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Public Choice Analysis a Scheme for Imposing Racist Oligarchy on the USA? Preposterous! »

Public choice analysis shows, among many other things, that organized political interests will tend to dominate the political process at the expense of the unorganized members of society. This is not a claim that “the rich” will necessarily dominate “the poor” in the political process, although the rich obviously have an advantage in influencing...
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Young Americans and Hope for the Future »

Bob Higgs, in a recent post on all the foolishness in American higher education, reminds us of what a danger we face as our colleges attempt to mold students into young Jacobins. In light of the state of American education, we need some bright spot on what is a dismal landscape. One bright spot...
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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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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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Politics without Romance? Yes and No »

James Buchanan, a pioneer in the development of public choice, viewed his approach to the study of government and politics as the analysis of “politics without romance.” But Jim couldn’t really live without the romance, and no sooner had he expelled it out the front door than he let it in the back door,...
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A Sandy Beach and Constitutional Political Economy »

I normally walk my dogs twice each day along the beach, which gives me an opportunity to ponder, among other things, issues in constitutional political economy. My late friend James Buchanan, one of the deepest thinkers in political economy during the past century, led the development of this field of study in his time....
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The Three Basic Means by Which Ruling Elites Maintain Their Control »

Ruling elites have three basic ways to keep the subject population under their thumb: threaten, bribe, and bamboozle. Everything they do is a variant of one of these basic actions. So, if the lush, misleading overgrowth were cut away, all government activities could be undertaken by only three departments: the Department of Cops and...
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What Really Creates a Peaceful, Orderly, and Prosperous Society? »

The idea that genuine self-government—the system in which individuals contract for the type of governance they prefer—must fail because under such a system no one can make others obey the rules is stunningly misconceived. On any given day, even in a world pervaded by states and their dictates, nearly everything that people do or...
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