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 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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On U.S. Foreign Policy



Grave threats over there President’s words will save us He says, bombs away! *** Copies of Kuran Body parts of boys and girls Blood of one and all *** Do unto others . . . But this is a special case Shoot first, sleep soundly

U.S. Government Debt Is Now at a Once-Unimaginable Level



Earlier today I was looking through some old records, and I came across a flyer for a symposium in which I participated at Seattle University early in 1990. The flyer announced the symposium topic by asking: “A $3 Trillion National Debt: Does It Matter? What Can We Do About It?” The topic seemed timely...
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Politics Is Not Just Spy versus Spy; It’s also Slogan versus Slogan



For as long as political and ideological movements have sought to engage large followings, they have embraced slogans and catch phrases that give pithy expression to their views, aversions, and objectives. Slogans are dangerous in that they substitute rote declarations for serious thought, yet they may sometimes serve a purpose even for thoughtful people...
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How Much Longer Can the U.S. Economy Bear the Burdens?



Ordinary people, and sometimes experts as well, tend to overreact to short-term economic changes. The current economic malaise in the United States and Europe has brought forth a bevy of commentators convinced that this time the economy has taken a permanent turn for the worse. Never again, they declare, will we enjoy growing prosperity...
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Total National Security Spending Is Much Greater than the Pentagon’s Base Budget



In a recent publication of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, “Defense Spending Extends Beyond the Pentagon’s Budget,” Veronique de Rugy presents a valuable compilation of data for fiscal year 2013, showing how much of the government’s national security spending appears not in the base budget of the Department of Defense, but elsewhere...
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Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Don’t Worry, They’ll Guard Themselves!



Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards themselves? Do not fret, mis amigos. Our guardians have already made ample provision for guarding themselves. They have, among other upstanding actions, appointed ombudsmen, established offices of inspector generals, enacted the Administrative Procedure Act, and created internal affairs divisions in police departments. So, as anyone...
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All Men Are Brothers, but All Too Often They Do Not Act Accordingly



In “The Communist Manifesto,” Marx and Engels tell us that “[t]he history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” In a sense, I agree, although I define the struggling classes differently than they did. In any event, it seems clear enough from what we know about the past ten thousand...
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