Author

Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken has 19 articles published.

Ryan McMaken
Ryan McMaken is the editor of Mises Wire and The Austrian. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado, and was the economist for the Colorado Division of Housing from 2009 to 2014. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.
Culture/Politics

Does Ethnic Heterogeneity Make Homicide Worse In The Americas?

When gun-control advocates make international comparisons on homicide rates, they generally employ an assumption that places with more stringent gun control laws have lower homicide rates. Unfortunately for them, this only holds up when countries with both high levels of gun control and high homicide rates are excluded from the analysis. By recognizing the need to exclude most of the world’s nations from this analysis, the gun control advocates are of course implicitly admitting they recognize that gun control cannot explain low homicide rates in many areas. The case of Mexico, for example, illustrates quite well that simply imposing gun control… Keep Reading

Politics

After Vegas Shooting, It’s Time To Take Private Security Seriously

In the wake of the Aurora Theater shooting, I suggested that private sector establishments ought to be expected to be more concerned about the safety of their customers. In the case of the Aurora Theater, this was magnified by the fact that the theater was a “gun free zone” and did not allow patrons to carry their own firearms as self defense. At the same time, the theater owners themselves couldn’t be bothered with taking even the most rudimentary steps against allowing a gunman to casually carry multiple weapons from his car into one of the theater’s back doors.  The issue came up… Keep Reading

Economics

Fed Chair Yellen: The Economy May Be Weaker Than We Thought

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this week cast doubt on the Fed’s announced plan to continue Fed rate hikes and reverse its years of “unconventional” monetary policy. “My colleagues and I may have misjudged the strength of the labor market,” Yellen announced on Tuesday, adding that they’d also misjudged “the degree to which longer-run inflation expectations are consistent with our inflation objective, or even the fundamental forces driving inflation.” Yellen also “noted that the labor market, which historically has been closely linked to inflation, may not be as tight as the low unemployment rate suggests.” In other words, Fed economists are… Keep Reading

Politics/World

Trump’s China-Sanctions Madness Imperils The Dollar

Last week US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned the US will impose new sanctions on China if it doesn’t conform to UN sanctions on North Korea: “If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar system, and that’s quite meaningful.” In other words, the administration wants to sanction one of the US’s biggest trading partners, and the world’s second-largest economy. China is the world’s third-largest recipient of Americans exports, behind only Canada and Mexico. China is the world’s largest source of imports for Americans, slightly ahead… Keep Reading

Economics/Politics

Why Natural Disasters Are Worse For Poor Countries

In the wake of hurricane Harvey, disaster experts were shocked by how few deaths resulted from the storm: ““It was astounding that we didn’t have a much larger loss of life,” said Phil Bedient, co-director of a Rice University effort to research severe storms and evacuations. A recent count puts total storm-related deaths at 82, out of a metropolitan population of more than 6.5 million. The relative lack of lives lost is being attributed to a variety of factors including luck, the timing of evacuation orders, and “swift action by first responders.” There’s no doubt that these factors contributed to… Keep Reading

Politics/World

The Neoconservatives Have Declared War On The Realists

In recent years, I’ve increasingly suspected that when it comes to foreign policy, the realists offer some of the most sane observations. These suspicions were confirmed earlier this year when after the election of Donald Trump, John Mearsheimer, one of modern realism’s current standard bearers, wrote in The National Interest that Trump should “adopt a realist foreign policy” and outlines a far better foreign policy agenda that what we’ve seen coming from Washington. Keep Reading

Economics

Think Gentrification Is Bad? The Opposite Is Worse

We’ve long been told that gentrification is the scourge of many communities, and we’ve become very familiar with the scenario: a stable middle-class community is destroyed when wealthy (usually white) people move in, drive up home prices, and force out the “diverse” population that had been there previously. There are problems with this narrative of course. Very often, the working-class homeowners who leave the neighborhood experience a windfall from selling their property to the incoming “up and comers” who buy out the aging homeowners. There is an upside. On the other hand, there are indeed downsides to gentrification. There are… Keep Reading

Philosophy/Politics

Grant Statehood To America’s Core Cities

The battle over sanctuary cities is not just a matter of pitting some cities against federal policy. The conflict is also pitting cities against state governments. More than 30 states have moved with varying degrees of success to rein in so-called sanctuary cities that have pledged to not assist federal agents with rounding up and prosecuting suspected illegal immigrants. So far, though, Texas appears to have taken the biggest step with new legislation that “requires local law enforcement agents to honor requests by federal immigration agents to detain jailed immigrants suspected of being in the country without proper documentation. It… Keep Reading

Economics/History/Politics

Southern Secession Was One Thing — And The War To Prevent It Was Another

There’s an old saying that “he who distinguishes well teaches well.” In other words, if one’s going to talk about an important subject, one should be able to define his terms and tell the difference between two things that are not the same. This wisdom, unfortunately, is rarely embraced by modern pundits arguing about the causes of the American Civil War. A typical example can be found in this article at the Huffington Post in which the author opines: “This discussion [over the causes of the war] has led some people to question if the Confederacy, and therefore the Civil… Keep Reading

Economics

The Eclipse: How Markets Could Have Prevented The “Traffic Nightmare”

In a typical illustration of how the news media resorts to exaggeration and hyperbole in order to seem relevant, the national media promised us “chaos” and a traffic “nightmare” in cities and towns where a total eclipse could be viewed yesterday. A month ago, USAToday suggested that too many hikers and forest-fire danger “could cause eclipse-watching chaos during solar eclipse.” The Oregonian reported last month that the presence of public lands invite “eclipse watching chaos across Oregon.” And then the event came and went. The media, which had promised “chaos” ended up reporting little more than the so-called “traffic nightmare”… Keep Reading

Politics

Privatize The Public Monuments

When I was a student at the University of Colorado, I regularly walked by the Dalton Trumbo memorial fountain which was named after the communist Stalin-sympathizing novelist and screenwriter. Once upon a time, the fountain had been simply known as “the fountain,” but around 25 years ago, it was unnecessarily renamed after a controversial person. The reason for the renaming the fountain was the same as it is with any memorial or monument designed to honor a person or idea—to create an emotional connection and familiarity with the person or idea connected to the place; to communicate a certain view… Keep Reading

Politics

Jeff Sessions’s Drug-War Fanaticism Shows a Growing Gap Between DC And The States

In recent years, numerous states have been passing new reforms of the long-abused civil asset forfeiture in which police agencies seize private property without any due process. At least 11 states, plus the District of Columbia, have passed new reforms. Some reforms, such as those in New Mexico and Nebraska, prohibit asset forfeiture altogether in the absence of a criminal conviction. Other states have opted for a more incremental approach, and have settled for new mandates in which law enforcement agencies must publicly report what has been seized — with the intent of identifying abuse for possible additional future reforms.… Keep Reading

Economics/Politics

Even Partial Drug Legalization Goes a Long Way In Protecting Property Rights

The partial legalization of marijuana has not been particularly ideal. Thanks to high regulatory burdens on the marijuana-production industry, limitations on production volume, and high taxes, black markets have persisted within those states that have adopted a variety of legalization measures. Perhaps most burdensome has been ongoing federal banking regulations that essentially prohibit marijuana producers from using commercial banking services. The resulting reliance on physical cash has led in many cases to more robbery and inefficiencies within the cannabis industry. Nevertheless, even partial legalization has brought at least some of the benefits that one would expect. Cannabis products are now… Keep Reading

Politics

Net Neutrality Strengthens Monopolies, Invites Corruption

When it imposed its net neutrality rules on the telecom industry, the FCC was fixing a problem that didn’t exist. While proponents of Net Neutrality have long claimed that the regulations are necessary to impose fairness for Internet usage, access to the Internet has only become more widespread and service today is far faster for users—including “ordinary” people—than it was twenty years ago. Nevertheless, when the FCC in recent months—now under pressure from the Trump Administration—announced that it may step back from net neutrality, supporters immediately began claiming that net neutrality was necessary to keep Internet access affordable and “fair.”… Keep Reading

Politics

Abolish The ATF

Although Donald Trump portrayed himself as an anti-gun control candidate on the campaign trail, the president apparently has no problem with sending federal agents into Chicago to more fiercely enforce gun laws. The New York Times reported late last month that the Trump administration has sent in federal agencies to partner with local law enforcement in Chicago, in order to confiscate more guns: Anthony Riccio, the chief of the Police Department’s Bureau of Organized Crime, said the new team would “significantly help our efforts to trace and stop the flow of illegal guns.” The phrase “illegal guns” makes it sound… Keep Reading

Politics

The US Is Not “One Nation” — And It Never Was

Patrick Buchanan is an informative and interesting writer. On foreign policy, especially, he’s long been one of the most reasonable voices among high-level American pundits. When it comes to cultural matters, however, Buchanan has long held to a peculiar and empirically questionable version of American history in which the United States was once a mono-culture in which everyone was once happily united by “a common religion,” a “common language,” and a “common culture.” Now, he’s at it again with his most recent column in which he correctly points out that the United States is culturally fractured, and speculates as to… Keep Reading

Economics

Beware The Predictions Of “Experts” Like Janet Yellen

Speaking in London, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen predicted recently that the “the system is much safer and much sounder” and explained that the Federal Reserve is prepared to deal with numerous enormous shocks to the economy. In her conversation with Lord Nicholas Stern, Yellen also went on to list the reasons that, thanks to central bank intervention, there is unlikely to be another financial crisis “in our lifetimes.” For those who have lived through more than one business cycle, however, alarm bells tend to go off every time an economist, central banker or high-ranking government official declares that there’s… Keep Reading

Philosophy/Politics

If We Want “Unity,” Government Must Become Weaker

Last week, a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican members of Congress. Letters sent by the gunman to his local newspaper suggest he was obsessed with Republican policies, and concluded that Donald Trump “Has Destroyed Our Democracy” [sic] and that “It’s Time to Destroy Trump and Co.” In the wake of the attack, there have been the usual predictable calls for “unity.” These calls, of course, fail to address a central reason why unity appears to be a problem, and why many feel the need to manufacture it where it does not exist. In the wake of the… Keep Reading

Politics

The Real Reason To Oppose The Dakota Access Pipeline

The ongoing protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline near Standing Rock Indian Reservation makes for some good theater, but the protesters have as yet been unable to demonstrate that the pipeline actually trespasses on Indian lands or that it will likely lead to groundwater pollution. Both trespassing and water pollution are serious issues that would rightly open up the owners — in this case, Energy Transfer Partners — to crippling lawsuits. In North Dakota, however, the pipeline passes through private property and a likelihood of groundwater pollution has not been established. Defenders of the pipeline like to point all this… Keep Reading

Go to Top

Thanks for visiting our site! Stay in touch with us by subscribing to our newsletter. You will receive all of our latest updates, articles, endorsements, interviews, and videos direct to your inbox. 

Send this to a friend