I delivered this speech in September 2012 for the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Property and Freedom Society in Bodrum, Turkey. The audio of my speech was corrupted due to a technical error, so I re-recorded a version of the speech (available for streaming and download below). For others, see the links in the Program, or the PFS Vimeo channel.
The inimitable EconStories gang, which includes the great John Papola, has just released their newest creation just in time for Christmas: Deck the Halls with Macro Follies. It lampoons the idea getting consumer spending going is how to jumpstart an economy. Contra those ideas of Keynes and Malthus (and Bernanke!), the real way to build prosperity is to save and thereby increase production. But watch the video, it’s really fun.
Perhaps the greatest contribution of socialism to economics was to cajole Austrian economists into understanding just how different their theoretical approach was from the main stream of economics. At first, Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek thought they were on the leading edge of that main stream. But the two major debates that they engaged in in the first half of the 20th century — over business cycle theory and regarding calculation in the socialist society — both proved vexing. They should have won both debates. They had the better arguments. But in both cases the majority of economists sided against Mises and Hayek.
The case of the alleged suppression of useful patents is more complicated and cannot be adequately discussed in a note; but the conditions in which it would be profitable to put into cold storage a patentwhich in the social interest ought to be usedare so exceptional that it is more than doubtful whether this has happened in any important instance. [emphasis in original]
In Hayek’s favor, there was no internet or WikiLeaks back then (but then again, perhaps that was AT&T’s fault!)
In his paper “America’s Ruling Class – and the Perils of Revolution” Professor Angelo Codevilla offers an excellent analysis of the causes and forms of government encroachment into the basic traditional liberties of Americans, and a very good sketch of the reasons why big government ideology succeeded in imposing its tenets upon the country, despite overwhelming opposition by Americans. The problem America faces, according to him, is nothing less than a complete usurpation of power by an alienated elite: the ideologues of big government and the politicians that work in concert to subvert the structure of the American constitution, and to rule over the great majority of Americans against their will. Professor Codevilla paints a very grim (and very true) picture of the complete breakdown of the constitutional form of government in America, under the assault of the modern statist ideology, delivered in a bipartisan manner, and garnered with political corruption. But he fails to provide prescriptions radical enough to deal with the problem, perhaps because he too is a member of that big-government-worshiping elite.
Ivan Jankovic is a graduate student of Political Science at the University of Windsor, Canada. Originally from Serbia, he has published in the fields of Austrian economics, public choice, and classical liberal philosophy.