Author Archive for Ryan McMaken

Shinzo Abe Got His Butter, Now Wants Guns

220px-Robert_Zoellick_meets_Shinzo_Abe_2006-01-23The guns and butter model is used by economists to contrast the costs of spending resources on domestic-economy amenities (butter) or on foreign policy and war (guns). Every government knows, however, that if it plays its cards right, this need not be one or the other. Indeed, the United States with its central banks and its high worker productivity has perfected the art of spending endless amounts of taxpayer money on both guns and butter. Another name for this is the “warfare-welfare state” in which some interest groups (such as low-income voters, agricultural interests, and Social-Security recipients) are bought off with lots of domestic spending, while other interest groups (nationalistic voters and weapons manufacturers and states with lots of military bases) are bought with endless spending on the military. This is an especially flawless model if you have a central bank like the Fed that can just keep the free money coming with seemingly no end in sight.

China has exploiting this model to the fullest in recent years, and now Japan, after years of focusing on free butter, has decided to spend more on the guns.

Shinzo Abe, the author of Abenomics (see here for a detailed takedown of Abenomics) has committed his government to numerous rounds of fiscal and monetary stimulus, plus tax increases that funnel plenty of money to his political supporters.

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Video: Robert Higgs on the FDA and Consumer Welfare

Archived from the live broadcast, this Mises University lecture was presented at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, on 23 July 2014.

Full Photo Album for Mises U 2014

We’re still adding photos there, but you can see what’s been added so far at our Picasa page for Mises U 2014.

How Government Uses “Efficiency” as an Excuse to Steal

6818Mises Daily Thursday by Gary Galles:

Only individuals can determine what is efficient for themselves, and they will only engage in voluntary exchange when they believe it is the efficient thing to do. Some economists, and most governments, prefer to use other standards of efficiency such as “potential compensation” which leads to government mischief.

Highlights from Tuesday at Mises U

Tuesday was another full day of lectures and talks at Mises University. for photos, see here and here. We’ve added 8 more lectures from Tuesday in mp3 format to the Mises U 2014 archives, including:

The Anarcho-Pacifism of Leo Tolstoy by 

The Economics of Fractional Reserve Banking by 

The Place of Finance and Financial Markets in a Free Society by 

Careers for Austrians by 

Monopoly, Competition, and Antitrust by 

Product Regulation by 

Calculation and Socialism by 

Entrepreneurship by 

Tuesday at Mises U, Afternoon Lectures



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Photos from Tuesday at Mises U (Lunch and Morning Lectures)


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How to Start Reforming the Federal Reserve Right Now

6817Mises Daily Wednesday by Brendan Brown:

All too many of the reforms being proposed for the central bank are just more of the same central planning. Real reform of the Fed begins with setting interest rates free, the abolition of deposit insurance, and ending the Fed’s position as lender of last resort.

Polish Translations of Mises Daily articles at Instytut Misesa

scotThe good people at the Polish Mises Institute (Instytut Misesa) inform me that my recent article on Scottish secession has been translated into Polish.

There are numerous other translations there as well, such as this one, a QJAE article by Thomas DiLorenzo.

What’s Next for Obamacare in the Courts?

CaduceusJacob Huebert, author of Libertarianism Today, summarizes the current situation:

Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting decisions about the future of ObamaCare on Tuesday.

In one, the Halbig v. Burwell decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Affordable Care Act means what it says: ObamaCare insurance subsidies are only available in states that have established their own health-insurance exchanges, and an IRS rule that tried to make these subsidies available in all states – even those, such as Illinois, which did not create their own insurance exchanges – is invalid.

In the other case, King v. Burwell, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which sits in Virginia, reached the opposite conclusion, ruling that Congress intended to make subsidies available in all states – even though that’s not what the law says – and therefore the IRS rule could stand.

The decisions are important because, as Newsweek has put it, if the IRS rule is ultimately struck down, the entire ObamaCare system “could come crashing down in the 36 states that have opted not to run their own exchanges.”

But what happens now, with conflicting decisions from different courts?

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A Brief History of Progressivism

6819 (1)Mises Daily Tuesday by Andrew Syrios

From prohibition to eugenics to nativism and to Marxism, “progressives” throughout history have repeatedly shown a great fondness for endless social engineering and state control of pretty much anything and everything.

Mises U Day 2 Highlights: All Talks Now Online as Mp3s

Monday was the first full day for students at Mises U, and all talks are now available in Mp3 format here.  The day began with a series of lectures by Joseph Salerno, Guido Hulsmannm, and David Gordon. Students then met for lunch on the Mises Institute patio. (Photos here.)

The afternoon lecture series followed with talks by Jeffrey Herbener, Lucas Engelhardt, and Roger Garrison, followed by dinner at the Mises Institute. Robert Higgs delivered an additional lecture for graduate students on economic history and government statistics. (More photos here.)

Following dinner, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano presented (see photos here) the first in his series of lectures on US Constitutional law, followed by a social hour.


Photos from Day 2 of Mises U

Some images from Day2 of Mises U.

Roger Garrison:


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Photos from Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Evening Lecture at Mises University

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano gave his first lecture in a series at Mises University on US Constitutional law.

Waiting as he’s introduced by Joseph Salerno:


Welcoming the students:


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Happy Birthday to a Heroine

Lew Rockwell writes:

Today is Bettina Bien Greaves’s 97th birthday. She was Mises’s personal assistant, and she’s still working to teach Austrian economics to new generations. The Mises Institute is honored by her support, as we are all honored to know her. What a great lady. (Thanks to Judy Thommesen)

Day 2 of Mises U: Lunch at the Mises Institute


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Why Faster Is Sometimes Better, But Not Always

6815Mises Daily Monday by Jonathan Newman:

We see that contemporary mainstream economics is in a holding pattern. With no new math problems, the economists have resorted to timing their computers’ efforts to solve the existing math problems… Meanwhile, from my seat in the research wing of the Mises Institute, I’m close to some interesting and — in terms of a connection to real, human market actors — relevant work in economics.

Photos from the First Night of Mises U

See our Instagram page for more photos.


Jeff Deist welcomes the students. rsz_dsc02009

Joes Salerno introduces the faculty.


Tom Woods delivers the introductory lecture.

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Mises University Live Webcast Schedule

muThis schedule will link you directly to each streaming video session as they happen.

Click the lecture titles below at the scheduled times to watch the live webcasts on YouTube.

July 20–26, 2014 • Mises Institute

• All times are central daylight time except where noted.

For the full PDF schedule including non-webcast sessions, click here.

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Philipp Bagus Debates Franz Hörmann on Money

In this audio debate, Philipp Bagus, author of The Tragedy of the Euro, debates Franz Hörmann. Here is
an interview with Hörmann to provide some additional context.

The debate is in German, but Dr. Bagus provided a summary of the debate for us in English:

I explained why competition is good and leads to better and cheaper products; why interest is inherent to human action; why, without prices, economic calculation is impossible; why the market is the best instrument to reduce scarcity and a means of cooperation; why our monetary system is socialist, etc.

Hoermann believes that scarcity is artificially induced by companies, and he thinks that everyone should do what he likes to do and the product of their labors can be transferred to other people who want it. Scarcity would end. No money for exchanges, interest, or prices is needed. He believes that the technology exists now to create the end of scarcity.