug Lords of All



The so-called war on drugs—actually a war on certain people associated in various ways with certain drugs—has served since the Nixon administration as a major profit center for governments at every level. Owing to the ostensible efforts to suppress the possession, use, and commerce in these drugs, governments have been able to justify great...
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Economic Analysis Cannot Justify Immoral State Actions



I am an economist. I am convinced of the power of basic economic analysis, and I believe that during the past fifty years or so my own work has demonstrated that power repeatedly. But economics is not the only aspect of a proper evaluation of the world’s workings, especially where government intrudes in economic...
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I Reject the Right of the Government to Choose My Friends and Enemies for Me



“I reject the right of the government to choose my friends and enemies for me.” – Bill Kelsey Indeed, Bill, it makes no sense to allow the government to do so. But the situation is much worse than such nonsensical allowance by the people at large. From time immemorial, the reigning myth of rule has...
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The Tangled Web of Anti-immigration Argumentation



Probably the most often voiced objection to open immigration of all peaceful people is that “you can’t have open immigration and a welfare state.” (Even people as smart as Milton Friedman have made this objection.) But why can’t you? Well, people claim, if you have a welfare state, the masses of the world will...
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Is a National Government Necessary for National Defense?



Gordon Tullock used to taunt anarchists by asserting that if the USA abolished its government, people would not have to worry about the Russians taking over the country because “the Mexicans would get here first.” This little story actually incorporates a common objection to anarchy—namely, the idea that because, if a country abolished its...
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Negative Balance of Trade? So What?



The tendency of the USA to have a negative balance of trade (more accurately known as a negative balance on current account) played a prominent role in the recent U.S. presidential campaign. Donald Trump criticized this tendency repeatedly and promised that if elected he would take various actions to reduce or eliminate it. Like...
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