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Book review: Mises, The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science

Remember the issue of The Economist with a textbook of “Modern Economic Theory” melting away? And HM the Queen asking why economists didn’t see this crisis coming? She might now ask why most economists have also demonstrated their inability to predict even the general pattern of events. Ludwig von Mises’ 1962 essay, The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science: An Essay on Method is never going to top the best seller lists but it does indicate why so many highly-trained professionals […]

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Why do we exchange things? Because it makes us happier.

Via LearnLiberty, Why Do We Exchange Things? The answer is simple. In voluntary exchange, both parties benefit. We exchange things because it makes us happier. Gifts are often wonderful but the giver’s reward is the warm glow of altruism. Only the recipient is better off and only if they received something they wanted. In voluntary exchange, both people swap something they want less for something they want more: they are both better off.

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Book review: The Invisible Hook – The Hidden Economics of Pirates

Peter Leeson’s study of “The Hidden Economics of Pirates”, The Invisible Hook, is theoretically correct, thoroughly grounded in historical research and fun to read. From the jacket: Pack your cutlass and blunderbuss–it’s time to go a-pirating! The Invisible Hook takes readers inside the wily world of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century pirates. With swashbuckling irreverence and devilish wit, Peter Leeson uncovers the hidden economics behind pirates’ notorious, entertaining, and sometimes downright shocking behavior. Why did pirates fly flags of Skull & […]

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Book review: Ouch! Ignorance is bliss, except when it hurts…

Once I saw George Selgin referenced on page 7, the paper dollar criticised on page 8 and a Zim$100 trillion note on page 12, I knew I would enjoy Ouch!: Ignorance is Bliss, Except when It Hurts- What You Don’t Know About Money and Why It Matters (More Than You Think). It’s a wonderful read. From the jacket: We live in a world dominated by a system that most of us aren’t aware of, never mind understand. When it comes […]

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Does Government Create Jobs?

Another superb video from LearnLiberty, Does Government Create Jobs: Related reading: Kirzner, How Markets Work

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Margaret Thatcher nationalised regulation of the City

For City AM, Prof Philip Booth writes, Thatcher changed the City forever but Big Bang isn’t the whole story: Let’s be absolutely clear: in general, the 1980s was not a period of financial deregulation. Insider trading was made illegal in 1980. The life insurance industry, which had been almost free of regulation for over 100 years from 1870, was re-regulated from 1980 to 1982. Bank deposit insurance was introduced in 1979. The sale of investment and insurance products came under […]

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Free, zooming presentations with Prezi – How Government created the crisis by debasing money

I have many times presented the argument that for forty years politicians’ promises in excess of what they could take in tax were paid for by debasing the currency to avoid an explosion of debt. Here’s a typical PDF generated from Keynote, Apple’s (superior) competitor to PowerPoint. Then I was introduced to Prezi. Instead of a series of animated slides, Prezi uses a zooming user interface over a canvas. Here’s my first attempt to convey the big economic story of the […]

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Book review – Heavens on Earth, How to create mass prosperity by J P Floru

In the midst of the row about welfare reform, I finished J P Floru’s excellent new book, Heavens on Earth: How To Create Mass Prosperity. JP surveys the salient history of eight relevant countries: the USA, Germany, the UK, Hong Kong, China, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. In every case, people were lifted out of poverty by wealth creation through free enterprise. Mass prosperity was not created by the equal sharing of misery, by redistributing what others had, but by […]

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Monetary activism must end in a slump

On Friday, I spoke against monetary activism once again, complaining about the use of expectation management and new monetary instruments in an attempt to defibrillate the economy. It’s a mistake, not least because a failure to contain inflationary expectations could be catastrophic, as I set out last year. Mark Carney understands the argument that monetary activism will cause a damaging “intertemporal misallocation of capital” but he chooses to believe wise intervention elsewhere can compensate. I am sure this is wrong. […]

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Presentation to Windsor Conservatives

After this morning’s advice bureau, I had the pleasure of visiting Windsor Conservative Association Women’s Group, where I explained what I think are the long term causes of this crisis and what we should do about it. Here are the slides: I was delighted students from a local school joined us and were able to take away copies of Dr Nigel Ashford’s Principles for a Free Society, commissioned by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation. As we were mostly discussing the problems of state-direction in […]

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