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Those Who Deny Anarcho-Capitalism Engage in a Circular Argument. That’s a Fallacy in Logic.

Letter 6

This is a 6 part series of letters between me and “A.” Here is my last contribution to this conversation. I place these letters in inverse order, so you will have to read from the bottom up if you are interested in perusing this exchange. Why do I do so? This is because A’s first letter is a long one, and I don’t want to take up too much space on this blog with that letter. My hope is that this interchange will help readers confront the statist argument offered by A.

Dear A: Who cares whether or not people who don’t want to be ruled by a government CAN leave. Only totalitarians place roadblocks against exit. The issue, the only issue, is whether they SHOULD have to leave when they do not want to be citizens of a newly formed government. And, there is no reason why they should. According to libertarian principle, they already own property there, before the state was formed, the one that now claims their obedience. So, I conclude, the formation of a government is incompatible with the libertarian emphasis on non-aggression, the Non Aggression Principle (NAP).

Letter 5

Dear Professor, I didn’t say they SHOULD leave, merely that they COULD leave under their own free will. I didn’t even say they would have to pay the tax — they could be free-riders. My scenario was intended to suggest benign initiatives — building a needed dam, fortifications (city walls), armed guards to protect against invasion, etc. (The unfortunate roughshod-running would come later.) Actually, I’ve never liked majority rule — going all the way back to elementary school, where classes sometimes voted on issues — and I was almost always in the minority. Best,A

Letter 4

On 2018-08-04 12:58, Walter Block wrote:
Why should they have to leave? They own property there. It is a
circular argument to posit they should leave. It assumes the very
point in question: that the majority has a right to run roughshod over
the minority; that the majority has a right to force the minority to
become citizens against their will

Letter 3

FROM: A
SENT: Saturday, August 04, 2018 9:51 AM
TO: ‘Walter Block’
SUBJECT: RE: Rand vs. Rothbard

Hi Walter,

Wait–aren’t the 5 percent folks free to “vote with their feet”? Best, A

Letter 2

FROM: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]
SENT: Friday, August 03, 2018 1:55 AM
TO: ‘A’
SUBJECT: RE: Rand vs. Rothbard

Dear ASF:

The 5% are coerced. That violates the NAP

Letter 1

FROM: A
SENT: Wednesday, August 01, 2018 4:48 PM
TO: wblock@loyno.edu
SUBJECT: RE: Rand vs. Rothbard

Hi, “Rothbard correctly inferred from this that no state could be
justified, since it necessarily violated the NAP, by taxing people
without their consent, and demanding a monopoly of force within a
given area. Rand was illogical on this point; she contradicted
herself. Rothbard argued brilliantly on this matter.”_

I’m no scholar, but I can easily visualize a (young) state without
these two problems. At first, there are no taxes, but some project arises to which the
populace agrees (let’s assume 95%) but instead of spending their time
on it they accept a one-time tax and let a small committee run it.
Over time this occurs more often, and eventually the committee
proposes a permanent tax of some sort. Thus the state is officially
born. If it goes too far, however, the committee should be able to be
easily checked by the rest of the population if necessary.

I see a similar scenario with regard to force. Initially the people
fend for themselves or together as needed, but then it becomes easier
to create a police force (likely comprised of people who can’t do much
of anything else). This group eventually demands more money and leeway
to perfect its craft, morphing into a permanent military. Outnumbered,
this group should be able to be easily checked by the rest of the
population if necessary.

The vast majority of the populace just wants to live their lives
without hassles. However, the two groups above tend to work together
and attract the worst people. Gradually, imperceptibly, the rest of
the population comes to accept the pair’s supremacy. Regards, A

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6:57 pm on August 8, 2018

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Austrians Versus Chicagoans: No More (Intellectual) War?

As a result of this interchange (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/a-correspondence-with-a-professor-from-a-very-prestigious-university/), I received the following missive from W (there are 6 letters in this conversation):

Letter 1

From: W
Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2018 9:30 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Re:

Walter,

L said this: “I am unaware of Stigler clarifying his change of heart regarding anti-trust legislation in his later writings.” That does not mean that it does not exist. Stigler was surely never bashful about expressing his views. Since he came to believe that long-term market forces worked better than anti-trust legislation to mitigate against monopoly, I strongly suspect that it can be found among his writings.

Finally, I have always been the optimist — SR pessimist, LR optimist! I have given several talks to graduates and university audiences to that effect. Given my faith in the persistence, efficiency, and rewards of our market system compared to any current political regime, I have consistently argued that at worst we would “muddle through” and at best experience incredible growth and rising standards of living. On the other hand, it is currently my sense that never in my 50-year career has freedom, the market, and our Republican government been under greater threat. Progressives are coming out from under every rock. Socialism rather than being found only in historic dustbins is something openly espoused by major political figures and the young.

If I am correct, I strongly believe the 60-year-old battle between the Austrians and the Chicago School is a battle we can ill afford to continue waging against each other. Combined, at this time we likely do not represent more than 10 percent of the economics profession. We have a terrible important battle to fight; for the first time, I have my doubts that we can win. Fighting among ourselves will only weaken our cause. Yours truly, W

Letter 2

On Mon, Aug 6, 2018 at 1:09 AM, Walter Block wrote

Dear W:

Can’t we Austrians fight a two front war? One, of course, against the commie, progressive, pinko, liberal left. But, another against the wicked Chicagoites, pushing their fed, their voucher systems, their negative income taxes, their malevolent universal basic income plans? In a sense, they are even worse than our friends from the left: they really should know better, whereas who can expect any modicum of sense from the left on economic issues?

More reading for you, from Sherwin Rosen, see below; this shows that the Chicagoites attack us Austrians, not only the other way around. Also, the Chicagoites teach at Chicago, UCLA, and many other prestigious places. Where do the Austrians hold faculty positions at? To ask this is to answer it. How about them being nice to us? When’s the last time they hired an Austrian? Never, that’s when. Friedman and Stigler blackballed Hayek from the Chicago econ dept. He taught there, but only at the committee of social thought. Did any of them ever they ever hire Rothbard? Mises?

If you can show me a publication of Stigler’s that opposed antitrust law, root and branch, not just because (borrowing a leaf from Friedman) it might cost more than its gains in reducing or eliminating the so called dead weight loss of market monopoly, I’ll eat my hat. Well, publicly apologize to Stigler.

Nor is “…to believe that long-term market forces worked better than anti-trust legislation to mitigate against monopoly,” good enough to ward off the intellectual war I propose to continue fighting against the Chicagoans (while of course continuing to give them credit on issues where they are good: free trade, rent control, minimum wage, etc).

This bespeaks a misunderstanding of the correct Austrian view. “Market forces” are totally impotent to get rid of monopoly, for that is necessarily based on a grant of government privilege, and thus impervious to the marketplace. The free enterprise system cannot “mitigate” against crony capitalist monopoly. What about large sized firms with gigantic Herfendahl indices? They are not monopolies, provided they attained their position through means compatible with libertarianism; e.g., no crony capitalism.

Here is Sherwin Rosen’s attack on Austrians:

Rosen, Sherwin. 1997. Austrian and Neoclassical Economics: Any Gains from Trade?, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 11, No. 4, Fall, pp. 139-152; http://www.econ.ucla.edu/doepke/teaching/resources/e202ros.pdf

Here is my reply to him:

Block, Walter E., Christopher Westley and Alex Padilla. 2008. “Internal vs. external explanations: a new perspective on the history of economic thought,” Procesos De Mercado: Revista Europea De Economia Politica; issue 2, pp. 35-132; http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/listaarticulos?tipo_busqueda=EJEMPLAR&revista_busqueda=6790&clave_busqueda=217457

Dear Walter:

Letter 3:

At least Sherwin Rosen took the Austrians seriously, which has been one of their valid complaints.

Letter 4:

On Mon, Aug 6, 2018 at 10:49 AM, Walter Block wrote:

Dear W:

Took us seriously? Consider how Rosen trashed Austrians; he said, in effect, that Chicagoans were correct (where they disagreed, he admitted an overlap) and Austrians incorrect, since there were more of the former than the latter. But, at one time, the flat earthers outnumbered the round earthers. At one time, those who believed the sun revolved around the earth were in the majority. You can’t infer truth by a nose count, as does Rosen.

I suggest you reread the first of these, and then the second:

Rosen, Sherwin. 1997. Austrian and Neoclassical Economics: Any Gains from Trade?, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 11, No. 4, Fall, pp. 139-152; http://www.econ.ucla.edu/doepke/teaching/resources/e202ros.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2000. Austrian Journals: A Critique of Rosen, Yeager, Laband and Tollison and Vedder and Gallaway,” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer, pp. 45-61; http://www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae3_2_4.pdf

I regard the latter as a total obliteration of the former.

Letter 5:

From: W
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2018 2:11 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Re: Larry Wimmer contact info

To Walter:

You are correct, Sherwin’s article was largely critical of Austrian Economics. When I said that at least he took Austrian Economics seriously, isn’t a critical article in a prestigious, widely read journal better than being ignored? I suspect that his article caused some contemplation and searching that might not have occurred otherwise. Along with many others, I believe Sherwin was on track for a Nobel Prize. He took time out of busy professional schedule to write a piece in the Journal of Economic Perspectives that was quite far afield from his professional emphasis. And you received a chance to write an a rejoinder that likely had a wider audience.

Letter 6:

Dear W: You are correct. I’ll let you have the last (substantive) word on this conversation. Best regards, Walter

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5:46 pm on August 7, 2018

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A Correspondence With A Professor From A Very Prestigious University

This is a series of letters I had with L, a retired professor of economics from a very prestigious university. B, a former student of L’s, introduced me to him, saying that L was an admirer of mine. Our discussion ranged widely over mainstream and Austrian economics, anti-trust law and welfare economics, discussing the contributions of, among others, Milton Friedman and George Stigler. L supported these two Nobel Prize winners in economics; he was a grad student of the latter’s. I was very critical of Friedman and Stigler. I accused the latter, not just in effect, of intellectual dishonesty. This is five part letter exchange.

Letter 1
On Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 1:04 PM, Walter Block wrote:

Dear B:

Thanks for the introduction to L.

Dear L (if I may):

B said some very nice things about you, including the fact that you and I have much in common, political-economy speaking. So, I thought I’d open up a conversation with you in this way.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 2
From: L
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2018 1:12 PM
To: Walter Block
Cc: B
Subject: Re: contact info

Walter,

Good to hear from you, and particularly by way of B. Nice to know that he has not given up his Libertarian ways!

I met you once, in fact, we had lunch together with a mutual friend and economists – D.

C and I have both retired. I am 82 and C 78. We both attend seminars, though infrequent. The Department of Economics at xyz is changing, in much the same way that Chicago (and probably the profession as a whole) is changing. MIT seems to be setting the pace. The questions seem less interesting, and the search for more sophisticated statistical tools the primary goal. We still send our share of Ph.D. students to leading universities and receive enough back that it is still a fine undergraduate program. We consider that to be the primary function at xyz – we have no interest in graduate programs of our own. Educate them and send them away. In the West, only Berkeley and Stanford send more undergraduates into Ph.D. programs than xyz. I wish they came back more interested in Political Economy than Statistics, but I can’t change that trend.

Where are Friedman and Stigler when we need them so badly?

L

Letter 3
On Sat, Aug 4, 2018 at 2:21 PM, Walter Block wrote:

Dear L:

I’m 76, so I’m the young guy in this crowd, and unusual position for me to be in, since I’m still on the faculty, and most of my colleagues are way younger than me.

I agree with you entirely about the over-mathematicalization of economics.

Friedman and Stigler? They are hardly exemplars of economic freedom.

This is from a forthcoming article of mine:

“MV make much of the distinction between Marx and Stigler, quoting the latter at length, supportively. This is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course latter is quite a bit better than the former insofar as support for free enterprise is concerned. But Stigler is no better than he should be. He is a fair weather friend of economic freedom. To wit, he was an avid supporter of anti trust law, a violation of economic freedom if ever there was one, and a sharp move in the direction of crony capitalism.

“McChesney (1991) is particularly critical of all of the leading members of the Chicago school for their support of antitrust legislation, and in particular, of George Stigler. McChesney starts off by quoting Stigler (1984, p. 46) to this effect:

“’If you propose an antitrust law, the only people who should be opposed to it are those who hope to become monopolists, and that’s a very small set of any society. So it’s a sort of public-interest law in the same sense in which I think having private property, enforcement of contracts, and suppression of crime are public-interest phenomena.’

“And then McChesney pounces:

“’Chicago’s views of antitrust face a second, and fundamentally more difficult, challenge. Much of the normative economic analysis on which Chicagoans relied in proclaiming victory is manifestly inconsistent with more fundamental positive notions of economics developed by Chicagoans themselves. In particular, Chicago’s positive approach to antitrust, viewing it as public-interest government intervention intended to correct market failure, squarely contradicts the now-dominant economic theory of regulation that Chicago itself popularized. The Chicago school of antitrust regulation, that is, runs counter to the Chicago school of regulation more generally.’

“The point is, that while MV extoll the virtues of Stigler,[1] McChesney quite properly depicts this Chicago economist and Nobel Prize winner with his pants down around his ankles. The latter blatantly contradicts himself.[2] If a firm acts in fully in accord with free enterprise principles, it commits no fraud, engages in no cronyism, is guilty of nothing along that line, but grows sufficiently through voluntary merger and/or via satisfying customers, it can still be found in violation of this profoundly anti-market law. This is a blatant contradiction of the free enterprise ethic. Antitrust is the Achilles Heel of Chicago economists in general, and Stigler in particular. Surely, there are better supporters of laissez faire capitalism than Stigler, with whom to compare to Marx.”

And here are some critiques of Milton Friedman

Block, 1999, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2013; Block and Barnett, 2012-2013; McChesney, 1991; Rothbard, 2002; Friedman and Block, 2006; Friedman and Block, 2006; Kinsella, 2009; Lind, 2012; Machan, 2010; McChesney, 1991; North, 2012; Rothbard, 2002; Vance, 2005; Wapshott, 2012; Wenzel, 2012; Wilcke, 1999

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Was Milton Friedman a socialist” Management Education Science Technology Journal (MEST Journal); Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 11- 26; http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2013/_02.pdf;
http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2013/Sadrzaj_eng.html

Block, Walter E. 1999. “The Gold Standard: A Critique of Friedman, from the free enterprise perspective, Greenspan,” Managerial Finance, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 15-33; http://giorgio.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContainer.do?containerType=Issue&containerId=13529; http://www.mises.org/etexts/goldcritique.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Private property rights, economic freedom, and Professor Coase: A Critique of Friedman, McCloskey, Medema and Zorn,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 3, Summer, pp. 923-951; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2782/is_3_26/ai_n6640908/?tag=content

Block, Walter E. 2010. “Milton Friedman on Intolerance: A Critique.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 2, No. 41;
http://libertarianpapers.org/2010/41-block-milton-friedman-on-intolerance-a-critique/; http://mises.org/daily/6208/Friedman-on-Intolerance-A-Critique

Block, Walter E. 2011. “How Not To Defend the Market: A critique of Easton, Miron, Bovard, Friedman and Boudreaux .” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 581–592
http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_28.pdf

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2012-2013. “Milton Friedman and the financial crisis,” American Review of Political Economy, Vol. 10, No. 1/2, June, 2012 – June 2013; pp. 2-17; http://www.ARPEJournal.com; http://arpejournal.com./ARPEvolume10number1-2/Block.pdf; arpejournal.com

Friedman, Milton and Walter E. Block. 2006. “Fanatical, Not Reasonable: A Short Correspondence Between Walter E. Block and Milton Friedman (on Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom).” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, Summer, pp. 61-80; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/20_3/20_3_4.pdf; https://mises.org/system/tdf/20_3_4.pdf?file=1&type=document

Kinsella, Stephan. 2009. “Milton Friedman on Intolerance, Liberty, Mises, Etc.” November 9;
http://archive.mises.org/11004/milton-friedman-on-intolerance-liberty-mises-etc/

Lind, Michael. 2012 . « Thank you, Milton Friedman: How conservatives’ economic hero helped make the case for big government.” August 7 ;
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/07/thank_you_milton_friedman/

Machan, Tibor R. 2010. Milton Friedman and the Human Good, June 7; http://mises.org/daily/4451/Milton-Friedman-and-the-Human-Good

McChesney, Fred. 1991. “Antitrust and Regulation: Chicago’s Contradictory Views,” Cato Journal, Vol. 10, No. 3, Winter, pp. 775-778

North, Gary. 2012. “Detours on the Road to Freedom: Where Milton Friedman Went Wrong.”
https://archive.lewrockwell.com/north/north1178.html

Rothbard, Murray N. 2002. “Milton Friedman Unraveled.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 16, No. 4, Fall, pp. 37-54; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/16_4/16_4_3.pdf

Vance, Laurence M. 2005. “The Curse of the Withholding Tax” April, 21;
http://mises.org/daily/1797

Wapshott, Nicholas. 2012. “A Lovefest Between Milton Friedman and J.M. Keynes.” July 30; http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/30/nicholas-wapshott-a-lovefest-between-milton-friedman-and-j-m-keynes.html
Libertarians worship Milton Friedman, and liberals lionize John Maynard Keynes. But a long-lost essay shows that the champion of small government admired the prince of the New Deal.

Wenzel, Robert. 2012. “How Milton Friedman Helped Make the Case for Big Government.” August 9; http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/08/how-milton-friedman-helped-make-case.html

Wilcke, Richard R. 1999. “An appropriate ethical model for business,
and a critique of Milton Friedman,” http://mises.org/journals/scholar/Ethics.PDF

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 4

From: L
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2018 5:15 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Re:

Walter,

A very interesting read, and much more that I will want to return to later. I doubt that I can add anything to what you already know, but there seems to be a time period conflict here.

I am aware of Stigler’s early support of anti-trust legislation, but sometime before 1962-63, he had made a significant change — at least verbally and in his classes. In class, in 1963, Stigler made it very clear that while he started off favoring anti-trust legislation, Friedman and experience had taught him that over time market forces worked better than anti-trust legislation. I don’t know what he had in print acknowledging his “conversion,” but in class he was very clear, giving examples of US Steel, the autos, Alcoa, etc.

I thought you would want to know. I hope that there is something in print??

L

Letter 5

Dear L:

I don’t think this consideration you mention gets Stigler off the hook. If anything, it worsens my opinion of him, for it adds dissimulation, intellectual dishonesty, to error. It is bad enough that earlier on, Stigler published articles favoring antitrust. It is worse that after seeing the error of his ways, he did not publicly renounce them. For, teaching is a private undertaking. Only a few dozen, or, over the years, a few hundred of his students, were acquainted with the fact that he no longer supported anti trust. But what about the thousands, maybe tens of thousands of scholars, economists, lawyers, law professors, judges, etc., who looked up to him, and in that way were blinded to the flaws in this legislation? Stigler owed it (morally, not legally, of course) to this vast public of his to renounce his earlier views. He did not.

I don’t like to brag, but, at one time I favored the Hayekian triangle, used by virtually every Austrian macroeconomist. But, when I published this article (Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2006. “On Hayekian Triangles.” Procesos De Mercado: Revista Europea De Economia Politica; Vol. III, No. 2, Fall, pp. 39-141; http://mises.org/journals/scholar/block18.pdf; http://www.academia.edu/1359916/On_Hayekian_Triangles; http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1880543) attacking the triangle, I singled out my own previous publications in support of that mode of analysis, and criticized myself. Block, 1; Stigler, 0.

If I insult someone, publicly, I should apologize to him, publicly, not privately. If I make an error publicly, in a refereed journal article, I should acknowledge this publicly, in the same venue, and, not just to a bunch of my students. I did that. Stigler did not.

By the way, Friedman also supported anti-trust. But he was a “moderate” on this issue. He did not say that all cases of “monopoly” should be pursued in court. For, to do so would be costly, and, maybe, more expensive than the welfare loss of monopoly that could be saved through a law suit. But, he totally bought into the fallacious notion that there was a dead weight loss associated with “monopoly” (that is, large size of companies attained through purely market efforts, not govt grants of special privilege). I suspect that Stigler’s later insight about anti trust was of this sort; that he never adopted the Austrian view that the entire analysis was misbegotten, due to interpersonal comparisons of utility, and other such welfare economic fallacies. If there is an afterlife, and Stigler, and Friedman are reading this interchange between the two of us, they might want to peruse this bibliography:

For an Austrian critique of neoclassical monopoly theory, see Anderson, et. al., 2001; Armentano, 1972, 1982, 1989, 1999; Armstrong, 1982; Barnett, et. al., 2005, 2007; Block, 1977, 1982, 1994; Block and Barnett, 2009; Boudreaux and DiLorenzo, 1992; Costea, 2003; DiLorenzo, 1996; DiLorenzo and High, 1988; Henderson, 2013; High,1984-1985; Hull, 2005; McChesney, 1991; McGee, 1958; Rothbard, 2004; Shugart, 1987; Smith, 1983; Tucker, 1998A, 1998B

Anderson, William, Walter E. Block , Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Ilana Mercer, Leon Snyman and Christopher Westley. 2001. “The Microsoft Corporation in Collision with Antitrust Law,” The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Vol. 26, No. 1, Winter, pp. 287-302

Armentano, Dominick T. 1972. The Myths of Antitrust, New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House.

Armentano, Dominick T. 1982. Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure, New York: Wiley

Armentano, Dominick T. 1989. “Antitrust Reform: Predatory Practices and the Competitive Process.” Review of Austrian Economics. Vol. 3, pp. 61-74. http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae3_1_4.pdf

Armentano, Dominick T. 1999. Antitrust: The Case for Repeal. Revised 2nd ed., Auburn AL: Mises Institute

Armstrong, Donald. 1982. “Competition versus Monopoly: Combines Policy in Perspective.” The Fraser Institute: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Barnett, William, Walter E. Block and Michael Saliba. 2005. “Perfect Competition: A Case of ‘Market-Failure,’” Corporate Ownership & Control. Vol. 2, No. 4, summer, p. 70-75

Barnett, William II, Walter E. Block and Michael Saliba. 2007. “Predatory pricing.” Corporate Ownership & Control, Vol. 4, No. 4, Continued – 3, Summer; pp. 401-406

Block, Walter E. 1977. “Austrian Monopoly Theory — a Critique,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. I, No. 4, Fall, pp. 271-279.

Block, Walter E. 1982. Amending the Combines Investigation Act, Vancouver: The Fraser Institute.

Block, Walter E. 1994. “Total Repeal of Anti-trust Legislation: A Critique of Bork, Brozen and Posner, Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 35-70.

Block, Walter and William Barnett. 2009. “Monopsony Theory.” American Review of Political Economy. June/December, Vol. 7(1/2), pp. 67-109; http://www.arpejournal.com/ARPEvolume7number1-2/Block-Barnett.pdf; http://www.arpejournal.com/

Boudreaux, Donald J., and DiLorenzo, Thomas J. 1992. “The Protectionist Roots of Antitrust,” Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 81-96

Costea, Diana. 2003. “A Critique of Mises’s Theory of Monopoly Prices.” The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. Vol. 6, No. 3, Fall, pp. 47-62; http://www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae6_3_3.pdf

DiLorenzo, Thomas J. 1996. “The Myth of Natural Monopoly,” Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 43-58; http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae9_2_3.pdf

DiLorenzo, Tom and Jack High. 1988. “Antitrust and Competition, Historically Considered,” Economic Inquiry, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 423-435, July.

Henderson, David R. 2013. “The Robber Barons: Neither Robbers nor Barons.” Library of Economics and Liberty. March 4;
http://www.econlib.org/cgi-bin/printarticle2.pl?file=Columns/y2013/Hendersonbarons.html

High, Jack. 1984-1985. “Bork’s Paradox: Static vs Dynamic Efficiency in Antitrust Analysis,” Contemporary Policy Issues, Vol. 3, pp. 21-34.

Hull, Gary, ed. 2005. The Abolition of Antitrust. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers

McChesney, Fred. 1991. “Antitrust and Regulation: Chicago’s Contradictory Views,” Cato Journal, Vol. 10.

McGee, John S. 1958. “Predatory Price Cutting: The Standard Oil (New Jersey) Case,” The Journal of Law and Economics, October, pp. 137-169

Rothbard, Murray N. (2004 [1962]). Man, Economy and State, Auburn AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, Scholar’s Edition; http://www.mises.org/rothbard/mes.asp

Shugart II, William F. 1987. “Don’t Revise the Clayton Act, Scrap It!,” 6 Cato Journal, 925

Smith, Jr., Fred L. 1983. “Why not Abolish Antitrust?,” Regulation, Jan-Feb, 23; http://cei.org/op-eds-and-articles/why-not-abolish-antitrust

Tucker, Jeffrey. 1998A. “Controversy: Are Antitrust Laws Immoral?” Journal of Markets & Morality. Vol. 1, No. 1, March, pp. 75-82; http://www.acton.org/publications/mandm/mandm_controversy_35.php

Tucker, Jeffrey. 1998B. “Controversy: Are Antitrust Laws Immoral? A Response to Kenneth G. Elzinga.” Journal of Markets & Morality. Vol. 1, No. 1, March, pp. 90-94; http://www.acton.org/publications/mandm/mandm_controversy_37.php

I hope and trust you’ll see Friedman and Stigler in a little less glowing light. Maybe, instead, take up with Mises and Rothbard (the latter was nothing short of MAGNIFICENT on anti trust, and on much much more)

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11:16 pm on August 5, 2018

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From: B
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2018 5:38 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: The possibility of a lasting free society

Walter What is the best response to this argument?

Even if we achieve a libertarian, an-cap, voluntarist society, it will never last. Human nature is such that eventually someone will start arguing for a state and people will be persuaded into trying it again. People will always have the capacity to do evil and commit acts of violence; there will always be lazy people looking for handouts; there will always be people that have the lust to rule, and so we will never fully eradicate the state. Murray said that the great battle of all time is between Power and Market and neither will ever truly win. Even if we achieved a system of competing insurance companies for a time, eventually they would either band together or just accumulate power, and enough people would support it for ‘the common good’. Especially if we consider the inevitability of natural disasters in the long run. There will always be crises in the future, and people will always have some fear regarding the uncertainties of life, and thus they will always retain the inclination to have someone take care of them and to look for leaders to follow. As long as there is scarcity there will always be conflicts over their use and the possibility for states to exist.

I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on this. It’s impossible to know the future, and just because we expect the worst sometimes doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the right thing.

Your book on the privatization of roads is my favorite libertarian book.

I also wanted to ask you, I’m the co-producer for the xyz show – would you be interesting in being on the show in 2 weeks? You’re Mr. Libertarian these days, so it would really be an honor.

Dear B:

Yes, I’d be delighted to be on your show, provided I get a url for my interview afterward.

You’re asking about the stability of anarchism.

The best short essay I’ve ever read on that issue is this one:

Murphy, Robert P. 2005. “But Wouldn’t Warlords Take Over?” July 7; http://mises.org/story/1855; http://mises.org/library/wouldnt-warlords-take-over

I would add to this splendid essay of Bob’s the following consideration:

Right now, a state of anarchy exists between Albania and Argentina, between Brazil and Burundi, between Canada and Chile. There is no world government that rules any of them. All national govts are now in a state of anarchy with each other for this reason. How stable has this anarchistic system been. Very stable. The number of countries has been about the same for lo these many years, decades, even centuries.

So, keep the faith, baby, as they say.

Best regards,

Walter

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3:53 pm on August 4, 2018

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Which Career Path Should This High School Student Take? Money? Promoting Liberty?

From: J
Sent: Saturday
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: High-Schooler Planning for Econ. Career

Hi Prof. Block, I’m going to be a sophomore next year at Apponequet Regional High School in Lakeville, MA, and I have recently been thinking about what I would like to do with my life. Through the presidential campaign of Rand Paul, I fell down the libertarian rabbit-hole in 2015, and after wrestling with the ideas of liberty for some time, I found Rothbard and became an anarcho-capitalist or private-law libertarian. Since then, I have been absolutely hooked on libertarian theory and Austrian economics. I was just curious if you have any advice that you could give me regarding how to turn Austrian economics into a profitable career for myself one day. Of course, I will not be graduating from high school until the spring of 2021, but I figure that I should begin thinking about this now. All the best, J

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2018 1:27 PM
To: J
Subject: RE: High-Schooler Planning for Econ. Career

Dear J:

“Profitable career?” In what coin? Money? Then, get a wall street type of job. Psychic income? Then, follow my path, become a prof of econ, and promote liberty that way. In either case, I’d LOVE to have you as an undergrad student, so, when you’re thinking of a university, think of us.

Might you be interested in attending this event? https://mises.org/events/mises-university-2018 (this letter was written before the MU took place)

Here is some material on Loyola U:

Block, Walter E. 2017. “C’mon Down To New Orleans; The Water’s Fine. Enroll at Loyola University.” June 27; https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/cmon-new-orleans-waters-fine-enroll-loyola-university/

Loyola Economics Students Published Widely in Refereed Journals; http://www.loyno.edu/news/story/2017/7/17/3962

Block, Walter. 2017. “The Best Place to Study Undergraduate Economics.” June 30; http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2017/06/the-best-place-to-study-undergraduate.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+economicpolicyjournal%2FKpwH+%28EconomicPolicyJournal.com%29

Wenzel, Robert. 2017. Interview with Walter E. Block. “The Inside Scoop on Studying Economics at Loyola University-New Orleans” September 3;
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2017/09/the-inside-scoop-on-studying-economics.html
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2017/09/the-inside-scoop-on-studying-economics.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+economicpolicyjournal%2FKpwH+%28EconomicPolicyJournal.com%29

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://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/young-person-saved-from-academia/;
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2018/04/loyola-professor-attacks-austrian.html

Top Ten Contemporary Academics Helping The Political Right (#8)
http://www.poletical.com/academics-helping-the-right.php

100 Most Influential Libertarians: A Newsmax/FreedomFest List (#46)
http://www.newsmax.com/BestLists/libertarians-newsmax-freedomfest/2017/06/01/id/793510/

Walter E. Block is Harold E. Wirth Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics, College of Business, Loyola University New Orleans, and senior fellow at the Mises Institute. He earned his PhD in economics at Columbia University in 1972. He has taught at Rutgers, SUNY Stony Brook, Baruch CUNY, Holy Cross and the University of Central Arkansas. He is the author of more than 500 refereed articles in professional journals, two dozen books, and thousands of op eds. He lectures widely on college campuses, delivers seminars around the world and appears regularly on television and radio shows. He is the Schlarbaum Laureate, Mises Institute, 2011; and has won the Loyola University Research Award (2005, 2008) and the Mises Institute’s Rothbard Medal of Freedom, 2005; and the Dux Academicus award, Loyola University, 2007.

Prof. Block counts among his friends Ron Paul and Murray Rothbard. He was converted to libertarianism by Ayn Rand. Block is old enough to have once met Ludwig von Mises, and shaken his hand. Block has never washed that hand since. So, if you shake his hand (it’s pretty dirty, but what the heck) you channel Mises.
Block is a leading Austrian School economist and an international leader of the freedom movement. His earliest work Defending the Undefendable (first edition Fleet 1976, latest edition Mises 2008, translated in 12 languages) is now, more than 30 years later, still regarded as a classic of libertarianism. This collection of essays, which argues in behalf of societal villains as economic scapegoats based on the principles of nonaggression, forces its reader to think and to rethink his initial knee-jerk emotional responses, and to gain a new and far sounder appreciation of economic theory and of the virtues and operations of the free market economy. Block’s writing was inspired by Henry Hazlitt, the author of the most widely read economics text Economics in One Lesson. Block’s latest book is: Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty.

Block has been a fixture in the libertarian movement for some four Decades. He actually met Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, and was friends with, and mentored by, Murray Rothbard. His contributions to academic libertarianism and to Austrian economics have been prodigious. Block’s writings continue to challenge the conventional wisdom (or ignorance) of how economics works and will retain its freshness for decades to come. His public speaking style has been described as a combination of that of Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce and Murray Rothbard
Dr. Block has written over 500 articles for peer reviewed refereed journals, some two dozen books, and literally thousands of op eds for magazines and newspapers. Block appears widely on radio and television. He is a contributor to such scholarly journals as The Review of Austrian Economics, Journal of Libertarian Studies, The Journal of Labor Economics, and the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He is currently Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics, College of Business Administration, at Loyola University New Orleans.

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11:48 pm on August 3, 2018

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Racism?

I’m having a debate with a friend of mine who opposes racism, adamantly, and, yet, denies there is any distinction to be made between the races. Kooky, no? His main “argument” is that there is a gradation in most people; hardly anyone, nowadays, is a pure anything. Including him. He claims to be 1% black, although he admits he looks as white as I am. I’ve tried this argument on him to no avail: Roygbiv. The colors shade into one another. That doesn’t mean we can tell red from orange from yellow, etc. Similarly, the races shade into one another. That doesn’t mean we can’t tell one from the other. Neither colors nor races are social constructs. Both are part of reality. We ignore any part of reality at our peril, whether colors or races or anything else. Color blindedness is a handicap. So is race blindedness. When accused of racism, I’m now gonna claim I have at least one black friend, namely, him. It seems plain and obvious to me that whites are better than blacks in swimming and as baroque musicians, while blacks are better than whites, proportionately, at jazz, running and basketball. Yes, he would deny this, since, there is no such thing as races, or racial differences. Oh, yet, here is yet another way out on the limb claim of mine: blacks have darker skin, on average (there are some exceptions), than whites. If this be racism, count me in.

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9:31 pm on August 2, 2018

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Rand Versus Rothbard

From: L
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2018 7:57 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Ayn Rand

Hello Walter, I’m not sure you would remember me, but we met briefly at the Mises Institute 2017. I am emailing you because I have listened to many interviews of yours discussing your time with Ayn Rand, and her intolerance of people questioning her beliefs, and it has me wondering if you could clarify something for me. What were the contradictions you speak of regarding Ayn Rand’s views, and what would you say are the most significant differences between Ayn Rand’s beliefs vs Murray Rothbard. Thank you for your time, L

Dear L: There are two main ways in which Rand and Rothbard differ. The first is on foreign policy. Rand was a US militarist, a war-monger. Rothbard took a more measured look at this, and concluded, on the basis of much evidence, that the US was a belligerent imperialist force, continually bombing nations that had never attacked our country. The second was that Rand was a minimal government supporter, or minarchist, and Rothbard an anarcho-capitalist. They both started with the premise of the non-aggression principle, the NAP: it is illicit to initiate or threaten violence against innocent people. Rothbard correctly inferred from this that no state could be justified, since it necessarily violated the NAP, by taxing people without their consent, and demanding a monopoly of force within a given area. Rand was illogical on this point; she contradicted herself. Rothbard argued brilliantly on this matter.

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6:15 pm on August 1, 2018

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Legalize Everything That Does Not Violate the NAP

From: D
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2018 2:24 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: How to help the Black community

Want to Help the Black Community?

Walter, I’ve been enjoying your articles and blog comments for years. Lewrockwell.com has been my “go to” site for news and opinion for more than a decade.

I’m pretty much on board with drug legalization and see how it would drastically reduce “standard” drugs like pot, cocaine, and heroin. But wouldn’t there still be an underground market for meth and powerful “designer drugs”? How could they ever be regulated so they were relatively safe and legal? D

Dear D: First, let me say, as one of my readers suggested, that I should have put in that note of mine another important way to help the black community would be to get rid of restrictive entry laws which prohibit otherwise lawful activities. For example, we don’t really need licenses for hair braiding, now, do we?

As for your question about really dangerous drugs, I think the best “regulation” so that they are relatively safe is to legalize them all. The free enterprise system is the best “regulation” institution known to man. One of my mottos is, If it moves, privatize it; if it doesn’t move, privatize it; since everything moves or doesn’t move, privatize everything. In this context, my motto is, legalize everything, Everything, EVERYTHING, that is not a per se violation of the non-aggression principle (NAP). Inanimate drugs are not. What about the “Godzilla pill” which I just invented? It turns you into a monster, a werewolf, and then you start murdering people. Should that be legalized? Yes. It is inanimate. It can be used for other purposes, maybe for cancer research; who knows, I just invented it. Ingesting the pill, however, is another matter (unless you first put yourself into an iron clad straight jacket, or lock yourself up, so that you’ll not be a threat to anyone; then, someone can free you, after the effects of the drug wear off). Otherwise, as soon as you start growling, or growing hair on your palms, or whatever it is that is preliminary to your murder spree, the (hopefully private) cops should shoot you down as a defensive measure since you now constitute a dire threat.

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4:20 pm on July 31, 2018

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What Is A Free Market Supporter? Is He Necessarily Rich? No.

From: C
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2018 10:44 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Re:

Walter,

BTW, there are lots of docs who are quintessential free marketers! Every Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and 1000s of others doing “elective” doctoring don’t (and can’t) use any forms of socialized medicine, insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc… Good businessmen docs of these sorts make $1M a year rather than a couple $100,000. Whatever the market can bear.

Dear C (this person is a faculty colleague of mine at Loyola University, not, of course, from the econ dept, perish the thought):

You and I have very different views of what constitutes free marketers. You seem to equate it with earning great wealth disreputably. The free enterprise sysem does indeed lead to general prosperity, but “rich” and “free market supporter” are not synonyms. Otherwise, “rich socialist” or “poor free marketer” would be a contradictions in terms, and they are not.

Don’t you charge for your property “whatever the market can bear?” If you sell your house or car, won’t you sell it to the highest bidder? Right now, you are a professor at Loyola University, earning $x per year. Suppose another university, in every other way similar to ours (colleagues, students, ease of commuting, prestige, etc.) offered you $x+y, where y is a significant positive number, wouldn’t you take it (I assume it would be costless to switch positions)? If so, you’re no better than any other “good businessman” who you revile. You might consider finding out what “free marketer” really means. I wouldn’t make an ignorant statement of this sort which involved your field. Lot’s of people say, “I’m not an economist, but…” and then proceed to expose their ignorance about my discipline. I strive mightily not to do so about yours or any other such specialty. If you’re open to studying the evils and inefficiencies of “socialized medicine, (govt!) insurance, Medicare, Medicaid” let me know and I’ll send you some readings on this and perhaps we can have lunch together to discuss this matter.

Best regards,

Walter

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6:32 pm on July 30, 2018

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Want to Help the Black Community?

Want to help the black community?

1. Legalize all drugs. The result will be fewer blacks in jail, less black on black murder, fighting over drug turf. None, at least not from that cause. We ended alcohol prohibition: no more murders over alcohol turf.

2. Eliminate the minimum wage law; less black unemployment. Right now the unemployment rate for black teens (the subgroup most in need of help), is QUADRUPLE (LET ME REPEAT THAT: QUADRUPLE) that of white adults. Before the advent of this evil law, there was no difference in the unemployment rates of the two groups

3. Get rid of the welfare system. It didn’t break up the black family, it caused it not to form in the first place. 75% of black kids don’t have a mother and a father in their home. Before welfare, the black and white families were in a virtual tie for intactness. Read on this Charles Murray’s magnificent book, Losing Ground.

4. Get rid of affirmative action. It’s like putting me in the ring with Mike Tyson after I’ve had a few boxing lessons. It is unfair to black students to place them in universities where the average SAT score is several hundred points above theirs. It steers them into majoring in whining studies instead of STEM.

Those are my moderate proposals.

My radical one? Severely punish, with jail sentences, the people, politicians, bureaucrats, responsible for harming the black community with these policies in the first place.

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8:39 pm on July 29, 2018

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