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.


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 The Man and the Statesman

By Frédéric Bastiat
Jacques de Guenin, General Editor
Introduction by Jacques de Guenin and Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean
Dennis O’Keeffe, Translation Editor
David M. Hart, Academic Editor

The Man and the Statesman, the first volume in Liberty Fund’s six-volume series, may be considered the most complete edition of Bastiat’s works published to date, in any country, and in any language. The main source for this translation is the seven-volume Œuvres complètes de Frédéric Bastiat, published in the 1850s and 1860s.


The Man and the Statesman

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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.

EconLog May 24, 2017

Larry Summers Trumps Trump, by David Henderson


On agriculture, China reiterated a promise that it has broken in the past to let in more beef. Previously, we, as reciprocity, had been withholding publication of a permissive rule on Chinese poultry, but we have now relented. Advantage China.This is from Larry Summers, "Trump's 'China Deal' is only a good deal for China," May 24.

HT2 Mark Thoma.

In estimating "advantage," what factor is Larry missing? U.S. consumers who like poultry. There are a lot of us. When you see someone forgetting even to point out that our consumers gain when foreign producers send us cheaper products, what prominent U.S. politician does that sound like? That's right: Trump. Thus the titled of this post: Larry Summers, in his rhetoric, is starting to imitate Donald Trump.

Back in May 2000, I wrote an article in Fortune titled "What Clinton and Gore Don't Say." In it, I pointed out that U.S. trade negotiators rarely point out the benefits to consumers from free trade. I ended by writing:

In the negotiation process, the U.S. treats cuts in its trade restrictions as concessions rather than as the benefits they are. That's why the consumers' gains get lost in the shuffle. Economists like U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers understand that. But U.S. Trade Negotiator Charlene Barshefsky and Vice President Gore? I'm not so sure.

Law & Liberty May 24, 2017

Trump’s Electorate: Old or New?

A lot of the discussion of President Trump’s election interprets his election as reflecting a significant change in the American electorate. I don’t think so. We see precursors of the Trump coalition in Ross Perot’s presidential bid, and Pat Buchanan’s,

Law & Liberty May 23, 2017

Burying Thatcher’s Legacy

In politics, there are no final victories and no lessons that are learned for good: error, like hope, springs eternal. Moreover, what counts as error for some may be wisdom, or at least temporary advantage, for others. There is no

OLL | Quotations September 7, 2016

Jeremy Bentham argued that the ruling elite benefits from corruption, waste, and war (1827)

Jeremy Bentham argued that the ruling elite benefits from corruption, waste, and war (1827)

Liberty Review May 22, 2017

The limits of liberalism: Good boundaries must be discovered

ADAM MARTIN THE REVIEW OF AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS Abstract: Determining good boundaries for governance jurisdictions is among the most difficult problems in political theory and political philosophy. But to whom the rules of a given jurisdiction applies is a problem that afflicts private as well as public governance. Clubs have boundaries no less than cities, states, or […]

OLL | Images of Liberty July 16, 2014

"New" Socialist Ideas in the 1848 Revolution

The French political caricaturist Amédée de Noé mocked the leading socialist figures of the 1848 Revolution in this panel of 6 cartoons. He ridicules their claims that their ideas were new and original by pointing out the true origins of their ideas for reform. It turns out they “borrowed” all their ideas from other people. His panels depict socialist thinkers such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Victor Considerant; utopian socialist activists such as Pierre Leroux and Étienne Cabet; as well as socialist politicians such as Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin and Louis Napoléon Bonaparte.

Law & Liberty May 22, 2017

What Is the Impeachment Power For?


The power to impeach officers of the United State government is one of the gravest powers entrusted to Congress in the U.S. Constitution. The power is far-ranging and flexible, laying at the feet of Congress the ultimate responsibility to insure

OLL | Liberty Matters May 17, 2017

Stephen Davies, "Richard Cobden: Ideas and Strategies in Organizing the Free-Trade Movement in  Britain" (January 2015)

Today it is easy to be despondent about the prospects of bringing about radical change in public policy or the political and social order. Policies that are widely recognized to be foolish and self-defeating (such as the “war on drugs”) seem to be immoveable.  There are a plethora of analyses of faults in policy or in political institutions, but most of these lack the crucial ingredient of a plausible way of getting from A to B, from where we are now to somewhere better. However, history gives us a number of counterexamples that should lead us to think more carefully about how to understand both the need for certain kinds of political change and the ways of achieving this. One of the most striking of these counterexamples is the career of Richard Cobden and in particular the way that he pioneered forms of advocacy and organization in the Anti-Corn Law League in the late 1830s and early 1840s that were highly effective in his own time, had long-lasting effects, and are still relevant today. The Lead Essay has been written by Steve Davies who is education director at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London. The commentators are Gordon Bannerman who is a freelance writer and researcher, Professor Anthony Howe who is professor of modern history at the University of East Anglia, and Sarah Richardson who is associate professor of history at the University of Warwick.

See the Archive of "Liberty Matters".

EconLog May 23, 2017

The Behavioral Econ of Paperwork, by Bryan Caplan

Next month, I'll collect my final payment from my Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account - and I couldn't be happier.  I hate filling out paperwork.  Though it only takes a couple hours to save thousands of dollars, I resent the process. 

I'm not alone.  Education researchers, for example, find that many students leave free money sitting on the table because they fail to fill out the proper forms.  Furthermore, modest help with form completion markedly raises uptake.   Some highlights:

Some students receiving college financial aid could be getting more. Others fail to qualify for aid entirely: each year, more than one million college students in the United States who are eligible for grant aid fail to complete the necessary forms to receive it. Bird and Castleman (2014) estimate that nearly 20 percent of annual Pell Grant recipients in good academic standing fail to refile a FAFSA after their freshman year, and subsequently miss out on financial aid for the following academic year.And:
Additionally, the complexity of the financial aid application confuses and deters students (ACSFA 2001, 2005). To determine eligibility, students and their families must fill out an eight-page, detailed application called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which has over 100 questions. King (2004) estimates that 850,000 college students who were eligible for federal grant aid in 2000 did not complete the forms necessary to receive their benefitsSince I think education is extremely socially wasteful, I'm glad that so many students fail to game the system.  But - as Robin Hanson pointed out at a seminar on this research - there's probably something much bigger at work.  What researchers have learned about students and FAFSA is probably just a special case of the fact that humans hate filling out paperwork.  As a result, objectively small paperwork costs plausibly have huge behavioral responses.*

EconTalk May 22, 2017

Lant Pritchett on Poverty, Growth, and Experiments

How should we think about growth and poverty? How important is the goal of reducing the proportion of the world's population living on less than a dollar a day? Does poverty persist because people lack skills or because they live in economic systems where skills are not rewarded? What is the role of experimental methods in understanding what reduces poverty? Author and economist Lant Pritchett of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about these questions and more in a wide-ranging discussion of how best to help the world's poorest people.


Time: 1:03:14

Law & Liberty May 24, 2017

Peter Augustine Lawler, a personal remembrance

Since seeing the movie “Julie and Julia” the other year, I do a double-take whenever I see an old photograph of Julia Child on a cookbook: Is that the actual chef, I wonder, or Meryl Streep, who played her so

OLL | Liberty Fund Books November 21, 2011

The Ideal Element in Law (Roscoe Pound)

Roscoe Pound, former dean of Harvard Law School, delivered a series of lectures at the University of Calcutta in 1948. In these lectures, he criticized virtually every modern mode of interpreting the law because he believed the administration of justice had lost its grounding and recourse to enduring ideals. Now published in the U.S. for the first time, Pound’s lectures are collected in Liberty Fund’s The Ideal Element in Law, Pound’s most important contribution to the relationship between law and liberty. The Ideal Element in Law was a radical book for its time and is just as meaningful today as when Pound’s lectures were first delivered. Pound’s view of the welfare state as a means of expanding government power over the individual speaks to the front-page issues of the new millennium as clearly as it did to America in the mid-twentieth century. Pound argues that the theme of justice grounded in enduring ideals is critical for America. He views American courts as relying on sociological theories, political ends, or other objectives, and in so doing, divorcing the practice of law from the rule of law and the rule of law from the enduring ideal of law itself.

OLL | Quotations September 2, 2015

Lysistrata's clever plan to end the war between Athens and Sparta (411 BC)

Lysistrata’s clever plan to end the war between Athens and Sparta (411 BC)

Liberty Review May 19, 2017

Hume on Education

DAN O’BRIEN PACIFIC PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY Abstract: Hume claims that education is ‘disclaimed by philosophy, as a fallacious ground of assent to any opinion’ (T and that it is ‘never . . . recogniz’d by philosophers’ (T He is usually taken to be referring here to indoctrination. I argue, however, that his main concern is […]