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

Find More Books


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 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 19, 2018

Eric Voegelin Studies: A Conversation with Charles Embry

What did "Don't immanentize the eschaton!" really mean? An intro podcast on the formidable mind of Eric Voegelin.

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.

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 16, 2018

The Sharing Economy’s Online Agency Advances Material Equality

The dematerializing nature of the world can be a boon to the middling classes, and the sharing economy provides an example of this.

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 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.

EconLog March 19, 2018

The Danger of Intellectual Ruts, by Contributing Guest

by Pierre Lemieux

Peter Navarro's film raises one interesting question: How can somebody be so wrong?

Death by China.jpg
In the wake of the new tariffs on steel, a Wall Street Journal story reminds us of the steel industry's influence over the U.S. government ("Navarro's Ties to Nucor Highlight Trump Advisers' Steel-Industry Connections," March 16, 2018). Many of the senior advisors to the President have worked in or for the steel industry. Peter Navarro, a senior trade advisor, received $1 million from Nucor Corp., a steel manufacturer, to produce a 2012 documentary film, Death by China, against imports in general and from China in particular. A book with the same title was published in 2011, co-authored with journalist Greg Autry.

These facts confirm one of the conclusions of public-choice theory and the theory of collective action: special interests, especially producers' interests, will capture the government to obtain interventions to their benefit. This is called rent-seeking, of which steel tariffs are just an example.

Law & Liberty March 19, 2018

Highlights from Liberty’s Dictionary

A thoughtfully designed, carefully organized, and eminently readable sampling from the famed Encyclopédie

OLL | Quotations December 14, 2011

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


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".

EconLog March 17, 2018

Coase and Krugman, by Scott Sumner

There were lots of good answers after my previous post. Commenters dlr (first) and then Rajat provided my preferred answer, and there were some other good options as well (Friedman, Lucas, etc.) Here I'll explain the special connection between Coase and Krugman.

In 1960, Coase developed a radically new way of thinking about externalities. At the time, Pigou's interwar theory of externalities was very well established, almost unquestioned. When a person or company does something that imposes external costs on others, there is a market failure. The optimal public policy is a remedial tax, equal to the size of the external cost.

Coase's alternative view was the sort of shocking "bolt from the blue" that almost never occurs in a mature science like economics. There was a famous seminar at the University of Chicago, where almost everyone went in convinced Coase was wrong, and he convinced them all, one by one. Coase's basic insight is that external costs, by themselves, are not market failures. The victim would have an incentive to bribe the entity imposing external costs. That bribe has a similar impact to an optimal tax. Thus before Coase, economists thought there was an economic rationale for government regulation of indoor smoke. After Coase, economists recognized that the owner of the property, not the government, should regulate indoor smoke.

But Coase did not stop there. He also showed that when many people are harmed by externalities, there may be "transactions costs" in privately negotiating an agreement. In that case, Pigou's suggestion that a remedial tax is needed might be correct. But the real problem is not externalities, it's transactions costs.

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 12.52.37 PM.png
In 1998, Krugman came up with a radically different way of thinking about liquidity traps. During the interwar period, Keynes had argued that monetary policy may become largely ineffective at zero interest rates, as money and bonds become very close substitutes. He recommended government actions such as fiscal stimulus.

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).

Law & Liberty March 19, 2018

The Problem with the “Simple Principle” of Liberty

Communities may restrain liberty. These social features of human nature are as much a part of our mental furniture as the love of liberty—perhaps more so.

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)


Law & Liberty March 19, 2018

Make Communities Great Again

The conservative way forward should be through concerted localism: a focus on empowering local communities to flourish while growing economically.

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.

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 […]

EconLog March 17, 2018

Uber Scam?, by David Henderson

I'm a big fan of Uber. I'm in New York City this weekend and have had great success using it. The fares, though high, have been below the cab fares and the cars don't play those horrible ads that assault you in New York's Yellow cabs. Plus I had 2 good conversations with a driver from Ghana and a driver from India who's a Muslim refugee.

I had something happen 2 hours ago, though, that makes me wonder. I don't know if this is a scam: thus the question mark at the end of title. I just wonder if it is and I wonder if others have had this experience.

I walked in 14 minutes to a Chinese restaurant 2 long blocks and 13 short blocks away to get there by noon when it opened. I timed it perfectly and gave the take out order. I wanted to get the food back to our hotel room while it was still hot. I didn't know how long the food would take and so I waited until it came out before I ordered an Uber. My strategy made sense, I thought, because when I got on Uber, it looked like only a 4-minute wait.

Law & Liberty March 16, 2018

The Strange Case of Mitsutoki Shigeta

Mitsutoki Shigeta paid thirteen women to father his children, and his case highlights the challenges of balancing autonomy against custom.