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From: B
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 4:08 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Implicit contract and evictionism

Dear Professor Block, Thanks for more thought provoking content.

I have a quick question. You stated ” I see a continuum here: implicit contracts can be stretched, but there’s a limit. Death for innocent people I think falls well within the line.” I agree.

How does an unborn child not have an implicit contract with the mother who brought about the conditions under which a child is trapped in the mother’s booby trap? If anyone on Earth should be allowed the privilege it would be an unborn who can’t make a contract any other way. The mother certainly didn’t put out a sign saying, No Trespassing. Just the opposite they had sex, which is considered an invitation to pregnancy by everyone. You previously said you didn’t think it’s an invitation but then it would by defualt be an intruder, who was set up and trapped by the mother to be killed later. In the mothers case she Baited, Set the Trap and finished the child off.

Best Regards, B

Dear B:

Nice try. No. I amend that. Brilliant try on your part. But, I don’t think your reductio against my evictionist thesis succeeds.

For one thing, the implicit contract, if it exists by analogy, would just be to not kill the fetus, merely evict him. True, the baby will die, but so would the hiker-camper perish in the freezing woods, if he cannot gain access to the cabin.

For another disanalogy consider the case of rape (all babies whatever their cause, are equally innocent). Here, the unborn child is a clear and present trespasser. He is already inside the “cabin.” My claim is that the mother has the right only to evict the fetus. To return to the hiker, suppose he is already inside the cabin. Somehow he has eluded the booby trapped gun. Along comes the owner of the cabin, who tells the camper to leave. Your argument would imply that the owner has no right to evict him. Thus, you are asserting an implicit contract not only to refrain from booby trapping the cabin (without posting a warning sigh to that effect) but, also, that there is some sort of implicit contract for the owner of the cabin to allow the trespasser to remain. This is highly problematic from a libertarian perspective, even if both can survive in the cabin. If only one can, you view implies that the owner must leave, but the hiker may remain.

I thank you for pushing me on this.

Best regards,



1:30 am on October 11, 2019

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From: Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 6:28 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Implicit Contracts

Dr. B.-

This anarcho-capitalist is beyond the pale with this quote of yours; “I think there is an implicit contract we have with each other to warn each other of booby traps that can kill.”


Where does such a thought derive from? Natural Law? Show me where. How can a person be born with some ‘implicit contract’ hung around his or her neck? Especially one that is, apparently, with other persons that have chosen to harm us or our property, i.e., someone with criminal intent.

And what is next Dr. Block, an implicit contract that every person adhere to some theologic principle? Just where the heck would implicit contracts end, once the first one is allowed? Under your implicit contracts, what would I be guilty of when I put buckshot in the face of a 2AM intruder in my home? Have I not set a booby trap of sorts by hearing him, and waiting for the door to open with 12-guage at the ready?

A short story follows; A friend returned to Demark after spending several years in the US. Her family had a new auto. The second time my friend drove it, she was rear-ended while waiting in a left turn lane. She broke no law, the other driver was 100% at fault. But the Danish government determined that her family had more wealth than the family that rear ended her. As a result her family had to pay to have their new car repaired, AND to pay half the other driver’s repair costs.

When society acknowledges implicit contracts, it is only a matter of time before judgments like the Danish one are made. Like taxes, once granted, they always increase. Your quote is a slippery slope to zero good end. Implicit contracts have no place in a Libertarian culture. M

Dear M:

Thanks for your thoughtful critique of my views on booby trapping.

So, you should pay $1million for that cup of coffee you just drank?

I heartily agree with you that we can take implicit contracts too far. For example, the lefties, if they ever thought of this, would maintain that we have an implicit contract for the rich to give money to the poor (should it only apply within a country, as Rawls would have it? Or, what about the reductio ad absurdum that we apply this unjust “implicit contract” world wide?)

On the other hand, you are staking out the position that there’s no such thing as an implicit contract.  I think that stance is vulnerable to the coffee cup case.

I take an intermediary position on this. (That’s why I am known far and wide, at least in my imagination, as Walter Moderate Block). I think that there are some valid implicit contracts, but that this cannot be stretched to widely. But I think it can cover killing relatively innocent people who break into cabins in the woods in order to save their lives. I see a continuum here: implicit contracts can be stretched, but there’s a limit. Death for innocent people I think falls well within the line.

On the continuum issue, see this:

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2008. “Continuums” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics, Vol. 1, pp. 151-166, June;


Boy, those Danes are weird.


3:27 pm on October 10, 2019

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Is Voting Incompatible with Libertarianism? No

You might want to read some of these on the compatibility of  libertarianism and voting

Block, 2012, 2018; Block and Fryzek, 2015; Rothbard, 1972A, 1972B; Spooner, 1870;

Block, Walter E. 2012. Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty. New York: Ishi

 Press; http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871873234;



 Block, Walter E. 2018. “Voting; rejoinder to Casey, McElroy, Ward,

 Pugsley, Konkin and Barnett.” Political Dialogues: Journal of Political Theory; pp.

23-38; http://apcz.umk.pl/czasopisma/index.php/DP/issue/view/1503/showToc

 Block, Walter and Nathan Fryzek. 2015. “Was It Immoral to Vote for Ron Paul?

And other libertarian questions and answers.” November 26;




 Rothbard, Murray N. 1972A. “Should Libertarians Vote?”  Outlook, April, p.

6.Rothbard, Murray N. 1972B. “Interview.” February 25;



 Spooner, Lysander. 1966[1870]. No Treason: The Constitution of No

 Authority and A Letter to Thomas F. Bayard, Larkspur, Colorado:

Rampart College; http://jim.com/treason.htm


2:58 am on October 10, 2019

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From: Y
Sent: Monday, September 23, 2019 4:53 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: question about Paper; Hard-wired for explicit cooperation

Dear Walter,

On the Mance Rayder podcast you mentioned people being Hard-wired for explicit cooperation.

I’ve read the PDF/Paper, https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/here-is-one-of-my-best-scholarly-papers-ever/

Maybe I’ve misread the point but… I don’t understand why this would be the case, and would like to understand it clearly….

Explicit cooperation means coerced cooperation, right?

So if one coerces, the rest (majority) obeys. You would think the coercer, the alpha male, would lead the pack and be the one passing on (more of) his ‘coercive behaviorally’ genes (assuming this behaviour is (partly) genetically based)? ….well….apparently not because here we are today hard-wired towards accepting explicit cooperation, intuitively feeling normal about it.

This is a contradiction right?

Then again, maybe I just don’t understand the paper :- )

Would appreciate some additional explanation…



From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Sent: Monday, September 23, 2019 10:38 AM
To: Y
Subject: RE: question about Paper; Hard-wired for explicit cooperation

Dear Y:

No, explicit cooperation does NOT mean coerced cooperation?

Rather, it means benevolence. You’re choking. I give you the Heimlich maneuver. That’s explicit cooperation. Up close and personal.

You have a sore throat. You buy some cough drops. I work for a cough drop manufacturer. I never see you. I don’t touch you. I don’t know you. That’s implicit cooperation.

Best regards,



2:57 am on October 10, 2019

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What’s the Libertarian Position on Booby Trapping

From: J

Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:04 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: killing trespasser with booby trap

Dear Walter,

Thanks for talking to me earlier about your negative homesteading theory; you gave me a lot to think about. There’s another item in the news recently that I’m curious to get your take on. A man in Illinois was recently convicted of murder for killing a trespasser with a booby trap. I’ve asked other libertarians and they are quite divided on whether the killing was justified. I myself thought it was justified. Here are the details:


Best wishes, J

Dear J:

I say he’s guilty, not of first degree murder, nor, of manslaughter, since he did have warning and no trespassing signs; maybe, a lesser charge, such as assault and battery . He should have also had a sign saying, “warning, booby trapped.” Then, he’d be entirely innocent.

Is this to violate our libertarian stricture against positive obligations? I don’t think so. I think there is an implicit contract we have with each other to warn each other of booby traps that can kill.

Best regards,



2:56 am on October 10, 2019

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What’s the Libertarian Position on Dealing With Aliens?

From: T

Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 9:21 PM

To: Lew@lewrockwell.com

Subject: Re: War on Iran


We are both fans of the movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Imagine the alien and his robot coming to Earth today. What would the alien say? What would the law enforcement robot do?

What would you do as an alien if;

A: You wanted the human race to succeed and prosper?

B: You wanted the human race to die and become extinct?

And as that alien you had the power to determine either outcome?

I reckon it is the devil and the angel in us that are fighting. We all know this battle very well in our own everyday lives.



You know the Star Trek dogma that they can’t interfere in an alien civilization that they meet. It sounds like a Libertarian principle.

If an alien civilization came to Earth that was more developed than the one we humans have. Say, six weeks more advanced (that is an old Bob Newhart joke);

Would the alien civilization be breaking the NAP by giving or withholding its tech and teachings from us?

Does the NAP apply to aliens?



PSS; Sorry about Drew Brees’ hand injury.

Dear T:

Yes, the NAP applies to aliens. Murray Rothbard published, somewhere, to the effect that if the aliens are peaceful, and rational, we owe them not to violate their rights, and vice versa. That is, we should not violate the rights of less developed aliens (they are not animals; animals have no rights; rather, these aliens can respect rights, but are not as well developed as we are). Similarly, if superior aliens, more developed than we are, come to earth, they are obligated, by libertarian theory, not to violate our rights, even though they could do so, easily.

Stat Trek says we shouldn’t interfere with alien civilizations, but, I don’t think that’s the proper libertarian position. Suppose A sees two strangers, B and C. The former is raping the latter. I don’t see why A should be precluded from “interfering” and bopping B over the head with a baseball bat. Well, if earthling A may do so, he may do so even if both B and C are aliens.

Libertarianism, based on negative rights and the NAP, does not require anyone to give anyone else “its tech and teachings.” That would be a positive obligation, abjured by libertarian theory.

Poor Drew. But the Saints seem to be doing well without him.

Best regards,



2:53 pm on October 8, 2019

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Holcombe on Government

From: R
Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 1:15 AM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Here’s a nice analogy:

Holcombe (2004, p. 326) writes: “If people create their own government preemptively, they can design a government that may be less predatory than the one that outside aggressors otherwise would impose on them.” This is akin to the cowpox smallpox technique. Infect the patient with the former, which is a mild strain, so that his white blood cells can create antibodies to fight it off; then, when the stronger smallpox attacks, the defenses would already be set up and strengthened, able to fight off the disease. (thedorsetpage 2000).

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 9:21 AM
To: R

Subject: RE:

Yes, thanks.

Here are some of my critiques of Randy Holcombe on this topic:

Block, Walter E. 2005. “Governmental Inevitability: Reply to Holcombe.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 19, No. 3, 71-93; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/19_3/19_3_4.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2007. “Rejoinder to Holcombe on the Inevitability of Government.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1, Spring, pp. 49-60; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/21_1/21_1_4.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2010. “Libertarianism is unique; it belongs neither to the right nor the left: a critique of the views of Long, Holcombe, and Baden on the left, Hoppe, Feser and Paul on the right.” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22: 127–70; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_8.pdfhttp://www.mises.org/journals/scholar/block15.pdfhttps://mises.org/library/libertarianism-unique-and-belongs-neither-right-nor-left-critique-views-long-holcombe-and

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.


11:28 am on October 8, 2019

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Letter 1.

From: J
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2019 8:51 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: human shields

Dear Walter,

I have another question for you, this time about the ethics of killing human shields in self-defense. In your article “Libertarian Punishment Theory: Working for, and Donating to, the State”

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

you say this:

“Second, there is a “moral system… that (can) require people to be martyrs.” It is libertarianism. Consider the following case. A sticks a gun in B’s back, and tells B that unless he murders innocent person C, right in front of B, he, A, will murder B. B, for some reason, we stipulate, cannot turn around and shoot his attacker, A. His is a stark choice: murder C, or become a “martyr.” It is my contention that the libertarian axiom against murder of innocents requires B to refuse to shoot C; B’s only option, then, is to stand fast in his refusal, that is, act the part of the martyr.”


You seem to say quite clearly here that killing an innocent person is never justified, even in self-defense.

In a later article, “The Human Body Shield,”

Block, Walter E. 2011. “The Human Body Shield,” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 625-630; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_30.pdfhttps://mises.org/library/human-body-shield

you adopt the theory of “negative homesteading”. According to this, the one whose rights are first violated has “homesteaded” the rights violation and cannot impose it on another. It seems that this would still mean B cannot murder C, since B’s rights were violated first and he cannot pass on his “misery” to C in order to save his life. However, if A first made B into a human shield and then threatened C, C would be justified in killing B to defend himself against C, since B’s rights were violated first and had therefore homesteaded the rights violation, so he can’t ask C to sacrifice himself. Have I got that right?


And would it matter in which order A threatened B and C? I.e. if A first pulled a gun on C and only then made B a human shield, presumably C had homesteaded the misery and could not then kill B in self-defense.

I have to say I still find the “classical libertarian” position more consistent, i.e. you cannot aggress against an innocent person in self-defense regardless of who else has been victimized before. The “negative homesteading” theory seems to open the door to justifications for “collateral damage” in war, while my understanding was that this was not a valid justification for murder even in wartime. What do you think?

Best regards, J

Letter 2

On September 14, 2019 at 1:15 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear J:

Yes, your understanding is correct.

But why do you say that “negative homesteading” theory seems to open the door to justifications for “collateral damage”?

Best regards,


Letter 3

From: J
Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2019 8:40 PM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: RE: human shields

OK I’m glad I understand how negative homesteading is applied. My concern is that justifying killing of human shields can lead to justifying killing of innocent third parties in war, e.g. bombing a hospital that contains a weapons depot. I was under the impression that libertarians oppose war because of this indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people in the name of military necessity, i.e. we oppose the idea that innocent people can become human shields and can be legitimately killed in war. See e.g. this passage by Murray Rothbard from Ethics of Liberty:

“War, then, even a just defensive war, is only proper when the exercise of violence is rigorously limited to the individual criminals themselves. We may judge for ourselves how many wars or conflicts in history have met this criterion. ” (1998, NYU Press, p. 190)

I know you are as against war as much as any libertarian so I’m interested to know how you reconcile that with the idea that it is permissible to kill human shields if the human shield had already been victimized. J

Letter 4

On September 15, 2019 at 1:26 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

From a pragmatic point of view, which seems to worry you, if we the good guys were not allowed to kill (not murder, just kill) innocent Shields, then this would constitute an open invitation for the bad guys to grab innocent Shields, to protect themselves from us the good guys, visiting justice on them

Lookit, SOME innocent person has got to die in these lifeboat situations. So, it does no good to bewail the fact that my theory allows for this. every theory must do so

Letter 5

From: J
Sent: Monday, September 16, 2019 7:55 AM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: RE: human shields

I see the concern about the bad guys having an incentive to use human shields. I think I just had an easier time wrapping my head around a simple ban on aggression against non-aggressors; the negative homesteading makes it a bit more complicated. I suppose you’d say that in a war there might be times where killing innocents was justified if it met your criteria i.e. there is an aggressor A (like a Hamas fighter, for example), a human shield B (like a Palestinian child) and another victim C (an Israeli settler, who we can assume is innocent of aggression for sake of argument), where C has a right to kill B if B is being used as a shield by aggressor A. Would you still maintain that most deaths in war are not justifiable even assuming the negative homesteading theory? Or do you find that your evaluation of wartime deaths might differ from other libertarians because of your position?

Letter 6.

To J

From W

My guess is that 99%+ of deaths in war are unjustified. Thus, I am, along with all good libertarians, an anti-war libertarian


11:26 am on October 8, 2019

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Is Donald Horrid? Fractional Reserve Banking, Immigration

From: J
Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2019 9:34 PM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Re: Teaching my first micro economics course

Not many to be honest,

I was and still am very opposed to supporting Donald trump over a different candidate, mainly due to his beliefs on immigration, trade, and foreign policy. I know libertarians support open borders, free trade, and world peace but I don’t believe trump is the lesser of all evils at the moment. I believe Donald trump’s rhetoric is inspiring hateful people to take more hateful philosophical positions (for example calling immigrants rapists and murderers). I think his presidency will set back libertarian ideals for a number of years.

I think fractional reserve banking has the potential not to be fraudulent as well, but we are nowhere near something like that.

Recently my own thinking has been challenged in the wake of this coming election, in terms of creative destruction  While creative destruction is necessary and unavoidable (which also presents opportunities for unemployment insurance) I am starting to think creative destruction is in part due to unintended consequences of poor contractual planning. I believe there are many people in the world who would oppose the automation of their job if they knew it was going to be automated UNLESS they were incentivized not to care. It seems to me we are entering an age where the lifetime of a job should be considered in ones employment contract, which opens up a Pandora’s box of problems when dealing with fraudulent claims. How does one prove, a company paid you to create your replacement that you didn’t know about? I think a lot of these problems can be solved by contracts but not completely. I don’t think it’s socially acceptable yet to ask your employer if they plan on automating your job away, much less get an honest answer.

Hope to get your thoughts! J

Dear J:

I favor open borders, and oppose fractional reserve banking as necessarily fraudulent. See these pubs of mine.

The economist was asked, “How is your wife?” Came the answer: “Compared to what!” Yes, the Donald is a horrid blow hard. But, compared to Hillary? He’s great. Compared to any of the total commies now likely to be the Democratic candidate? Again, he’s great.

Block, 1983A, 1983B, 1988, 1990, 1998, 2004, 2011A, 2011B, 2013, 2016A, 2016B, 2017, 2018; Block and Brekus, 2019; Block and Callahan, 2003; Deist, 2018; Gregory and Block, 2007;

Block, Walter E. 1983A. “How immigrants CREATE jobs,” North Shore News, p. A6, January 30; http://tinyurl.com/2xklvn

Block, Walter E. 1983B. “Protect Canadian Jobs From Immigrants?” Dollars and Sense. February 7; reprinted in Block, Walter E. 2008. Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective: Employing the Unemployable.  London, UK: World Scientific Publishing; http://www.amazon.ca/Labor-Economics-Free-Market Perspective/dp/9812705686/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336603241&sr=1-7;

Available for free here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B00FX9dsY4zJNXU5SmVKYVBQOWs/edit?usp=sharing;


Block, Walter E. 1988. Dollars and Sense: “Migration patterns tell real story.” January 12;

Block, Walter E. 1990.  “Immigration,” Fraser Forum, January, pp. 22-23.

Block, Walter E. 1998. “A Libertarian Case for Free Immigration,” Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, summer, pp. 167-186; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/13_2/13_2_4.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2004. “The State Was a Mistake.” Book review of Hoppe, Han-Hermann, Democracy, The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order, 2001May 25. http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=1522

Block, Walter E. 2011A. “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. 2011B. “Rejoinder to Hoppe on Immigration,” Journal of Libertarian Studies Vol. 22: pp. 771–792; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_38.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Rejoinder to Todea on the ‘Open’ Contract of Immigration.” The Scientific Journal of Humanistic Studies, Vol. 8, No. 5, March, pp. 52-55

Block, Walter E. 2015. “On immigration.” December 21;


Block, Walter E. 2016A. “Contra Hoppe and Brat on immigration.” Management Education Science Technology journal, Vol 4, No. 1, pp. 1-10; http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2016/Sadrzaj_eng.htmlhttp://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2016/7_01.pdf; (1333)

Block, Walter E. 2016B. “A response to the libertarian critics of open-borders libertarianism,” Lincoln Memorial University Law Review; Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 142-165; http://digitalcommons.lmunet.edu/lmulrev/vol4/iss1/6/;


Block, Walter E. 2017. “Immigration and Homesteading.” March. The Journal Jurisprudence. Vol. 35, pp. 9-42; http://www.jurisprudence.com.au/juris35/block.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2018. “A libertarian theory of immigration.” The Scientific Journal of Humanistic Studies. March, Issue18, pp.34-42




Block, Walter E. and Drew Brekus. 2019. “On the Problem of 3 Billion Immigrants Crashing the Border.” April 21; https://www.targetliberty.com/2019/04/on-problem-of-3-billion-immigrants.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+TargetLiberty+(Target+Liberty)

Block, Walter E. and Gene Callahan. 2003. “Is There a Right to Immigration? A Libertarian Perspective,” Human Rights Review. Vol. 5, No. 1, October-December, pp. 46-71; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/block-callahan_right-immigrate-2003.pdf

Deist, Jeff. 2018. “Block on immigration.” September 4;


Gregory, Anthony and Walter E. Block. 2007. “On Immigration: Reply to Hoppe.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 21, No. 3, Fall, pp. 25-42; http://mises.org/journals/jls/21_3/21_3_2.pdfhttp://www.academia.edu/1360109/On_Immigration_Reply_to_Hoppe;


Bagus, 2003; Bagus, Howden and Block, 2013; Barnett and Block, 2005, 2008, 2009; Batemarco, 2014; Baxendale, 2010; Block versus Posner, 2008; Block and Caplan, 2008; Block and Garschina, 1996; Block and Humphries, 2008; Block and Posner, 2008; Davidson, 2008; Davidson and Block, 2011; Hanke, 2008; Hazlitt, 1979; Hollenbeck, 2013, 2014A, 2014B; Hoppe, 1994; Hoppe, Hulsmann and Block, 1998; Howden, 2013; Huerta de Soto, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2010; Hulsmann, 1996, 2000, 2002a, 2002b, 2003, 2008; Murphy, 2011, 2018A, 2018B; North, 2009; Polleit, 2010; Reisman, 1996, 2009; Rothbard, 1975; 1990, 1991, 1993; Salerno, 2010A, 2010B, 2011; Shostak, 2017A, 2017B.

Bagus, Philipp. 2003, ‘The Commons and the Tragedy of Banking’, November 12, http://mises.org/story/1373

Bagus, Philipp, David Howden and Walter E. Block. 2013. “Deposits, Loans and Banking: Clarifying the Debate,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Volume 72, Issue 3, pages 627–644, July; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajes.12023/abstracthttp://bastiat.mises.org/2013/07/fractional-reserve-banking-paper/

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2005. “In defense of fiduciary media— a comment; or, what’s wrong with “clown” or play money?” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics; Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer, pp. 55-69; http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae8_2_4.pdf

Barnett, William and Walter E. Block. 2008. “Time deposits, dimensions and fraud,” Journal of Business Ethics; www.WalterBlock.com/publicationshttp://www.springerlink.com/content/100281/?k=walter+block&sortorder=asc&v=condensed&o=20www.WalterBlock.com/publications

Barnett, William and Walter E. Block. 2009. “Financial Intermediaries, the Intertemporal-Carry Trade, and Austrian Business Cycles; or; Crash and Carry: Can Fraudulent Time deposits lead to an Austrian Business Cycle? Yes.” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics; Vol. XI, No. 1, pp. 455-469; http://www2.units.it/~etica/2009_1/BARNETT_BLOCK.pdf

Batemarco, Robert. 2014. “Austrians, Fractional Reserves, and the Money Multiplier.” September 2; https://mises.org/library/austrians-fractional-reserves-and-money-multiplier

Baxendale, Tony. 2010. Free Banking, the Balance Sheet and Contract Law Approach; March 15; http://www.cobdencentre.org/2010/03/free-banking-the-balance-sheet-and-contract-law-approach/

Block, Walter versus Eric Posner. 2008. “Posner vs. Block on fractional reserve banking.” November, 29; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block114.html;

Block, Walter and Bryan Caplan. 2008. “Walter E. Block  versus Bryan Caplan on Fractional Reserve Banking.” Nov 1; https://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block110.html

Block, Walter and Kenneth M. Garschina. 1996. “Hayek, Business Cycles and Fractional Reserve Banking: Continuing the De-Homoginization Process,” Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1995, pp. 77-94; http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae9_1_3.pdf.

Block, Walter and John Humphries. 2008. “Humphries vs Block on fractional reserve banking.” November 17; http://alsblog.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/fractional-reserve-banking/

Davidson, Laura. 2008. “Fractional Reserve Banking Is Indeed Fraudulent,” November 17; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig9/davidson-l1.html

Davidson, Laura and Walter E. Block. 2011. “The Case Against Fiduciary Media: Ethics Is The Key,” The Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 98, Issue 3, pp. 505-511;

http://www.springerlink.com/content/j76323752648720g/http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-010-0590-2; 10.1007/s10551-010-0590-2

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Shostak, Frank. 2017B. “Why Fractional-Reserve Banking Would Be Limited in an Unhampered Market.” January 16; https://mises.org/blog/why-fractional-reserve-banking-would-be-limited-unhampered-market

I am in enthusiastic support of publication of this paper, pretty much as is; well, with a minor revision. This is an important paper and deserves to be published. It is beautifully written, and makes a substantive contribution. The only recommendation I would make is that the author cite more of the literature in support of his thesis. I don’t require that each and every publication on the following list be mentioned by this author, and integrated into his paper, but, at least he should be aware of this literature, and utilize more of it.

Best regards,



4:02 am on October 6, 2019

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From: D
Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:18 PM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Re: translation?

Dear Walter,

Selgin and White basically state that in a free market, the monetary outcome would be the same as under central banking: people start with gold as money and then FRFB “develops” it all into a “mature” system in which the bankers make the gold disappear and replace it with paper money. For one, Selgin and White turn banking into an abstract activity in itself, separated from the customers, the people with hard-earned gold and silver, for which they trust a bank to safekeep it. Not to abuse their money for goals like “stability” or “preventing a deflationary spiral”, which of course turns the matter upside down. Anyway, their works are loaded with fallacies, which would never become reality in a free market as no one would ever choose their set-up. They project the long, existing history of monetary abuses into a quasi-theory of how free market banking would and should work. And they have been touting this nonsense for almost four decades now. It’s more like they want their names and works to be cited, rather than add to our knowledge and understanding of economics.

Best regards, D

Dear D:

Selgin and White are excellent libertarians, and very good Austrians, except for this one topic, money, where they are horrid. They exemplify Murray’s rule: People specialize in what they are worst in.

Here’s Murray’s excellent critique of Selgin and White:

Rothbard, Murray N. 1988. “The Myth of Free Banking in Scotland.” The Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 2, pp. 229-245; http://mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/RAE2_1_15.pdf.  Reprinted in The Logic of Action Two: Applications and Criticism from the Austrian School.  Glos, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 1997, pp. 311-330.

On the other hand, the two of them sometimes do excellent work. Here is a magnificent essay by Selgin:

Selgin, George A. 1988. “Praxeology and Understanding: An Analysis of the Controversy in Austrian Economics,” Review of Austrian Economics, (2), pp. 19-58; and Praxeology and Understanding, Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1990; http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/RAE2_1_2.pdf

Best regards,



3:59 am on October 6, 2019

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