Category Archives: economics

Libertarianism – A Question

I really appreciate the writings of those who are labelled libertarian. Although they come from different schools of thought, I’ve been helped by books like The Law by Frederic Bastiat, The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek, Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman and Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. I believe in small government, the right of an individual to own their property, low taxation, no government intervention in the market and other such libertarian ideals.

But I do so as a Christian.

Paul in Romans 13 gives us an explanation of the purpose of government: it is a minister of God to protect citizens from wrong-doing (v. 3). I am not an anarcho-capitalist (though I have sympathies), because v. 1 tells me to be subject to the authorities God has put in place. However, when it comes to God’s law vs. the law of the state, I echo Peter’s words in Acts 5:29 that it is better to serve God rather than man–hence why the Christian sometimes is called to civil disobedience. In terms of private property, the eighth commandment says, “You shall not steal”; this presupposes the ownership of property that can be stolen. The bible also speaks to charity and the welfare state (1 John 3:13-18) as well as honest financial dealings and inflation (Deut. 25:13-16Prov. 16:11).

Many other libertarian ideas find their support in the bible—I recommend Greg Bahnsen’s lectures Economic Ethics as a great place for more info—but my point here is that my views are not determined by an arbitrary appeal to myself as the ultimate standard of right and wrong. Rather, the scriptures provide for me an unchanging, external, objective, universal, moral standard—something indispensable for a person to avoid being arbitrary or subject to the whims of convention in their ethics, view of reality and knowledge.

So, my question to libertarians who do not believe in God or that his Word is truth is this: by what standard do you determine your economic/political values? Do you determine them by your own autonomous faculties of reason? If so, does this not leave you open to the charge of being arbitrary? Are they determined by societal convention? If so, what of changes in the whims of society? Or what if society chooses to follow a path that you know to be wrong (say, cannibalism)?

The biblical worldview is necessary to make sense of ethical norms (just as it is for reality and knowledge). It makes sense of how markets work (a chance universe, not guided by God makes market predictability absurd), why theft and inflation is wrong (if survival of the fittest, then why not steal?), why no one–including governments–has ownership over another (we are only subject to God, not humans). In my opinion, the great thinkers like Mises or Rothbard, who have much good to teach us, ultimately can’t account for the views that they espouse. And, to be frank, when they do offer up good economic ideas, they do so by breaking with their presuppositions and borrowing from the bible’s. They’ve climbed up on the branch of the Christian worldview and cut if off in the hopes that the branch wouldn’t fall.

If a libertarian can’t account for their own ethical norms, why be a libertarian? Why be a socialist, a communist, a hedonist, a materialist, a Marxist, or a typical-sports-watching-beer-guzzling-North-American for that matter? Without the biblical worldview, everything in this world is meaningless and absurd.

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Filed under economics, ethics, f a hayek, greg bahnsen, libertarianism, ludwig von mises

Ron Paul, Milt Friedman and Thomas Sowell on Drugs

Ron Paul is running for the head of the GOP with the hope of taking the White House from Obama. As a libertarian I have strong hopes for Paul, although I won’t be shocked if he doesn’t win either the primary or the 2012 election. Even if he doesn’t, just the fact that he’s such a popular candidate is good for disseminating the ideas of libertarianism. Gary Johnson is another libertarian running for the Republican leadership, but I’m reticent about him due to his stand on abortion.

Recently, in a televised debate with other Republican candidates, Ron Paul argued that the state shouldn’t be involved in private choice issues such as drug use, including heroin. Here’s what he has to say:

Some have run with this and are making him out to be less of a libertarian and more of a libertine. But in conservative thought his ideas aren’t all that new. Take for instance the well-known, well-respected, Nobel laureate Milton Friedman:

While it might not be so surprising to hear Friedman advocating for the legalisation of drugs as a means of curtailing drug use, that the famous conservaitve Thomas Sowell is of the same opinion probably is:

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Filed under drugs, economics, milton friedman, politics, ron paul

Gary North: Calling and Career As An Austrian School Scholar

Economist Gary North discusses economics, Mises, the Austrian school, professional calling in life and the power of technology to convey necessary information. This was delivered to students at Mises University, part of the Mises Institute in July 2009. Very enjoyable.

Here is a link to the article by Leonard Read that he references called “I, Pencil
And here is the link to A.J. Nock’s “Isaiah’s Job

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Filed under capitalism, conferences, economics, gary north, libertarianism, ludwig von mises, video

Challies Reviews “Money, Greed and God”

Tim Challies has a good review of Jay W. Richards’ book on capitalism and Christianity called Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and not the Problem (HarperOne, 2009). I have the book, but haven’t read it yet (it’s still sitting at Crux!).

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Filed under books, capitalism, economics, reviews, tim challies

Milton Friedman Discussion in Toronto

By Sharing the Legacy and Ideas
of Milton Friedman

July 31, 2009 would have been Milton Friedman‘s 97th birthday. Now, more than ever, we need his vision. To honor the impact he has had on our society, and to help clarify his moral framework for freedom and free enterprise, we will celebrate the Friedman Legacy for Freedom in partnership with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

Institute for Liberal Studies
cordially invites you to celebrate
The Friedman Legacy for Freedom

Friday, July 31st, 2009
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Watermark Irish Pub
207 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario


Please RSVP to Matt Bufton
(519) 819-3037 or matt@liberalstudies.ca


744 Josephine Avenue
Windsor, ON N9B 2L3
(519) 819-3037
www.LiberalStudies.ca

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Filed under conferences, economics, libertarianism, liberty, toronto

A Guevarista Rethinks Guevara

This is the second time I’m linking to my buddy Mark Nenadov’s blog All Things Expounded. He has written about Mark Rudd, a former member of the Weather Underground who speaks of his renouncing Che Guevara. As much as Rudd is still a socialist, it’s good to see that some people are willing to own up to the fact that Che was not the wonderful freedom fighter that people like Zach De La Rocha make him out to be.

As an aside, Mark’s blog is a good place for news related to politics and economics among other things. I highly recommend putting him on your blogroll.

For info on why Che ain’t the hero that the new movie starring Benicio Del Toro will make him out to be, check out Reason.tv‘s YouTube video, Killer Chic: Hollywood’s Sick Love Affair With Che Guevara [HT: Bureaucrash]. In it you learn that Che indeed hated the arts and popular culture and did all he could to stamp it out. So Hollywood’s love affair with him seems to be a case of self-mutilation. The best part of the video comes from Paquito D’Rivera, a Grammy winning clarinet player who saw the face of Che’s hatred for art. He says, “Che Guevara is the king of marketing.” Of course, the irony is that Che hated markets. Ha!

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Filed under che guevara, communism, economics, friends, liberty, politics, socialism

The Klein Doctrine

Johan Norberg has a review of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism in the Cato Institute’s Briefing Papers 102 (May 2008). The article is called “The Klein Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Polemics.” I read this review a while ago when my buddy Mark posted it at his old blog. But recent discussions have made me want to post it here.

Naomi Klein drives me bananas. I’ve read a number of her tirades, particularly in NOW (a Toronto rag). Norberg is to be thanked for a) showing how shoddy Klein’s research is; b) defending the good name of economist Milton Friedman and dispelling the myths that Klein has propagated about him; and c) showing that capitalism is not the term to be used for recent American political injustices. Norberg should have called his article “The Schlock Doctrine” because that’s what Klein’s writings amount to: schlock.

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Filed under books, capitalism, economics, libertarianism, liberty, milton friedman, naomi klein, reviews, socialism

Economics In One Lesson – Henry Hazlitt

If you ever read a book on economics in your life, Henry Hazlitt’s classic Economics In One Lesson should be it. Hazlitt goes through all of the basic economic fallacies that everyone committs and dispels them with short concise chapters and easy to understand illustrations.

My buddy Justin found the whole book online, which is thrilling! You can access it here.

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Filed under books, capitalism, economics, henry hazlitt, libertarianism, liberty

Institute for Liberal Studies Seminar

The Windsor Liberty Seminar is fast approaching. On March 21, 2009 the Institute for Liberal Studies is hosting their annual seminar on all things economics and politics. The speakers this year are:

David Beito (University of Alabama) – Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power

Daniel Rothschild (Mercatus Center) – Gulf Coast Recovery After Hurricane Katrina

John Murray (University of Toledo) – Small mutual insurance funds in the history of American and European health insurance

Sadly (again), I can’t make it. I hate missing these things.

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Filed under conferences, economics, libertarianism, liberty, windsor

Audit the Federal Reserve

I’m not an American, so this doesn’t really pertain to me. But I think that Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve is important. I hope that like minded folk can generate enough online interest to get people talking about it and eventually get the bill passed.

See the information on Paul’s bill here.

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Filed under economics, libertarianism, ron paul

Review: Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell

Gary Galles reviews Thomas Sowell’s recent book Economic Facts and Fallacies (2007) at The Freeman. As I’ve said before, anything Sowell writes is golden. This book looks to be a must-read, alongside Henry Hazlitt’s Economics In One Lesson. Here are some quotes from Galles’ review:

Economic Facts and Fallacies exposes an array of widely held beliefs to careful logical scrutiny and evidence—evidence that is usually ignored by those who favor interventionist government policies. Time and again, readers are shown that support for expanding government control arises from mistaken reasoning and interpretation of data…

The bulk of the book consists of six chapters dealing with subjects where economic misunderstanding abounds: the urban economy, male-female comparisons, academia, income, race, and the Third World. In each of those sections Sowell rebuts a group of beliefs that are widely accepted despite their fallaciousness and incompatibility with the evidence…

Economic Facts and Fallacies highlights many instances where questionable if not downright foolish policy choices were made. So why don’t we change them? Sowell writes, “Many beliefs which collapse under scrutiny may nevertheless persist indefinitely when they are not scrutinized, and especially when skilled advocates are able to perpetuate those beliefs by forestalling scrutiny through appeals to emotions or interests.” This book makes it harder for such advocates to keep pulling the wool over our eyes.

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Filed under books, economics, reviews, the freeman, thomas sowell

Obama’s “Stimulus” Package

I felt like garbage much of yesterday. So I watched more TV than I usually do (I didn’t do laundry, that’s for sure!). During the twelve o’clock news I watched Barack Obama at a townhall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana push his stimulus plan estimated at over 800 billion dollars. It was really, really sad to watch. How depressing to see all of these false hopes bandied about willy-nilly, being received with a gleam in their eye from hard-working people who have no idea that they’re swallowing the biggest dupe in US economic history.
Professor Robert Barro teaches economics at Harvard University. Conor Clarke at The Atlantic recently did an interview with him where Barro called Obama’s stimulus package “the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s.” (HT: Justin Taylor).
I was home in Windsor this past weekend for my niece’s first birthday. One of the things I love about being home is sitting on my mother’s couch with the sun beaming through the windows with a cup of coffee and the Windsor Star newspaper in my hands. Saturday papers are great because they always have a column by the excellent Thomas Sowell. I don’t think that I’ve ever read something by the man without being in almost full agreement. His recent column on Obama’s stimulus plan, I think, explains clearly the stupidity of the whole thing (I could only find a link to the same column in the Washington Times). Sowell is a well-known author, columnist and fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Finally, how could I do a post about Obama’s 800 billion blow out without reference to Ron Paul – the guy who should be president. Here’s a YouTube video of Dr. Paul explaining why this package isn’t what many think it is and why it’s going to severely damage the US greenback. Hear Ron Paul:

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Filed under barack obama, economics, ron paul, thomas sowell

Gary North on John Robbins

I have long thought there to be an affinity between the late John Robbins and Gary North. Both are Calvinists interested in politics and economics. Both have a somewhat tenacious attitude (to quote Dr. North). I had no idea that the two of them worked together for Ron Paul.
Gary North offers some thoughts on their relationship after the death of Robbins this past summer.

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Filed under economics, gary north, john robbins, libertarianism, ron paul

Walter Block on Free Market Environmentalism

Thanks to Brandon for offering a link in a comment on an earlier post on free market environmentalism. The link is to a YouTube video of Walter Block discussing the relationship between the environment and economics. Check it out:

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Filed under economics, environment, libertarianism

Market and the Environment

Two side interests of mine over the past number of years have been economics and environmental issues. In my mind, both fall under the rubrick of Genesis 1:26 and the command to humans to have stewardship over the earth. What’s sad is that often economics, especially the free market variety, and the environment fail to cohere in an amicable way. That’s why I have been excited to read about “free market environmentalism.” This may sould like a contradiction in terms, but I think that if you were to delve deeper into the subject you’ll see that the two fit together quite snugly.
Check out libertarian writer Walter Block’s “Environmentalism and Economic Freedom” hosted at the Mises Institute’s website. It gives you a taste.
Another good resource is the University of Guelph’s Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics group, in particular the writings by Glenn Fox – a self-styled “free market environmentalist.”
See also this interview with Ron Paul who ran for the Republicans in their primary last year:

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Filed under economics, environment, libertarianism, ron paul

Doug Jones and Capitalism

Douglas Jones is an author that I like to keep my eye on – who could forget his hilarious The Mantra of Jabez? It’s a genius satire of The Prayer of Jabez. His contributions to the church are significant. For instance, the work he has done on the apologetic front, bringing the Christian worldview to bear on forms of unbelief has been helpful in my own theological development.

Jones is a pastor at Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho, the same one Doug Wilson pastors. He is also a Senior Fellow at New St. Andrew’s College, oversees the Sabbath House and editorial director of Canon Press.
Recently, Jones started blogging at Scribblative Agincourting, and I must say, that I have been surprised at some of what he has written. Jones has long had association with the newer wave of Christian Reconstruction, a part of which is the philosophy of libertarian economics and political thought. Reading his blog, one sees a certain shift in Jones’ thought. Although I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a shift in the wrong direction.
Whether one agrees with Jones’ shift, he definitely gives pause for thought. He is an insightful writer, who pulls no punches, yet shows balance and conviction in his expression. Personally, as one with libertarian leanings, I find a lot that I agree with in Jones (it strikes me that he’s critical of conservatism more than he is of libertarianism). Whether he is a libertarian or not, he is worth listening to. This is why I’m posting links to some of his posts and the discussion that followed as a result:
I’ll start with the post that has sparked a small controversy in the blogosphere:
And the responses by Andrew Sandlin and David Bahnsen
And here is Jones’ recent response to Bahnsen.
It may be worth noting that Doug Wilson is slowly posting his way through Schneider’s book himself.

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Filed under capitalism, economics

Capitalism and Pseudo-capitalism

My friend Mark posted a helpful comment on my previous post about fair trade and I thought I would put it up here for all to read. I think he is right when he says that most socialists who hate capitalism are actually opposed to “pseudo-capitalism.” Thanks Mark!
Woah, do you realize that you’ve played hackey-sack with a “fair trade” hackey sack? :)What I’ve found is that the term they use to describe what they do (namely ‘fair trade’) is loaded and sort of making a moral judgement about some of the dynamics. And yes, that moral judgement is based firmly on socialist economics.I’m reading “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman. Pretty good stuff so far! I think I’m going to read that and also “Libertarianism” by Hospers and then decide once and for all whether I’m totally comfortable with giving myself the label “libertarian”. I’m probably more comfortable with it than any other political label, though. So in that sense I’m sort of already libertarian. I’m definately not a socialist nor a communist. I’m definately a capitalist and I think some of the common complaints “against” capitalism are actually complaints about pseudo-capitalism. Often, what we see, is not really pure capitalism (because that would be a little too ‘free’ for some peoples likings). Radical capitalism could lead to radical freedom in certain senses, and that scares many people. So, in many senses, pure capitalism has only been around only as much as the powers that be have allowed it, which depending on the place and time may not even be very often. I believe the classical use of the terms “liberal” and conservative” are pretty good, but I’ve never associated myself with modern liberalism, and I’m increasingly distancing myself from much of what passes for “conservative” now-a-days. As loudly as the pundits harp on the other side, I think the real difference in political philosophy between a typical conservative and a typical liberal today is quite small. Yes, there may be differences on an isolated moral stand or two, but those are exceptions to a general agreement in philosophy (once some of the differences in partisan lingos are overcome). This sort of thing is to be expected when votes, not principles, are what drive a campaign.You said: “..you cannot legislate morality”.Sheesh! What were you thinking when you said this..If our government doesn’t ingrain morality into our society, who will??? Let me guess, you’re thinking of something crazy like: The church, or the parents?

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Filed under capitalism, economics, friends

Henry Hazlitt on Frederic Bastiat

Bastiat the Great
By Henry Hazlitt

Frédéric Bastiat was born at Bayonne, France, on June 29, 1801. His father was a wholesale merchant, but Frédéric was orphaned at the age of nine and was brought up by his grandfather and his aunt.
He seems to have had a good, though not an extraordinary education, which included languages, music, and literature. He began the study of political economy at nineteen and read principally Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say.
Bastiat’s early life, however, was not primarily that of a scholar. At the age of seventeen he went to work in his uncle’s counting-house and spent about six years there. Then he inherited his grandfather’s farm at Mugron and became a farmer. He was locally active politically, becoming a juge de paix in 1831 and a member of the conseil genéral of the Landes in 1832.
Bastiat lived in a revolutionary period. He was fourteen when Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and exiled to St. Helena. He lived through the Revolution of 1830. But what first inspired his pamphleteering activity was his interest in the work of Cobden and the English Anti-Corn-Law League against protection. In 1844 he rose to immediate prominence with the publication of his article on “The Influence of French and English Tariffs on the Future of the Two Peoples” in the Journal des économistes.
Then began the outpouring of a brilliant series of articles, pamphlets, and books that did not cease till his premature death in 1850. There came first of all the first series of Sophismes économiques, then the various essays and the second series of Sophismes, and finally, in the last year of his life, the Harmonies économiques.
But the list of Bastiat’s writings in this short span of six years does not begin to measure his activities. He was one of the chief organizers of the first French Free Trade Association at Bordeaux; he became secretary of a similar organization formed in Paris; he collected funds, edited a weekly journal, addressed meetings, gave lecture courses — in brief, he poured out his limited energies unsparingly in all directions. He contracted a lung infection. He could breathe and nourish himself only with difficulty. Finally, too late, his ill-health forced him to Italy, and he died at Rome, at the age of forty-nine, on Christmas Eve, 1850.
It is ironic that the work which Bastiat considered his masterpiece, the Harmonies économiques that cost him so much to write, did far more to hurt his posthumous reputation than to help it. It has even become a fashion for some economists to write about Bastiat patronizingly or derisively. This fashion reaches a high point in an almost contemptuous one-page notice of Bastiat in the late Joseph A. Schumpeter’s History of Economic Analysis. “It is simply the case,” writes the latter, “of the bather who enjoys himself in the shallows and then goes beyond his depth and drowns…. I do not hold that Bastiat was a bad theorist. I hold that he was no theorist.”
It is not my purpose here to discuss the theories of the Economic Harmonies. That is done very competently by Dean Russell in the introduction to the new translation of the Harmonies published simultaneously with this new translation of the Sophisms. But there is a germ of truth in Schumpeter’s comment, and we can acknowledge this candidly and still see the much greater truth about Bastiat that Schumpeter missed. It is true that Bastiat, even in the Sophisms, made no great original contribution to abstract economic theory. His analysis of errors rested in the main on the theory he had acquired from Smith, Say, and Ricardo. The shortcomings of this theory often made his exposures of fallacies less cogent and convincing than they otherwise might have been. The discerning reader of the Sophisms will notice, for example, that Bastiat never shook off the classic cost-of-production theory of value, or even the labor theory of value, though his total argument is often inconsistent with these theories. But, then, no other economist of Bastiat’s time (with the exception of the neglected German, von Thünen) had yet discovered marginal or subjective value theory. That was not to be expounded until some twenty years after Bastiat’s death.
Schumpeter’s judgment of Bastiat is not only ungenerous but unintelligent, and for the same reason that it is unintelligent to deride an apple tree for not bearing bananas. Bastiat was not primarily an original economic theorist. What he was, beyond all other men, was an economic pamphleteer, the greatest exposer of economic fallacies, the most powerful champion of free trade on the European Continent. Even Schumpeter (almost in a slip of the pen) concedes that if Bastiat had not written the Economic Harmonies, “his name might have gone down to posterity as the most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived.” What the “might have” is doing here I do not know. It has so gone down.
And this is no mean achievement, nothing to be treated patronizingly. Economics is pre-eminently a practical science. It does no good for its fundamental principles to be discovered unless they are applied, and they will not be applied unless they are widely understood. In spite of the hundreds of economists who have pointed out the advantages of free markets and free trade, the persistence of protectionist illusions has kept protectionist and price-fixing policies alive and flourishing even today in most countries of the world. But anyone who has ever read and understood Bastiat must be immune to the protectionist disease, or the illusions of the Welfare State, except in a very attenuated form. Bastiat killed protectionism and socialism with ridicule.
His chief method of argument was the method of exaggeration. He was the master of the reductio ad absurdum. Someone suggests that the proposed new railroad from Paris to Madrid should have a break at Bordeaux. The argument is that if goods and passengers are forced to stop at that city, it will be profitable for boatmen, porters, hotelkeepers and others there. Good, says Bastiat. But then why not break it also at Angouléme, Poitiers, Tours, Orleans, and, in fact, at all intermediate points? The more breaks there are, the greater the amount paid for storage, porters, extra cartage. We could have a railroad consisting of nothing but such gaps — a negative railroad!
Are there various other proposals to discourage efficiency, in order to create more jobs? Good, says Bastiat. Let’s petition the king to forbid people from using their right hands, or maybe even have them chopped off. Then it will require more than twice as many people, and twice as many jobs, to get the same work done (assuming consumption is the same).
But Bastiat’s supreme jest was the petition of the candlemakers and their allied industries for protection against the unfair competition of the sun. The Chamber of Deputies is asked to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, outside shutters, inside shutters, and all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures by which the light of the sun can enter houses. The blessings that will result from this, in an increased business for the candlemakers and their associates, are then all solemnly itemized, and the argument conducted according to the recognized principles of all protectionist arguments.
The petition of the candlemakers is devastating. It is a flash of pure genius, a reductio ad absurdum that can never be exceeded, sufficient in itself to assure Bastiat immortal fame among economists.
But Bastiat had more than scintillating wit and felicity of expression. His logic, too, was powerful. Once he had grasped and explained a principle, he could put the argument in so many lights and forms as to leave no one an excuse for missing or evading it. Again and again he shows the fallacies that grow out of exclusive concern with the problems of individual producers. He keeps pointing out that consumption is the end of all economic activity, and production merely the means, and that the sacrifice of the consumer’s interest to that of the producer is “the sacrifice of the end to the means.”
If at least some of us see some of these truths more clearly today, we owe a large part of our clear-sightedness to Frédéric Bastiat. He was one of the earliest economists to attack the fallacies not only of protection but of socialism. He was answering socialist fallacies, in fact, long before most of his contemporaries or successors thought them even worthy of attention. I have not said much here about his refutations of socialist arguments, because these refutations occur rather in the Essays and in the Harmonies than in the Sophisms; but they constitute a very important part of his contribution.
Bastiat is accused of being a propagandist and a pleader, and he was. It was unfortunate that for so long he stood alone, while other “orthodox” economists refrained from criticizing socialism or defending capitalism for fear of losing their reputations for “scientific impartiality,” and so left the field entirely to the socialist and communist agitators who were less timorous in this respect.
We could use more Bastiats today. We have, in fact, desperate need of them. But we have, thank Heaven, Bastiat himself, in a new translation; and the reader of these pages will not only still find them, as Cobden did, “as amusing as a novel,” but astonishingly modern, for the sophisms he answers are still making their appearance, in the same form and almost in the same words, in nearly every issue of today’s newspapers.

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Filed under articles, capitalism, economics, frederic bastiat, henry hazlitt, libertarianism

Free Books

That title ought to get your attention, if you’re like me that is. But no, sadly, Amazon.com is not giving away free books. Rather, there is a helpful website I wanted to bring to your attention. It doesn’t mail you free books (how great would that be?), but allows you to download pdf’s of good books. Of course, your friendly theonomist, Gary North, runs the site. It’s a treasure trove of good stuff (with the odd bad). I was chatting with my friend Scott about it, and thought I’d post, just so he wouldn’t forget.
I personally enjoyed the following books from this site (not that I endorse everything about the site or their books!):
Marx’s Religion of Revolution – Gary North. An excellent, excellent study of the life and thought of Karl Marx. A must read if you’re interested in that kinda thing.
Introduction to Christian Economics – Gary North. I think that North is at his strongest on economic issues, as he is a trained economist. A very helpful book.
Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators – a critique of Ron Sider. This is a classic.
Trial and Error – George Grant. Against the ACLU – you gotta love that.
Killer Angel – George Grant. A biography of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.
By This Standard – Greg Bahnsen. While I am not a theonomist, I do have sympathies. I don’t agree with everything in this book, but I do find it very helpful in many ways.
Bringin in the Sheaves – George Grant. A book on the Christian response to poverty. Very thought provoking.
An absolutely horrific book (and introduction) on this site, whose spirit I definitely don’t endorse, even though I’m not a Keynesian is Hodge’s Baptised Inflation. They take Doug Vickers to task on his economic theory. It is a disgusting book that drags Vickers through the mud. It should not have been written by Christians. Sad.
Also available are a number of different newsletters and periodicals done by North, et. al.
To be able to view the documents, you have to first download DjVu, a link is provided on the site. In all honesty, it’s been a while since I’ve downloaded anything from here, so I can’t guarantee that all of the links work. It’s a trial and error thing I guess.

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Filed under apologetics, books, capitalism, dispensationalism, economics, gary north, libertarianism, presuppositionalism

Perspectives on the Warming of the Globe

I’m amazed at how often global warming comes up in conversation. Some examples: I was entering the elevator in my apartment building and there was a twenty-something university student in there staring at me oddly, not moving his cart full of laundry. As the door closed behind me, in an eastern European accented voice he commented on the weather. In all his days in Toronto, so says he, there had never been a December without snow. “It’s global warming.” I replied that the weather comes in cycles and that we are in a period of warmth and should enjoy it. “No, this is man-made, and the earth is slowly warming.” The elevator opened and we parted ways.
Friends of mine have watched the recent Al Gore documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, to which the issue of global warming is a central theme. Again, we are told that man made emissions have been released into the atmosphere causing excessive warmth. Polar bears are dying, the ice in the Arctic isn’t freezing, and we should prepare for a global flood of Noahic proportions.
This morning a good family friend of my in-laws (and myself I might add), sent an email based on her having watched Gore, et al. She expressed concern and dismay for not having realised the consequences of global warming earlier. Finally, I thought, I should post my thoughts on this issue.
What I thought I would do is provide some links to articles that I have found helpful on dispelling the hysteria over global warming. I’ll annotate them giving a summary and thoughts on each link. I’ll be interested to read what you guys think out there in the blogosphere. So, without further adieu:
A Global Warming Primer – Robert Blackstock
Blackstock was, at the time of writing, a PhD student at Auburn University and taught environmental economics. Although this was written in 2001, it is a helpful introduction to the issue of global warming, giving a definition, an excursus into recent environmental concerns such as the “global cooling” paranoia of a previous generation, the inefficiency of computer modelling (helpful for those who watched Al Gore), the inaccuracy of collected data on global temperature, and the monetary gain for organisations such as WWF who rely on this kind of uproar about the environment. The final paragraph of this article provides helpful advice: focus on the important issues, not the periphery: “So, the question that Americans must ask is this: ‘Do environmental problems exist?’ The answer is yes, they do—but anthropogenic global warming is not one of them. Unfortunately, as long as people are distracted by the myths, their attention will not be centered on the facts.”

The Global Warming Scam – Nima Sanandaji and Fred Goldberg

This article is much more recent than the previous, having been written in 2006. Sanandaji is a Cambridge graduate and runs a Swedish think-tank called Captus and is the editor of their journal. Goldberg, having written his parts of the article from a polar trip, teaches at the Royal School of Stockholm.
The authors show that the research involved on the issue of global warming is relatively inconclusive and that there are many views regarding it. As some journals have reported, ice in the north is actually constant and in some instances thicker than others are saying. They also point to the variety of polar bear populations and that though some are depleting others are constant and even others are growing. Their concluding paragraph refers to “doomsday” theories and there is no reason to scare the populace into thinking that the world is warming to deadly degrees.
Unprecedented Global Warming? – Michael Heberling
This article comes from one of my favourite journals, The Freeman. The author is president of Baker College Center for Graduate Studies in Flint, Michigan. The article details the nature of Kyoto and shows how its two assumptions, that global warming is man-made and that there are unprecedented levels of global warmth are not tenable. Heberling pays particular attention to the latter showing the levels of global temperature change in history, from medieval warmth (which was warmer than today’s climate) to the warmth of the 1940s that wasn’t man-made. The final sentence of the articles is telling: “Enjoy the warm weather, while it lasts!” Meaning, obviously, that we’ll go through another cycle of cooling.
An Inconvenient Truth – Ronald Bailey
This is a review of Al Gore’s movie written by someone sympathetic to the notion that the earth is warming because of man-made pollutants in the atmostphere, yet disagrees seriously with Gore’s slide-show. He provides a lot of counter-evidence to Gore’s and outlines the emotionally driven rhetoric shown throughout the documentary.
For the last year or so I have been thinking on how, as an evangelical Christian, I can have better stewardship over God’s creation. It is sin to abuse the earth, of that there is no doubt. We are called by God to take care of our environment, and because of that mandate, all Christians should shame non-Christians in our care for the earth. Sadly, this is not always the case. I would love to know what organizations that are worth supporting. Sadly, eco-theology is often left-wing and liberal, advocating theologies that I could not attach my name to. What should we do, as Christians, to provide for the environment without falling to earth-worship?

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Filed under al gore, economics, environment, global warming, the freeman