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Taking Care of Non-Economic “Goods”

From: A
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 11:14 AM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Re:

Dear Dr. Block,

I found this point in the book summary interesting: “…This gives rise to the tragedy of the commons: when something is unowned, people have less of an incentive to care for it, preserve it, and protect it…

Would this mean that if a good is noneconomic,  it isn’t possible for there to be incentive to take care of it? If this is the rule, are there any exceptions?

Dear A:

If something is non-economic, non-scarce, it isn’t a good.

Butterflies, dirt, air, are not economic goods. And, yet, nothing precludes someone from taking care of these items


2:28 am on March 19, 2019

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Specific Performance Contracts; Long Range Contracts; Voluntary Slavery

You say this:

“The employee can work with that company, but once the employee is fired or voluntarily dissolves employment, they’re forbidden, by initial voluntary contract, from working with anyone else, ever.”

But why would anyone sign such a crazy contract in the first place? And if a person was stupid enough to sign such a contract, I think the law should compel enforcement of it. The only non-irrational reason I can think of for signing such a contract would be if the payment for doing so were very hefty. Then, there would be far less compunction about enforcing it.

You also say this: “How would you prevent locking contracts that perpetuate forward, indefinitely?” This sounds like voluntary slavery to me. I append a reading list on this issue, below.

Best regards,


From: F
Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2018 4:37 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Homeowner’s Associations under Anarcho-Capitalism

Professor Walter Block,

I had a few thoughts and concerns regarding the structure of an anarcho-capitalist society. Let me first make it clear that I’m a strong adherent to anarcho-capitalism (especially regarding the non-aggression principle), but none the less, I do ultimately have a few concerns. I do not think minarchism would be necessary to prevent these concerns, nor do I think a traditional state would; I just have no idea how to address these ideas. What’s presented below isn’t meant to be “aha! Gotcha!” moments or my attempt to dismantle anarcho-capitalism; they’re more thoughts that I’ve stumbled on and am having trouble addressing or thinking through, myself. Therefore, I’m seeking your help on them.

How would you prevent locking contracts that perpetuate forward, indefinitely? For example, say an employee works in a small town and you can’t really afford to move to a bigger city (which would have stiffer competition among firms). It’s not uncommon, in small town, for there to be a single company that dominates the area’s economy. My concern isn’t the single company, itself, but what is to prevent that single company from establishing a contract that locks employees to it, forever? The employee can work with that company, but once the employee is fired or voluntarily dissolves employment, they’re forbidden, by initial voluntary contract, from working with anyone else, ever. In this way, the contract is voluntary, but the employee is locked to that single place of employment indefinitely. This could extend to more extreme forms of the company having contract clauses like: “we literally own you and your children”. I realize competition would generally minimize these kind of contracts, as restrictive contracts wouldn’t be attractive to employees, but in areas with low competition or that are dominated by a single company (Hershey, Pennsylvania is an example of that), how would this not break down to locking employees, forever, to employment? Companies could use company script and other similar behaviors to generally push an employee into a sort of neo-feudal kind of living system, could they not?

Likewise, for homeowners’ associations (hereby referred to as “HOAs”), how can these entities not be prevented from acting like mini-states or eventually banding together to become fully fledged state? While I agree HOAs are a great example of voluntary government, wouldn’t indefinite contract locking become a problem? For example, even under a HOA, I could see them stipulating as part of the contract that “we will have regularly scheduled votes on economic matters within the community”, which could result in ignorant economic decisions like socialized medical care or other wealth transfer programs for all members of the HOA. Furthermore, the HOA contract could stipulate members are bound by the contract even if they leave or move away from the HOA. Worse yet, couldn’t the HOA contract state that any children of its members will be automatically bound to the contract, as well? In this way, there’s a pseudo “social contract” that perpetuates itself forward, initially voluntarily, but starts resembling the state more and more over time (especially once all initially voluntarily joining members have died and the only people who agree, voluntarily, to the contract are those who move in).

Hypothetically speaking, such HOAs could even allocate funds for the purchase of more land to expand their “domain”.  Over time, multiple HOAs could (through the voting of their members, established on the initial contract) merge together or have agreements with other associations to honor each other’s contracts. In this way, vast swaths of geographical areas could very well become controlled by a single HOA or several of them.

Employment would  be very difficult to come by without being a member of one. This would end up looking very very much like a traditional state; yes, initial membership was completely voluntary and joining them would still be voluntary, but becoming a member would mean you and your relatives are tied, forever, to it. To be honest, I find this far more concerning and problematic than “wouldn’t warlords just take over” or “private defense companies would just band together and end up controlling everything or replacing the state anyway”.

I realize that having  a “tax” or socialized structure in HOAs would be rarer,  for profitability reasons, but given enough people buying into an idea, I would imagine there would still be a great deal of socialized costs occurring (that didn’t resemble modern insurance). You could argue that “well, HOAs don’t currently engage in this kind of behavior, so why would they under an anarchist society”, but I’m not sure this is a very compelling argument, because the state currently does exist, so HOAs don’t have much reason to do something like this. I do think the proclivity to engage in state-like behavior would be dramatically reduced (initially), as it’s not likely that HOA groups (until they became incredibly large at least) would have the ability to devalue currency or take on as much debt as traditional states, but I do tend to wonder if this merging of HOAs into an (initially) “voluntary” state could happen.

Either way, those are among the bigger issues I can think of. Thanks, in advance.  F

On Voluntary Slavery:

In the view of Boldrin and Levine, 2008, p. 254: “Take the case of slavery. Why should people not be allowed to sign private contracts binding them to slavery? In fact economists have consistently argued against slavery – during the 19th century David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill engaged in a heated public debate with literary luminaries such as Charles Dickens, with the economists opposing slavery, and the literary giants arguing in favor.”

Andersson, 2007;  Block, 1969, 1979, 1988, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007A, 2007B, 2009A, 2009B; Boldrin and Levine, 2008; Frederick, 2014; Kershnar, 2003; Lester, 2000; Mosquito, 2014;  Nozick, 1974, pp. 58, 283, 331; Steiner, 1994, pp. 232-233; 2013, pp. 230-244; Thomson, 1990, pp. 283-284.

Andersson, Anna-Karin. 2007. “An alleged contradiction in Nozick’s entitlement theory.”

Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 3, Fall: 43–63; http://mises.org/journals/jls/21_3/21_3_3.pdf

Block, Walter E. 1969. “Voluntary Slavery.” The Libertarian Connection, Vol. I, No. 3, April 13, pp. 9-11.

Block, Walter E. 1979. Book review of Nancy C. Baker, Baby Selling: the Scandal of Black Market Adoptions, New York: The Vanguard Press, 1978; in Libertarian Review, January, Vol. 7, No. 12, pp. 44-45.

Block, Walter E. 1988. “Rent-a-womb market,” Thunder Bay Ontario Daily; June 26.

Block, Walter E. 1999. “Market Inalienability Once Again: Reply to Radin,” Thomas Jefferson Law Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1, Fall, pp. 37-88; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/market_inalienability.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2001. “Alienability, Inalienability, Paternalism and the Law: Reply to Kronman,” American Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 28, No. 3, Summer, pp. 351-371; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/reply_to_kronman.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2002. “A Libertarian Theory of Secession and Slavery,” June 10; https://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block15.htmlhttp://libertariantruth.wordpress.com/2006/12/08/a-libertarian-theory-of-secession-and-slavery/

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of Rothbard, Barnett, Gordon, Smith, Kinsella and Epstein,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol.17, No. 2, Spring, pp. 39-85; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/17_2/17_2_3.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2004. “Are Alienability and the Apriori of Argument Logically Incompatible?” Dialogue, Vol. 1, No. 1. http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2004/256gord6.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2005. “Ayn Rand and Austrian Economics: Two Peas in a Pod.” The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring, pp. 259-269

Block, Walter E. 2006. “Epstein on alienation: a rejoinder” International Journal of Social Economics; Vol. 33, Nos. 3-4, pp. 241-260

Block, Walter E. 2007A. “Secession,” Dialogue. No. 4; pp. 1-14;  http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2007/4.07.WB.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2007B. “Alienability: Reply to Kuflik.” Humanomics Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 117-136;http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=0685BBB744173274A5E7CE3803132413?contentType=Article&contentId=1626605

Block, Walter E. 2009A. “Yes, Sell Rivers! And Make Legal Some Slave Contracts” The Tyee. July 25; http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2009/07/24/SellRivers/

Block, Walter E. 2009B. “Privatizing Rivers and Voluntary Slave Contracts” July 27;


Boldrin, Michele and David K. Levine. 2008. Against Intellectual Monopoly. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/against.htm

Frederick, Danny. 2014. “Voluntary Slavery,” Las Torres de Lucca 4: 115-37, http://www.lastorresdelucca.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=145:laesclavitud-


Kershnar, Stephen. 2003. “A Liberal Argument for Slavery,” Journal of Social Philosophy, 34

(4): 510-36

Lester, Jan Clifford. 2000. Escape from Leviathan. St. Martin’s Press. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312234163/qid%3D989845939/107-8070279-6411737

Mosquito, Bionic. 2014. “The Sanctity of Contract.” April 19;


Nozick, Robert. 1974. Anarchy, State and Utopia, New York: Basic Books, http://www.amazon.com/Anarchy-State-Utopia-Robert-Nozick/dp/0465097200

Steiner, Hillel. 1994. An Essay on Rights, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers; https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2mi4-xFgT7NNWhEQWNhbXB6enc/view

Steiner, Hillel. 2013. “Directed Duties and Inalienable Rights.” Ethics 123 ( January): pp. 230–244

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. 1990. The Realm of Rights, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press


2:46 pm on March 18, 2019

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How To Manage The Transition From The Current State Of Affairs To Libertarianism

From: M
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2018 6:08 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: the transition to Libertarianism

Dear professor W. Block.

My name is M, i am Portugues, and i am a recently converted libertarian, and such a fan of yours. I have been violently searching youtube for videos of yours and consuming them all. I come from a left wing / Bernie Sandes kind of belief and got recently converted into austrian economics / free enterprise / libertarianism through actually a similar route to yours: Economics in one lesson and Atlas Shrugged… I thought i was the only one coming from a left-wing heart until i learnt you did too. It made me feel better 🙂

I wanted to ask your help for a piece of the puzzle i am missing: how to manage the transition from current state into Libertarianism? What books, articles, authors, have focused on this?

For instance let’s say the world agrees that public housing is bad and we let the market work. How do we manage the 1000s of people that will be left homeless?

Walter’s response: the more economic freedom we have, the less poverty. The less poverty, the less homelessness. One way to get rid of public housing is to just sell it to the present poor occupants at a nominal price; that is what Margaret Thatcher did. Then, the poor would sell their condo homes in places like Manhattan, and buy property in cheaper areas. This is the process of gentrification. Look, living in Manhattan is like driving a Rolls Royce. The poor will not be left homeless, rather, far richer as they sell their geographically desirable property to richer people.

Let’s say we all agree public healthcare is bad and let the market work. How do we manage the people that would be left uncovered, would have not even the possibility to get insurance becase at this stage they may already have a pre-existing condition?

Walter’s response: the more economic freedom we have, the less poverty. The less poverty, the more health coverage. The main reason health care is so expensive in the US is because the American Medical Association limits the number of doctors, driving up prices. See below for some of my pubs on this subject

The examples are endless.

Walter’s response: The solution is not endless. It is to embrace the free enterprise system.

This is really the last piece of this libertarian puzzle to which i have not yet found any in depth information about.

Thank you in advance for your help. Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for helping me (and so many others) into understanding your perspective on the world.


Thank you for any recommendation you could share.

Here are my recommendations on privatization:

Anderson and Hill, 1996; Block, 2002, 2009, 2015; Butler, 1988; Carnis, 2003; Ebeling, 2013; Hanke, 1987A, 1987B; Hannesson, 2004, 2006; Hoppe, 2011, 2018; Karpoff, 2001; Megginson, 2001; Moore, 1987; Moore and Butler, 1987; Motichek, Block and Johnson, 2008; Nelson and Block, 2018; Ohashi, 1980; Ohashi, Roth, Spindler, McMillan and Norrie, 1980; Pirie, 1986; Savas, 1987; Walker, 1988; White, 1978

Anderson, Terry L. and Peter J. Hill, editors. 1996. The privatization process : a worldwide perspective, Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Block, Walter E. 2002. “Radical Privatization and other Libertarian Conundrums,” The International Journal of Politics and Ethics, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 165-175; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/radical_privatization.pdf

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=1-1http://mises.org/books/roads_web.pdfhttp://mises.org/daily/3416

Block, Walter E. and Peter Lothian Nelson. 2015. Water Capitalism: The Case for Privatizing Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, and Aquifers. New York City, N.Y.: Lexington Books; Rowman and Littlefield; https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498518802/Water-Capitalism-The-Case-for-Privatizing-Oceans-Rivers-Lakes-and-Aquifershttps://mises.org/library/case-privatizing-oceans-and-rivers

Butler, Eamonn, ed., 1988, The Mechanics of Privatization, London: Adam Smith Institute

Carnis, Laurent. 2003. “The Case for Road Privatization: A Defense by Restitution.” Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines. Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 95-116

Ebeling, Richard. 2013. “Why Not Privatize Foreign Policy?” http://epictimes.com/article/127064/why-not-privatize-foreign-policy

Hanke, Steve H., ed., 1987A. Privatization and Development, San Francisco: Institute for Contemporary Studies

Hanke, Steve H. 1987B. “Privatization.” In J. Eatwell, M. Milgate and P. Newman, eds., The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 3. London: The Macmillan Press, Ltd.: 976-77.

Hannesson, Rögnvaldur. 2004. The Privatization of the Oceans, in D.R. Leal (Ed.): Evolving Property Rights in Marine Fisheries, Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 25-48.

Hannesson, Rögnvaldur. 2006. The Privatization of the Oceans. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 2011. “Of Private, Common, and Public Property and the Rationale for Total Privatization,” Libertarian Papers 3, 1. http://libertarianpapers.org/2011/1-hoppe-private-common-and-public-property/

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 2018. “Libertarianism and the Alt-Right: In Search of a Libertarian Strategy for Social Change,” in Getting Libertarianism RightL Auburn AL: The Mises Institute

Karpoff, Jonathan M. 2001. “Public versus Private Initiative in Arctic Exploration: The Effects of Incentives and Organizational Structure,” The Journal of Political Economy, 109 (1): 38-78.

Megginson, W. Netter, J. 2001. “From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization.” Journal of Economic Literature, 39(2): 321-89.

Moore, Stephen. 1987. “Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service,” in Stephen Moore and Stuart Butler, eds., Privatization, Washington: Heritage Foundation.

Moore, Stephen and Stuart Butler, eds., 1987. Privatization, Washington: Heritage Foundation.

Motichek, Amy, Walter E. Block and Jay Johnson. 2008. “Forget Ocean Front Property, We Want Ocean Real Estate!” Ethics, Place, and Environment; Vol. 11, Issue 2, June, pp. 147 – 155

Nelson, Peter Lothian and Walter E. Block. 2018. Space capitalism: the case for privatizing space travel and colonizationPalgrave Macmillan; https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-74651-7https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/3319746502/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1531187909&sr=8-1&linkCode=sl2&tag=economicpolicyjournal-20&linkId=959e913e476f48b289a16223d557a826http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2018/07/new-walter-block-book-space-capitalism.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+economicpolicyjournal%2FKpwH+%28EconomicPolicyJournal.com%29

Ohashi, T.M. 1980. Privatization, theory and practice : distributing shares in private and public enterprise. The Fraser Institute, Vancouver, B.C.

Ohashi, T.M., T.P. Roth, Z.A. Spindler, M.L. McMillan, & K.H. Norrie. 1980. Privation Theory & Practice, The Fraser Institute, Vancouver, B.C.

Pirie, Madson, 1986, Privatization in Theory and Practice, London: Adam Smith Institute

plumb line

Savas, E. S. 1987.  Privatization. Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House Publishers.

Walker, Michael A. 1988.  ed., Privatization: Tactics and Techniques, The Fraser Institute, Vancouver, B.C.,  Canada

White, Lawrence H., 1978, “Privatization of municipally-provided services,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, Summer, pp. 187-197

Margaret Thatcher:

Duxbury, Nick. 2013. “Iron Lady’s right to buy and economic policies had far-reaching impact; Social landlords reflect on Thatcher’s legacy.” April 12; http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/tenancies/social-landlords-reflect-on-thatcher%E2%80%99s-legacy/6526486.article

Gamble, Andrew. 1988. “Privatization, Thatcherism, and the British State .” Journal of Law and Society     Vol. 16, No. 1, Spring, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1409974

Gamble, Andrew. 1988. “Privatization, Thatcherism, and the British State .” Journal of Law and Society     Vol. 16, No. 1, Spring, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1409974

Gulliver, Kevin. 2013. “Thatcher’s legacy: her role in today’s housing crisis; Margaret Thatcher made a huge impact on the housing sector during her time in office, and we can still feel the effects today.” The Guardian. April 17; http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2013/apr/17/margaret-thatcher-legacy-housing-crisis

Marsh, David. 1991. “Privatization under Mrs. Thatcher: a review of the literature.” Public AdministrationVolume 69, Issue 4, pages 459–480, December; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9299.1991.tb00915.x/abstract

Milligan, Brian. 2013. “Right-to-buy: Margaret Thatcher’s controversial gift.” BBC News. April 10; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22077190

Wolf, Joel. 1991. “State Power and Ideology in Britain: Mrs Thatcher’s Privatization Programme.” Political Studies.Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 237–252, June;



Reviewed by Donald R. Leal (Property and Environment Research Center)


2:28 am on March 18, 2019

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Should An An-Cap Accept Social Security Payments?

From: S
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2018 6:30 PM
To: ‘Walter Block’ <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Should an Ancap Accept Social Security Payments?


When an ancap reaches the relevant age, should he accept Social Security payments?

Yes: a certain amount of money was forcibly taken from you during your working years, and so up to that amount is yours to take back.

No: we know that there is no Social Security “fund,” but rather all payments are made from taxes currently extracted from workers, so accepting Social Security payments amounts to knowingly participating in armed robbery.  This fact does not change even if you give to charity any amounts received. Simon

Dear S

In my view, yes, yes, yes. An, not only should he accept social security payments, he should feel free to use government roads, sidewalks, museums, cash, libraries, etc. For some readings on this, see:

Block, 1972, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009A, 2009B, 2010, 2011A, 2011B, 2011C, 2011D, 2016; Block and Arakaky, 2008, Block and Barnett, 2008, D’Amico and Block, 2007

Block, Walter E. 1972. “The Polish Ham Question.” The Libertarian Forum. June-July, Vol. 4, No. 6-7, p. 5;http://www.mises.org/journals/lf/1972/1972_06-07.pdfhttp://mises.org/daily/4054https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block143.html

Block, Walter E. 2002. “Accepting Government Subsidies,” Fraser Forum, February, p. 27;http://oldfraser.lexi.net/publications/forum/2002/02/section_13.html

Block, Walter E. 2004. “Radical Libertarianism: Applying Libertarian Principles to Dealing with the Unjust Government, Part I” Reason Papers, Vol. 27, Fall, pp. 117-133;


Block, Walter E. 2006. “Radical Libertarianism: Applying Libertarian Principles to Dealing with the Unjust Government, Part II” Reason Papers, Vol. 28, Spring, pp. 85-109; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/block_radical-libertarianism-rp.pdfhttp://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block_radical-libertarianism-rp.pdfhttp://www.reasonpapers.com/pdf/28/rp_28_7.pdf; (death penalty justified, net taxpayer, ruling class analysis p. 87)

Block, Walter E. 2007. “Ron Paul and Matching Funds,” October 1;


Block, Walter E. 2008. “Replies to readers” September 23;

https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block108.html (libertarians hypocrites for using public school?)

Block, Walter E. 2009A. “Libertarian punishment theory: working for, and donating to, the state” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 1;http://libertarianpapers.org/2009/17-libertarian-punishment-theory-working-for-and-donating-to-the-state/

Block, Walter E. 2009B. “Toward a Libertarian Theory of Guilt and Punishment for the Crime of Statism” in Hulsmann, Jorg Guido and Stephan Kinsella, eds., Property, Freedom and Society: Essays in Honor of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, pp. 137-148;http://mises.org/books/hulsmann-kinsella_property-freedom-society-2009.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2010. “You are a rotten kid (rent control and libertarianism),” February 27;


Block, Walter E. 2011A. “It’s Ayn Rand Bashing Time, Once Again.” February 18; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block172.html

Block, Walter E. 2011B. “May a Libertarian Take Money From the Government?” March 11; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block175.html;https://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/03/walter-e-block/may-a-libertarian-take-money-from-the-government/

Block, Walter E. 2011C. “Toward a Libertarian Theory of Guilt and Punishment for the Crime of Statism,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 22; pp. 665-675; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_33.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2011D. “Hoppe, Kinsella and Rothbard II on Immigration: A Critique.” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 593–623;http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_29.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2016. “Is It Compatible With Libertarianism to be a Banker? Yes!” September 29; https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/compatible-libertarianism-banker-yes/

Block, Walter E. and Chris Arakaky. 2008. “Taking Government Money for Grad School?” May 23;https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block100.html

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

D’Amico, Dan and Walter E. Block. 2007. “A Legal and Economic Analysis of Graffiti” Humanomics Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 29-38;http://www.mises.org/journals/scholar/damico.pdfhttp://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContainer.do?containerType=Issue&containerId=24713http://ssrn.com/abstract=1008525

This book of mine might be of interest to you (I urge Ron Paul to accept government matching funds for his campaign):

Block, Walter E. 2012. Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty. Ishi Press; http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871873234;










3:33 pm on March 13, 2019

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Reparations After the (Libertarian!) French Revolution

From: M
Sent: Saturday, August 18, 2018 7:41 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Question on Transitioning to a more Libertarian Society

Dear Dr. Block,

Sorry to bother you. I have been working on a scenario where a largely feudalistic society has the opportunity to convert to a Minarchist/Libertarian society. I’m hoping to use it as a teaching tool through role play.

Imagine if you will the French Revolution where you substitute the Jacobins with Libertarians.

We have a noble class which controls the means of production and a mob that has taken it away from them.

Now as the new leader of the mob how do we rebalance the scales?

My thought process lead to a scenario where the assets are auctioned to the populace with the fruits of production of said asset being leveraged as part of a mortgage (since presumably a feudalistic society where the rich noble class controls the majority of the wealth won’t have much to auction with.) to make up the disparity in value between what a commoner/merchant can pay and what the asset is worth.

As for the nobility, they would be allowed to live off their accumulated wealth, banned from raising mercenaries to retake their previous holdings and after a certain time period allowed to return to participate as equal if relatively wealthier members of society.

This seemed like the most Libertarian process, respecting Non-Aggression Principles and not overly punishing to a noble/royal class who have largely inherited a system that has been in place for centuries.

Is there any guidance you can provide to help me better adhere to Libertarian principles? I can’t build a Utopia in this scenario but any well reasoned input from the current Mr. Libertarian would be truly appreciated.

Warmest Regards, M

Dear M:

It is no “bother” at all to respond to your very important query!

Thanks for calling me “Mr. Libertarian.” However, in my opinion, there’s only one “Mr. Libertarian.” And that’s not me. I’ll give you one guess as to who it is? Yes, Murray Rothbard, my mentor, my teacher, my friend.

I don’t like “auctioning” since the government gets the money. Why not just give out these goodies to the proper owners, as determined by libertarian theory?

Why allow the nobles to keep all their property? Much of it was stolen from the rightful owners. Of course, possession is 9/10 of the law. The presumption is that all extant property titles, even that of the nobles, is legitimate. The burden of proof rests with those who want to uproot old property titles. In the case of the nobles, that ought to be pretty easy.

Below, see some of my publications on reparations:

Alston and Block, 2007; Block, 1993, 2001, 2002; Block and Yeatts, 1999-2000

Alston, Wilton D. and Walter E. Block. 2007. “Reparations, Once Again.” Human Rights Review, Vol. 9, No. 3, September, pp. 379-392; http://tinyurl.com/2b75fl

Block, Walter E. 1993. “Malcolm X,” Fraser Forum, January, pp. 18-19; http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/5361.aspx 

Block, Walter E. 2001. “The Moral Dimensions of Poverty, Entitlements and Theft,” The Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 83-93; http://www.acton.org/publicat/m_and_m/2001_spring/block.htmlhttp://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=922087http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.marketsandmorality.com%2Findex.php%2Fmandm%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F587%2F577&ei=lBn9UuLIOtDOkQe1toHwBw&usg=AFQjCNF2MZ5XoFKKMF5UcOfOT5Kv-HQgZA&sig2=VVYWZhyl0ZmAWRAKXtkxWw; Search for “Walter Block” under “Authors” here: http://www.marketsandmorality.com/index.php/mandm/search

Block, Walter E. 2002. “On Reparations to Blacks for Slavery,” Human Rights Review, Vol. 3, No. 4, July-September, pp. 53-73;


(David Horowitz, Randall Robinson)

Block, Walter E. and Guillermo Yeatts. 1999-2000. “The Economics and Ethics of Land Reform: A Critique of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s ‘Toward a Better Distribution of Land: The Challenge of Agrarian Reform,’” Journal of Natural Resources and Environmental Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 37-69; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/ethics_land_reform.pdf


2:17 am on March 13, 2019

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Correspondence on Abortion: Pro-life, Pro-choice, Evictionism

Read from the bottom up.

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]

Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2018 1:45 PM

To: K

Subject: RE: Your recent podcast interview

Dear K:

My Correspondence Policy https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/my-correspondence-policy/

I receive questions on Austrian economics and libertarianism from time to time. If they are polite, I always respond, even if briefly, because I have lots of e mail messages to deal with. On occasion, I receive queries that I think worthwhile to share on this blog.

Why do I do this? I engage in this practice because I regard myself as a follower of my decades-long friend and mentor Murray Rothbard. Nary a day goes by when I don’t think of him, and try to emulate him as best I can. Murray had a voluminous correspondence with people from every corner of the globe, and, so do I. But I have one advantage over him: modern day electronic means of sharing such letters, and my responses, on a much easier basis than he had.

Be warned: if you ask me what I consider an important question, I will feel free to post it on LRC along with my response, but on an anonymous basis. That is, unless you tell me not to share your letter, and my response, with anyone else. But, then, I’ll be less likely to respond to you at all. My thought is that if I am going to spend time answering an important question, I would like to have it shared by as many people as possible.

I receive, oh, 100-200 e mails per day. I have this compulsion that I must answer all (polite) queries. However, I cannot always engage in back and forth correspondence with all knowledgeable, kind, interested, Austro-libertarian readers of LewRockwell.com. If I did, or even tried to do so, I’d never get any other writing done. And that is why I get so many queries in the first place; because I publish a lot. So, please forgive me for not always being as responsive as I would like to be. What I’m trying to say is: “One to a customer.” Well, per year. That is, I’ll respond to your first question to me, but then, if you have a follow up, let’s keep that limited to once every year.

Best regards,


From: K

Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2018 5:10 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Your recent podcast interview

Dr. Block,

Ok. I’ve thought about this more. It still doesn’t seem to avoid initiating violence on the part of the airplane/boat owner.

So if I could go back to your analogy, you discover a person placed in your plane/boat in the middle of the ocean without your knowledge. I don’t see how it is a threat to your property for them to stay on the boat/plane until you land allows for a violent (even deadly) response.

Or, what is the initiation of violence? To be sure (let’s say it’s the mafia, or college pranksters) the people that put the person on your boat/plane initiated violence. But wouldn’t you only have recourse against the perpetrators of the violence against your property, along with the victim of violence, and not the victim themselves?

And let’s not forget that what you call an abortion is either ripping a human apart and sucking them out with a vacuum, or poisoning them. And I’m not saying that as rhetoric, but as a reminder that it’s violent. Are you sure that human in the womb has initiated violence? And if you do think it’s initiating violence to be in the womb, can you understand the reasoning by those of us who don’t?



On Thursday, September 27, 2018, 4:58:51 PM EDT, Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear K:

Shooting is a per se offensive act. It’s murder. Evicting someone from your plane or boat is a defensive act, in protection of your private property.

You know that joke about what’s the difference between a living room and a bathroom? Answer: if you don’t know, don’t come to my house.

Well, couldn’t I say that if you don’t know the difference between shooting someone to death, which is a per se offensive act, murder, and evicting someone from your plane or boat which is a defensive act, in protection of your private property, then don’t get into political economy?

Best regards,


From: K

Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2018 3:32 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: RE: Your recent podcast interview

Dr. Block,

I agree it’s an implied contract. In fact, dumping them off the plane or just shooting them would be viewed the same way in the context of murder.

Therefore, if I recall your podcast analogy correctly, if a person is found on your plane through no fault of their own, you would be allowed to shoot them. And that seems like it might not violate a contract, but rather the non-aggression principle. Or can you show how shooting and evicting are not the same in this context?



On Monday, September 24, 2018, 3:28:05 PM EDT, Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear K:

I think you have an implicit contract to land the unruly guest on your airplane, in as safe a place as you picked him up.

Best regards,


From: K

Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2018 9:18 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Your recent podcast interview

Dr. Block,

I listened to your recent podcast interview about abortion. You stand on eviction, which I agree comes with private property. However, I don’t see how you can say a person can evict another person to certain death.

Perhaps we can start with a simple example and move to your example. You invite a person into your house, but they start acting like a jerk so you kick them off your property. We can agree with this one.

Taking your example, a person you invite onto your airplane on a trip over the Pacific Ocean, they start acting like a jerk so you kick them off your property. Would they really only have a few seconds to jump or would you have to wait to land before cutting them loose?

It seems to me that good policy about private property shouldn’t include the ability to murder with little to no recourse. And if you don’t want to call it murder, you really have opened the door to saying that the bullet killed the target, not the person shooting the gun haven’t you?




5:07 pm on March 12, 2019

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From: A

Sent: Monday, October 08, 2018 11:55 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Kirzner and Business Cycle

Dear Dr. Block,

I have a slight objection to Kirzner’s entrepreneurship theory and wanted to hear what you think. Kirzner says entrepreneurs bring the market closer to equilibrium, rebuking Schumpeter, but is this always necessarily true? Suppose a newly invented machine created a surplus of a given good. Or suppose a new good is introduced and demand becomes so high that the entrepreneur miscalculates and creates a surplus. From how I see it, Kirzner’s theory doesn’t consider long run effects in this regard. So perhaps the proper theory would be a combination of Schumpeter’s and Kirzner’s theory, while considering long run effects. Let me know what you think.

By the way, is New Orleans in the path of the hurricane? According to predictions, the hurricane eye will come right through Tallahassee where I live. There is a bright side to a potential power outage. I have plenty of Mises books, both from the used, new and free section to read, over 50 at this point that I haven’t started. Best Regards, A

Dear A:

I agree with Israel on this. He’s talking about successful, profit-making, entrepreneurship. Yes, firms that lose money will destabilize us move us away from equilibrium, or the ERE, but the market tends to weed them out, and expand profit making enterprises. So, overall, Kirzner is right, and Schumpeter wrong.

While we’re on the subject of Israel Kirzner, I support Murray Rothbard’s criticism of him. Israel talks of the pure entrepreneur, who has no capital whatsoever, and thus cannot suffer any losses. Murray, much more reasonably, talks of the capitalist-entrepreneur, who has some skin in the game, and can thus either earn profits, or suffer losses.

Happy reading of Mises. The hurricane missed us in New Orleans.

Best regards,



2:28 am on March 12, 2019

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Historical Questions in Political Economy

From: R

Sent: Monday, October 08, 2018 4:47 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: History

Dear Walter,

I hope you’re doing well.

I’m trying to decipher the history—I need not say real history because history by definition is real—of the awful 20th century. I’m puzzled at almost every step. Here are some things I’ve yet to resolve:

  • Was the Russian Revolution Russian, or was it Jewish?
  • It seems obvious to me that Charles Lindbergh was an American hero, but what’s the truth about Joe McCarthy, Henry Ford, and Father Coughlin?
  • Did the concentration camps systematically exterminate people, Jews and others?
  • Hitler had to be a bad guy, albeit one of many democratically elected bad guys (Roosevelt, Truman, Churchill, Mussolini…) circa WWII, simply because he was a socialist. But how did his National Socialism get Germany out depression and hyperinflation? What’s the economic fallacy?

Any answers or suggestions where I start? Or will I be thrown in jail and fined if I try to find out?

Best wishes,

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu

Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2018 1:37 PM

To: R

Subject: RE: History

Dear R:

I’m not a historian, so I don’t know the answers to these questions. However, I do know that in some countries (Canada, many in Europe) you can go to jail for mentioning these issues, if you come up with “wrong” answers, particularly, this one:

  • Did the concentration camps systematically exterminate people, Jews and others?

My favorite historian is Tom Woods. Perhaps you should ask him these questions.


2:41 am on March 11, 2019

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From: R

Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2018 7:38 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Private Property

Dear Walter,

My friend posited those points as proof that if all property is private, chaos ensues. He also praised public parks. What’s a rebuttal?

My friend said he’s going to buy the property surrounding my house. I won’t be able to get in or out of my house because he won’t let me onto his property.

He also said he’s going to pollute the river he bought even though it’s well stocked with fish and frequented by fisherman.  He said he can do that because it’s his property.

Regards, R

Dear R: Maybe you should get better friends?

You pose three important challenges. Here are my responses:

1. On someone entrapping you in your house, read this:

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


2. On river pollution, read this:

Block, Walter E. and Peter Lothian Nelson. 2015. Water Capitalism: The Case for Privatizing Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, and Aquifers. New York City, N.Y.: Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield; https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498518802/Water-Capitalism-The-Case-for-Privatizing-Oceans-Rivers-Lakes-and-Aquifers. https://mises.org/library/case-privatizing-oceans-and-rivers

scathing review: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1SMO4B0T1AWM5/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1498518826

3. On the case for privatizing parks, read this material:

Block, Walter E. 8/2/01. “Hunt Farms,” https://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig/block3.html

Block, Walter E. 1992. “Stanley Park Task Force,” Fraser Forum, October, pp. 40-42.

Block, Walter E. 4/9/90. “Safety in private parks,” Thunder Bay Ontario Daily.

Block, Walter E. 7/17/89. “How much parkland?” Thunder Bay Ontario Daily.

Block, Walter E. 1989. “Parkland,” Fraser Forum, August, pp. 23-24.

Block, Walter E. 1977. “Public Parks: the New York City Case.” The Libertarian Forum. Vol. 10, No. 10, October, pp. 6-7;http://www.mises.org/journals/lf/1977/1977_10.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2005. “Government and Market: A Critique of Professor James Buchanan’s What Should Economists Do?” Corporate Ownership & Control, Vol. 3, No. 1, Fall, pp. 81-87; http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1880184http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block_gov-market-critique-james-buchanan-2005.pdrberg

If it moves, privatize it; if it doesn’t move, privatize it. Since everything either moves or doesn’t move, privatize everything.


3:07 pm on March 9, 2019

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Central Bank Money Creation and Inflation

From: M
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2018 10:10 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: A question re. central banking

Dear Mr. Block

Thanks again for helping me out this past Aug. re the relationship between central bank money creation/interest rate adjusting- on the one hand- and production on the other. The person w/whom I am going back-n-forth with (on mises.org.) has now referenced the fact that QE (by the Fed) has, in the past 10 yrs. been the trillions of dollars yet in that same time span, inflation has increased by only 1.8% thereby disputing any “one to one” relationship between central bank behavior and inflation.

As always, I would very much appreciate your input/reaction. Thanks again. M

Dear M:

Only the crude quantity theory of money posits a one to one relationship between increases in the stock of money in price increases. There are many slips between this cup and this lip. For example, expectations. If people expect higher prices, they will buy more now, and then prices will rise faster than the quantity of money increases. If people expect lower prices, they will buy less now, and then prices will rise slower than the quantity of money increase. Ditto for decreases in the quantity of money.


4:15 pm on March 8, 2019

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