06/26/13

Why Bubbles Burst:
Austrian Business Cycle Theory
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hayekmises

Austrian economists F. A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises.

In the early 2000’s a bubble formed in the U.S. housing market in which housing prices rose dramatically, new housing projects were being constructed at increased rates, and speculative buying of homes and mortgages became the latest get-rich-quick scheme.  By 2008 the bubble burst and real estate prices dropped dramatically, affecting subsequent industries and triggering a worldwide economic depression.  Why did this happen, and furthermore, why is economic history replete with these boom and bust cycles?  Ludwig von Mises explained the cause of this trend with an analogy, which I will paraphrase:

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03/10/13

Minimum Wage:
Economically and Morally Bankrupt
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President Obama, in his most recent “state of the union” speech, addressed a topic that, though it has been disproven countless times, is so politically popular that future politicians will doubtlessly echo it beyond the lifetime of the present Union:

“Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families.”

We must first understand what a wage truly is.  A wage is a price.  It truly is little else than this; a wage is the price of an individual’s productive efforts. Continue reading

02/11/13

On “Common Sense” Gun Laws  -   By

Following the school shooting at Newtown, President Obama has been asking Americans in general, and Congress specifically, to unite in supporting and adopting what he refers to, most recently in a speech given in Minneapolis, as “common-sense” changes to federal gun laws.

What troubles me about this particular and oft-repeated phrase is that “common sense” usually describes a simple and cursory consideration of facts and generally calls upon preconceptions, bias, and emotion.  This may be problematic, as often ideas that appear true to one’s own understanding of common sense end up being, in fact, false. Continue reading

10/8/12

Full Employment is NOT the Goal!  -   By

This week, it was announced that the unemployment rate in the United States had fallen to 7.8%, the lowest rate since President Obama took office in 2009.  The data show that 325,000 jobs have been added to the economy during Obama’s tenure, numbers that are sure to be used as a talking-point in his favor in these last weeks preceding the November election.  At a rally at George Mason University, Obama noted, “We’re moving forward.  This morning, we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office… More people are getting jobs.”  This, a claim made all the more ironic, as GMU has perhaps the highest concentration of economists resistant to the Keynesian model on which the President bases nearly all of his fiscal and monetary decisions. Continue reading

09/5/12

End Social Security  -   By

Due to its prodigious status in the federal “budget” and the necessity of deficit spending and fiat currency inflation to keep all the money-inhaling federal programs funded, Social Security is recognized by even the most obtuse of players in Washington as desperately needing reform to stave off economic calamity.  It is the opinion of this writer that Social Security is wholly devoid of any justification from a dialectic standpoint and should be eliminated as quickly as possible. Continue reading

08/12/12

You Don’t KNOW ME!
Misconceptions About Libertarians
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Throughout my involvement in political debate I have noticed that most of the charges leveled against libertarians are complete myths or fabrications.  There are a lot of wrong ideas about libertarians out there; some are the product of common misunderstandings, though others are intentionally misleading for the purpose of gaining leverage in an argument.  Here are nine of the most common myths I have come across in my experience and my modest attempt to refute them.  Where possible I have tried to provide quotes by eminent libertarian thinkers to reinforce my claims.  Also, as I do not mean to claim that libertarian ideas are indisputable, I provided a brief alternative question or criticism that can be used in place of the fallacious one.  Put all you questions and counterarguments in the comments below! Continue reading

08/8/12

What is a Libertarian anyway?
Filtering the myths from the reality
  -   By

A few days ago a friend of mine introduced me to an article written by Connor Kilpatrick for the online news magazine AlterNet, provocatively entitled “The Libertarian Con: Favorite ‘Rebel’ Ideology of the Ruling Class”.  In this article, Kilpatrick attempts to cast libertarianism as a cabal comprised of cruel and heartless wealth-mongers and their sycophantic followers.  He relies on tabloidesque style and inflammatory cynicism to emphasize complete misconceptions and fabrications that bear little resemblance to the writings of actual eminent libertarian thinkers; a tactic all the more befuddling as AlterNet’s published journalistic standards allege to confront “the vitriol and disinformation of right wing media, especially ‘hate talk’ media.”

The article reminded me that there are many politically active and educated people that have serious misconceptions about libertarian thought, or who indeed have no conception whatsoever.  In this article I will attempt to provide a concise yet rich overview of libertarian theory as I currently understand it as well as to provide resources for future inquiry. Continue reading