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Governments Can’t Resist

The old adage that we don’t learn from history is true enough, but it needs amendment. Governments, in particular, don’t learn from history. That’s the conclusion I reach after a wild weekend ride with Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls, a delightful book by Robert Schuettinger and Eamonn Butler. They scour history books from …

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What a Lovely Day for the Total State

Ah, what a weekend, with blue skies, singing birds, budding cherry blossoms and the government’s announcement that it has totalitarian control over everything. Wait, what was that last thing? It was an Executive Order released late Friday that no one on the planet seemed to notice until about 30 hours later. It is unnumbered, but …

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The Lorax: An Allegory on IP

Anyone who read Dr. Suess’s “The Lorax” as a kid might dread the movie version. No one really needs another moralizing, hectoring lecture from environmentalists on the need to save the trees from extinction, especially since that once-fashionable cause seems ridiculously overwrought today. There is no shortage of trees and this is due not to …

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ISPs Becoming Enforcers for the State

Remember that battle over SOPA, in which the world’s largest websites beat back a congressional threat that would have changed the Internet forever? It was pretty obvious within a day after this Pyrrhic victory that the existing laws in place were enough to give the government the power to wreck the digital world. But how …

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The Mighty Return of Lard

Few things in life are as satisfying as a transformative and implausible reversal of history that carries with it stern justice for wrongdoing and sweet victory for the side of truth and human well-being. When it happens, the period in which the wrong persisted without correction fades into memory as a mere parenthesis in the …

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Money Laundering

The story from The Daily swept through the Internet with blazing speed. The report: Criminals around the country are stealing an inordinate number of bottles of Tide laundry detergent. This is not because the criminals plan to go into the laundry business. There is not a “grime wave.” It seems that these Tide bottles are …

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Why They Hate Free Speech

Sometimes — why not now? — you just have to reflect on what an amazing man Thomas Jefferson was. I mean, he really got the whole idea of liberty, maybe better than anyone before him, and far better than most people today. What a man! What a dream he had! I’m reminded of his bravery …

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In Defense of Homeless Hot Spots

BBH Labs is an advertising agency that specializes in new and creative ideas for marketing products. But few ideas have ever generated the heat of one used this past weekend at the Austin, Texas, technology conference South by Southwest. Wireless networks are famously overcrowded at these events, and everyone is scrambling for a good connection. …

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Economics of the Timeline

Most of us hadn’t thought about Davy Jones of the Monkees in many years. Suddenly, he died at the age of 66 and we were all instantly living in his world. Tributes were everywhere. His YouTube videos were slammed with hits. Praise for his life and works appeared on blogs everywhere. People were honoring his …

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See the World Through Bonner’s Eyes

in the spring of 2012, Bill Bonner, founder of Agora Inc., took a break from his daily column in The Daily Reckoning, and, like hundreds of thousands of others, I went through withdrawals. Fortunately, I had a copy of his wonderful book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, to devour as I awaited his return. This is …

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Coercive Nannies

The term “nanny state” actually dates to the 1960s, and that’s not surprising. It was about this time that government ran out of ideas for improving society — it didn’t really improve us, but it claimed to — and turned its attention to hectoring us about all the things we do to ourselves that it …

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Put Those Kids To Work!

I was reading a wonderful set of small biographies of Gilded Age entrepreneurs and took note of something we all know once we think about it. These men and women worked in productive labor from an early age. They universally credit these early work experiments for instilling an ethic to stick to the job, be …

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The Free State Movement: Political Migration in Our Time

If you are willing to look past mainstream media coverage of American politics, you can actually find exciting and interesting activities taking place that rise above lobbying, voting, graft and corruption. Consider the Free State Project. It is an attempt, and a surprisingly successful one, to inspire a political migration by lovers to liberty to …

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Peter Schiff on American Citizenship

You have probably seen Peter Schiff on television, not once, but many times. Among the legions of indistinguishable talking heads out there, he stands out. He makes sense. He draws attention to reality. He is disregarding of the opinions and conventions that prevail on the financial news networks and just comes right out and says …

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Economic Lessons of Silly Putty

We loved it as kids — that amazing substance called Silly Putty. I recently found a version in a hotel room the other day, re-branded as Thinking Putty. It turns out that the names differ based on the targeted market segment. In any case, the whole phenomenon is curious. How it is that this seemingly …

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Is Taxation Voluntary?

Have you ever heard the claim that paying income tax is voluntary? The term “voluntary” is variously used in government documents, including the 1040 form itself, and some very naive people have actually taken this to mean that they don’t have to pay if they don’t want to. They think that “voluntary” actually means voluntary, …

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The Banishment of the Marginal Worker

Do you know about Europe’s problem with the NEETs? This is the name being given to those mostly young workers who are not in school, not employed and not in training. The designation applies to one in five people aged 24 and younger. Unemployment among this generation is frighteningly high all over the eurozone. These …

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Who Moved My Juice Bottle?

Most people think of the capitalist marketplace as the venue for the unleashing of the human ego. Selfishness reigns as those with financial means buy and build whatever they want, acquiring and amassing with no concern for the fate of anyone but themselves. Bah! I can’t even imagine a more inaccurate description of real life. …

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To Love the Unknown

Why do we let the police power of the state take over and inevitably wreck so many aspects of our life? Why do we tolerate the invasions of our homes, businesses, and bank accounts? One theory: people find more comfort in the false security that the state provides over the uncertainty of a liberty-driven future. …