The Libertarian Standard » David J. Heinrich http://libertarianstandard.com Property - Prosperity - Peace Sat, 19 Jul 2014 20:32:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 A new website and group blog of radical Austro-libertarians, shining the light of reason on truth and justice. The Libertarian Standard clean The Libertarian Standard thelibertarianstandard@gmail.com thelibertarianstandard@gmail.com (The Libertarian Standard) CC-BY Property - Prosperity - Peace libertarianism, anarchism, capitalism, free markets, liberty, private property, rights, Mises, Rothbard, Rand, antiwar, freedom The Libertarian Standard » David J. Heinrich http://libertarianstandard.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://libertarianstandard.com TV-G Article: Is Inequality and Asymmetry Really Problematic? http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/09/21/article-is-inequality-and-asymmetry-really-problematic/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/09/21/article-is-inequality-and-asymmetry-really-problematic/#comments Wed, 22 Sep 2010 01:10:35 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=6065 InequalityIn “How Inequality Shapes Our Lives,” Roderick Long argues that asymmetric relationships between services providers and customers or employers and employees are problematic. Some examples he cites include creditor-debtor relationships (e.g., credit cards), service provider-customer relationships (e.g., your ISP), landlord-tenant relationships, and employer-employee relationships. Professor Long’s fundamental objection to these asymmetric relationships is the alleged asymmetry in consequences for failure to meet obligations.

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Intellectual Property: A Simple Example http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/07/21/intellectual-property-a-simple-example/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/07/21/intellectual-property-a-simple-example/#comments Wed, 21 Jul 2010 15:27:31 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=3114 Patents are voicing an idea and then telling everyone else they can’t use that idea without licensing it. For example, I might find a better way to fish and then prevent anyone who saw me use that new technique from employing it themselves. The fact that I had a new idea doesn’t give me the right to prevent others from arranging their property in the configuration they desire.

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Mises.org Available as a Torrent Download! http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/06/15/mises-org-available-as-a-torrent-download/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/06/15/mises-org-available-as-a-torrent-download/#comments Tue, 15 Jun 2010 16:41:24 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=2507 The Ludwig von Mises Institute has issued the second release of all of the content on their website as torrent files. This means that you can download all of the content available on Mises.org (as of June 15, 2010) by downloading various torrent files and opening them up with your torrent client (e.g., uTorrent, Vuze, or Transmission). This is great both for those who read Mises.org or listen to the media from that website. Thank you David Veksler, Jeffrey Tucker, and everyone else at the Mises Institute who made this possible!

The benefits of this are enormous. All of the information, wisdom, and knowledge on Mises.org is available for $0 to the general public, via Torrent download.1 This directly contradicts what Statists would have us believe is the nature of the free-market — people exploiting each other to succeed. How then do they explain the Mises Institute? The Mises Institute is a truly philanthropic organization, which helps thousands through education: education through peace and persuasion, not “education” at the barrel of a gun.

This will help the Mises Institute, its patrons, and Mises.org readers in numerous ways. Instead of having to navigate to the page or Media section of Mises.org and use browser plugins or spiders, those with a thirst for knowledge and understanding of economics and the free market can simply download everything they want through one torrent file. It also saves the Mises Institute tons of bandwidth, because people downloading torrents simultaneously share in the upload burden by seeding the file (if you download the file, please try to seed until your upload:download ratio is 1.2, this is normal Torrent etiquette). There is a dynamic carryover effect to torrenting: one person might only seed for a few weeks, but dozens of people who leeched from him might seed for a few weeks as well. Thus, there is a kind of digital compounding or interest-effect. Contrary to what you might think — and contrary to what advocates of intellectual property and particularly copyrights would tell you — this will not hurt Mises.org sales of books, but rather boost them, as explained by Jeffrey Tucker.

We can also think of this as a kind of grassroots, guerrilla intellectual resistance. The entire Mises.org media, book, journal, and PDF library will be distributed to thousands of hard drives around the world, will be shared by thousands of people. It can’t shut it down simply by shutting down the Mises Institute anymore. This has two benefits: (1) People can access Mises.org content even if the Mises.org website is down, provided they have the torrents; (2) If the US government wanted to shut down Mises.org, it would still face the distributed world-wide torrents, which would be almost impossible to shut down by a central authority.

So for those of you who are interested, please download: Help Mises.org and yourself at the same time. Download the books, pdfs, journal articles, videos, and mp3 files; listen to, watch, or read them; enjoy the overwhelming amount of knowledge you can have at your fingertips. This is truly a great example of Austrian economics at work: both parties clearly gain something from the interaction ex ante and almost certainly ex post too!

The Mises.org blog announcement:

Mises Torrents 2.0 Available

It’s been about a year early since the first public release of torrents containing all the document and media content on Mises.org. The Mises Institute staff adds new content frequently, so it is time for version 2.0.  Here are the 2010 torrents: Mises Media (132 GB), Books (8.6GB), Journals (4.1 GB), PDFs (324 MB), and ReasonPapers (1.4 GB).

For more files and details see the original announcement.  If you are new to BitTorrent, install the uTorrent client, open the links above, and you’ll be on your way.

If you downloaded an earlier version of this content, please do not re-download everything.  In both uTorrent and Vuze, you can get just the missing files.  In uTorrent,  start the download and let it create the placeholder directory, then stop it.  Overwrite the placeholder directory with your existing files, then “Force Re-Check.”  You can do the same in Vuze –  just enable the option to “Truncate existing files that are too large” under Options->Files.  Then resume.

By my best calculations, we seeded last year’s torrents to thousands of computers worldwide and served over 4 terabytes from our servers alone.  Please help us spread the word and make this release even bigger.

Join the discussion and post a comment


  1. I would like to thank Manuel Lora, Michael Barnett, and Geoffrey A. Plauche for their helpful insights and comments on this blog post. 

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Article: Justice for All Without the State http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/06/05/article-justice-for-all-without-the-state/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/06/05/article-justice-for-all-without-the-state/#comments Sat, 05 Jun 2010 20:12:49 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=2058 Writing on The American Conservative website, Daniel McCarthy argues in “Anarcho-Distributism” that the so-called state of nature that libertarians discuss would not resemble what a Stateless society would look like if the State collapsed. He argues that reasoning from the state of nature may not be the correct starting point for conceptualizing or building an alternative political structure. He therefore claims that anarcho-capitalist arguments about how private defense agencies, protection agencies, or dispute resolution organizations work assume a certain level of equality which would not be present in reality and that these institutions of justice would thus favor the rich. I argue in this article that the free market can provide justice without disproportionately favoring the rich.

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Capitalism is the Greatest Achievement of Human History — Praise It http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/04/11/capitalism-is-the-greatest-achievement-of-human-history-praise-it/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/04/11/capitalism-is-the-greatest-achievement-of-human-history-praise-it/#comments Mon, 12 Apr 2010 04:59:50 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=772 I am grateful that we have capitalism to the extent that we in fact do have it — and although we certainly don’t have enough capitalism, I am grateful for how much we actually do have. Everything we have in the modern civilized world is only possible due to capitalism and the accumulation of capital. It is the natural expression of free markets whenever there is a sufficient level of civilization. The accumulation of capital is essential for the progress of civilization in all aspects. Technological progress alone is insufficient. While capital accumulation has occurred to various extents throughout history, the system of capitalism is a more recent development allowing for much more efficient capital accumulation and development.

It is actually quite incredible to think of how much prior civilization, technological progress, and accumulated capital are necessary to make something as simple as a screw. Even with the instructions and all relevant knowledge, primitive people wouldn’t be able to make them for at least decades, possibly centuries. When you think about the precise dimensions of something as simple as a screw, you realize it obviously required something very precise to make it (e.g., precise casting). And that thing required something precise to make it, and so-on and so-forth. It is a process of building up more and more sophisticated tools from simpler ones, which requires significant capital accumulation.

It is also doubtful that many people, if any, know the entire production process — from raw earth materials to finished product — for even something as simple as a screw. Its production requires the voluntarily cooperative interactions of numerous people. Furthermore, as my friend Juan Fernando Carpio has argued in a forthcoming paper, the human mind and body are both capital goods, which require development. The entirety of human knowledge, considered in the abstract, is akin to the accumulation of capital goods. To the extent that we have civilization, such is only possible because of the accumulation of different kinds of capital.

This is something ignored by socialists of every variety, be they anarchist or Statist socialists. (I would argue that an anarchist socialist will, when faced with the reality of how free people actually act, either have to at least tacitly endorse private property and capitalism, or will become a Statist). The various systems advocated by socialist anarchists all hinder or make impossible capital accumulation. For example, various flavors of anarchist socialism might attempt to ban — how can they do this while remaining anarchist? — absentee ownership or the separation of ownership and control (i.e., corporations). The banning of either would result in rising time-preferences and thus greatly decrease incentives for saving and capital accumulation.

Some Suggested Readings

Ludwig von Mises, 2008 [1956]. The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality. Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, AL.
Reisman, George. 2002. “Some Fundamental Insights Into the Benevolent Nature of Capitalism“. Mises Daily. October 24.
Rothbard, Murray N. 2009. “Capitalism versus Statism“. Mises Daily. September 29.
Leonard E. Read, “I, Pencil,” The Freeman, December 1958.

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Drugs Without Patents: Profit and Cornucopia http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/04/01/drugs-without-patents-profit-and-cornucopia/ http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/04/01/drugs-without-patents-profit-and-cornucopia/#comments Thu, 01 Apr 2010 07:23:58 +0000 http://libertarianstandard.com/?p=129 pattent applicationProponents of intellectual property rights and patents say that without them, drug companies could not profit. They’d just be undercut by generics, which would lead to a downward spiral of decreasing innovation, undercutting the entire industry. Furthermore, socialists argue that a truly free market would not get drugs to the poor. These arguments fail for several reasons: research costs, trade secrets, incentives for continuous innovation, and incentives for rapid worldwide distribution.

Research Costs

Research costs would be much lower in a free world without government intervention, support, and regulation of drug-development. Intellectual property rights, and patents in particular, make drug-development more expensive, as companies need to purchase patented products to do their research; by creating artificial monopolies, the patents make these products more expensive. Furthermore, numerous and onerous FDA regulations make drug-development more expensive.

Trade Secrets

Companies could still keep trade-secrets. “Trade-secrets” require no government intervention to be propped up, but only the ability to keep a secret, and to bind employees to non-disclosure agreements with severe consequences for breach. Companies would likely insure against bad employees breaching NDAs, and those who violated NDAs would of course be sued and blackballed.

Continuous Innovation

To the extent that generics created by reverse-engineering would be produced, this would create an incentive for innovators to continue innovating and at a rapid pace, rather than resting on their laurels. Money that would be wasted on patent lawyers can now be spent on research. You might see a create-and-develop cycle. I.e., drugs like Tylenol would be created and then continuously and incrementally improved upon by the company that made them. Thus, there would be an upward spiral of increasing innovation, spurred by competition, with innovators constantly racing ahead of those attempting to copy them, and all parties trying to minimize production costs, increase quality, and improve efficiency.

Rapid Worldwide Distribution

A natural defense strategy of innovators against generic copycats in a free market would be rapid and immediate disbursement of drugs world-wide.

A natural defense strategy of innovators against generic copycats in a free market would be rapid and immediate disbursement of drugs world-wide. To defend against companies specializing in the production of generic drugs, companies making new drugs would have an incentive to get those new drugs out to as many people around the world (who could benefit from them) as fast as they possibly could. To accommodate poor regions with many who couldn’t afford said drugs, they would have reason to price-discriminate almost down to cost of production and disbursement and to offer payment plans.

Socialists typically assert that the free market would prevent drugs from reaching those most in need of them. On the contrary, in a free market, companies would have incentives to get drugs to those who most need them as quickly as possible, lest there be time for a competitor to undercut them.

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