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.
Jacques Necker (1732–1804) was a Swiss statesman and financier who played a crucial role in French political life from 1776 to 1789. Born in Geneva, he was a devout Protestant who amassed considerable wealth as a successful banker. In October 1776, he was appointed as director of the Royal Treasury and, later, in June 1777, as director general of finances of France under Louis XVI. While in charge of the finances of the kingdom, his most famous decision, in 1781, was to make public the budget of France for the first time, a novel practice in an absolute monarchy.
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.
If Chiafalo is the best that originalists can do, that is a damning indictment.
Lincoln prudently acted on the moral principle that slavery and its expansion was wrong and violated American principles of self-government.
John Kay and Mervyn King talk about their book, Radical Uncertainty, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a wide-ranging discussion based on the book looking at rationality, decision-making under uncertainty, and the economists’ view of the world.
Thomas More understood as a lawyer and a judge that liberty was justice through the rule of law ordered towards the good of the people.
Two major political leaders in the 1930s agreed that increasing complexity required bigger government than otherwise. Friedrich Hayek, in his 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom, argued that precisely the opposite is true: The more complex a society, the more difficult it is for government to plan an economy.
Probably more than two leaders believed this. But I found a particularly clear statement of the belief in the words of two leaders.
A few days ago I engaged in a thought experiment.
What might Gordon Tullock have suggested to address the problem of the rising number of younger people testing positive for COVID-19. I used Tullock’s spike, the example he gave of placing a spike in the middle of a steering wheel to “encourage” safe driving, as a way to frame a discussion of how we might think about young people being forced to internalize the cost of irresponsible behavior that is leading to more COVID cases.
I suggested one way of dealing with this issue might be to tax young people who get infected for irresponsible behavior. Now in the spirit of a less statist, more voluntary solution, let’s think about the problem differently. The term externalities gets attributed to Ronald Coase, in particular regarding the so-called “Coase Theorem.” In fact, that is a phrase that George Stigler coined in describing Coase’s work. Coase himself might have framed the problem COVID problem very differently.
Within the economics community, thrift was very fashionable during the neoliberal era (roughly 1980-2007). During the 2010s, economists opened a three front war on thrift. Thrift was blamed for rising inequality, stagnating aggregate demand, and debt problems associated with “currency manipulation”. In each case, the charges were false. Let’s consider them one at a time.
The most famous recent critique of inequality was Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty claimed that the forces of capitalism inevitably led to greater wealth inequality unless restrained in some fashion. He focused on the following inequality:
r \ g
In this work Pufendorf argues for the separation of politics and religion. Written in response to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by the French king, Louis XIV, Pufendorf contests the right of the sovereign to control the religion of his subjects, because state and religion pursue wholly different ends. He concludes that, when rulers transgress their bounds, subjects have a right to defend their religion, even by the force of arms.
Of the Character of the Individual, so far as it can affect the Happiness of other People
Welcome to our August 2020 edition of Liberty Matters. In this essay and discussion forum Ruth Scurr, a fellow and director of Studies in Human, Social and Political Sciences at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge discusses JS Mill and the concept of what she calls “life writing,” According to Scurr life writing is an area of scholarship that involves biography, autobiography and memoir. Her essay focuses on Mill’s Autobiography and the approach that Mill took to crafting what he believed would become the main narrative of his life. Her essay, and the three splendid response essays from our other contributors, raise interesting questions about the outside forces that influence how we view historical figures as well as the caveats we should use while reading “life writing”. As liberalism is increasingly under attack in the modern world, discussing Mill, arguably the 19th century’s most famous English liberal, is particularly relevant.