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.

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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 Exploring the Bounds of Liberty

Edited and with an Introduction by Jack P. Greene and Craig B. Yirush
Latin translations by Kathleen Alvis

Exploring the Bounds of Liberty presents a rich and extensive selection of the political literature produced in and about colonial British America during the century before the American Revolution. Most colonial political pamphlets and broadsides were printed in London, but even in the mid-seventeenth century some writings were published in New England, which then had the only printing presses in British America. With the expansion of printing to most of the colonies during the last decade of the seventeenth and the first three decades of the eighteenth century, however, the number of political polemical publications increased exponentially throughout colonial British America, from Barbados to Nova Scotia. The number of publications dealing with political questions increased in every decade after 1710, to become a veritable flood by the 1750s.

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Exploring the Bounds of Liberty

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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 17, 2018

On the Tolerable Administration of Justice

by Amy Willis

meat and potatoes.jpeg Host Russ Roberts and his guest, Pete Boettke, invited us to dive into the "meat and potatoes" of governance in this week's EconTalk. Their wide-ranging conversation on political conversation covered a lot of ground... So much so I find it really hard to narrow down to just a few questions for your further consideration...

So let's try this...

  1. What question(s) would you like to ask Boettke on the general topic of public administration? Are there any particular points on which you disagree with Boettke? What are they, and what's the nature of your disagreement?

  2. What does Boettke mean by "public administration," and how does he think our understanding of it affects the way economics is practiced?

  3. What does it mean to "sustain the mythology" of the US Constitution? To what extent do you think that's an effective practice, and why? (Related, whose job is it- or should it be- to sustain this mythology?)

  4. What are some of the problems with decentralizing government functions? What things might be better handled at the local versus the federal level? (Note: Even Russ admits that not everything benefits from bottom-up solutions...)

  5. For me at least, this was perhaps the most significant question raised in this week's conversation, and it's a question I do not know how to answer. How about you? How do we market freedom and economic liberty to people who don't see it helping them very much? (You might read this question as Boettke suggests; how do we get back to the "soul of classical liberalism?"

EconTalk May 21, 2018

Glen Weyl on Radical Markets

Radical%20Markets.png Economist Glen Weyl of Microsoft Research New England and Visiting Senior Research Scholar at Yale University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book (co-authored with Eric Posner) Radical Markets. Weyl urges a radical transformation of land and housing markets using a new federal real estate tax based on self-assessment. Owners would be required to sell their houses at the self-assessed price. Weyl argues this would eliminate the market power home owners have in the re-sale market and the revenue tax would could be used to reduce inequality. In the last part of the conversation, Weyl proposes an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy by having residents sponsor immigrants for a fee.

Play

Time: 1:03:28

Liberty Review May 21, 2018

Social contracts for real moral agents: a synthesis of public reason and public choice approaches to constitutional design

KEVIN VALLIER CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY Abstract: Citizens in contemporary democratic societies disagree deeply about the nature of the good life, and they disagree just as profoundly about justice. In building a social contract theory for diverse citizens, then, we cannot rely as heavily on the theory of justice as John Rawls did. I contend that Rawlsian […]

OLL November 21, 2011

On the Manipulation of Money and Credit: Three Treatises on Trade-Cycle Theory (Ludwig von Mises)

manipulation.money.creditOn the Manipulation of Money and Credit: Three Treatises on Trade-Cycle Theory. Translated and with a Foreword by Bettina Bien Greaves,. Edited by Percy L. Greaves, Jr. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).

Law & Liberty May 18, 2018

Originalism Deploys History Under the Discipline of Law

History is naturally an important part of public meaning originalism.

EconLog May 19, 2018

UBI vs. guaranteed jobs vs. wage subsidies, by Scott Sumner

Scott Alexander has a very long blog post discussing the advantages of a universal basic income program over a guaranteed jobs program. It's probably the best single defense of the UBI that I have ever read. (I wish Alexander had become an economist.) But in the end, I still prefer low wage subsidies.

Here's Scott:

A steelman of Sarris' point might go something like this: it definitely seems true that there is some complicated way in which a family of eight living in a tiny farmhouse in the Kansas prairie in 1870 was happy and felt financially secure even though they probably only earned a few hundred dollars a year by today's measures. So isn't it weird that people earning twenty thousand dollars a year still think of material goods as their barrier to happiness?

I think explaining that effectively would require a book-length treatment. But I think the book would end with "even though it's weird and complicated, poor people today who make $10,000 or $20,000 are often unhappy, in a way that richer people today aren't, and this involves money in a real sense."

Law & Liberty May 17, 2018

What Do Judges Maximize?

We need to move beyond naive attitudinalism and recognize that judges have preferences, but that these don't entirely control judicial decision-making.

Law & Liberty May 21, 2018

The Surprising Tone of Oeconomicae et Pecuniariae

Oeconomicae et Pecuniariae offers important insights not just for Catholics, but for anyone interested in a moral understanding of economics.

EconLog May 18, 2018

Workers Affect Worker Safety Too, by David Henderson

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When I taught a cost/benefit analysis course, one of the topics I covered was worker safety. Using W. Kip Viscusi's excellent entry "Job Safety" in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, I showed that there is an implicit market for safety in the workplace and that workers do a pretty good job of judging relative risks.

My whole discussion, and Kip's, treated the safety decision as if it were totally in the hands of the employers. I implicitly assumed that employers have complete control over employees' actions. They don't. To have such control, employers would have to engage in detailed monitoring or set up incentives for other employees to report on workers who are putting their employees at risk.

OLL | Quotations October 11, 2009

Harriet Taylor wants to see "freedom and admissibility" in all areas of human activity replace the system of "privilege and exclusion" (1847)

Harriet.Taylor

Law & Liberty May 21, 2018

Thomas Friedman’s World May Be Flat, But No One Else’s Is

Niall Ferguson’s entertaining survey of history as seen through network theory.

OLL | Quotations August 19, 2008

Alexis de Tocqueville stood up in the Constituent Assembly to criticize socialism as a violation of human nature, property rights, and individual liberty (1848)

Tocqueville

OLL November 21, 2011

The Teachings of Zoroaster and the Philosophy of the Parsi Religion (Zarathushtra (Zoroaster))

teaching.zoroasterThe Teachings of Zoroaster and the Philosophy of the Parsi Religion, ed. S.A. Kapadia (London: John Murray, 1905).

Liberty Review May 7, 2018

The Average Period of Production: The History and Rehabilitation of an Idea

PETER LEWIN & NICOLÁS CACHANOSKY JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT, Volume 40, Issue 1 Abstract: Austrian capital theory tried to capture the intuitive and basically undeniable importance that time plays in economic life, but arguably was diverted down a blind alley with Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk’s average period of production, a purely physical measure of […]

OLL | Liberty Matters May 1, 2018

Alan Kahan, "Limited Government, Unlimited Liberalism. Or, How Benjamin Constant was a Kantian After All" [May, 2018]

Liberty MattersIn this month's discussion Alan S. Kahan, Professor of British Civilization at the Université de Versailles/St. Quentin, argues that Benjamin Constant, like Immanuel Kant, analyzed politics from a double perspective. Kant divided his Metaphysics of Morals into what he called the "Doctrine of Right," about how human behavior affects other people, which is the business of the state, and the "Doctrine of Virtue," which relates to human beings' internal obligations, their motives and duties, which are not the state's business. In Constant this double perspective takes the form of strictly limiting the sphere in which it is legitimate for the state to act, the equivalent of Kant's doctrine of right, and of close attention to human moral and religious development, the equivalent of Kant's doctrine of virtue. For both Kant and Constant the state's sphere of action must be strictly limited. But the limits they impose on the state do not limit the scope of their commentary on the relationship between politics and religion and morals. Indeed, for Constant at least, a limited state must rest on a broad religious/moral foundation to survive. Alan Kahan is joined in the discussion by Aurelian Craiutu, professor of political science at Indiana University, Bloomington; Bryan Garsten, professor of political science and humanities at Yale University; and Jacob T. Levy, Professor of Political Theory in the department of philosophy at McGill University.

See the Archive of "Liberty Matters".

Law & Liberty May 18, 2018

Tully: It’s Not a Wonderful Life

It’s not just about parenthood, but about the death of adult culture.

OLL | Images of Liberty April 12, 2016

Liberty slaying the Monsters of Tyranny and Oppression

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W.D. Cooper, "America Trampling on Oppression" (1789)
Source: Library of Congress

Pierre Paul Prud'hon et Jacques Louis Copia, "Liberty overthrowing the Hydra of Tyranny" (1793)
Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France

OLL | Liberty Fund Books November 21, 2011

The Roots of Liberty: Magna Carta and the Anglo-American Tradition of Rule of Law (Ellis Sandoz)

Sandoz.Roots.LibertyThis is a critical collection of essays on the origin and nature of the idea of liberty. The authors explore the development of English ideas of liberty and the relationship those ideas hold to modern conceptions of rule of law. The essays address early medieval developments, encompassing such seminal issues as the common-law mind of the sixteenth century under the Tudor monarchs, the struggle for power and authority between the Stuart kings and Parliament in the seventeenth century, and the role of the ancient constitution in the momentous legal and constitutional debate that occurred between the Glorious Revolution and the American Declaration of Independence.

OLL | Quotations February 24, 2008

George Washington warns that the knee jerk reaction of citizens to problems is to seek a solution in the creation of a "new monarch"(1786)

George.Washington

OLL November 21, 2011

The Data of Ethics (1879) (Herbert Spencer)

data.ethicsThe Data of Ethics (London: Williams and Norgate, 1879).

Law & Liberty May 21, 2018

Thoughts on Strauss and Machiavelli

Heinrich Meier's new book on the challenge of revealed religion to political philosophy.

Liberty Review May 14, 2018

Resource rents and populism in resource-dependent economies

ELENA SEGHEZZA, GIOVANNI B. PITTALUGA EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY Abstract: A usual explanation for populism is the existence of bad institutions, with an autocratic regime dispelling opposition by distributing income to the ‘masses’ in the manner of the ‘bread and circuses’ of Imperial Rome. In Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, populist redistribution occurred in conjunction with […]

OLL | Quotations October 9, 2011

Bastiat on the scramble for political office (1848)

Bastiat

Law & Liberty May 21, 2018

The Importance of Experts

Debates among constitutional experts matter because these debates help shape broader opinion.

OLL December 28, 2011

Encouragement of Irish Linen Manufacture (August 1697) (John Locke)

life.john.lockeH.B. Fox Bourne, The Life of John Locke. In Two Volumes (London: Henry S. King, 1876). Vol. 2 pp. 363-372.