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.
The year 2020 marks Liberty Fund’s 60th anniversary since its founding in 1960, and our catalog cover features a few of the more than 400 titles we publish.
Our books are edited by world-renowned scholars who bring to the task the expertise these works deserve. Introductions and forewords provide context, and annotations, bibliographies, and other supplementary apparatus further support the text. All Liberty Fund books, both hardcover and paperback, are printed on acid-free paper and are bound with sewn signatures, making them invaluable, lasting additions to any library.
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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.
The Essays is commonly considered Kames’s most important philosophical work. In the first part, he sets forth the principles and foundations of morality and justice, attacking Hume’s moral skepticism and addressing the controversial issue of the freedom of human will. In the second part, Kames focuses on questions of metaphysics and epistemology to offer a natural theology in which the authority of the external senses is an important basis for belief in the Deity.
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.
Greg Weiner discusses the difference between the political constitution and the judicial constitution.
The modern Church, having drunk deeply the kool-aid of Platonism (and epicureanism) set the foundation for much of her own irrelevance and insipidity.
If conservatives really want to make America great again, they should start by thinking about what it was that made America great in the past.
No matter one’s position in society, the vibrancy of communism, and its superiority to other systems, must be constantly affirmed.
Author and Advertising Executive Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy talks about his book Alchemy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Sutherland makes the case for the magic (yes, magic!) of advertising and branding in helping markets work well. This is a wide-ranging conversation on consumer choice, public policy, travel, real estate, and corporate decision-making using insights from […]
You might expect that I, as an immigrant and as an economist who favors the free movement of labor, would find the idea of open borders to be an obviously good policy. If you also learned that in 1977, the Immigration and Naturalization Service tried to deport me, you might think that I would also be emotionally, and not just intellectually, in favor of open borders. At times I have been.
At other times, though, my enthusiasm for open borders has flagged. When I didn’t know a lot about the facts, I worried that a large number of immigrants would come here for welfare or would, once they became citizens, vote for an even larger amount of government interference than we currently have. I didn’t worry about crime because I knew that immigrants commit crime at a lower rate than non-immigrant Americans. The work of my co-blogger Bryan Caplan and others persuaded me that my fears were largely unjustified. In fact, my new learning motivated me to write a Defining Ideas article titled “The Case for More Immigration.” Now Caplan’s latest book, Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration, has reduced those fears even more. Caplan considers virtually every argument against open borders and demolishes each with a figurative Howitzer. I do, however, have two criticisms of his book—one of substance, and one of tone in a particular footnote.
Of the Causes of this influence of Fortune
Economists often use models where firms are assumed to maximize profits. Non-economists sometimes criticize these models, arguing that their assumptions about human nature are too simple. This debate over the behavior of humans won’t be resolved anytime soon.
Meanwhile, there is increasing evidence that fungi entrepreneurs respond rationally to incentives:
A study just published in Current Biology by Toby Kiers of the Free University of Amsterdam suggests that, like cunning merchants who know how to make a profit, fungi exploit resource scarcity by marking up their prices. They demand more nutrients from plants in return for their valuable mineral commodities. . . .
As [Toby Kiers] monitored the collection and trading of the phosphates from fungi to carrots she found that the fungi enthusiastically transported them across the hyphal network from areas of abundance to zones of scarcity.
Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, ed. W.C. Taylor (London: Richard Bentley, 1839). Vol. 1.
Editor’s Note: As you know, we’re big fans of book lists, like the ones we always read at Five Books. Last month, we posted Amy Willis’s recommendations for the five best books for Introductory Econ. You can look forward to more such lists…
Most recently we were struck by this Five Books list, in which Francis Fukuyama described his nominees for the best books on the Financial Crisis. So we asked our crack book reviewer and former Freddie Mac executive Arnold Kling if he would offer his suggestions, and here they are… Only one title also appears in Fukuyama’s list.
Frankly, my favorite overview of the financial crisis is the one I wrote, Not What They Had in Mind.* But here are five other books I recommend:
1. There are many competing narratives about the causes of the crisis. My experience in the mortgage business leads me to highlight the role of capital regulations. In Engineering the Financial Crisis, Jeffrey Friedman and Wladimir Kraus take this point of view. I reviewed their book here at Econlib.
Edmund Burke’s first work, originally issued anonymously in 1756 as a letter attributed to “a late noble writer.” The Vindication is a political and social satire ridiculing the popular enlightenment notion of a pre-civil “natural society.”
"Saul is ordered to destroy all the Amalekites and their livestock," [page 24 verso, lower panel] The Morgan Picture Bible (c. 1250)
Many Christians in 17th century England and 17th and 18th century North America were struck by some passages in I Samuel in which the prophet Samuel warned about the dangers a King would pose to the liberties of the Israelite people. This struck a chord with those who were fighting the growing power of the Stuart monarchy or the efforts of the British Empire to exert its power over the North American colonies. The art we have chosen to illustrate these passages come from the Illustrated Bible commissioned by King Louis IX (1214-1270) of France in the mid-13th century. They provide a stark contrast to the anti-monarchical sentiment of 17th and 18th century Englishmen. Louis IX arranged for these illustrations to be made because he wanted to assert his divine right to rule France and saw in the commands of Samuel and the actions of King Saul both historical and theological precedent upon which he could draw to justify his own behavior. [More]
Innovation: creativity; novelty; the process of devising a new idea or thing, or improving an existing idea or thing. Although the word carries a positive connotation in American culture, innovation, like all human activities, has costs as well as benefits. These costs and benefits have preoccupied economists, political philosophers, and artists for centuries.
Nature and Effects
Innovation can turn new concepts into realities, creating wealth and power. For example, someone who discovers a cure for a disease has the power to withhold it, give it away, or sell it to others.1 Innovations can also disrupt the status quo, as when the invention of the automobile eliminated the need for horse-powered transportation.
We in the West need to draw on the best anti-totalitarian wisdom, as never before.
In this month’s Liberty Matters online discussion we discuss the Leveller pamphlets and the emergent political ideas found there. In the Lead Essay, Stephen Davies of the Institute of Economic Affairs argues that were both contributions to and commentaries upon specific political moments and disputes, and also speech acts that saw the creation of a political vocabulary and argument or theory. It is this dual quality that explains both the importance of the Levellers at the time and subsequently, and the persistent interest in them. The commentators are Iain Hampsher-Monk, professor of political theory at the University of Exeter; David Wootton, Anniversary Professor of History at the University of York; Dr. Rachel Foxley, associate professor of early modern history at the University of Reading.
The Best of the OLL No. 45 [George Mason], “The Virginia Bill of Rights” (June, 1776) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2013).
From An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book IV, Chap. 2 by Adam Smith.
London: Methuen and Co., Ltd., 1904. Edwin Cannan, ed. First published 1776. Card Catalog
But the annual revenue of every society is always precisely equal to the exchangeable value of the whole annual produce of its industry, or rather is precisely the same thing with that exchangeable value. As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it. [Par. IV.2.9]
From The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith.
London: A. Millar, 1790. First published 1759. Card Catalog
The produce of the soil maintains at all times nearly that number of inhabitants which it is capable of maintaining. The rich only select from the heap what is most precious and agreeable. They consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity, though they mean only their own conveniency, though the sole end which they propose from the labours of all the thousands whom they employ, be the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires, they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species. [Par. IV.I.10]
The Bhagvat-Geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon; in Eighteen Lectures; with Notes. Translated from the Original, in the Sanskreet, or Ancient Language of the Brahmans, by Charles Wilkins, Senior Merchant in the service of the Honorable The East India Company, on their Bengal Establishment (London: C. Nourse, 1785).