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Economic Controversies PDF

1017 Pages·2011·2.44 MB·English
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Economic Controversies The Ludwig von Mises Institute dedicates this volume to all of its generous donors and wishes to thank these Patrons, in particular: Joseph Edward Paul Melville top dogTM Stefano Quadrio Curzio Andreas Acavalos Patrick T. Mahon, Jr. Henry Ahler Naju G. Mancheril Wesley and Terri Alexander Peter and Deborah Martin Donald E. Bently William W. Massey, Jr. Steven R. Berger Samuel Medrano, M.D. Dr. Karl Blasius in honor of Rodolfo and Noemi Medrano John H. Bolstad Michael L. Merritt Herbert Borbe Brian E. Millsap Roman J. Bowser Wiley L. Mossy John Edward Burgess Paul F. Peppard Carl S. Creager Nicholas Pusateri Jeremy S. Davis Edward W. Rehak Satyabodhi Densmore Sheldon Rose Dr. Edward E. Donaldson Karen C. Ross, Ph.D. Dr. Larry J. Eshelman in memory of Philip F. Bagwell, Ph.D. Lee A. Everhart Thomas S. Ross Ernest A. Fata JesusOnTaxes.com In memory of John David Fernandez James A. Sadowsky Steven Frazer Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Schirrick Mr. and Mrs. Joel Gompert Norman K. Singleton David W. Groff Carlton M. Smith James E. Hall Geb Sommer Mark L. Hart III Mr. and Mrs. Dennis A. Sperduto Dr. Frederic Herman Reginald Thatcher and Nancy Dale Jonathon B. Hurley Thatcher 1981 Trust Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. James David W. Tice Richard J. Kossmann, M.D. Quinten and Marian Ward Daniel Krawisz William P. Weidner Bailey B. Liipfert, Jr. Dr. Thomas L. Wenck Arthur L. Loeb Mr. and Mrs. Walter F. Woodul III Economic Controversies Murray N. Rothbard LvMI MISES INSTITUTE Copyright © 2011 Ludwig von Mises Institute and published under the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0. http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Published by Ludwig von Mises Institute 518 West Magnolia Avenue Auburn, Alabama 36832 Mises.org ISBN: 978-1-933550-96-1 Contents Introduction by Gene Epstein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ix Section One: Method. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1. The Mantle of Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. What is the Proper Way to Study Man? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 3. Praxeology as the Method of the Social Sciences . . . . . . . .29 4. Praxeology: The Methodology of Austrian Economics . . . .59 5. Praxeology, Value Judgments, and Public Policy . . . . . . . . .81 6. In Defense of “Extreme Apriorism” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 7. Praxeology: Reply to Mr. Schuller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113 8. The Hermeneutical Invasion of Philosophy and Economics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119 Section Two: The Austrian School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 9. New Light on the Prehistory of the Austrian School . . . . .139 10. The Present State of Austrian Economics . . . . . . . . . . . . .161 11. Ludwig von Mises and the Paradigm for Our Age . . . . . . .225 12. Value Implications of Economic Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .241 13. The Myth of Efficiency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .253 14. Breaking Out of the Walrasian Box: Schumpeter and Hansen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .261 15. Professor Rolph on the Discounted Marginal Productivity Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .277 v vi Economic Controversies 16. Professor Kirzner on Entrepreneurship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .281 17. Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .289 Section Three: Property and the Public Sector. . 335 18. The Politics of Political Economists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .337 19. Justice and Property Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .347 20. Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .367 21. The Fallacy of the “Public Sector” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .419 22. Statistics: Achilles’s Heel of Government . . . . . . . . . . . . .427 23. How and How Not to Desocialize . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .433 Section Four: Taxation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 447 24. The Myth of Neutral Taxation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .449 25. The Myth of Tax “Reform” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .503 26. The Consumption Tax: A Critique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .515 27. The Case Against the Flat Tax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .533 28. The Uneasy Case for Degressive Taxation: A Critique of Blum and Kalven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .551 29. The Single Tax: Economic and Moral Implications . . . . . .575 30. The Value-Added Tax is Not the Answer . . . . . . . . . . . . .587 31. A Reply to Georgist Criticisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .593 Section Five: Trade and Freedom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 599 32. Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism, and the Division of Labor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .601 33. Restrictionist Pricing of Labor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .635 34. Mercantilism: A Lesson for Our Times? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .641 35. Capitalism versus Statism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .655 36. A Future of Peace and Capitalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .671 Contents vii Section Six: Money, Banking, and Calculation . . . 683 37. The Austrian Theory of Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .685 38. Money, the State, and Modern Mercantilism . . . . . . . . . . .709 39. Austrian Definitions of the Supply of Money . . . . . . . . . . .727 40. Gold vs. Fluctuating Fiat Exchange Rates . . . . . . . . . . . . .741 41. The Case For a Genuine Gold Dollar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .755 42. Inflation and the Business Cycle: The Collapse of the Keynesian Paradigm . . . . . . . . . . . . .775 43. Lange, Mises and Praxeology: The Retreat from Marxism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .801 44. Ludwig von Mises and Economic Calculation Under Socialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815 45. The End of Socialism and the Calculation Debate Revisited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .827 46. The Myth of Free Banking in Scotland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .859 47. Aurophobia: Or, Free Banking on What Standard? . . . . . .879 Section Seven: Criticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 893 48. Milton Friedman Unraveled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .895 49. Paul Samuelson’s Economics, Ninth Edition . . . . . . . . . . . .913 50. Heilbroner’s Economic Means and Social Ends . . . . . . . . . .919 51. Buchanan and Tullock’s The Calculus of Consent . . . . . . . .927 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .933 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .961 Introduction It was nearly forty years ago that Murray Rothbard changed my life. I was then a PhD candidate in economics at the New School for Social Research in downtown Manhattan, while also teaching Principles courses at a local university. And I was rapidly losing interest in the whole subject. Bored by the prattling of the left-wing crowd who dominated the New School, I could find nothing very satisfying in mainstream eco- nomics either. The New School’s left-wingers certainly cared about achieving a free society. But their radical agenda mainly consisted of the “instrumentalist” ideas of the econ department’s emeritus profes- sor Adolph Lowe, which boiled down to coercing people into follow- ing the dictates of elitists like him. My only real objection to conventional economics was that it also bored me. If a theory like “perfect competition” was remote from reality, it seemed like a judgment on the imperfections of capitalism. After all, to the degree that capitalism was not perfectly competitive, it fell prey to the evils of “imperfect competition,” which might require intervention from antitrust. As a typically zonked-out prod- uct of conventional schooling, I vaguely believed, that to the degree that any textbook theory failed to explain reality, so much the worse for reality. (Not long ago I spoke with an econ grad student who, when pressed, believed this quite explicitly.) Always a compulsive book-browser, I had more than once leafed through a two-volume work titled Man, Economy, and State in the New School library, whose author, Murray Rothbard, I had barely heard of. After the third or fourth look, I finally began reading the book—and experienced one eureka moment after another. Two ix

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