Author Archive for Walter Block

Walter Block vs. Nobel Prize Winning Economists Friedman & Coase

Walter Block – The Errors of Friedman, Coase & Buchanan [Australian Mises Seminar 2012].

Here I speak at Mises University 2012. My lecture is about Friedman’s positive externalities’ argument of public schools, his broken window fallacy concerning WWII, the tradable emission rights, Friedman’s road socialism. I talk about the flexible exchange rates. I go on with Friedman on eminent domain, democracy and anti-trust. I also viciously attack Coase’s Lighthouse article and his anti-property rights beliefs and more!

Audio: Walter Block on the Welfare State, Unemployment and Libertarianism

Here I go over the moderate view of libertarianism with Henrik Palmgren from Red Ice Creations. I explain why the welfare state creates poverty by creating non-intact families and I go over how the government subsidizing unemployment gives incentives for unemployment that would otherwise not be there in a libertarian world.

Walter Block on the ‘We Are Libertarians’ Show

Here I speak to Chris Spangle and Dan Peffers from the We Are Libertarians Show. I go over Nevada and its’ current laws on prostitution. I speak about free market environmentalism and the history of government laws actually permitting trespassing by way of pollution. I also make a clear distinction between the free market and contracting out. Then I go over how the US has proportionately the highest prison population in the world and how so many of them are there due to victimless crimes and much more!

The Minimum Wage Law

434px-Wage_labour.svgThe minimum wage on its face is an unemployment law, not an employment law. It does not compel anyone to hire anyone else. It only stipulates who CANNOT legally be employed: no one may be hired for less than the amount stipulated by law. If the minimum wage law is set at $10 per hour, the law does not require any employer to hire any employee at that wage level. It only FORBIDS employment contracts set at $9.99 or below. This is not a matter of empirical evidence, not that there can be any such thing in proper, e.g., Austrian economics; this conclusion is a matter of pure logic. We repeat: the minimum wage on its face is an unemployment law, not an employment law.

What about empirical studies (economic history, for praxeological economists)? Here, economists disagree. Some say there will be no unemployment effects whatsoever. That is, a person with a productivity level of $6 per hour will still be hired and paid $10 per hour, even though any such firm that does so will lose $4 per hour. Such “economists” are in a distinct minority. Other dismal scientists opine there will be very slight unemployment effect; some few unskilled workers will lose their jobs or not attain them in the first place; but a large number will retain their jobs and be paid more. Then there is a third or majority view: most economists conclude that this law will boost unemployment for those with low productivity, and will only raise wages for them temporarily, until employers can substitute away from the factor of production (unskilled labor) now priced out of the market. Read More→

Regression Theorem and Bitcoin

Here is a letter I received about the Regression theorem:

I’ve been thinking through this for a few days and wondered if you had any insight — is the Regression Theorem a praxeological statement, or is it a heuristic device?

If it is a praxeological statement, then it must be true, and we can deduce *a priori* truths from it on that basis (e.g., IF something arises on the market as a medium of exchange, THEN it had value on the market prior to becoming a medium of exchange). This seems to be how many Austrians have treated regression, but it doesn’t seem clear that this is the intent of the discussion in *Theory of Money and Credit*.

If, on the other hand, it is a heuristic device for description and analysis, it can still be useful as an insight into the origins of money, but *a priori* truths cannot be deduced out of it. I’ve looked, but have found very little discussion of this in the Austrian literature. Do you have any thoughts on this? Have I missed something major?

Here was my response:

In my view, the regression theorem is apodictic, praxeological. This brings up the question of the bitcoin. It is not yet money. It is not now a generally accepted means of final payment. But it is now at least a quasi money. More than just a few people treat it as a money.  Probably, the govt will soon blow this out of the water with regulations, taxes. But, if not, it might become a money. If so, would this be a violation of the regression postulate? Yes, if we interpret it as saying that nothing cannot become a money unless it was at one time a valuable COMMODITY. Of course, bitcoins were never a valuable commodity. But, if we more sympathetically interpret the regression theorem not in terms of a commodity, but in terms of SOMETHING of value, then when and if bitcoin becomes a money, it will not contradict the regression theorem for, surely, before it became a money (if it does) it was SOMETHING of value, albeit not a commodity, because it cannot be denied that some people valued it.

I’m not aware of any formal discussion of this in the literature. But, I went to the Mises web, and found this:

http://archive.mises.org/18767/bitcoin-implodes/
http://archive.mises.org/17356/another-bitcoin-crash/
https://mises.org/daily/6401/Bitcoin-Money-of-the-Future-or-OldFashioned-Bubble
http://archive.mises.org/17294/a-clear-concise-look-at-bitcoin/
http://archive.freecapitalists.org//forums/t/25162.aspx
http://archive.mises.org/17249/ideological-and-irrational-exuberance/
http://archive.freecapitalists.org//forums/t/23845.aspx

Walter Block: Free Market Environmentalism

Walter Block: Free Market Environmentalism

Here I discuss how Free Market Environmentalism is not a contradiction. I argue that adhering to strict Property Rights is best for the environment. I explain The Tragedy of The Commons which is essential within this topic of Free Market Environmentalism. I provide historical examples to buttress the market fighting pollution and species endangerment. I also refute The Malthusian Theory on Slavery which ties in with The Tragedy of Commons and elucidates relevant incentives in this discussion.

Walter Block vs. Stephen Kirchner

Here I debate Monetarist Stephen Kirchner at a Mises event in Australia. The debate was scheduled to be on the business cycle. However we also debated Mises’s views, Rothbard’s views, Milton Friedman’s views, The Federal Reserve and much more!

Mises’s Legacy 40 Years Later: How His Work Influenced Me

Thursday is the 40th Anniversary of the death of Ludwig von Mises.

First, let me start out with a bit of braggadocio. I must be one of the few people, still living, who has actually shaken hands with Ludwig von Mises (and never washed his hand afterward; so, if you shake hands with me, you come off a bit smelly, but you can directly channel Mises himself through my intermediation).

Now, to business. There is hardly ever a book or an article ever I write about economics, or politics for that matter that does not benefit from, and cite Mises.  This is important, because there are all too many economists, even including those who characterize themselves as Austrians (better yet, coordination economists, or market process economists) and whose work is highly dependent upon his, who nevertheless write as if “You Know Who” never published. In this regard I am highly grateful to the Mises Institute in Auburn Alabama, and to all those in other countries such as Mises Canada, who keep his name alive. Mises was to economics what Mozart was to music. I can’t think of a better compliment than that.

At my school, Loyola University New Orleans, I have started up a regular meeting,, called the Human Action Seminar. I try as best I can, to my feeble abilities, to replicate Mises’ seminar in Austrian, and the one at New York University (where I met him.) I regard Mises as the best economist who ever wrote, period, and not just the best in one century or another. Mises had a long productive life, and I try to emulate him as best I can in both regards.

I am a heavily published author in economics and political philosophy. I have a long paper trail. Most of it is filled with praise for Ludwig von Mises. Yet, I am also proud to say that I have also, on rare occasion, attempted to correct my betters, Mises in this case, and have published critiques of his works. For example:

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Ask a Libertarian – Walter Block

Here I discuss the following on The GeekDotEdu Youtube channel River Rights, Roads, Sewer pipes, Water Pipes, Gas lines, in a Libertarian Society, Fractional Reserve Banking, Inflation, Austrian Business Cycle, Carl Menger’s view on money and Bitcoin. I also speak about The Libertarian view on the two theoretical forms of Unions and The Right to Work States and more!

Ask a Libertarian – Walter Block

Block on Radio

Here I discuss inflation China, Mao, WWII, Hong Kong’s Capitalism, Government Shutdown, Stock Market, Obama’s spending, Debt Ceiling, Farming, Welfare, Green Environmentalists, Federal Reserve, Ron Paul, Bailouts, and Unions with Merlin Rothfeld and John O’Donnell on Power Trading Radio!

Walter Block on Power Trading Radio