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.

Books

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 Socialism and War

By F. A. Hayek
Edited by Bruce Caldwell

In the essays in this volume Hayek contributed to economic knowledge in the context of socialism and war, while providing an intellectual defense of a free society. The connection between the two topics is illuminated through essays containing some of Hayek’s contributions to the socialist-calculation debate, writings pertaining to war, and the cult of scientific economic planning from the late 1930s and 1940s.

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Socialism and War

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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.

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.

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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 […]

EconLog May 18, 2017

Echo Chambers and the Prevalence of Motivated Reasoning, by Contributing Guest

by Nicolás Maloberti

When it comes to information, we have growing powers to filter out what we don't like. Suppliers have also growing powers to cater to our demand without us having to make any conscious choices. This is worrisome since we might end up living in different political universes; or "echo chambers," as Cass Sunstein puts it in his latest book #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media.

In this week's edition of EconTalk, host Russ Roberts and Sunstein discuss the main themes of the book. Why are echo chambers problematic? Because they prevent us from facing views dissimilar to ours. As a result, we could be led to take falsehoods for truths, become more extreme in our views, and regard others as enemies or adversaries. Part of the value of the right of free speech is that it creates an environment in which our own views are constantly challenged. Sunstein's worry is that this value could be greatly reduced, even when all the legal guarantees of free speech are observed.

That is because echo chambers are simply by-products of our individual decisions as consumers. This very fact imposes constraints in terms of the solutions we can call for, as Sunstein recognizes. To counteract the market architecture of increasing powers to filter out information, Sunstein suggests an "architecture of serendipity". He argues we need to increase the likelihood of getting exposed to views and materials that we have not sought out.

Law & Liberty May 22, 2017

What Is the Impeachment Power For?

clinton-impeachment

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

EconLog May 22, 2017

Solar Power: Lots of Jobs per KWH is Bad, not Good, by David Henderson

EnergyWorkers.jpg

Creating jobs is not the same as creating wealth.

When I start a class in economics, I start with the Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom. The pillar above about jobs and wealth is #8. When I teach it, I use Dwight Lee's now-classic article "Creating Jobs versus Creating Wealth."

Mark Perry has done a great service by applying this principle to energy. In "Inconvenient energy fact: It takes 79 solar workers to produce same amount of electric power as one coal worker," he writes:

To start, despite a huge workforce of almost 400,000 solar workers (about 20 percent of electric power payrolls in 2016), that sector produced an insignificant share, less than 1 percent, of the electric power generated in the United States last year (EIA data here). And that's a lot of solar workers: about the same as the combined number of employees working at Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Pfizer, Ford Motor Company and Procter & Gamble.

EconLog May 21, 2017

Wages are the key to the business cycle, by Scott Sumner

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, I did some research with Steve Silver on sticky wages and the business cycle. Using postwar data, it's very difficult to draw any conclusion, as the economy was hit by both supply and demand shocks, which have very different impacts on real wages.

During the interwar period, however, demand shocks are much easier to identify and the role of wages really stands out. In the following graph we inverted the real wage series (top line), and compared it to industrial production (bottom line), to make it easier to see the strong countercyclicality of real wages:

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 10.53.49 PM.png
We found that there were two factors that reduced output during the interwar years. First, falling prices in the face of sticky wages---which occurred on and off throughout the entire interwar period. Second, an autonomous rise in nominal wages (caused by government labor market policies)---which mostly occurred during the period after 1933.

Law & Liberty May 19, 2017

Refugees and the Humanitarians’ Dilemma

Refugees

The doctrine of humanity’s original, common ownership of the earth was a staple of natural rights philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These philosophers greatly influenced the natural rights philosophy of America’s founding generation, a philosophy which the founders

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 | 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.

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)

Law & Liberty May 21, 2017

In Polarized Times the Administrative State Undermines Stability and Prosperity

The FCC is about to eviscerate the Obama administration’s rules on net neutrality. One of its reasons is that the elimination of net neutrality will provide incentives for internet providers to put more investments into speeding up the system, because

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".

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 1.3.10.1) and that it is ‘never . . . recogniz’d by philosophers’ (T 1.3.9.19). He is usually taken to be referring here to indoctrination. I argue, however, that his main concern is […]