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Are Steel Tariffs Necessary for National Defense? No!

Here are three essays, some of these authors really should have known better, that attempt to justify Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel based on national defense considerations. If we do not have an active domestic steel industry we will lose the next war, is their contention.


Lawrence Solomon: The real reason for Trump’s steel tariffs? He’s preparing for war

There are several things wrong with this analysis. One, the next war, if it goes nuclear, will be over in about 5 minutes. We won’t need any new steel for it. We already have quite enough, thank you, even more than necessary. How many times do we really have to blow up the entire world? Two, if Trump would stop his bellicosity (the U.S. in now fighting wars in some half dozen different countries, none of which have come within a million miles of attacking us, or even seriously threatening us), the next war would become less likely. He ran for president on almost on a Ron Paulian peace policy; why oh why does he have to keep his promises on protectionism, but not anti-imperialism? Three, ditto for pulling all US troops back home; this country has some 800 military bases in roughly 130 countries. All of them serve as potential trip wires and hostages for involving us in a major war with a leading nuclear power. Four, let us posit, arguendo, that none of the above is correct. We are now in effect back a century or two in terms of technology. Then, perhaps, yes, we might well need steel manufacturing to protect ourselves. But we hardly need an economically unjustified tariff to attain that goal. Instead, the government in its largesse could subsidize this industry. Not to make steel; oh, no, that would not be needed until and unless war was imminent. Rather, it would be to serve as a fail-safe capacity to produce this good when required. All that would be needed would be a large empty steel mill, sufficient raw materials as inputs, and a very small crew to keep the place well-oiled. I do not advocate any such government initiative. I mention it only to indicate that a tariff is hardly required for national defense even under these heroic assumptions.


3:37 pm on March 9, 2018

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Stakeholder Rights? No.

From: D
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2018 6:33 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: vintage car wrecks
Dear Dr. Block, Regarding this blog of yours: (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/libertarian-punishment-theory-austrian-subjectivism-reconciliation/). (Consider) the pain and suffering a vintage car owner experiences when a vintage car is wrecked, what about the pain and suffering all the vintage car enthusiasts who pass the wreck feel? Or the loss to the people who used to visit it at the car shows? Or the gut punch many people felt when an ancient rock formation in Utah’s Goblin Valley was toppled? Can any of these people claim pain and suffering damages? Maybe we’d better not go down that road of considering how much more valuable other vintage cars and ancient rock formations then become and who then owes who what. Regards, D

Dear D: Thanks for raising this interesting point. But, I don’t think that any of these other stipulated or even actual sufferers have legal standing. That is, they are not property owners, merely bystanders. As I understand libertarian law, none of them would be entitled to any damages. They are mere “stakeholders” and their pain and suffering should be ignored, by law. But not, of course, in reality. It cannot be denied, as a practical matter, that the welfare of such people has been reduced.


11:03 pm on March 5, 2018

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From: N
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2018 3:36 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: How can I get involved with free market institutions or think tanks?
Dear Prof Block, I am a Shakespeare scholar and the author of five books to date. Somewhat unusually in my field, I am a strong advocate of free markets, and am planning to write a book called Defenders of Liberty: Human Nature, Indvidualism, and Property Rights (proposal attached). I am writing to you as an admirer of your work, especially online and youtube where I’ve learned much from you. My long-term aim is to transition from Shakespeare studies in order to promote the principles of liberty, free markets and the benefits of property rights to the public using whatever influence I have to do so. While I am not an economist, I do have a particular flair and track record of explaining complex ideas in simple and plain language. I have set my sights on doing what Henry Hazlitt did in the mid-20th Century. Here in the UK, the need is greater than ever with a near-communist (Jeremy Corbyn) on the cusp of becoming prime minister. Do you have any advice on how might I become more involved with institutions that promote free markets? Any help much appreciated. Kind regards, N

Dear N: thanks for your kind words. My favorite institution that promotes free markets, head and shoulders above all the others, is the Mises Institute. I urge you to become involved with them. No greater learning experience can be afforded you (and me too!) other than by this organization. Below, I offer some constructive criticism of your reference section. It mainly consists of recommended readings attacking the cites you mention.

Hazlitt is a magnificent person to emulate, in terms of clear writing, even, eloquent writing. Rothbard too.

Berlin, Isaiah, Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969).
—, Freedom and Its Betrayal: Six Enemies of Human Liberty, ed. Henry Hardy (London: Pimlico, 2003).

<<Murray Rothbard, in his Ethics of liberty, severely criticized Berlin Buchanan, James M., Liberty, Market and State: Political Economy in the 1980s (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986). Buchanan, James M. and Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy (1962; Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 1999). << This book of mine is a frontal attack on Buchanan and Tullock and their public choice school: DiLorenzo, Thomas J. and Walter E. Block. 2016. An Austro-Libertarian Critique of Public Choice; Addleton Academic Publishers; www.addletonacademicpublishers.com; 30-18 50th Street, Woodside, New York, 11377; editors@addletonacademicpublishers.com; ISBN 978-1-942585-26-8, eISBN 978-1-942585-27-5; An Austro-Libertarian Critique of Public Choice Among all the various schools of economic thought, the ideas of the Public Choice school have a unique relationship with Austrian economics. Both embrace a rigorous application of methodological individualism, and many great scholars in both traditions have been influenced and inspired by the works of the other. These similarities, however do not change the very real differences that exist between the two schools. In An Austro-Libertarian Critique of Public Choice, Thomas DiLorenzo and Walter Block brilliantly identify both the ways the two schools complement each other, as well as highlighting the various shortcomings that exist within the positivist Public Choice approach. The result is a book that is a must read for any scholar interested in either economic tradition. Friedman, Milton, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1962). —, ‘Is Capitalism Humane?’, lecture delivered at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (September 27, 1977). — and Rose Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (1980; Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1990). << Here are some critiques of Friedman: Block, 1999, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2013; Block and Barnett, 2012-2013; McChesney, 1991; Rothbard, 2002; Friedman and Block, 2006; Friedman and Block, 2006; Kinsella, 2009; Lind, 2012; Machan, 2010; McChesney, 1991; North, 2012; Rothbard, 2002; Vance, 2005; Wapshott, 2012; Wenzel, 2012; Wilcke, 1999 Block, Walter E. 2013. “Was Milton Friedman a socialist” Management Education Science Technology Journal (MEST Journal); Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 11- 26; http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2013/_02.pdf; http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2013/Sadrzaj_eng.html Block, Walter E. 1999. “The Gold Standard: A Critique of Friedman, from the free enterprise perspective, Greenspan,” Managerial Finance, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 15-33; http://giorgio.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContainer.do?containerType=Issue&containerId=13529; http://www.mises.org/etexts/goldcritique.pdf Block, Walter E. 2003. “Private property rights, economic freedom, and Professor Coase: A Critique of Friedman, McCloskey, Medema and Zorn,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 3, Summer, pp. 923-951; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2782/is_3_26/ai_n6640908/?tag=content Block, Walter E. 2010. “Milton Friedman on Intolerance: A Critique.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 2, No. 41; http://libertarianpapers.org/2010/41-block-milton-friedman-on-intolerance-a-critique/; http://mises.org/daily/6208/Friedman-on-Intolerance-A-Critique Block, Walter E. 2011. “How Not To Defend the Market: A critique of Easton, Miron, Bovard, Friedman and Boudreaux .” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 581–592 http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_28.pdf Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2012-2013. “Milton Friedman and the financial crisis,” American Review of Political Economy, Vol. 10, No. 1/2, June, 2012 – June 2013; pp. 2-17; http://www.ARPEJournal.com; http://arpejournal.com./ARPEvolume10number1-2/Block.pdf; arpejournal.com Friedman, Milton and Walter E. Block. 2006. “Fanatical, Not Reasonable: A Short Correspondence Between Walter E. Block and Milton Friedman (on Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom).” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, Summer, pp. 61-80; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/20_3/20_3_4.pdf; https://mises.org/system/tdf/20_3_4.pdf?file=1&type=document Kinsella, Stephan. 2009. “Milton Friedman on Intolerance, Liberty, Mises, Etc.” November 9; http://archive.mises.org/11004/milton-friedman-on-intolerance-liberty-mises-etc/ Lind, Michael. 2012 . « Thank you, Milton Friedman: How conservatives’ economic hero helped make the case for big government.” August 7 ; http://www.salon.com/2012/08/07/thank_you_milton_friedman/ Machan, Tibor R. 2010. Milton Friedman and the Human Good, June 7; http://mises.org/daily/4451/Milton-Friedman-and-the-Human-Good McChesney, Fred. 1991. “Antitrust and Regulation: Chicago’s Contradictory Views,” Cato Journal, Vol. 10, No. 3, Winter, pp. 775-778 North, Gary. 2012. “Detours on the Road to Freedom: Where Milton Friedman Went Wrong.” https://archive.lewrockwell.com/north/north1178.html Rothbard, Murray N. 2002. “Milton Friedman Unraveled.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 16, No. 4, Fall, pp. 37-54; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/16_4/16_4_3.pdf Vance, Laurence M. 2005. “The Curse of the Withholding Tax” April, 21; http://mises.org/daily/1797 Wapshott, Nicholas. 2012. “A Lovefest Between Milton Friedman and J.M. Keynes.” July 30; http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/30/nicholas-wapshott-a-lovefest-between-milton-friedman-and-j-m-keynes.html Libertarians worship Milton Friedman, and liberals lionize John Maynard Keynes. But a long-lost essay shows that the champion of small government admired the prince of the New Deal. Wenzel, Robert. 2012. “How Milton Friedman Helped Make the Case for Big Government.” August 9; http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/08/how-milton-friedman-helped-make-case.html Wilcke, Richard R. 1999. “An appropriate ethical model for business, and a critique of Milton Friedman,” http://mises.org/journals/scholar/Ethics.PDF Hayek, F.A., The Road to Serfdom (1944; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007). —, The Constitution of Liberty (1960; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011). << Here are some critiques of Hayek as political philosopher: Block, 1996, 1999, 2006; Hoppe, misc dates; Knott, 2012; McMaken, 2010, 2013; North, 2014; Rothbard, 1980, 1981-1982, 1998 (ch. 28) Block, Walter E. 1996. “Hayek’s Road to Serfdom,” Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. 12, No. 2, Fall, pp. 327-350, http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/12_2/12_2_6.pdf; reprinted in Ama-gi: Journal of the Hayek Society at the London School of Economics, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 22-25 Block, Walter E. 1999. “The Gold Standard: A Critique of Friedman, Mundell, Hayek, Greenspan from the free enterprise perspective,” Managerial Finance, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 15-33, http://giorgio.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContainer.do?containerType=Issue&containerId=13529; http://www.mises.org/etexts/goldcritique.pdf Block, Walter E. 2006. “Fanatical, Not Reasonable: A Short Correspondence Between Walter E. Block and Milton Friedman (on Friedrich Hayek ’s Road to Serfdom).” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, Summer, pp. 61-80; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/20_3/20_3_4.pdf; https://mises.org/system/tdf/20_3_4.pdf?file=1&type=document Hoppe, Hans, on Hayek: https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome-psyapi2&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8&q=Hans%20Hoppe%20FA%20Hayek&oq=Hans%20Hoppe%20FA%20Hayek&aqs=chrome..69i57.6480j0j8 Knott, Adam. 2012. “Hayek and Praxeology.” November 13; http://www.mises.org/daily/6248/Hayek-and-Praxeology McMaken, Ryan. 2010. “The Rothbardian School.” August 31; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/mcmaken/mcmaken133.html McMaken, Ryan. 2013. “Jonah Goldberg’s Long Unhappy Relationship With Libertarianism.” April 18; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/mcmaken/mcmaken152.html North, Gary. 2014. “When Hayek Abandoned Mises.” November 4; http://www.garynorth.com/public/13079.cfm Rothbard, Murray, N. 1980. “Hayek On Coercion and Freedom.” Literature of Liberty, Winter, pp. 53 54. Rothbard, Murray, N. 1981-1982. “Hayek’s Denationalised Money,” The Libertarian Forum, Vol. 15, Nos. 5-6 (August-January), p 9; http://mises.org/journals/lf/1981/1981_08-1982_01.pdf Rothbard, Murray N. 1998 [1982]. The Ethics of Liberty, New York: New York University Press. http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp (chapter 28) Machiavelli, Niccolò, Discourses on Livy, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). —, The Prince, trans. James B. Atkinson (1976; Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 2008). << read Jo Ann Cavallo, Columbia University, on him Smith, Adam, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. Ryan Patrick Henley (1759; New York and London: Penguin, 2010). —, The Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Cannan (1776; New York: Modern Library, 2000). << Murray Rothbard is a strong critic of Adam Smith; James Ahiakpor is a strong supporter of Adam Smith


5:37 pm on March 4, 2018

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Libertarian Punishment Theory and Austrian Subjectivism: A Reconciliation?

From: J
Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2018 1:13 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Subjectivity of harm

Dear Dr. Block, This is a question I have been wrestling with for some time. I’ll state it as simply as I can: If value is subjective, then harm (loss of value) must also be subjective. What are the consequences of the subjectivity of harm to the principle of restitution in a private law society? Best regards, J

Dear J: Yours is an excellent question. I am an Austro-libertarian, and, I agree with you when you imply there is a “tension” not to say a down right contradiction, between libertarian punishment theory and Austrian subjectivism. I accidentally hit two cars, both of the same vintage, brand, etc. They are in every way equally expensive in terms of book value. But one of them, car A, has great sentimental value to the owner, the other, car B, none at all. How much sentimental value? 100 utils? 300 happiness units? The Austrian in me recoils from ever making sense of such a distinction. But, the libertarian in me says we must. However, we can only do so in a rough and ready way, with little or no help from the Austrian’s proper emphasis on subjectivism. One way to do so is to allow juries to add an extra amount for “pain and suffering.” Presumably, the owner of car A will get more in damages than his counterpart B, if he can convince a jury that he has indeed lost great sentimental value in the wreckage of his automobile.

Dear Readers: Every morning, when I turn on my computer, the first thing I look at is LRC. True confession: this is also the last blog I peruse when knocking off for the night. If you benefit from it, as I do, I suggest that you contribute to this venture. It for sure doesn’t run on money alone, there’s a lot of labor of love going on here, but donations certainly grease the wheels that make all this possible. If you are so inclined to contribute, go here: https://mises.org/giving/campaigns/help-us-pack-more-powerful-punch-5


6:28 pm on March 3, 2018

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What Profession Should Libertarians Choose? Insurance?

From: T
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2018 8:31 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Private insurance
Hello Walter: The case for more insurance agents. So I’m reading your paper on national defense and the theory of externalities public goods, and clubs and a question comes to my mind…. would it not be a benefit to promote more insurance agents within the Libertarian community- to promote more options?? Set ourselves up for The day we get to privatization of everything, always best to be prepared? I used to sell insurance before I became a high school teacher, and obviously the state was/is always a major obstacle to everything that we did. From licensing requirements, to who, what, when, and where we could insure being controlled and manipulated through regulations and price controls-we were always messed with. We should create an endorsement for libertarian insurance agents who willfully help to eliminate micro and macro state monopolies.

Dear T: Yes, insurance will be part and parcel of the free society, a very important aspect. My friend Hans Hoppe has done great work in demonstrating just that. And, if so, then, insurance agents have a crucial role to play in libertarianism. But this is true, also, for lawyers, economists, philosophers, journalists, clergy, etc. My thought is that everyone should engage in the profession most comfortable for him, as the best way to promote liberty, and people should only consider what is best for the movement secondarily. A happy libertarian is a productive libertarian.


7:18 pm on March 2, 2018

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Dear B:

Thanks for your kind words.

In my response to E (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/patents-giffen-goods-invitations/), to which you refer, I offered a large bibliography on this matter. My summary is as follows: yes, in the very short run, a state offer of monopoly patents will probably (it is an empirical, not a praxeological issue) drive prices down below the level that would otherwise obtain. But, in the long run, the opposite will probably (it too is an empirical, not a praxeological issue) occur. Why? Because after the patent system starts to operate, there will be a lot of suing over turf. Instead of inventing new drugs, scientists will spend lots of time in court. People will take out patents for the sole purpose of being able to launch litigation. The bibliography I offered to E makes this case very strongly.

From: B
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 12:15 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Cart Before the Horse
Good afternoon, Dr. Block. Needless to say I’m a very big fan of yours. I love your articles, speeches and debates! I often wonder if for you and other Austro-libertarian greats it becomes boring to constantly receive “I’m a big fan” intros?
I’m not an economist or even an econ major, though I’m an avid reader and follower of the Austrian school. My substantive question comes to you in response to a correspondence between you and “E” that you recently posted on LRC.com. He had a question for you related to patent law and how to deal with people who argue that without patents drug input costs (particularly R&D) might be too expensive to justify production. Without a legally enforceable monopoly to help ensure profitability, we might never benefit from life-saving drugs. Because I’m against state-sanctioned, legally enforced monopolies and therefore oppose the current patent law regime (incidentally I’m a licensed attorney!), I feel a logically consistent response to this critique of patent law opposition is necessary. Can you tell me if the line of thinking below makes sense, if you agree with it, and/or if you are aware of its previously being made in the literature or otherwise?
First of all, eliminating patent law particularly in drug manufacturing is an approach in line with free and voluntary exchanges and market pricing. If manufacturers are allowed to compete, prices for products will tend to fall, ceteris paribus. This free market solution is putting the cart before the horse. If people are concerned that such a solution would lead to an under-production of drugs, they should examine the capital market/investment input side of the equation as well. Meaning, the solution eliminates the output monopoly without addressing the input oligopoly: FDA, DHS, CDC, NIH and their private sector cronies who all create major distortions in the drug manufacturing capital markets, including in R&D.
These agencies misallocate scarce resources via coercive means like taxes/government subsidies, non-market oriented government contracts, and a vast regulatory regime. The coercion distorts prices by eliminating or greatly reducing voluntary exchanges in the drug capital markets, which would otherwise likely include competitive clinical trial suppliers, privatized quality control analysts, privately operating scientists/researchers, etc. Should the drug capital markets ever be exposed to market competition, entrepreneurial activities and competition could greatly reduce the input costs associated with consumer drugs, ceteris paribus. And if someone responds to this line of thinking: “well, what if the drugs still aren’t profitable?”; then at least we’d have a good proxy for determining the market value of such drugs, which would mean any drug that did make the cut, consumers would more clearly value. And for those that don’t make the cut, resources would be freed up and the market would achieve more rational allocations to health-inducing substitutes like natural supplements, homeopathy solutions, etc.
I’d love to get your take on my argument. Thanks kindly in advance. Regards, B


10:32 pm on March 1, 2018

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From: E
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 12:32 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Just Missed You
Hello Dr. Block, My name is E and I am a graduating senior at the University of Central Arkansas. I learned recently from a professor, Dr. Joe McGarrity, that you used to chair the Department of Economics here at UCA. I am quite a fan of yours and the Austrian school so I was quite pleased to learn of the free market pedigree in the department, but sad to have missed your instruction here. I have had many lively discussions with Dr. McGarrity about issues of economic theory, especially the faulty concept of the Giffen good. Another professor, Dr. Zach Donohew, and I have discussed patent law and whether or not it is necessary for future development of lifesaving drugs. He argues that if R&D for a drug is very expensive, but the drug can be widely manufactured by anyone in the absence of patent law, would any drugs ever be produced? I have a few questions for you. Why do empirically-based economists cling so hard to the theoretical idea of a Giffen good when there is no evidence of one? Second, economically speaking, if there is no profit possible from an endeavor, that would be an indication that society does not prioritize its production. Is there a better argument against patent law for drug manufacturers that would answer his arguments on their own ground, maybe something along the lines of backwards determination of costs?
My questions aren’t extremely urgent, but I read of your correspondence policy on lewrockwell.com and thought I would say hi. Dr. McGarrity said that you return to the university from time to time to visit old colleagues and often give talks while you are here. I was wondering if you had given any thought to when might be the the next time you visit. Thank you for your time and thoughts. Regards, E

Dear E: Thanks for your very kind letter. Since I and others have written about patents (I oppose them) and Giffen goods (ditto), I’ll content myself by sharing with you, below, some readings on these two issues. As for the next time I return to UCA to give a speech there, the proprieties are the host has to initiate the invitation to a speaker, not the other way around. Let me just say that when and if UCA invites me back to make another presentation there, I will look with great favor upon any such invitation, and will be very inclined to accept it. In the meantime, I urge you to apply for admission to the Mises University a week long seminar during the summer in Auburn, AL; I’ll be on the faculty there.

on patents:

Block, 2013; Boldrin and Levine, 2008; De Wachter, 2013; Kinsella, 2001, 2012; Long, 1995; Menell, 2007A, 2007B; Mukherjee and Block, 2012; Navabi, 2015; Palmer, 1989.

Block, Walter E. 2013. Defending the Undefendable II: Freedom in all realms; Terra Libertas Publishing House; isbn: 978-1-908089-37-3; http://store.mises.org/Defending-the-Undefendable-2-P10932.aspx

Boldrin, Michele & David K. Levine. 2008. Against Intellectual Monopoly. http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm; http://mises.org/store/Against-Intellectual-Monopoly-P552.aspx

De Wachter, Joren. 2013. “IP is a thought crime.” at TEDxLeuven. June 6;

Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2001. “Against Intellectual Property,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 15, No. 2, Winter, pp. 1-53; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_1.pdf

Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2012. “Economic Freedom of the World Rankings and Intellectual Property: The United States’ Bad Ranking is Even Worse Than Reported.” http://c4sif.org/2012/09/economic-freedom-of-the-world-indexes-and-intellectual-property-the-united-states-bad-ranking-is-even-worse-than-reported/

Long, Roderick. 1995. “The Libertarian Case Against Intellectual Property Rights.” Formulations. Vol. 3, No. 1, Autumn; http://libertariannation.org/a/f31l1.html

Menell, Peter S. 2007. “Intellectual Property and the Property Rights Movement.” Regulation, Fall; http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv30n3/v30n3-6.pdf

Menell, Peter S. 2007. “The Property Rights Movement’s Embrace of Intellectual Property: True Love or Doomed Relationship?” Ecology Law Quarterly, Vol. 34.

Mukherjee, Jay and Walter E. Block. 2012. “Libertarians and the Catholic Church on Intellectual Property Laws.” Journal of Political Philosophy Las Torres de Lucca. Issue No. 1, July-December, pp. 59-75;

Navabi, Ash. 2015. “To Taylor, Love Freedom.” June 23;

Palmer, Tom. 1989. “Intellectual Property: A Non-Posnerian Law and Economics Approach” Hamline Law Review, Spring, Vol 12 No. 2.

on Giffen goods:

Barnett and Block. 2010; Block, 2012; Block and Barnett, 2012; Block and Philbois, unpublished; Block and Wysocki 2018; Klein, unpublished; Klein and Salerno, Unpublished; Murphy, Wutscher and Block, 2010.

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2010. “Mises never used demand curves; was he wrong? Ignorant? No: The Antimathematicality of Demand Curves.” Dialogue, Vol. 1, pp. 23-31, March; http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/title.asp?lang=en&title=101; http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2010/1.10.WB.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2012. “Thymology, praxeology, demand curves, Giffen goods and diminishing marginal utility” Studia Humana; Volume 1:2, pp. 3—11; http://studiahumana.com/pliki/wydania/Thymology,%20praxeology,%20demand%20curves,%20Giffen%20goods%20and%20diminishing%20marginal%20utility.pdf

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett, II. 2012. “Giffen Goods, Backward Bending Supply Curves, Price Controls and Praxeology; or, Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Boogie Man of Giffen Goods and Backward Bending Supply Curves? Not Us.” Revista Procesos de Mercado, Vol. IX, No. 1, Spring, pp. 353-373

Block, Walter E. and Gabriel Philbois. Unpublished. “Giffen Goods and Backward Bending Supply Curves of Labor.”

Block, Walter E. and Igor Wysocki.Forthcoming, 2018. “A defense of Rothbard on the demand curve against Hudik’s critique.” Summer; Acta Economica et Turistica;

Klein, Peter G. Unpublished. “A note on Giffen goods.” http://web.missouri.edu/~kleinp/misc/giffen.pdf

Klein, Peter G. and Joseph T. Salerno. Unpublished. “Giffen’s Paradox and the Law of Demand” https://mises.org/library/giffen%E2%80%99s-paradox-and-law-demand

Murphy, Robert P., Robert Wutscher and Walter E. Block. 2010. “Mathematics in Economics: An Austrian Methodological Critique.” Philosophical Investigations, January, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 44-66; http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/123209256/PDFSTART; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9205.2009.01397.x/full


10:22 pm on February 27, 2018

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Important New Book on Anarcho-Capitalist Theory

Ordinarily, I keep anonymous my correspondent’s names on this blog. Not this time. Jakub and I are old friends, and friendly sparring partners (we disagree on evictionism, abortion, see below, but virtually nothing else). I highly recommend this important new book. This young man will make important contributions to An-Cap theory. No. I take that back. He already has!!

—–Original Message—–
From: Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski [mailto:jakub@cantab.net]
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2018 10:49 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: The Economics of Law, Order, and Action

Dear Walter,

I am pleased to announce that my book “The Economics of Law, Order, and
Action: The Logic of Public Goods” – which you kindly reviewed and recommended for publication – is now available for purchase from Routledge https://www.routledge.com/The-Economics-of-Law-Order-and-Action-The-Logic-of-Public-Goods/Wisniewski/p/book/9780815367871.
If you by any chance can’t recall its subject matter, here is a brief
synopsis: The primary purpose of this book is to provide a comprehensive challenge to the standard position of the economic and political mainstream, according to which efficient production of so-called public goods, including law and defense, requires the use of territorial monopolies of coercive force. In other words, in an attempt to draw on the interdisciplinary spirit of classical political economy, it aims at providing a wide-ranging economic and ethical case for extending the applicability of voluntary, entrepreneurial cooperation to the realm of creating and sustaining legal and protective services together with attendant institutional frameworks.

In this connection, I was wondering if you might be interested in mentioning it and linking to it on lewrockwell.com blog, your personal website, and/or any other relevant outlet that you have access to. The price is typically “academic”, but perhaps your endorsement will encourage Austrian-leaning students and scholars to ask their institutions to purchase some copies.

Best wishes and thank you in advance for any help in this matter, Jakub

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2010A. “A Critique of Block on Abortion and Child Abandonment.” Libertarian Papers Vol. 2, No. 16; http://libertarianpapers.org/2010/16-wisniewski-block-on-abortion/

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2010B. “Rejoinder to Block’s Defense of Evictionism.” Libertarian Papers. Vol. 2, Art No. 27; http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2010/lp-2-37.pdf

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2011. “Response to Block on Abortion, Round Three.” Libertarian Papers. Vol. 3, No. 6, pp. 1-6;
http://libertarianpapers.org/2011/6-winiewski-response-to-block-on-abortion-round-three/; http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2011/lp-3-6.pdf

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2013. “Abortion, Libertarianism and Evictionism: A Last Word.” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 153-162; http://libertarianpapers.org/2013/6-wisniewski-abortion-libertarianism-and-evictionism/

Block, Walter E. 2010C. “Rejoinder to Wisniewski on Abortion.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 32, No. 2; http://libertarianpapers.org/2010/32-block-rejoinder-to-wisniewski-on-abortion/; http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2010/lp-2-32.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2011B. “Response to Wisniewski on Abortion, Round Two.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 3, Article No. 4; http://libertarianpapers.org/2011/4-block-response-to-wisniewski-on-abortion-round-two/

Block, Walter E. 2011C. “Response to Wisniewski on Abortion, Round Three.” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, No. 6, pp. 1-6; http://libertarianpapers.org/2011/37-block-response-to-wisniewski-on-abortion/

Block, Walter E. 2014D. “Response to Wisniewski on Abortion, Round Four.” Management Education Science Technology Journal (MEST); Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 1-14; http://www.fbim.meste.org/FBIM_2_2014/Sadrzaj_eng.html;


8:46 pm on February 26, 2018

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—–Original Message—–
From: R
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2018 3:52 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Explain why driving drunk should NOT be considered illegal, or is a violation of the NAP, as an “act of aggression”

Dear Dr. Block, Please explain to us libertarians (and to others) as simply and as cogently as possible, why driving under the influence (DUI) or while otherwise impaired (drugs, etc.) should NOT be considered a violation of the NAP (non-aggression principle of force, or imminent threat of force), and also not made illegal as is presently. Curious, on why the NAP is not relevant! [There is obviously no imminent threat from those impaired when not driving, so does driving radically change the perception–as the law says, or not really?] Thank you so much for patiently explaining how society would be better and should be living under the NAP ideas! Yours always, R, LRC and Mises member

Dear R: This is a very important question you raise. Libertarians, I think, are of two (or more) minds on this. On the one hand, merely getting behind the wheel of a car and driving it, while drunk, is not a per se violation of rights. No harm, no foul. If such a motorist hits someone or destroys property, he can be held responsible for that, and his inebriation should be irrelevant. On the other hand, drunken (or drugged) drivers can, not totally unreasonably, be considered a threat, and the NAP opposes not only the initiation of violation against innocents, but also the threat thereof. There have been cases, when a well-oiled driver was sleeping it off at the side of the road and was arrested for that act. Here, surely, there was no threat. I have written a bit about this issue in the following publication, so if you wish to pursue this question further you might access it:

Block, Walter E. 2009. The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors; Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; http://www.amazon.com/Privatization-Roads-And-Highways-Factors/dp/1279887303/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605800&sr=1-1; available for free here: http://mises.org/books/roads_web.pdf; http://mises.org/daily/3416; http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/radical_privatization.pdf; audio: http://store.mises.org/Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways-Audiobook-P11005.aspx; http://www.audible.com/pd/Business/The-Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways-Audiobook/B0167IT18K?tag=misesinsti-20; http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=bf16b152ccc444bdbbcc229e4&id=6cbc90577b&e=54244ea97d


10:01 pm on February 25, 2018

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* From: P
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2018 9:11 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Suspected Terrorism

Dear Professor Block: Not too long ago a Danish girl was sentenced to eight years in prison for planning a terrorist attack. A short summary of the story can be read here in English:


What would a legitimate response be to finding out about a planned terrorist attack in an anarchist society? In the case of the aforementioned girl, she had committed other crimes. If we disregard these and focus on the planned terrorist attack, would it be morally defendable to jail her even though her crimes were only planned but not yet committed? Best regards, P

Dear P: I don’t think there is any clear answer to your question that emanates from libertarian (or indeed any other reasonable) theory. That is due to the continuum problem, on which see below. I am now thinking of killing Joe Blow (he was mean to me, and I’m a psychopath). I’m “planning” on doing this. My planning consists, solely, of visualizing him being shot, or poisoned, or run over by my car as I drive it into him. If the forces of law and order can read my mind, they know all this. However, at this point, I don’t think violence should be used against me. On the other hand, if in addition I follow him around, write down his schedule, buy poison, start walking toward his house with a pizza laced with poison (I know he orders from the xyz pizza place, and I buy a fake uniform of theirs; I monitor his calls to them), I think I should be arrested when I’m within a short distance (a mile? a 100 yards? About to knock on his door?) of his house. In other words, we don’t have to wait until the attack actually occurs, but we may not use violence to stop it in the very early stages of “planning” either. Please do read what I have published on this issue, as I have wrestled with this challenge at great length there:

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2008. “Continuums” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics, Vol. 1, pp. 151-166, June; http://www2.units.it/~etica/; http://www2.units.it/~etica/2008_1/BLOCKBARNETT.pdf


6:59 pm on February 24, 2018

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