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—–Original Message—–
From: N
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 4:43 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Children’s rights vs. property rights

Dear Professor Block,

As I was listening to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in the car while running errands, I was reminded how much I owe my intellectual development regarding political philosophy and economics to you. Having absorbed hours of your teaching via youtube, as well as interviews and written commentary, I believe I even qualify as a “Blockhead”. As such I’ve taken your cue and made a contribution to the Mises Institute. And I hope to do it again!

…Given your willingness to confront controversial and even distasteful concepts head on, I pose the following: If under strict libertarian theory we own our bodies, AND we own the product of our labor, why would we not own our children?

I believe you have addressed this already (likely abundantly), so I thank you in advance for any citations regarding this problem.

Best regards, N

P.S. If you happen to run this question on the LRC blog will you kindly redact my name and email?

Dear N: Thanks for your exceedingly kind comment. Anything by Bach is magnificent, and his Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 almost makes me, a confirmed atheist, believe in God. Thanks for donating money to the Mises Institute. Were it not for them, you and I would not be having this conversation. Were it not for their Herculean efforts, liberty, and good (Austrian!) economics would be far less encouraged, studied, promoted and defended than at present. I run all interesting letters such as yours on the LRC blog anonymously.

You pose one of the most difficult challenges to libertarianism I have ever faced. Not to put too fine a point on it, I really don’t have an answer to this intractable question of yours. This is not for lack of trying, see below. There, I list the only three articles that have attempted to wrestle with this issue that I know of. If anyone knows of any other publications on this matter, please share them with me. Here goes:

Block, 2016; Kinsella, 2006; Steiner, 1994, pp. 242-248

Block, Walter E. 2016. “How we come to own ourselves.” Polish Academich Journal – Societas et Ius Version; Issue 5; http://apcz.umk.pl/czasopisma/index.php/SeI/issue/view/1107/showToc; http://apcz.umk.pl/czasopisma/index.php/SeI/article/view/SEI.2016.001;

Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2006. “How We Come to Own Ourselves.” September 7; http://www.mises.org/story/2291

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


8:20 pm on April 24, 2018

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From: m
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2018 8:39 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Gaus piece on Lewrockwell (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/my-unanswered-letter-to-prof-gerald-gaus/),

Dear Walter, Good piece written with your usual verve.


1) Rand cult? Indubitably. No Rothbard cult? Well…Of course, MR encouraged no “cult,” but I’m not so sure about what has happened posthumously. Some seem at least a little cultish with respect to Rothbard (e.g. taking him for a shrewd political guru when I can scarcely think of a winning candidate he backed) — but that may be the case for any such strong intellect and strong personality combined. He was a shrewd political guru even if he never backed a winning candidate? For example, he backed Ron Paul to the hilt for pres. Ron never became pres. Yet, Murray promoted liberty in this way. I regard that as shrewd.

<< A cultist is someone who encourages a cult. Murray, never, ever, not once, did anything of the sort (I’m evidence for this; he and I were always on good terms, despite the fact that I publicly criticized his views on more than one occasion; see below). Murray can’t help it if, during his life, and certainly not afterward, other people treated him as a cult figure. 2) Hayek, I think, is less of a pinko compromiser in The Road to Serfdom than a salesman, trying to “sell” as much of classical liberalism and free market economics as he could at the time and to his audience (cf. St. Paul, “all things to all men,” 1 Cor 9:22). Likewise, I think Hayek may be less a great economist than a great philosopher–one who explored lots of various ideas in daring and unexpected ways. Like his cousin, Wittgenstein, I think Hayek floated ideas that will be paying dividends for centuries to come. << Hayek tried to “sell” libertarianism by giving away the store. That’s pinkoism. Yes, he was daring and imaginative in philosophy, but that doesn’t undermine my claim that he was also a pinko. Nor was this uber compromising needed in order to “sell” liberty. There were plenty of very successful libertarian scholars writing at that time who did not compromise at all. Watering down the message of liberty in order to sell it is almost to commit fraud.

Block, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014; Barnett and Block, 2005, 2005-2006, 2006A, 2006B, 2007; Block, Barnett and Salerno, 2006; Block and Callahan, 2003; Block, Klein and Hansen, 2007; Block, Futerman and Farber, 2016; Futerman, Farber and Block, 2016.

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. 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. 2007. “A Libertarian War in Afghanistan?” July 30; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block80.html

Block, Walter E. 2009. “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/; http://libertarianpapers.org/2009/17-libertarian-punishment-theory-working-for-and-donating-to-the-state/#comments

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

Block, Walter E. 2014. August 5. Interview with Daniel Rothschild: a critique of fractional reserve banking and of Murray N. Rothbard’s analysis of Israeli land claims; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4A5hpzYb94.

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2005. “Money: Capital Good, Consumers’ Good, or (Media of) Exchange Good?” Review of Austrian Economics. 18 (2): 179-194;
http://www.gmu.edu/rae/archives/VOL18_2_2005/4_Barnett.pdf; http://www.academia.edu/1359987/Money_Capital_Good_Consumers_Good_or_Media_of_Exchange_Good

Barnett, William II, and Walter E. Block. 2005-2006. “Mises, Rothbard and Salerno on Costs.” Corporate Ownership & Control, Winter, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 204-206

Barnett, William II, and Walter E. Block. 2006A “Rothbard on V shaped average and
total cost curves.” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 9, No. 3, Fall, pp. 61-66; http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae9_3_4.pdf

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2006B. “On Hayekian Triangles.” Procesos De Mercado: Revista Europea De Economia Politica; Vol. III, No. 2, Fall, pp. 39-141; http://tinyurl.com/2zkvj7; http://mises.org/journals/scholar/block18.pdf; http://www.academia.edu/1359916/On_Hayekian_Triangles

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2007. “Saving and Investment: A Praxeological Approach.” New Perspectives on Political Economy, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 129 – 138;
http://pcpe.libinst.cz/nppe/3_2/nppe3_2_1.pdf;; http://www.academia.edu/1359832/Saving_and_Investment_A_Praxeological_Approach
no future goods (fn 16)

Block, Walter E., William Barnett II and Joseph Salerno. 2006. “Relationship between wealth or income and time preference is empirical, not apodictic: critique of Rothbard and Hoppe,” Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 69-80; http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11138-006-6094-8; http://www.gmu.edu/rae/archives/VOL19_1_2006/4-Block_Barnett_Salerno.pdf

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;

Block, Walter E., Peter Klein and Per Henrik Hansen. 2007. “The Division of Labor under Homogeneity: A Critique of Mises and Rothbard” The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, April Vol. 66 Issue 2, pp. 457-464; http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/ajes/66/2;

Block, Walter E., Alan G. Futerman and Rafi Farber. 2016A. “A Libertarian Approach to the Legal Status of the State of Israel.” Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law. Vol. 3, Issue, 2, June, pp. 435-553; (a critique of Murray Rothbard)
https://thejewishlibertarian.com/tag/the-legal-status-of-the-state-of-israel/ https://thejewishlibertarian.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/israel-rothbard-defense.pdf https://thejewishlibertarian.com/israel-vs-rothbard/

Futerman, Alan, Rafi Farber and Walter E. Block. 2016B. “The Libertarian Case for Israel.” October 13; The Forward; http://forward.com/scribe/351957/tk-tk/;


6:54 pm on April 23, 2018

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Loyola Professor Attacks Austrian Economics

Dear Colleague:

I congratulate you for your interest and involvement in the betterment of our university in general and our college in particular.

However, I cannot agree with this statement of yours:

“Austrian Economics is not inline with Ignatian tradition. Fr. Wildes and entire Loyno ministry would attest to this.” Well, let me clarify that. I agree, fully, with the second part of your statement, not with the first, though.

Let me explain.

The School of Salamanca (https://www.google.com/search?q=school+of+salamanca&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab) was established in by Dominicans and Jesuits in the 16th century. It was very free enterprise oriented. For the Salamancans, the just price was the market price, the just rate of interest was the market rate of interest; government intervention into the economy was roundly condemned. The School of Salamanca is a precursor of the Austrian School of economics (https://www.google.com/search?q=School+of+Salamanca+is+a+precursor+of+the+Austrian+School+of+economics&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab). We Austrians write in the grand tradition of the Salamancans.

Thus, it is the Austrian School that is in accord with the Ignatian tradition, not “Fr. Wildes and entire Loyno ministry.” The modern Jesuits, with but a few honorable exceptions, have moved just about 180 degrees away from their historical roots. Thus, it is Fr. Wildes and entire Loyno ministry who are not in accord with the Ignatian tradition.

I therefore find this statement of yours to be problematic:

“Therefore, all of the intellectual contributions in the field of Austrian economics are not inline with Loyno CoB mission. Therefore, we should discourage Drs. Block, Barnett, Levendis and Krasnozhon to have intellectual contributions in the field of Austrian Economics. It is defined by the CoB faculty performance criteria (title 4 of the by-laws) that teaching is prioritized. Thus, we should encourage Drs. Block, Barnett, Levendis and Krasnozhon to publish in practical and pedagogical Economics field instead.”

I would say the very opposite is the case. The contributions of the four members of the economics department are indeed in accord with the Jesuit tradition (of its founding). It is rather Fr. Wildes and entire Loyno ministry, and pretty much the entire modern Jesuit community who take stances on political economy which are incompatible with the founding of the Jesuit tradition, the School of Salamanca.

However, I agree with you about the importance of publishing in education and “pedagogical Economics.” See below for some of my publications in that field.

I’m not sure what you mean by “practical economics,” please explain.

Have you published in pedagogy of your field? In its “practical” aspect? If so, please send me the relevant cites.

Barnett and Block, 2008; Block, 1991A, 1991B, 1991C, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014; Block and Cwik, 2007; Block and Dauterive, 2007; Goolsby and Block. 2003-2004; Horton and Block, 2001-2002; McGee and Block, 1991; North and Block, 2011; Reel and Block, 2012, 2013; Rome and Block. 2006; Whitehead, and Block. 1999, 2000; Young and Block. 1999;

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2008. “Economic categorization.” Laissez-Faire, Issue 28-29, March-September, pp. 4-12; http://fce.ufm.edu/Publicaciones/LaissezFaire/

Block, Walter E. 1991A. Dollars and Sense: “School Vouchers,” January 18; Nelson Daily News;

Block, Walter E. 1991B. “School Vouchers,” Fraser Forum, February, pp. 30-31.

Block, Walter E. 1991C. “School’s Out for Educational Socialism,” British Columbia Report, v. 2, n. 26, February 25, p. 4.

Block, Walter E. 1991. “Educational Socialism,” Fraser Forum, April, pp. 30-31.

Block, Walter E. 2007. “My Case of and for Coauthoring,” Dialogue, pp. 93-116; http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2007/3.07.WB.pdf; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228196683_My_Case_of_and_for_Co-Authoring?ev=prf_pub

Block, Walter E. 2008. “Attention Students: Should You Get Your Ph.D. and Become a Professor?” June 28; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block104.html (debate with Gary North) https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block104.html

Block, Walter E. 2010. “Is there a Ph.D. glut in economics in academia?” Romanian Economic and Business Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 9-26; http://tinyurl.com/yd6qwsd; reprint in Economics, Management, and Financial Markets , forthcoming, 2010, Vol. 5, No. 1; http://loyno.academia.edu/WalterBlock/Papers/1325023/Is_There_a_Ph.D._Glut_in_Economics_in_Academia; Password: AddletonAP2009.

Block, Walter E. 2014. “Is econ 101 killing America? A critique of Atkinson and Lind, and Boettke.” Management Education Science Technology Journal (MEST); Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 10-22. doi:10.12709/mest.; http://www.mest.meste.org/MEST_2_2014/4_02.pdf

Block, Walter E. and Paul Cwik. 2007. “Teaching Business Ethics: A Classificationist Approach,” Business Ethics: A European Review. Vol. 16, No. 2 April, pp. 98-107; http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/beer/16/2.

Block, Walter E. and Jerry Dauterive. 2007. “Political Correctness and the Economics of Higher Education.” Humanomics. Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 230-239; http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=A4474341C26657A036E9A278B2379E63?contentType=Article&contentId=1637489

Goolsby, Jerry R. and Walter E. Block. 2003-2004. “Education and Bureaucracy: National Testing and School Privatization,” Texas Education Review; http://www.educationreview.homestead.com/2003GoolsbyBlock.html;

Horton, Marshall and Walter E. Block. 2001-2002. “Was Marx an Adjunct? An Analysis of the Proposition That Part-time Faculty Are Economically Exploited,” Texas Education Review, Vol. 1, No. IV, Winter, pp. 43-46; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/marx_an_adjunct.pdf

McGee, Robert W. and Walter E. Block. 1991. “Academic Tenure: A Law and Economics Analysis,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 14, No. 2, Spring, pp. 545-563;; reprinted as McGee, Robert W. and Walter E. Block. “Academic Tenure: An Economic Critique,” in DeGeorge, Richard T., ed., 1997. Academic Freedom And Tenure: Ethical Issues, Rowman & Littlefield, 1997
North, Gary and Walter E. Block. July 24-30, 2011 Auburn, AL, Mises University; Debate on higher education; http://mises.org/events/110;
https://archive.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/93031.html; http://www.garynorth.com/public/9121.cfm

Reel, Jordan and Walter E. Block. 2012. “Public Education: Who is it for?” The Scientific Journal of Humanistic Studies; Vol. 7, No. 4, October, pp. 66-72; http://www.revistainternationala.com/index.php?lang=es;

Reel, Jordan and Walter E. Block. 2013. “Educational Vouchers: Freedom to Choose?” Contemporary Economics. pp. 111-122, December, DOI:10.5709/ce.1897-9254.126 http://we.vizja.pl/en/home; http://ce.vizja.pl/en/issues/volume/7/issue/4#art328.

Rome, Gregory and Walter E. Block. 2006. “Schoolhouse Socialism.” Journal of Instructional Psychology, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 83-88; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCG/is_1_33/ai_n16118909/?tag=content;col1; reprinted as “Voucher Programs Lead to Government Interference in Private Schools,” in Young, Mitchell, ed. 2012. For-Profit Education, Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, pp. 169-176

Whitehead, Roy and Walter E. Block. 1999. “Mandatory Student Fees: Forcing Some to Pay for the Free Speech of Others,” Whittier Law Review, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 759-781;;
Whitehead, Roy and Walter E. Block. 2000. “Direct Payment of State Scholarship Funds to Church-Related Colleges Offends the Constitution and Title VI,” Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 191-207; http://tinyurl.com/2dwelf;;

Young, Andrew and Walter E. Block. 1999. “Enterprising Education: Doing Away with the Public School System,” International Journal of Value Based Management, Vol.12, No. 3, pp. 195-207; http://www.mises.org/etexts/enterprisingedu.pdf; http://www.mises.org/story/2216; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/enterprising_education.pdf; http://www.mises.org/story/2216;
Block, Walter E. 1992. “Political Correctness, Free Speech and Economic Liberty,” Fraser Forum, March, p. 38.

Best regards,


Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318
New Orleans, LA 70118
Skype: Walter.Block4
tel: (504) 864-7934


2:31 pm on April 22, 2018

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Laffer Curve and Austrians

From: Y
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:44 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Laffer Curve
Hi Professor Block, what is the Austrian Economics position on the laffer curve which is taken to illustrate there exists a taxation rate where revenue is maximized. Some mainstream economists claim the empirical evidence shows that tax rate is 33%. If we take it that only voluntary interactions tend toward pareto optimality from welfare economics is the laffer curve ignoring the utility derived from leisure. What other considerations is the laffer curve ignoring when it comes to taxes. Thanks

Dear Y: I don’t know about and Austrian position on the Laffer Curve. Corralling us is like herding cats. Here are my two publications on this subject. I hope and trust they will be of help to you.

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2005. “On the Use and Misuse of the Laffer Curve” Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, pp. 139-152; http://www.academia.edu/1353654/On_the_Use_and_Misuse_of_the_Laffer_Curve; cited in Felipe Lorain B and Jeffrey B. Sachs. 2017. Macroeconomica, en la economia global. Tercera edition. Santiago de Chile, Pearson Education de Chile. Isbn 978-956-343- 507-8, p. 545

Block, Walter E. 2010. “Is there an ‘anomalous’ section of the Laffer curve?” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 2, No. 6, pp. 1-11; http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2010/lp-2-6.pdf; http://libertarianpapers.org/2010/podcast-6-is-there-an-anomalous-section-of-the-laffer-curve/;
http://libertarianpapers.org/2010/block-anomalous-laffer-curve/; reprinted in Mises: Revista Interdisciplinar de Filosofia, Direito e Economia. 2013, Vol. 1, No. 1, January-June, pp. 173-180


5:03 pm on April 20, 2018

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Here is my letter to Gerald Gaus, an eminent philosopher. He did not condescend to respond to it. I get a lot of that sort of thing. What happened to dialogue? Who knows. Maybe, I’m not worthy of correspondence with renowned scholars. Boo hoo. The occasion of this event was the retirement of my friend Eric Mack from the philosophy department of Tulane University. Prof. Gaus spoke at that event.


Prof. Gerald Gaus
James E. Rogers Professor of Philosophy
Philosophy Department
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0027

Dear Prof. Gaus:

I confess. I was a bit taken aback when you said yesterday at the Eric Mack seminar that Ayn Rand was to the body politic akin to a cancer cell in the human body. Your argument if I understand it was that her political economic philosophy is very far removed from the mainstream weltaungshaung and therefore undermines it. My comment to you then was that Murray Rothbard’s viewpoint was even further removed, in that he was an anarchist, while she favored a very limited government (armies, courts, police). You said you’d have to think about this. I’ve been thinking about it too, and have come up with an attempted reductio against your claim: you’re a fan of Robert Nozick’s. His political economic views are very similar to Rand’s, e.g., very limited government. So, is it also true in your view that Nozick to the body politic also as is a cancer cell to the human body?

There is one sense, however, in which I agree with you that Rand is a cancer, while Rothbard, Nozick, Hayek, are not: she was a cultist, none of these others can be fairly characterized in that manner. But my reason is thus very different than yours.

We also tangled on Hayek, who you said (your point 9 in the handout you gave out at that seminar) wouldn’t compromise on the basis of “perceived expediency.” I mentioned that he did precisely that in his Road to Serfdom; he gave away practically the entire free enterprise store. I back up this claim of mine here:

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. 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

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

In my assessment, Hayek was a great economist, but a sort of pinko compromiser on political economy.

Best regards,


Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318
New Orleans, LA 70118


4:10 pm on April 19, 2018

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Cultural Appropriation?

The social justice warriors at Loyola University are having an International Soirée to promote their Center for International Education. They promise jazz music, Mexican food and “international cultural items.” This was my (slightly edited) response to their invitation to the entire university community:

Dear Folks:

Isn’t it “cultural appropriation” to offer “Mexican-inspired specialties” for dinner. Ditto for “Latin” jazz. Come to think of it, “jazz” too! I hope and trust no one on this list wears pajamas, on that ground (they were first used in India). Hey, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more cultural appropriation out there, just waiting to ensnare us unawar PC people. Wait, is “iceberg” also cultural appropriation? Maybe, it belongs to the Norwegians? I’m not sure. Inquiring minds want to know.

Should we all boycott this event on the ground that it engages in cultural appropriation?

Yours truly,

Prof. Walter Block

Not a one of them answered me. I’m shocked. I honestly thought they’d want to dialogue with me about this matter (I sometimes lie about things like this). Here I am, trying to save them from violating their own principles, and all I get is the cold shoulder. Shocking.


5:46 pm on April 16, 2018

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—–Original Message—–
From: R
Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2018 1:58 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Re animal torture, something I’d like to discuss

Herr Professor Doctor Block, I’ve seen many of your writings on LRC. I am a very high IQ engineer, but not an academic, and honestly often find your writings a bit too abstract and academic for my taste. This is not a criticism, please don’t think so, it’s just that I’m a practical man who solves hard real world problems for a living. In your response today on animal torture (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/animal-torture-a-libertarian-analysis/), I agree with you, but it made me think back and I’d like to hear your thoughts on my thesis, to wit: children are property of their parents. This has many implications including the right of the parent to discipline his children (corporal punishment) and the right of a single man to not pay a single woman to support her child barring extenuating circumstances. Clearly children are a special case, on a sliding scale of sentience and civilization, not adult and from the beginning simply a higher form of animal. Are they not, like animals, in fact property, but of a special class worthy of protection as they all (children, incompetent adults, and animals) not exactly free and sentient but also something more than inanimate property? I hope you find my question worthy of discussion. Respectfully, R

Dear R: Thanks for your kind words. In my view children are certainly not property of their parents. What, then, does the parent “own?” He owns, instead, the guardianship rights over the child; as long as he cares for the child, no one else may properly take his progeny away from him. Certainly, he may use force to compel the baby to have his diaper changed, and, even, use slight corporal punishment, as long as it is in the best interest of the child. Yes, of course, there is a “sliding scale” or a continuum as I call it in this publication of mine, see below. See in addition, other publications, interviews, debates of mine on children’s rights. (I don’t know what to make of this sentence: “the right of a single man to not pay a single woman to support her child barring extenuating circumstances”)

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

on children:

Block, Walter E. 2014. “Rozeff on Zwolinski; Block on Rozeff.” April 28;
https://archive.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/rozeff-on-zwolinski-block-on-rozeff/ (starve child? Positive rights?).

Smith, Edward, Jordan Reel and Walter E. Block. 2014. “The Natural Rights of Children” International Journal of Health Policy and Management. Vol. 2, No. 2, February, pp. 85-89; http://www.ijhpm.com/?_action=article&vol=602

December 9, 2013. Debate: Walter E. Block and Stefan Molyneux, Freedomain Radio on spanking children. Michael DeMarco; operations@freedomainradio.com; skype: michaelmdemarco; 716-533-2171; Video: http://youtu.be/EgCmoVbdYtE
MP3: http://cdn.media.freedomainradio.com/feed/FDR_2552_Walter_Block_Debate.mp3

Block, Walter E. and Michael Fleischer. 2010. “How Would An Anarchist Society Handle Child Abuse?” October 13; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block167.html

Block, Walter E. 2015. “Expiration of private property rights.” The Journal of Philosophical Economics. Vol. VIII, Issue 2, Spring; http://www.jpe.ro/?id=revista&p=410;

Block, Walter E. 2004. “Libertarianism, Positive Obligations and Property Abandonment: Children’s Rights,” International Journal of Social Economics; Vol. 31, No. 3, pp 275-286; http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContainer.do?containerType=Issue&containerId=18709; http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block-children.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Libertarianism vs. Objectivism; A Response to Peter Schwartz,” Reason Papers, Vol. 26, Summer, pp. 39-62; http://www.reasonpapers.com/pdf/26/rp_26_4.pdf Nambla, child sexuality, child abuse

Block, Walter E. 1991 [1976]. Defending the Undefendable, New York: Fleet Press, first printing 1976, second printing 1980, third printing 1985; New York: Fox and Wilkes, fourth printing, 1991; chapter on “The Litterer” translated into Italian as “L’imbrattatore Di Luoghi Pubblici: Un Eroe”, in Claustrofobia, March 1978, No. 33, pp. 19-24; chapter on “The Employer of Child Labor” reprinted in Libertarian Familist, Vol. 11, No. 8, October 1992, pp. 1-4

April 27, 2015. Michael FreeMan [mailto:sithfit138@gmail.com]; Josh Davis;
https://plus.google.com/hangouts/_/hoaevent/AP36tYf_4FiPkEMZZUXkwGLSWokcvU1VB6JoPapQz1DLdLfXJFYM0Q?authuser=0&hl=en; how I became a libertarian, minimum wage, the future of higher education, anarchism versus monarchism, children’s rights, pro choice versus pro life, kid’s rights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIwYRxVlKTQ; http://www.targetliberty.com/2015/05/walter-block-on-how-he-became.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TargetLiberty+%28Target+Liberty%29

Spanking children:

December 9, 2013. Debate: Walter Block and Stefan Molyneux, Freedomain Radio on spanking children. Michael DeMarco; operations@freedomainradio.com; skype: michaelmdemarco; 716-533-2171; Video: http://youtu.be/EgCmoVbdYtE;
MP3: http://cdn.media.freedomainradio.com/feed/FDR_2552_Walter_Block_Debate.mp3; http://libertariannerds.com/2016/11/19/wizardly-wisdom-reality-anxiety-ep-4-darien-sumner-from-bumblingbees-net/

Block, Walter E. 2016. Starving Child, Part III: Spanking Children; November 5;

Starving Child, Part III: Spanking Children

Mosquito, Bionic. 2016. “Walter Hits One Out of the Park.” November 5;

July 16, 2017. Vancouver, BC, Canada. Walter Block debates Tim Moen, Leader of the Canadian Libertarian Party. https://www.facebook.com/events/1800169280300222/
436 W Pender Street, downtown Vancouver at 2:30pm. Topic: Is spanking children compatible with libertarianism? Contact: Victor Pross: artpross@hotmail.com; or go
https://www.facebook.com/events/1800169280300222/1831218550528628/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%2229%22%2C%22ref_notif_type%22%3A%22admin_plan_mall_activity%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D&notif_t=admin_plan_mall_activity&notif_id=1498028247599964. Open to the public. https://youtu.be/J6Kto38tk1I


7:50 pm on April 15, 2018

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From: E
Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2018 5:48 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Animal rights
Suppose, for the sake of argument, that an animal rights advocate read your article here. (ANIMAL TORTURE: A CRITIQUE OF THICK LIBERTARIANISM) And that the animal rights advocate wrote a rather long reply, with particular emphasis on the idea that libertarianism allows animals to be held as absolute property, concluding, in summary, that you and other libertarians were “pro-torture.”
Which of the following would most closely summarize your reply? Please don’t feel limited to these options, I am simply trying to save you time by drafting possible answers in advance.
1. You are greatly offended at being called pro-torture and do not wish to speak to the animal rights activist at all.
2. The term pro-torture should only be used to describe those who support torturing those who have a right not to be tortured. Since animals have no such right, supporting the torture of animals is not the same as being pro-torture.
3. Your position is not technically pro-torture, because you are not saying that people should torture their animals. Only that they should be allowed to do so without interference.
4. You agree that you are pro-torture, and point out that the torture of animals has lead to many benefits for humanity, such as increased food production and many advances in medical research.

Dear E:

Thanks for offering me so many choices.

I think I speak for my co author when I say I would respond with the very first sentence of this paper of ours you mention:

“Torturing helpless animals is among the most despicable acts known to man.”

Here are my two articles on this subject. You might want to read the other one too.

Montgomery, Stephen and Walter E. Block. 2016. “Animal torture and thick libertarianism.” Review of Social and Economic Issues (RSEI), Vol 1, No. 3, Spring, pp. 105-116. http://rsei.rau.ro/images/V1N3/Articol_5.pdf; http://www.rebe.rau.ro/RePEc/rau/rseijr/SP16/RSEI-SP16-A5.pdf

Block, Walter E. and Steven Craig. 2017. “Animal torture.” The Review of Social and Economic Issues (RSEI); http://rsei.rau.ro/index.php/last; http://rsei.rau.ro/index.php/10-published-issues/10-volume-1-number-4

To summarize my views on this: libertarianism is a theory of just law, no more, no less. It says that only violations of the non aggression principle, NAP, should be illegal. Torturing an animal you own does not violate the NAP, since animals have no rights. But there are other horrific, despicable acts that do not violate the NAP, and therefore should not be prohibited by law. For example, suicide. Since we each own ourselves, suicide does not violate the law. Does this mean that somehow I think suicide is ok? acceptable? not horrendous? That I am “pro-suicide? Only the New York Times would conclude any such thing. I take it you oppose animal torture and want to make it illegal. Would you also prohibit suicide by law? Previously, centuries ago, the law imposed the death penalty for attempted suicides. In order to be logically consistent, you, too, would have to consider suicide a crime, punishable by law at some level or other. Do you? If so, you conclusion is not compatible with libertarianism, at least not the way I understand this philosophy. Libertarian does not prohibit by law all evils, such as suicide, animal torture. It only does so for NAP violations.

Best regards,


Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318
New Orleans, LA 70118


11:42 am on April 14, 2018

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From: G
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2018 5:21 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: contracts and consent
Hello, I have noticed that you write a lot about contracts, and what sort of contracts you think should be enforced, and which should not.
But one thing I do not see a clear answer to is, do you consider the presence of a written contract to be adequate proof of consent? Your writing seems to imply that you do, but, I do not see a definitive answer.

Dear G: I favor the enforcement of all contracts compatible with the non-aggression principle (NAP). Specific performance contracts, voluntary slavery contracts, contracts for used human body parts, host mother contracts, etc. I don’t favor the enforcement of contracts incompatible with the NAP, such as hit those calling for murder, rape, theft, kidnapping, etc. I think the presumption is that written, signed contracts are valid. However, this can be overcome. In the movie “The Godfather, one of the criminals told a movie producer “Either your signature or your brains will be on that contract.” He signed, but this was under duress, and thus invalid. Other than that sort of thing, a signed written contract is licit. But so are verbal contracts, given that there is a meeting of the minds of both parties. I hope and trust this is responsive.


10:27 pm on April 12, 2018

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Explaining Stock Market Prices by Laura Davidson

Letter 1:

From: N
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2018 2:13 AM
To: Walter Block ;
Subject: Stock Prices

Why do stock prices systemically go up? The S and P 500 has been going up slowly but steadily for many decades. What determines stock price is either dividend payments or reinvestment for the purpose of increasing future dividend payments – in other words, the profit margin. Now, you wouldn’t necessarily think that profit margins would go up over time, just as some businesses become more successful over time, other businesses fail. You might expect them to counterbalance each other. Stock market growth doesn’t logically necessarily have any connection to economic growth.

Now I looked at the statistics and profit margins have steadily been going up over time. This suggests to me that the economy has been steadily becoming less competitive over time. A few examples would be the expansion of newish natural digital monopolies or oligopolies like Google for search engines, Apple with iMessage, and Uber for rides. Before Uber I’m sure there must have been thousands of more taxi companies around the country (even with taxi licensing). I looked at the data and it is indeed true that the plurality of the economic growth in the economy is from these newish digital technologies. Now, there may be other reasons for the lack of competitiveness such as increased trade restrictions in the form of tariffs or occupational licensure. Do any of ya’ll know if either of those have been trending up or down over time? If I’m right about this it would suggest that if other people haven’t figured this out as well that if we start to see the amount of economic growth going to digital technology natural monopolies go down or we see trade restrictions being lifted we could theoretically predict a ceteris paribus decrease in economic growth. Thanks, N

Letter 2:

On Apr 6, 2018, at 2:15 PM, Walter Block wrote:

Dear N:

I’m copying on this my friend and many times co author (and sometimes intellectual debating partner) Laura Davidson, who is one of my gurus on macro. Her recent paper deals with the stock market, so I expect she’ll be able to shed some light on your question.

Dear Laura:

N is an excellent student of mine. Would you please respond to his question?

Best regards,


Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318
New Orleans, LA 70118

Letter 3:

From: Laura Davidson [mailto:davidsonlaura@hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 12:58 PM
Subject: Re: Stock Prices

Dear N,

How are you? I’d like to try to answer your question:

Suppose we lived in an unchanging world of complete certainty. How would stocks be priced?
The price per share of any given firm would reflect the total value of all the assets of that firm. The assets would be priced according to the capitalized value of the expected future returns discounted to the present. Since neither the assets nor the returns would change, and since they would be known with absolute certainty, the share price could be calculated easily as the proportionate share of the total value of all the assets. And it would never change. Dividends to shareholders would be equivalent to the return the firm makes (cost of the product less price of the factors with just enough funds retained to maintain the present value of the fixed assets.) The dividends would equal the market rate of interest, which would equal the natural rate, which would equal the pure rate of interest as governed by the social time preference. There would be no entrepreneurial profit or loss, and no speculation.

But in the real world there is constant change and a good deal of uncertainty. While the present discounted value of a firm’s assets is a good starting point for share valuation, the share price has to take into account the fact that the fortunes of the firm might change due to exogenous events. In other words, any share price is likely to vary according to how entrepreneurs appraise future profits or losses, and how the firm’s capitalized value is likely to change as a consequence. For example, if the firm has a developed a new technology which is forecast to generate greater profits in the future, then the share price is likely to rise, ceteris paribus. If demand for the product is forecast to increase, which would raise the product’s selling price, or if new resources are discovered which lowers the cost of the factors such that future returns will be higher, then this too increases the firm’s value and the share price. From a long term perspective, share prices in general also rise if the social time preference falls, because this means increased investment, and subsequent growth in the economy as a whole. However, one has to take into account the fact that when we talk about rising share prices, we mean real values. And share prices in general can rise in real terms without increasing nominally, particularly in a growing economy in which there is little or no monetary inflation. Conversely, real share prices could fall even if nominal share prices rise dramatically, as might occur during a hyperinflation, for example.

As far as the actions of the firm are concerned, we mean the actions of the shareholders, at least from an economic point of view, because they are the owners, and ultimately dictate what the managers may do. The firm can increase investment by retaining more of the earnings, in which case the capitalized value and the share price increase, ceteris paribus, but there are fewer funds available to pay dividends. Or it can increase dividends while reducing investment. In this case, shareholders receive greater income for themselves but the capital value of the firm and hence the share price will be relatively less, ceteris paribus. This is contrary to popular financial theories which claim dividend growth always results in an increased share price. The reality is that increased dividends usually reflect a successful enterprise, which is why the share price might rise as well, but it’s not true that the former is the cause of the latter, ceteris paribus.

One final note: In a world of government intervention, there can be a lot of speculation in the market. I talk about this in my paper (attached with this email). In the free market, speculation is not a bad thing. It’s simply a form of entrepreneurship. And with respect to stocks, it means the share price of an individual firm is thought to be either undervalued or overvalued, as discussed earlier. But in an economy of violent intervention — and by violent intervention I mean any government action which interferes with the free market — speculation can occur with respect to stocks as a whole. This is when you get large market moves, as occur for example, when the Fed changes interest rates, or when the government enacts certain policies, particularly those that increase uncertainty. It’s a mass psychological phenomenon. And it can result in large-scale error.

So, in general, stock market growth does indeed correspond to economic growth, because it reflects a steady increase in the overall amount of capital goods in the economy over extended periods of time. (Who would argue that the economy is not more advanced now than say a hundred years ago?) However, the stock market is buffeted by all sorts of exogenous events, and in particular by government intervention, which means the trajectory of the stock market is never linear or smooth.

Best regards,

Laura Davidson

Letter 4:

Dear Laura:

The only “problem” I have with your brilliant (as usual) writing is that so few people will see this important contribution to our profession, unless I do something about it.

So, unless I hear otherwise from you, I’m gonna blog this correspondence on LRC, keeping N anonymous, as is my practice. Ok?

Best regards,


Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318
New Orleans, LA 70118

Letter 5:

Walter, Yes, no problem.

Letter 6:

On Apr 10, 2018, at 1:37 PM, N wrote:

That is a brilliant explanation of the stock market, my question is answered. Thank you.


7:17 pm on April 11, 2018

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