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mises

Economics/Politics

Single-Payer Sucks

Proponents of universal healthcare hold one of the most morally attractive political positions of present day: healthcare is a natural human right and should be readily available to all, regardless of socioeconomic standing.  On top of their moral high ground, they pile on supposed proof of single payer’s merits by pointing to Canada, Scandinavia, and various other countries.  It’s their belief that if only such a system were implemented in the US, the problems associated with healthcare would largely be alleviated. It’s a very emotionally pleasing opinion to hold.  Single-payer advocates pat themselves on the back for being so benevolent to the poor and insurance-less, claiming that if it weren’t for their efforts, countless people would unnecessarily die.  Unfortunately, positive emotions for its proponents is the only good thing that comes from single-payer healthcare. When subjected to reason, the only way for a single-payer system to look attractive is to analyze it solely with emotion.  Logical and economic reasoning, along with an honest moral assessment, serve to show such… Keep Reading

Economics

James J. Hill And The Liquidation Of Malinvestment

James J. Hill is unquestionably one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history.  This past weekend marked the 100th anniversary of his passing.  He is best remembered for the successful construction of the only transcontinental railroad to not go bankrupt.  He didn’t accept government subsidies, and argued eloquently against his competitors who did: “The government should not furnish capital to these companies, in addition to their enormous land subsidies, to enable them to conduct their business in competition with enterprises that have received no aid from the public treasury.” His endeavors can claim to be largely responsible for the settling and economic development of the upper midwest United States, and for making Seattle into the commercial metropolis that it is today.  For the best histories of the man and his legacy, these two articles (here and here) are unmatched. Countless business, entrepreneurial, and economic lessons can be learned from a detailed study of Mr. Hill.  One particular economic lesson stems from his entrance into the business of railroad ownership… Keep Reading

Economics

Hayek, Statistics, And Trade-Cycle Theory

Austrian economics is often caricatured and criticized because of its approach, or deliberate lack of an approach, to mathematical models, multivariable calculus, and econometrics. Attacks are leveled against Austrians such as Mises, Rothbard, and Kirzner for their failure or refusal to avail themselves of applied empirical research in their scholarship. The Austrian methodology most frequently targeted is praxeology. It is not the purpose of this short article to refute these attacks or to explore their errors and merits. That has been done ably by others (see, for example, the series of debate-essays available here, here, here, and here). Nor does this article attempt to stand up for the deductive reasoning of praxeology or to defend its claims about a priori truths, a task better suited for a lengthy work of scholarship, not a short article. This piece instead asks one simple question: does Hayek’s early work on trade-cycle theory complicate stereotypes about the methods of Austrian economics or clarify the manner in which Austrians can and do approach economic… Keep Reading

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