The Political Economy of Low-Cost Extradimensional Energy

Reading through Taylor Martin’s excellent blog pointed me in the direction of a Dan Nexon post at the Duck of Minerva. Both Martin and Nexon have interesting takes on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (a League contributor favorite), but it was a throwaway line by Nexon that caught my eye. …let’s not even…

A Romantic, a Monk, and a Neoliberal Walk Into a Bar…

On Romanticism in Politics Romanticism is wonderful in a work of fiction, art or video game. As a died-in-the-wool modern day romantic, I’ve spent most of my life doing my best to use fantasy novels, role-playing-games, and other modes of escape to travel to other worlds. This world can feel awfully pale and insubstantial at…

Government Enforced Inequality

By James Hanley Note: This post is part of our League Symposium on inequality. You can read the introductory post for the Symposium here. To see a list of all posts in the Symposium so far, click here. What, if anything, is wrong with inequality? From my perspective as a libertarian, inequality of wealth per se is…

The Positive Sum Outlook

Note: This post is part of our League Symposium on inequality. You can read the introductory post for the Symposiumhere. To see a list of all posts in the Symposium so far, click here. By Roger Parker Before we delve into the topic of inequality, I believe it will be fruitful to explore another fundamental difference…

Consensus Facit Legem

By Wardsmith Are HOA’s a good metaphor for government? In the much-commented OP by Dr. Hanley, interlocutor M.A. brought up Home Owner Associations (HOA’s), most specifically as a foil against the concept that Libertarians (being pro-liberty after all) should be strongly against them. This led to much back and forth on numerous levels and sub-threads…

Invitation: Ordinary Gentlemen’s Inequality Symposium

By James Hanley You (yes, you) are invited to submit a post for the Ordinary Gentlemen’s Inequality Symposium. The question to be addressed is: What, if anything, is wrong with inequality? Anyone may participate, including official League contributors, unofficial League commenters, those quiet readers who too rarely share their thoughts with the rest of us,…

A Response to ‘Democracy, Coercion, and Liberty’

~by James Hanley Erik’s been trying to work out a question about the libertarian justification of the state, and so far it hasn’t gone well. His first attempts were not well understood, at least by me, and judging by the ensuring discussions, not by most others, either. In his latest attempt I thought he phrased…

Social Forces and Vulgar Libertarianism

Will Wilkinson makes an important observation about the affinity between libertarians and conservatives. At the heart of the fusionism between the two groups, he explains, is the notion of individual responsibility. Whereas libertarians and conservatives attribute success and failure to the personal strengths and flaws of individuals, liberals see a vast array of social forces,…

Promises Were Broken

by E.C. Gach In a recent guest post, Aaron B. pointed out that the Occupy Wall Street movement is, perhaps more than anything else, about forging a shared political identity and civic community.  And Shawn Gude later applauded the occupiers for, “instantiating a radical conception of democracy that is antithetical to the prevailing minimalist conception.”…

The Solutions to Poverty and Unemployment Will Look Something Like This: An Interview with Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook is a friend of mine from college who let me interview her about her upcoming film, currently titled the Microlending Film Project. Rachel shot footage for Kiva – an awesome organization that has stoked the fires of entrepreneurship in Africa, Southeast Asia, and around the world, and is now stoking the fires of entrepreneurship here in…

We Need Countercyclical Spending, Not Counterintuitive Spending Cuts

Matt Yglesias points out once again that since we can borrow money at basically negative real interest rates, we should do it. We should do it to stimulate the economy, put money into infrastructure like high-speed rail, and get the beast chugging along again. Given that lower-than-projected growth is actually leading to an increase in…

The Flaws and Shortcomings of Ron Paul

Matt Yglesias on Ron Paul: After looking at his positions and statements, the most remarkable thing is that if it weren’t for his loud fanbase of self-proclaimed libertarians you wouldn’t really think this is the platform of a libertarian. He’s loudly trumpeting his plan to impose criminal penalties on women who terminate their pregnancies and…

The Affluent (and Downgraded, Debt-Laden) Society

The late preeminent liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith once complained in The Affluent Society that where Democrats once stood for an issue of great importance in emphasizing production, they lost that issue by misunderstanding why production was important.  For Galbraith, production was central to the modern American economy not to sustain impressive arrays of consumer…

Competition and Inequality

In my last post, Labour and the American Middle Class, I expressed my scepticism of the ability of unions to improve the incomes of the disadvantaged.  However, this still leaves the question of how the government can help those in need, apart from welfare. For me, there are two major paths that will help –…

Why We Disagree About Taxes, Entitlements, and Economic Theory in General

In a previous post drawing the distinction between procedural and substantive justice, I noted my objection to the idea that procedural fairness ought to be subverted in order to guarantee predetermined outcomes.  However—and although I predicted that most Americans would probably agree with me—I did not touch on the difficulty in refuting the intrinsic appeal…

Why don’t we treat free trade like global warming?

Belief in anthropogenic global warming is a sort of political signifier for American liberals – if you don’t think human activity is changing the Earth’s climate, they’re probably not going to take you very seriously. This is not because every leftist has independently verified the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings and concluded that people…

Anti-Intellectualism and Magical Thinking

A couple follow-up thoughts on DougJ’s response to my Little Republics post. First of all, I think the charge of anti-intellectualism is a little off the mark. I have absolutely nothing against intellectuals or experts in any field (or at least most fields). Here’s my position in a nutshell: experts and intellectuals should be utilized…

Progressives vs. Libertarians

I really think the two sides in this argument – the libertarians on the one hand and progressives on the other – simply have a very hard time understanding truly where the other is coming from. For instance, I think many libertarians simply take for granted that corporations will act in their own self-interest, and…

Carson’s Rejoinder to Kuznicki

by Kevin Carson I read, with appreciation, Jason Kuznicki’s thoughtful review of my book Studies in Mutual Political Economy. He begins my noting that the book is, as the title suggests, a series of studies rather than “an exhaustive treatment.” Given that the area I had to cover was so broad, and that the most recent previous attempts…

Economics 101

[updated] Nate Silver puts several bullet-holes through this Wall Street Journal op-ed by Daniel Klein, which is a good thing since both Klein’s piece and the poll he conducted and then based the piece on are little more than a broadside against progressives and liberals. Both the Op-Ed and the poll, unfortunately, create a lot…