Response to Hartmann on political economy.
At one time, it was rare that a major media personality published a major thought piece on political economy. In times of yore, mainstream radio and television hosts would for the most part limit themselves to reading the news and interviewing those who themselves made it. (1) In the modern era, however, it is not at all unusual to see talk show hosts go far beyond this role, and take up that of the political economist. (2) While Hartmann (2004) is not a full length treatment on economics and politics, it is substantial enough to call forth a rejoinder. And, it is important that this be done, (3) for it not at all represents the thinking of just this one author and high profile media commentator; (4) rather, it is fair to say, there are a substantial number of those who characterize themselves as "progressives," or "liberals," or "democrats," or "socialists," who would subscribe to these doctrines. Certainly, considerations articulated by Hartmann (2004) inform the thinking of other left wing commentators such as Keith Olbermann, (5) as well as President Barack Obama and his leading advisors.
Hartmann (2004) advances two major and related claims. First, he claims that there is no such thing as a free market, and second, that the middle class exists only because of government intervention. As we shall see, both of these claims are fatally flawed, as well as are a whole host of other assertions, dealing with rules of the game, money supply, free trade, and unemployment.
In section II of this paper we deal with Hartmann's charge that the free market cannot exist. Section III is devoted to this author's views on stable currency and other government "contributions." The burden of section IV is an analysis of his claim that government should be the referee for the economy. In section V we take Hartmann to task for his views on the middle class and in section VI do the same regarding his claims concerning the political spectrum. We conclude in section VII.
2. No Free Market
We turn now to Hartmann's first claim, that there is no such thing as a free market. If Hartmann meant that there does not exist a free market today, we would agree wholeheartedly. After all, had there been any such thing in existence, there would be no housing and monetary crisis facing us, no unemployment, no misdirection of young people away from the labor market and into four years of extended adolescence. Further, virtually the entire value of our dollar would not have been inflated away, we would not be dealing with the Social Security Ponzi scheme, nor would we now be crushed by a mountain of debt. Clearly, the markets we see today are the products of decades, nay, centuries, of government interference. Alas, Hartmann rather means to say that there is no such thing as a free market even in principle, but that is preposterous. All that is needed for laissez faire capitalism is proper enforcement of just private property claims, and equitable courts for enforcement of proper contracts. Has this system ever been implemented perfectly? No, of course not, perfection is denied us on this side of the Garden of Eden. However, several countries, for many years, have approached this system, with highly benevolent results (Gwartney, 1976) the closer they have come to it. Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland have implemented free markets to the greatest degree of any countries in the modern era, and these nations have vibrant economies. West Germany and South Korea have come far closer to free enterprise than their counterparts in East Germany and North Korea, which had adopted economic rules more compatible with those ad vocated by Hartmann (2004). Yet, the latter country has been earmarked by literal starvation, and the voting with the feet of the Germans was strongly in the direction of the freer economy. We mention these two cases since they serve, almost, as laboratories for our topic: the people in each pair spoke the same language, had the same customs, the same educational levels; it was only due to an accident of war that they were rent asunder. Unhappily, Hartmann (2004) calls for more and more government regulations, controls and central economic direction, precisely the policies of East Germany and North Korea. That is "progressive?"
If there is no free market without a government, then how do we explain the massive failure of the government's own war on drugs? Somehow, despite the state's best efforts to the contrary, that market continues to thrive, innovate, and expand even in the face of government's active attempts to shut it down! If statist bureaucrats really are necessary for a market to function, how can a drug trade not only survive but flourish with government not just withdrawing support (which Hartmann deems necessary for any market) but also spending billions trying (and failing) to slow it down? The statists are so impotent in this regard that they cannot even stop drug markets within prisons, an environment totally under their control. And, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The same may be said of any government prohibition, where a black market arises to take up the slack. This applies, then, certainly, to alcohol during prohibition, to gambling (before legalization, and nationalization in form of lotteries), to prostitution, pornography, etc.
3. Stable Currency
According to Hartmann (2004): "Governments provide a stable currency to make markets possible. They provide a legal infrastructure and court systems to enforce the contracts that make markets possible. They provide educated workforces through public education, and those workers show up at their places of business after traveling on public roads, rails, or airways provided by government. Businesses that use the 'free market' are protected by police and fire departments provided by government, and send their communications from phone to fax to internet--over lines that follow public rights-of-way maintained and protected by government."
This is highly problematic. Where are these stable currencies that governments provide? The claim that government provides a "stable" currency is undermined by the fact that the dollar has fallen in value by over 97% since the Federal Reserve system was created in 1913, (6) in the name of "price stability." How can something fall by 97% (with much more to come, especially given QE2, the bailouts, etc) and be considered "stable?" The U.S. experience in the last 100 years is only the tip of the iceberg in refuting this claim of Hartmann's. It was not for nothing that the U.S. government in the early days of our country so debauched the currency that the phrase was born, "Not worth a Continental," the currency of the day. And, to take a more international perspective, the hyperinflations of Germany in 1923, South America a decade ago, and Zimbabwe in the present day, add more counter examples to the unwarranted claim that "government" and "stable currency" should be even mentioned in the same sentence. If mere printing up of money could bring prosperity, then every nation would be rich, since they all have printing presses. (7)
Where are the courts that enforce contracts, rather than undermining them? (8) It is true that public education does something, but Gatto, among others, (9) has done great work in showing that what they provide has little or nothing to do with education. Of course, as these scholars point out, one purpose of public education is providing subservient workers and unthinking consumers, but does Hartmann really wish to have the government take credit for this? Is it supposed to be a triumph of statism that corporations are made wealthy at the expense of the poorly educated? If the government wishes to take credit for corporate oligarchy, we ought to allow them to do so. As far as the police departments are concerned, we notice that they do not respond to major thefts. Where were these police departments when billions upon billions were stolen and provided to criminals in banks and business? Where were the governmental police when half of our paychecks were stolen, mostly to provide for the killing of people with tan skin and long last names? Alas, they were supporting such theft, not acting against it.
More importantly, though, Hartmann entirely fails, in fact, does not even attempt, to offer an argument that government provision of these services is a good method, or the best one, to provide them. If one wishes to claim that even in principle, free markets cannot exist, because the existence of markets depends necessarily on government actions, then one would need to offer some reason that, in fact, the market itself cannot create the infrastructure credited to government. In fact, a market economy could, and, indeed, has, provided all of these services, including courts, police, law, education, a stable currency, tasks that have proven impossible for our masters in Washington D.C.. All the services listed by Hartmann are provided by government only because that institution itself claims a monopoly on them; that is, threatens to kill those who attempt to provide them in competition to itself. If this is supposed to prove that only government can provide these things, Hartmann would be advised to take a course in logic.
Hartmann, truth be told, is inadvertently correct in his claim that we should not say "the market" provides these goods and services. In fact, they are, instead, provided by entrepreneurs, that is, specific economic actors, in exchange for other items and valuable considerations. We have no need to presume that there is such a thing as "the market" which drops them into our lap, much as government does now. Instead, the infrastructure of market transactions is based upon the contributions of entrepreneurs.
What is more, government provides these things quite poorly. It does so in such a way as to disproportionately benefit large capital holders and powerful business owners, at the expense of other classes of people.10 For example, governments do not offer stable currencies, they provide unstable ones that wipe out the savers and benefit the banks. They do not supply courts and protective services that protect all equally; these services protect mainly the wealthiest. Public education locks poor students into the schools provided by their (poor) tax base, and bureaucrats choose the content and methods of education by the political process, rather than by allowing students to gravitate towards that which suits them best. The schools train students to be uncritical, to take orders from their superiors, to be unsure of their own abilities, and to consume voraciously. That is, the schools are biased in favor of the corporate fat cats, not the large populations that pay for them.
Hartmann (2004) makes the unjustified assumption that libertarians are wrong in their core belief that the non aggression principle trumps every other economic, political, or moral theory ever devised. Libertarians believe in non aggression; it is the only correct deontological theory, and the only practical one as well. (11)
Of course libertarians use public schools, public roads, and the "stable" US dollar almost every single day. There are several justifications for this. For one thing, what choice do we have? The government outlaws private, competing currencies and thus forces us to accept fiat money, if we wish to engage in the modern exchange economy, without which our lives would be "nasty, brutish and short," if we were able to remain alive at all. We are forced to pay for roads (via gas taxes) and schools (property taxes). If these public institutions were so exemplary, why wouldn't the government allow private businesses and individuals to compete with them, to really "prove" which type of institution is best? The government may be composed of a band of thugs and criminals (Spooner, 1870), but they are not entirely stupid. They know that given fair competition (for example, allow all funding of government roads, schools, etc., to be voluntary, not forced at gun point) the so called supposedly "mythical" free market would win every time. (12)
But there is more to the justification of libertarians availing themselves of public service than that. Given that the government is illegitimate in the first place, since it engages in initiatory force in violation of the libertarian non aggression principle, (13) taking from it, in the form of utilizing its services, takes on a very different cast. Instead of stealing from the rightful owner, such acts take on the role of liberating stolen property from the thief. (14)
4. Government as Referee
According to Hartmann (2004) the government also provides "the rules of the game of business." Now, although business is not a game, (15) it is certainly true that it needs rules. Luckily, the nature of economics itself provides precisely those regulations. Thus, businesses which pay too little to workers are unable to attract a sufficient labor force, those which provide a poor quality product quickly run out of customers and go bankrupt, and so on. Far from providing the rules of the game, the government has only one ability--to exempt certain individuals and firms from their economic regulations. Thus, businesses providing a poor product can ask government to exempt them from the rules of economics by outlawing their competition, or by simply transferring them resources in order to remain in operation; for example, the recent auto and bank bailouts. Managers who lower the value of their stocks then ask the government to prevent a takeover, which would cost them their job. Corporations that grow too large and begin to fall prey to inefficiencies resulting from calculation problems petition the government to keep them in business.
However, in Hartmann's world, such things don't happen. Here is a particularly ironic example:
Markets are a creation of government, just as corporations exist only by authorization of government. Governments set the rules of the market. And, since our government is of, by, and for We The People, those rules have historically been set to first maximize the public good resulting from people doing business. If you want to play the game of business, we've said in the US since 1784 (when Tench Coxe got the first tariffs passed 'to protect domestic industries') then you have to play in a way that both makes you money AND serves the public interest.
Hartmann first claims that government, rather than protecting big business, sets the rules to maximize the public good--but then immediately cites tariffs as an example! However, tariffs are nothing more than coercive levies that benefit a particular industry at the expense of its own customers. Far from serving the public interest, such policies serve a narrow private interest at the expense of the larger public interest. They allow a business, rather than responding to demands of consumers, to ignore them since they will be denied the choice to receive their goods elsewhere.
Now, is there a way to ensure that businesses will act in the public interest, and be punished if they fail to? Certainly--so long as the rules of the game are provided by marketplace competition, this will be the case. All members of the public are represented, because they all participate in the market. On the other hand, not all can take part in the political process. Those who have the most capital call the shots, since they need only bribe (or lobby) one very and all too responsive organization. Far from serving the "public interest" we receive policies that, in fact, favor one interest over another, such as the very tariffs that Hartmann cites. (16)
Hartmann (2004) says sports such as football, baseball etc., would not work without rules. But does the government impose these rules on, say, the NFL? Of course not! The NFL updates and changes its rules based mainly on fan (customer) input! For example there may be a rule change to the overtime period to add more excitement because fans expressed an interest in that. So by trying to prove his argument (we "need" governments to provide order) the author instead refutes it with his own example! There is no Congressional panel looking into NFL holding penalties or NBA shot clock violations (at least not for now), and yet both leagues work just fine. Imagine that.
The author also claims that businesses "work" with government rules. Why the need for bailouts then? If the rules really did work, they would effectively stamp out any negative impact from "greedy" speculators before they threatened to bring down the entire world economy. Alas, those amazing government "rules" failed to stem the flow of money lost, and many firms were on the verge of collapse even with these vaunted "rules" firmly in place.
In fact, one might go so far as to say that the government is the major violator of law. What, after all, is the essence of law? Surely, it is to uphold private property rights, in ourselves and in physical objects, and to stop usurpations thereof. (17) Namely, the libertarian non aggression principle (NAP) is the basic premise of all legitimate legal systems. How does the state violate these rights? In a myriad of ways, ranging from telling us how large must be the water closets in our toilets, to forbidding us from ingesting certain drugs without its permission, to mandating the size of our step-ladders, to taxing us. (18)
5. The Middle Class
We turn now to Hartmann's second major claim, regarding the middle class. We might, indeed, wonder why this is worth arguing about. After all, what we should support in this context is economic liberty and free markets, not any particular distribution of wealth. If government creates the middle class, and it would not exist absent government interference, so much the worse for the middle class. This need not be a hard-hearted argument, either; in a free market world, the level of wealth creation would far exceed that of our present world (Gwartney, 1996). Indeed, the poorest might well be as rich as our richest today; need we concern ourselves, then, about relative levels of wealth when all would be better off than today? However, even this need not be granted. Government intervention increases, rather than decreases, inequality. (19) Thus, a free market world would tend towards a larger middle class, not a smaller one.
Here is Hartmann's claim about the middle class:
When government sets the rules of the game of business in such a way that working people must receive a living wage, labor has the power to organize into unions just as capital can organize into corporations, and domestic industries are protected from overseas competition, a middle class will emerge. When government gives up these functions, the middle class vanishes and we return to the Dickens-era 'normal' form of totally free market conservative economics where the rich get richer while the working poor are kept in a constant state of fear and anxiety so the cost of their labor will always be cheap.
We might, first of all, justifiably ask what entitles Hartmann to be so provincial in his valuations. Even at first glance, his argument here falls apart entirely if we look at a global picture of the world, rather than just the people who are subject to any one particular government. To protect domestic industries from overseas protection, after all, is supposed to (by Hartmann's lights) enrich the domestic population at the expense of foreign labor--thus globally producing a shrunken middle class and a larger class of poor laborers. Feigning concern that a free market would produce elites, a small middle, and a large poor class, Hartmann then immediately proceeds to defend government intervention on the grounds that it provides, for citizens of one country, a group of poor laborers abroad to serve them!
However, this is not the only class that Hartmann has ignored. What of consumers, who are forced to buy inferior products or simply to do without? What of laborers who are denied the ability to work for overseas companies --or does Hartmann expect foreign companies to offer jobs to a country that unilaterally outright forbids, or radically retards, trade? Even regarding the people Hartmann wishes us to look at, the benefit is illusory. Cutting off trade impoverishes the nation--this is why blockades are considered acts of war, not of charity--and hence even those supposedly helped by tariffs will, in time, suffer along with their nation.
Hartmann's claim here is that tariffs themselves are the way that governments protect the middle class. They are also the way that governments prevent greater economic growth. Trade, we have known since the days of yore of Smith and Ricardo, benefits all parties. By denying Americans the ability to trade, we impoverish, first, Americans, and second, the rest of the world. Hartmann's only defense is to invoke his apparent lack of knowledge of basic economics. If, per impossible, he understands the dismal science and yet persists in making these fallacious claims, he has much to answer for.
As for unionism making society richer, this, too, is a problematic claim. What makes us wealthy is producing more goods and services. So, the issue then becomes, How has organized labor acted historically? The fact is, far from fighting for equity for workers or enhancing output, unions have consistently stood in the way of progress. They have joined with government in reducing our standard of living by decreasing production, threatening violence against producers and supporting minimum wage laws. Dues paid by the rank and file have gone mostly to funding pro-corporate welfare politicians, in exchange for small concessions, rather than opposing unjust ownership or fighting for real changes that would help workers, such as an end to subsidies and corporate privilege. Due to the degree of economic illiteracy from which most Americans suffer, unions are able to behave in this manner and still be assumed by liberals, well-meaning and otherwise, to be a beneficial force. (20)
Further, unions have buttered the bread of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of politicians at various local, state, and federal posts. As we can still see today, unionization as a saving grace for American workers and companies is nothing more than a pipe dream. One need not look much further than the United Auto Worker's union to see that. They basically milked GM and Chrysler for everything they could, including exorbitant pay rates, ridiculous benefits, etc and then came crying to Uncle Sam for a bailout when the spigot finally went dry. Talk about a nice, cozy relationship. Perhaps anything less than a hundred thousand a year to sit around and do crossword puzzles is considered "abuse" nowadays.
We do agree with Hartmann that Reagan and both Bushes were horrible drags on economic growth, liberty, and progress, not only for the middle class but for everyone. But this hardly helps Hartmann's critique of free enterprise, since if there is anything that these three presidents were not, it was champions of economic freedom. (21)
Hartmann (2004) says there is "no market independent of government" to which we reply "yes, and that is precisely the problem!" The statists have effectively elbowed their way into nearly every corner of our lives. And we are all worse off because of it. Let us again return to Hartmann (2004), "When government sets the rules of the game of business in such a way that working people must receive a living wage ..."
There are difficulties here. All too often the government does the exact opposite of this, subsidizing people who don't work (through unemployment insurance) and instituting a minimum wage that effectively outlaws those with poor skills from working. The author, and many other apologists for the state, takes it upon himself to decide what a "living wage" is, instead of simply letting workers and employers negotiate that on their own. This smacks of conceit, condescension and arbitrariness (Hayek, 1988). Yet another source of unemployment is the Fed's artificially lowering of interest rates, engendering vast misallocations of resources into earlier order goods such as mining, heavy industry, automobiles, housing construction, etc., which cannot be sustained and leads to an inevitable bust. (22)
To Hartmann, cheap labor is something to be avoided at all costs. We also must not trade "too much" with foreigners. But, what makes "Americans" as a group so special, compared to, say, Pennsylvanians? Floridians? Residents of your own county or street or even household? Should we not follow Hartmann's logic of "trade with outsiders ultimately is destructive" to its final, pitiful endgame? Why trade at all? The point is, if we in the U.S. "lose" via free trade with other countries, and they, presumably, from interacting, commercially, with us, then it would logically follow that when Pennsylvanians swap goods and services with Floridians, they both lose. Or, take two cities in any one state: (23) for example, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, both in Louisiana. Surely, according to the Hartmannian "logic," people in these two places should also refuse to have any commercial dealings with each other, lest they both suffer. It would be difficult to come up with a more economically illiterate proposition than this. No, the more options, the better price and deal we can all get.
How arrogant of the author to say something such as "bring American jobs back to America." How can jobs even belong to a country? This is the height of stupidity, empty logic, and plain rhetoric that is all too common in America. More "American jobs" is good for America. And less is bad. So why not outlaw all workers outside of the USA? After all, they are a potential "threat" to "dump cheap goods" on us. Or is it just the "good, high paying American jobs" that we need to protect? But then, what about the middle class Hartmann claims to vigorously support?
The difficulty, here, is that Hartmann has been taken in by the lump of labor fallacy: that there are only so many jobs to go around, and that if others, foreigners for example, get more of them, then there will only be fewer for us, and by that exact amount. However, the number of jobs is limited, only, by the fact that we want more things than we have; in a word, that there is scarcity. If there is one thing we can rely upon, however, it is that scarcity will always be with us. Therefore, the number of jobs still remaining to be done will always be indefinitely large. (24)
It is difficult to understand the author's almost creepy obsession with "America's Golden Middle Class." The notion that "labor" needs government to stand up for it against the big, bad corporations is hard to comprehend. The same group (government) that presided over legalized slavery and two world wars is now to be trusted to "protect" someone against a company that in essence pays all of the bills for the "abused" worked? Some sort of abuse that must be. Why would anyone continue to work for a company that routinely abuses him? Obviously the benefits (a paycheck chief among them) outweigh the costs (no electric, heat, water, food, shelter, tv, car etc) of working at said company or else the worker would simply seek alternative employment.
But perhaps Hartmann's most egregious howler with regard to the "middle class" is this:
But, conservatives say, government is the problem, not the solution. Of course, they can't explain how it was that the repeated series of huge tax cuts for the wealthy by the Herbert Hoover administration brought us the Great Depression, while raising taxes to provide for an active and interventionist government to protect the rights of labor to organize throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s led us to the Golden Age of the American Middle Class.
In actual point of fact, both Hoover (25) and Roosevelt after him engaged in these New Deal Keynesian policies which boomeranged, and both exacerbated and prolonged the very depression they were meant to quell. In contrast, Warren G. Harding, a decade earlier, faced similar challenges (Woods, 2009), but did not tax and spend and intervene in the economy. The result? No depression at that time.
6. Political Spectrum
We should note that Hartmann's entire article relies on a false dichotomy being implicitly used: between "conservative economics" and "liberal economics." The former is supposed to indicate supporters of free markets, but includes advocacy for policies such as central banking and corporate welfare, as shown by Hartmann's inclusion of Hamilton and Adams in this group. So, in fact, the entire argument is flawed from the start--he has included under the "conservative" label two very different approaches to economic policy, and attempts to blame the harm done by one on the other. But we must set aside his false dichotomy and equivocation, and realize that there is all the world of difference between "conservative economics" on the one hand, and "libertarian economics" on the other. Many of this author's errors stem from the fact that the former is really more akin to state monopoly corporate capitalism, or fascism, while only the latter represents true economic freedom.
Conservatives do indeed sometimes say that "government is the problem, not the solution," while at the same time dragging us into trillion dollar war after trillion dollar war, pushing their morals on us with the help of the state apparatus, escalating the coercive war on drugs, etc, etc. While George Bush was a hero for conservatives, for libertarians he was evil. He helped push the bailouts down our throats, enhanced the role of the state in pharmaceuticals, and increased the government's role in the economy, both financially and via regulations. The philosophical gap between George Bush on the right, and Hartmann and Barack Obama on the left, is far smaller than that which lies between both of the sets of people, on the one hand, and libertarians on the other. This certainly holds true for public schools, roads, taxes, any and all government regulation, health and welfare.
According to Hartmann (2004): "Only a return to liberal economic policies --a return to We The People again setting and enforcing the rules of the game of business--will reverse this dangerous trend."
We would ask the author to choose between one of two living arrangements. He can either be a very well to do business man in 1890 (think Rockefeller or Carnegie) or a middle manager working for something around $50,000 per year (hardly rich, yet not poor, a member of the almighty "middle class" in 2011). Which would he choose? Remember, in the earlier period there is no Internet, no cell phone or iPod (or iPad), no personal computer, no Blackberry, no high definition television, a much more limited selection at the grocery store, far fewer restaurants to say nothing of advances in medicine, dentistry, transportation, etc. We could go on practically forever about the advancements and improvements since just the late 1800s. So where is this "dangerous trend" Hartmann speaks of? Surely, we are raising the living standards at least in that part of the world where there still remain vestiges of free enterprise, despite Hartmann's criticism of them. Isn't the life expectancy drastically greater now than at any point in human history? This is of course not all due to government; rather, it is in spite of this institution's interferences with the market place that we have progressed in this way. Why, then, not allow us as humans to freely interact with one another without undue government interference with our liberties? Let us at least try, and see what cooperating human beings can accomplish. The obvious result would be vastly superior roads, schools, security, currency "stability" and most importantly to us as libertarians, protection of basic human freedom and liberty.
Both of Hartmann's two claims can easily be refuted. The first rests simply on the assertion, without argument, that only government can provide the necessary infrastructure for trade and economic activity. In fact, not only is this false, but it is difficult to imagine any worse system for providing these amenities. Furthermore, in contrast to Hartmann's second claim, government provision of these goods and services ensures that they are provided in a political fashion, hence that they benefit the moneyed classes at the expense of the poor and his much beloved middle class. The state tends to prop up established businesses, preventing the poor and middle classes from moving ahead in the world by competing with older firms. When our politicians prop up the inefficient, they impoverish virtually the entire nation, even including, paradoxically, some of the recipients of this largess, who, after all, are also consumers. The second rests on the idea, fundamentally at odds with the most basic economic truths, that tariffs benefit anyone. To believe that preventing two parties from trading can benefit either of them is so at odds with economics and common sense as to invite ridicule, not agreement.
Notwithstanding the way Hartmann frames the argument, of course, seeing the utter lack of sense of his claims need not imply support for something called "conservative economics." Indeed, those he identifies as advocating this conservative economics--Reagan, Hoover, Hamilton, and Adams, are themselves interventionists of the first order. They were supporters of central banking, (26) one of the most destructive interventions practiced by governments. Ironically, they favored many of the interferences that Hartmann himself invokes in his argument for his first point--regulations that benefit the rich and the business-owner at the expense of the poor and middle classes. Rejection of Hartmann's ideas ought to lead us, far from conservative policies, to libertarian policies--to the rejection of government intervention, regardless of whom they claim to benefit.
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(1.) For example, Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings.
(2.) See in this regard Beck, 2003, 2007, 2009A, 2009B, 2010; Limbaugh, 1992, 1993.
(3.) For another critique of Hartmann, see also Bibeault, 2009.
(6.) Askari and Krichene. 2011; http://financeprices.info/the-usa-dollar-has-lost96-since-the-federal- reserve-began-in1913/;http://www.24hgold.com/english/news-gold-silver- us-dollar-has-lost-96-of-value-since-federal-reserve-creation- in 1913.aspx?contributor=Charleston+Voice&article=908683662G10020& redirect=False; http://kommoncents.blogspot.com/2010/10/dollar-has-lost-95-of-its- value-since.html
(7.) For a critique of Hartmann's view that we can inflate our way out of depression, and into prosperity, see Bagus, 2011; Bresciani-Turrino, 2007; Herbener, 2002; Huelsmann, 2008; Mises, 1953; Rothbard, 1990
(8.) For the advantages of private over public sector courts, police and law, both in terms of morality and practicality, see Anderson and Hill, 1979; Benson, 1988, 1989A, 1989B, 1990A, 1990B, 1991, 1994, 1998; Block, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007A; Block and DiLorenzo, 2000, 2001; Caplan and Stringham, 2003, forthcoming 2008; Cowen, 1992, 1994; Cuzan, 1979; DiLorenzo and Block, 2001; Fielding, 1978; Friedman, 1989, 1994; Hasnas, 1995; Herbert, 1978; Holcombe, 2004; Hoppe, 1993, 2001a, 2001b, 2003, 2008a, 2008b; Hummel, 2001; Kinsella, 2004; Leeson, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c, 2007c, 2007d; Leeson and Stringham, 2005; Long, undated, 1998, 2003, 2004; Molinari, 1977; Molyneux, 2007; Murphy, 2002, 2005; Nock, 1935; Oppenheimer, 1975; Osterfeld, 1989; R. and E. Perkens, 1971; Powell and Coyne, 2003; Powell and Wilson, 2008; Powell, Ford, and Nowrasteh, Forthcoming; Rothbard, 1973, 1978, 1982, 2004, 2008; Rummel, 2007; Sechrest, 1999; Smith, 1979; Sneed, 1977; Spencer, 1970, 1981; Spooner, 1870; Strasnick, 1979; Stringham, Edward, 1998-1999, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005a, 2005b, 2006, 2007; M. and L. Tannehill, 1984; Tinsley, 1998-1999; Wollstein, 1969; Woolridge, 1970.
(9.) Chappell, 1978; Coulson, 2008; Cox, 1998; Gatto, 2002A, 2002B, 2010; Goodman, et al, 2010; Liggio and Peden, 1978; National Assessment of Educational Progress. 2006; Postiglione, 1982; Rothbard, 2006; Young and Block, 1999.
(10.) For a libertarian class analysis, see Domhoff, 1967, 1971, 1998; Hoppe, 1990; Hughes, 1977; Kolko, 1963; Mises, 1978; Oppenheimer, 1975; Raico, 1977; Rockwell, 2001
(11.) Bergland, 1986; Hoppe, 1993; Huebert, 2010; Kinsella, 1995, 1996; Narveson, 1988 ; Nozick, 1973; Rothbard, 1973, 1978, 1982; Woolridge, 1970
(12.) There is a wealth of empirical evidence that demonstrates that when comparisons can be made, with regard to service performed by both the private and the public sectors, that the former is from 2-4 times more efficient. See on this: Adie, 1999, 1990a, 1990b; Ahlbrandt, 1973; Alston, 2007; Anderson and Hill, 1996; Bennett, 1980; Bennett and DiLorenzo, 1982, 1989, 197; Bennett, and Johnson, 1980; Blair, Ginsberg, and Vogel, 1975; Boardman and Vining, 1989; Borcherding, 1977; Borcherding, Burnaby, Pommerehne, and Schneider, 1982; Butler, 1985, 1986; Chapman, 2008; Clarkson, 1972; Crain and Zardkoohi, 1978; Davies, 1971, 1977; De Alessi, 1982; D'Souza, Bortolotti, Fantini, and Megginson. 2000; Dewenter, and Malatesta, 2000; Fitzgerald, 1989; Frech, 1976; Hanke, 1987a, 1987b, 1987c; Lindsay, 1976; Megginson and Netter, 2000, 2001; Monsen and Walters, 1983; Moore, S., 1987; Moore, T., 1990; Moore, and Butler, 1987; Poole, 1976; Priest, 1975; Savas, 1987, 1979, 1982, 2000; Vining, and Boardman. 1992; White, 1978.
(13.) Anderson and Hill, 1979; Block, 2007A, 2010A, forthcoming; DiLorenzo, 2010; Hasnas, 1995; Higgs, 2009; Hoppe, 2008; King, 2010; Kinsella, 2009; Long, 2004; Molyneux, undated; Murphy, 2005; Rothbard, 1973, 1998; Stringham, 2007; Tannehill, 1984; Tinsley, 1998-1999.
(14.) Block, 1972, 2002A, 2004, 2006, 2007B, 2008, 2009A, 2009B, Forthcoming A, Forthcoming, B, Block and Arakaky, 2008, Block and Barnett, 2008, D'Amico and Block, 2007
(15.) In games, there are necessarily winners and losers. E.g., poker, monopoly, football. In the market, all participants must benefit, at least in the ex ante sense, otherwise they would not buy, sell, rent, invest, etc.
(16.) For the case in favor of free trade, see: Block, Horton and Walker, 1998; Brandly, 2002; Brown, 1987; Friedman and Friedman, 1997; Johnsson, 2004; Landsburg, 2008; Murphy, 2004; Ricardo, 1821; Smith, 1776.
(17.) Rothbard, 1998; Bastiat, 1962.
(18.) Schumpeter (1942, 198) states: "The theory which construes taxes on the analogy of club dues or of the purchase of the services of, say, a doctor only proves how far removed this part of the social science is from scientific habits of mind."
(19.) See fn. 10, supra, and related text.
(20.) For a critique of unions, see Baird, 1990, 2000; Block, 1984, 1991, 1996A, 1996B, 2010B; Evans and Block, 2002B; Heldman, 1977; Heldman, Bennett and Johnson, 1981; Hutt, 1973, 1989; Petro, 1957; Reynolds, 1984, 1987, 2009; Schmidt, 1973; Shea, 2010; Rothbard, 1993.
(21.) Reagan employed magnificent libertarian rhetoric, but budgets rose when he was governor of California and President of the U.S.
(22.) For an analysis of the business cycle based on Austrian economics, see Garrison, 2001; Hayek, 1931; Mises, 1912, 1949; Rothbard, 1975, 1993; Woods, 2009.
(23.) Ditto for two neighborhoods in one city, say, Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side in New York City, let alone two families living on the same city block. Arrant nonsense.
(24.) If scarcity were ever to disappear from the human condition, an utter impossibility, then and only then would there be a lack of employment slots. But, then, we would not need them, as we would have everything we wanted without them.
(25.) On the Hoover New Deal, see Anderson, 2000, 2002; Bibeault, 2009; Block, 2002; Murphy, 2009A, 2009B, 2010A, 2010B 2011; Rothbard, 1963, 1966A, 1966B, 1972; Rockwell, 2008; Stolyarov, 2009; Thies, 2010; Thornton, 2010; Westley, 2005; Woods, 2009. On the issue of how Roosevelt extended and worsened the depression of the 1930s see Rothbard, 1963.
(26.) See Paul, 2010; Rothbard, 1983; Woods, 2009.
WALTER E. BLOCK
Loyola University-New Orleans
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|Author:||Katz, Joshua; Cuneo, Michael; Block, Walter E.|
|Publication:||Economics, Management, and Financial Markets|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2011|
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