Archived from the live Mises.tv broadcast, this lecture by Bob Murphy was presented at the 2012 Mises University in Auburn, Alabama. Music by Kevin MacLeod.
Paul Krugman, noted Keynesian, has been challenged to a public debate by Robert Murphy of the free-market Austrian School of economics. Right now nearly $75,000 will go to charity if Krugman agrees. The pledge number is rising. Keep the pressure on: http://www.KrugmanDebate.com
Ordinarily, if you want to start a new business or offer a new service there is a simple test to find out whether your new business is needed: You open the doors and tell the world. If people need your business, you will have customers. If they don’t, you won’t. That experience—of learning what people need and how new types of services can fit in—is familiar to anyone who has ever been an entrepreneur. Indeed, it is familiar to anyone who has ever been a customer.
It is also an experience that the state of Virginia turns entirely on its head for people who want to offer new healthcare services. If you want to offer new healthcare services, even something as routine as opening a private clinic, you have to obtain special permission from the state government. And permission is not easy to come by: Would-be service providers have to persuade state officials that their new service is “necessary”—and they have to do so in a process that verges on full-blown litigation in which existing businesses (their would-be competitors) are allowed to oppose them. Not surprisingly, this process can be incredibly expensive, and it frequently results in new services being forbidden to operate at all.
To be clear, this requirement (called a certificate-of-need or CON program) has nothing to do with public health or safety. Separate state and federal laws govern who is allowed to practice medicine and what kind of medical procedures are or are not permitted. Virginia’s CON program only regulates whether someone is allowed to open a new office or purchase new equipment; it is explicitly designed to make sure new services are not allowed to take customers away from established healthcare services.
In short, Virginia’s CON program is nothing but a government permission slip to compete. It ensures that more money flows into the pockets of established, politically connected businesses, and it accomplishes this by trampling entrepreneurs’ economic liberty and reducing Virginians’ choices for medical care.
But patients and doctors—not state officials—are in the best position to decide what healthcare services are needed. That is why Colon Health Centers of America, headed by Dr. Mark Baumel, MD, and Washington Imaging Associates Maryland, LLC, headed by Dr. Mark Monteferrante, MD, have joined forces with the Institute for Justice to challenge Virginia’s protectionist CON program. Theprotects individuals’ right to earn an honest living free from unreasonable government interference, and it prevents states from putting up unnecessary barriers to interstate commerce. The Virginia CON program does both, and that is why the federal courts should strike it down.
Do all people have natural rights? Philosophers Ayn Rand and Robert Nozick think so. Dr. Nigel Ashford examines the “natural rights” school of thought, in particular the theories of Rand and Nozick. Nozick and Rand both argue that government should never infringe upon our natural rights, and that government exists only to protect these natural rights. They also find that capitalism is the only moral economic system because it is based on voluntary exchange, not coercion.
Prof. Don Boudreaux responds to “The Truth About the Economy” (http://lrnlbty.co/z0ACuH), a recent video featuring former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. In the video, one of Reich’s key points is that most people’s wages have barely increased since 1980. However, when Reich’s numbers are examined in greater detail, his claim does not hold up. If you care about this issue, there are three things to consider:
1. How inflation is calculated
2. Benefits workers receive other than wages
3. The distinction between statistics and individuals
Adjusting for inflation, especially over long periods of time, is as much an art as it is a science. In an attempt to measure inflation, economists have developed several indexes. All of these indexes are considered legitimate, but all of them yield different results. In “The Truth About the Economy” video, Robert Reich uses the consumer price index (CPI) to calculate the average hourly wage, and he finds that wages haven’t risen much over the past 30 years. However, when using other methods of adjusting for inflation, which are no less respected, the average hourly wage rate rises as much at 18% over the same 30 year period.
Index differences aside, everyone agrees that all forms of compensation must be considered to accurately calculate worker’s compensation. This includes not only wages and salaries, but also benefits like health insurance, retirement benefits, vacation days, sick pay, and more. It’s worth noting that fringe benefits have become a larger share of income over the past 30 years. According to Don Boudreaux’s calculations, which include fringe benefits, average hourly wages have increased up to 26% over the past 30 years.
Lastly, and most importantly, Robert Reich confuses statistical categories with real people. When Reich says that, since 1980, most people’s wages have barely increased, he gives the impression that most people have enjoyed no economic gains over the past three decades. What he means is that, adjusting for inflation, average wages have not increased. The real flesh and blood people within these statistical categories have actually experienced increased compensation. Some workers are gaining skills, others are retiring, and others are joining the workforce for the first time. Especially noteworthy is the increasing rate at which women and immigrants have entered the workforce in the past 30 years.
To Boudreaux, Reich is right to claim that a strong economy needs a strong middle class. However, taxing the rich, as Reich suggests, is not the path to a strong middle class. The path to a strong economy and a strong middle class requires the hard work and great entrepreneurial ideas of individual people acting in a free market.
Watch more videos: http://lrnlbty.co/y5tTcY
Presented by Bob Higgs at the Mises Circle in New Orleans, 5 November 2011.
Archived from the live Mises.tv broadcast, this lecture by Robert Higgs was presented at the 2011 Mises University in Auburn, Alabama.
Saying America is an unconventional empire is one thing. Saying that it is not an empire is quite another.
The great debate between Keynesians and Austrians enters the digital age with the Mises Academy’s first ever online formal debate, between economists Karl Smith (Assistant Professor of Public Economics and Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Robert P. Murphy (Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute).
Visit the Mises Academy online at academy.mises.org
Jeffrey Tucker interviews Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute. Recorded at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, on 29 July 2011.
Archived from the live Mises.tv broadcast, this lecture by Bob Higgs was presented at the 2011 Mises University in Auburn, Alabama. Includes an introduction by Mark Thornton.
Archived from the live Mises.tv broadcast, this lecture by Bob Murphy was presented at the 2011 Mises University in Auburn, Alabama.
For generations, street vending has been a classic way to succeed with only a strong work ethic and a desire to succeed. It is a path that cities should encourage, particularly in these tough economic times. But rather than fostering entrepreneurship and opportunity, Atlanta is doing its best to smother it.
Larry Miller and Stanley Hambrick own two well-known vending businesses outside the Atlanta Braves stadium. Their businesses create jobs, offer inexpensive snacks and souvenirs to visitors, and make the sidewalks safer by keeping an eye out for fans who need help. But two years ago, Atlanta handed over all public-property vending to a single company—the first program of its kind in the country. Now that company wants to throw Larry and Stanley out of the spots they have worked for decades to build kiosks that rent for almost $20,000 a year. If it does so, Larry and Stanley’s businesses will be destroyed.
Unfortunately, many American cities put up roadblocks that keep would-be vendors from climbing that ladder. In Streets of Dreams, the Institute for Justice reviewed vending laws in America’s 50 largest cities. It found that of those 50 cities, 45 have one or more anticompetitive restrictions on vending. Atlanta has some of the most onerous burdens in the country, and the monopoly Atlanta has created has cost vendors their jobs and threatens to kill vending as a way for ordinary Atlantans to succeed.
To protect the economic liberty of all Georgians, Larry and Stanley have joined with the Institute for Justice to challenge Atlanta’s vending monopoly. This lawsuit, filed on July 28, 2011 in the Superior Court for Fulton County, Georgia, is the second case in the Institute’s National Street Vending Initiative. It argues that Atlanta lacks the power to grant an exclusive vending franchise and that its actions violate the Georgia. A victory will not only free Atlanta’s vending community; it will make other cities think twice before entering into similarly anti-competitive arrangements.
In this course, Robert Murphy, author of the study guide to Murray Rothbard’s masterpiece, ‘Man, Economy, and State’, will guide you through the chapters in which the market economy can finally be seen as an integrated system.
This course is a perfect follow-up to Professor Murphy’s course “Praxeology Through Price Theory”, but is also superb for anyone who is already familiar with Austrian methodology and price theory.
Enroll, now: http://academy.mises.org/courses/production/
Not every pundit and policy-maker is a Keynesian, but Keynesian viewpoints have seeped into almost every facet of public discourse on economic policy. To understand what guides current policy, and what has led us to the present economic crisis, it is essential to understand Keynesianism.
In this eight-week online course, Austrian economist Robert Murphy will help you do just that.
President Obama’s illegal war in Libya inspires not only Republican opposition but signs of a conservative reawakening.