Tag: Economists

Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 »

President Jimmy Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act on October 24, 1978. That law phased out the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) over the next four years, ending five decades of federal regulation of passenger airfares on interstate commercial flights and entry into the airline industry. One of prime movers behind this first legislative initiative...
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Jean Tirole, 2014 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences »

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Jean Tirole of the Toulouse School of Economics. According to Reuters, the prize recognizes Professor Tirole’s work aimed at “taming” private business firms through governmental regulatory interventions and antitrust law enforcement. That summary is true as far as it goes. Professor Tirole indeed spent...
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Debunking Democracy with James M. Buchanan »

Among the first questions young people ask upon their political awakening is one that should concern Americans of all ages: Why don’t democratic governments operate the way our civic classes taught us? Perhaps no one of his generation thought more deeply about this question than the economist James M. Buchanan (1919–2013). The late Nobel...
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Celebrating Human Action—Ludwig von Mises’s Masterpiece »

September 14 marked the 65th anniversary of the publication of Ludwig von Mises’s masterpiece Human Action. I have been studying Mises’s classic text very carefully the past two years, as I’ve completed the manuscript for a forthcoming Independent Institute book, Cooperation and Enterprise: The Economics of Choice, that crystallizes the essence of Human Action...
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Rags to Riches (to Rags Again) »

“Most income statistics present a snapshot picture as of a given moment—and their results are radically different from those statistics which follow the same given individuals over a period of years.” —Thomas Sowell Last week, CNNMoney carried a fascinating report on how rich families end up squandering their wealth: Nearly 60% of the time...
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Burgeoning Regulations Threaten Our Humanity »

Insofar as mainstream economics may be said to make moral-philosophical assumptions, it rests overwhelmingly on a consequentialist-utilitarian foundation. When mainstream economists say that an action is worthwhile, they mean that it is expected to give rise to benefits whose total value exceeds its total cost (that is, the most valued benefit necessarily forgone by...
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Piketty and Emerging Markets »

Much has been said to refute Thomas Piketty’s important book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, from the perspective of developed countries, but not from the standpoint of emerging markets. His contention that the rate of return of capital, roughly twice the rate of growth of the economy, leads to increasing inequality is not consistent with...
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Virginia DMV and Taxi Unions versus Consumers »

“Competition always has been, and always will be, disagreeable to those who are affected by it. Thus we see that in all times and in all places men try to get rid of it.” —Frédéric Bastiat Last week, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sent cease-and-desist letters to app-based, ride-sharing services Uber and...
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Chances Are that You Have No More Expertise in Economics than You Have in Astrophysics »

Although the statement is commonly attributed to Mark Twain, his friend Charles Dudley Warner was the one who said, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Regardless of who said it, the statement was and remains fairly accurate. In contrast, we might observe, “Everybody complains about the economy, and a...
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Dining with Stalin »

“In the socialist commonwealth every economic change becomes an undertaking whose success can be neither appraised in advance nor later retrospectively determined. There is only groping in the dark. Socialism is the abolition of rational economy.” —Ludwig von Mises When I was driving to work earlier this week, I heard a fascinating story on...
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