Liberty Fund

Liberty Fund was founded in 1960 by Pierre F. Goodrich, an Indianapolis lawyer and businessman, to the end that some hopeful contribution may be made to the preservation, restoration, and development of individual liberty through investigation, research, and educational activity.

Now available: On Religion, by Benjamin Constant, and Competition, Economic Planning, and the Knowledge Problem, by Israel Kirzner.


Great books are the repository of knowledge and experience. Liberty Fund seeks to preserve the wisdom and learning of the ages and to strengthen our understanding and appreciation of individual liberty and responsibility.

For over four decades, Liberty Fund has made available some of the finest books in history, politics, philosophy, law, education, and economics—books of enduring value that have helped to shape ideas and events in man’s quest for liberty, order, and justice.

Featured Book Competition, Economic Planning, and the Knowledge Problem

By Israel M. Kirzner
Edited by Peter J. Boettke and Frédéric Sautet

No other economist in recent times has been so closely identified with the Austrian School of economics as Israel M. Kirzner, professor emeritus of economics at New York University. A leader of the generation of Austrian economists after Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek, Kirzner has been recognized as one of the minds behind the revival of entrepreneurship and market process theory in the twentieth century.


Competition, Economic Planning, and the Knowledge Problem

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These resources are designed to further Liberty Fund’s educational activities. They include classic works in the tradition of limited government, as well as lively current discussions of how classical-liberal principles apply in today’s world.

Law & Liberty March 22, 2018

John Calhoun’s California

California’s behavior today is reminiscent of the course charted by South Carolina in the nullification crisis of 1832.

EconTalk March 19, 2018

Beth Redbird on Licensing

maleflorist.jpg Economists often oppose the expansion of licensing in America in recent years because it makes it harder for people with low skills to get access to opportunity. Sociologist Beth Redbird of Northwestern University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a different perspective. Redbird finds that licensing expands opportunity for women and minorities and has little impact on wages. She argues that licensing helps historically disadvantaged groups discover ways into various careers they otherwise would have trouble accessing. The discussion closes with a discussion of Redbird's work on the economic situation of Native Americans.


Time: 1:02:29

Law & Liberty March 22, 2018

Democratic Persuasion and The Weakness of Social Democracy

Democracy is subject to many forms of persuasion, within and without: this should be cause to give central governments less power, not more.

EconLog March 21, 2018

Forza Italia!, by Scott Sumner

The title of this post was the campaign slogan of Silvio Berlusconi. It's often translated as "Let's Go Italy!" Instead, Berlusconi's government presided over unprecedented economic decline, with real GDP per capita now lower than in the year 2000:

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Berlusconi had the right idea---Italy does need a more dynamic economy---he simply failed at executing this policy.

Martin Wolf has a piece in the FT that shows how Italy has done poorer than other Eurozone countries with the exception of Greece:

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Wolf is very pessimistic about Italy's prospects:

Germany's nominal GDP rose by 34 per cent between the first quarter of 2007 and the last quarter of 2017 (a compound average annual rate of 2.7 per cent). Italy's rose by a mere 9 per cent over the same period (a compound average annual rate of 0.8 per cent).

Not surprisingly, given modest overall growth of nominal GDP, even Germany's core annual inflation averaged a little over 1 per cent. Such low inflation in the core creditor country made adjustments in competitiveness within the eurozone far more difficult.

Law & Liberty March 22, 2018

Are Middle-Aged White Men Dying from Despair?

Anne Case and Angus Deaton have published important studies on increasing mortality in white men, but caution is in order when linking deaths to despair.

OLL November 21, 2011

Harriet Martineau’s Autobiography, vol. 1 (Harriet Martineau)

martineau.autobiographyHarriet Martineau’s Autobiography, ed. Maria Weston Chapman (Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1877). 2 vols. Vol. 1.

Law & Liberty March 21, 2018

We the Bureaucrats

Gillian Metzger argues that the administrative state is constitutionally required, an argument possible only if you ignore original meaning.

OLL | Images of Liberty April 12, 2016

Blackstone on Consanguity and Descent

blackstone.descentIn William Blackstone's famous Commentaries on the Laws of England (1753), which were used to teach the law to many generations of British and American lawyers, there are two interesting illustrations. One shows a "table of consanguity" and the other a "table of descent". These were designed to help understand the complex ways in which ownership of land could be passed down from one generation to another (via the males). They can be found in Book 2 on "Rights to Things", Chapter XIV "Of Tiles by Descent".

Law & Liberty March 21, 2018

An Empirical Liberty Framework for Debating Gun Control

For public debate to be productive, we need clear frameworks for analysis, and this is especially true of discussions about gun control.

EconLog March 22, 2018

Henderson on George Melloan, by David Henderson

We can thank [Bob] Bartley for making supply-side economics understandable, popular, and influential. Supply-side economics, as he and other Journal writers describe it, is the idea that high marginal tax rates discourage work, saving, and investment. It still shocks me how little emphasis academic economists placed on that insight before Bartley came along.

Remember that the top marginal tax rate on individual income in the 1970s was a whopping 70%, so the idea that marginal tax rates matter should not have been so controversial.
The Journal's persistent call for lower marginal tax rates helped strengthen President Ronald Reagan's hand. From 1981 to 1987, Reagan and Congress cut the tax rate paid by the highest-income people from 70% to 28%. For that, those of us who believe in giving people incentives to produce and those of us who believe that people should keep more of their income should thank the Journal.

OLL | Quotations December 14, 2011

Socrates as the "gadfly" of the state (4thC BC)


Law & Liberty March 20, 2018

Tocqueville and the Tragedy of the Democratic Average

Conservatism should help us negotiate the tragic tradeoffs of life: a way between market and political liberalism versus solidarity. Tocqueville can help.

Liberty Review March 15, 2018

Barriers to prosperity: the harmful impact of entry regulations on income inequality

DUSTIN CHAMBERS, PATRICK A. MCLAUGHLIN, LAURA STANLEY PUBLIC CHOICE Abstract: Entry regulations, including fees, permits and licenses, can make it prohibitively difficult for low-income individuals to establish footholds in many industries, even at the entry-level. As such, these regulations increase income inequality by either preventing access to higher paying professions or imposing costs on individuals choosing […]

OLL | Quotations February 4, 2010

The Earl of Shaftesbury relates the story of an unscrupulous glazier who gives the rowdy town youths a football so they will smash windows in the street and thus drum up business (1737)


Liberty Review November 21, 2016

Privacy, Neuroscience, and Neuro-Surveillance

ADAM D. MOORE RES PUBLICA, pp 1-19 Abstract: The beliefs, feelings, and thoughts that make up our streams of consciousness would seem to be inherently private. Nevertheless, modern neuroscience is offering to open up the sanctity of this domain to outside viewing. A common retort often voiced to this worry is something like, ‘Privacy is difficult to […]

Law & Liberty March 20, 2018

The Violent Bear It Away

Tocqueville, a much wiser and more prudent thinker than the Encyclopédistes, knew that such abstract political moralizing could only lead to political terror.

OLL November 21, 2011

The Art of War (Neville trans.) (Niccolo Machiavelli)

The Seven Books on the Art of War, by Niccolo Machiavelli, Citizen and Secretary of Florence, trans. Henry Neville (1675).

OLL | Quotations March 16, 2018

Frédéric Bastiat's theory of plunder (1850)


OLL | Liberty Fund Books July 21, 2014

To Secure the Blessings of Liberty: Selected Writings (Gouverneur Morris)

MorrisSecureBlessingsA single-volume collection of Gouverneur Morris’s writings. Morris served as Deputy Superintendent of Finance during the American Revolution, in which capacity he devised the system of decimal coinage. He was a prominent member of the Constitutional Convention, where he spoke more frequently than any other member and, as a member of the Committee on Style and Arrangement, put the Constitution in its present form and authored its Preamble. As a private citizen in Paris, and later Minister to France (1789–94), Morris was a firsthand witness of the French Revolution. On his return to the U.S., he served as a U.S. Senator, was a prime mover in the creation of the Erie Canal, and took a leading role as a critic of the Jefferson and Madison administrations. Providing his unique perspective, this is a wonderful and accessible single source that illuminates the political and economic thought of Gouverneur Morris.

OLL | Liberty Matters March 1, 2018

Henry C. Clark, "How Radical Was the Political Thought of the Encyclopédie?" (March, 2018)

Liberty MattersIn this month's discussion Henry C. Clark, who is a visiting professor in the Political Economy Project at Dartmouth College and the editor and translator of Denis Diderot's Encyclopedic Liberty (Liberty Fund, 2016), explores some of the currents of political thought which swept through the massive 17 volume Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers which appeared over a 15 year period between 1751 and 1765. In his lead essay he argues that, although it offended at times the Church and the French government, it could be read in ambiguous ways. The influences of John Locke, Voltaire, and Montesquieu are assessed and he concludes that the Encyclopédie was "not so much an ideology as a quarry" from which different readers were destined to draw different kinds of inspiration. Hank is joined in this discussion by Dan Edelstein who is William H. Bonsall Professor of French, Stanford University; Andrew Jainchill, Associate Professor, Department of History, Queens University, Kingston Ontario; and Kent Wright, Associate Professor School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, Arizona State University.

See the Archive of "Liberty Matters".

Law & Liberty March 20, 2018

The Constitutional Freedom Not to Promote Abortion

Forcing pro-life nonprofits to promote abortion is a shocking violation of the First Amendment.

OLL November 21, 2011

The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, vol. 2 (Gouverneur Morris)

morris.diaryThe Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, Minister of the United States to France; Member of the Constitutional Convention, ed. Anne Cary Morris (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1888). 2 vols. Vol. 2.