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.
By Samuel Pufendorf
Translated by Andrew Tooke et al. (1735)
Edited and with an Introduction by Ian Hunter and David Saunders
Two Discourses and a Commentary by Jean Barbeyrac (translated by David Saunders)
Samuel Pufendorf’s The Whole Duty of Man, According to the Law of Nature suggested a purely conventional basis for natural law. Rejecting scholasticism’s metaphysical theories, Pufendorf found the source of natural law in humanity’s need to cultivate sociability.
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.
Why not consider the crafts and trades of vocational training, the performing arts, or the service professions part of the liberal arts?
The so-called "First Step Act" offers some worthy reforms, but nothing that would satisfy progressive fantasies.
One often hears about the Trump administration’s deregulation push. But how real is it? Is the number of regulations rising or falling? One Mercatus Center study found that growth in federal regulations slowed during 2017:
As the saying goes, talk is cheap. What do the numbers—the numerous metrics of the stock and flow of regulation—tell us about the Trump administration’s first year of regulatory reform? For one, the growth of regulation has clearly slowed. During President Trump’s first year, federal regulations grew by about 0.65 percent, less than the growth rate of any other president’s first year in office since our data begin in 1970. This rate of growth is also less than one-third of the long-term annual growth rate for federal regulations, which, from 1970 to 2016, was about 2.1 percent.
Slower growth is a good thing, but it doesn’t represent “deregulation”.
At last, I’m starting my next major project: Poverty: Who To Blame. As usual, I’m starting with several tall stacks of reading.
One of these stacks is the “cultural of poverty” literature, and one of the classics of this literature is Hyman Rodman’s Lower-Class Families: The Culture of Poverty in Negro Trinidad (Oxford University Press, 1971). Rodman provides a detailed ethnography of impoverished Coconut Village (location name changed to protect subjects’ anonymity). While Rodman runs through numerous social angles, the most glaring feature of this subculture is extremely short-sighted sexual behavior. Courtships are brief, marriage is rare, breakups are common, cheating is common, and contraception almost unknown. As a result, few children grow up in homes with a reliable provider and a reliable caretaker. Kids can really only count on their mother’s support – if that.
One way a mother has of signifying paternity is through the assignment of the father’s title, or surname, to the child…
Bush never caught on to the fact that a growing number of Republican voters expected Republican politicians actually to change the rules.
In “Can anything hold back China’s economy?” Larry Summers makes a number of good points. By the way, his implicit answer to the question he raises in the title seems to be “No.”
Along the way, though, he writes as if the United States has one mind rather than over 300 million minds.
Good point #1:
At the heart of the problem in defining an economic strategy toward China is the following awkward fact: Suppose China had been fully compliant with every trade and investment rule and had been as open to the world as the most open countries at its income level. China might have grown faster because it reformed more rapidly, or it might have grown more slowly because of reduced subsidies or more foreign competition. But it is highly unlikely that its growth rate would have been altered by as much as 1 percent.
By the way, when he writes 1 percent, he clearly means 1 percentage point. It is very easy to imagine China’s growth rate being altered by 1 percent, which is trivial.
Peter Berkowitz of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of liberalism and the importance of John Locke. Berkowitz defends the liberal project of individual rights and liberty and argues that critics of Locke mischaracterize his thought. The conversation closes with an evaluation of the Enlightenment.
BLANCA SÁNCHEZ‐ALONSO THE ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW Abstract: The experiences of Latin American countries are not fully incorporated into current debates concerning the age of mass migration, even though 13 million Europeans migrated to the region between 1870 and 1930. This survey draws together different aspects of the Latin America immigration experience. Its main objective is to […]
The virtue of civility ebbs and flows in public life, but Stephen Carter gives us reasons to work to maintain it as a standard of good citizenship.
The present upheaval engulfing France reflects far deeper and unresolved tensions within.
Of the Influence and Authority of Conscience
Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Philosophical View of Reform (1820), ed. T.W. Rolleston (Oxford University Press, 1920).
PAUL ELIASON, BYRON LUTZ JOURNAL OF PUBLIC ECONOMICS, Volume 166 Abstract: Fiscal rules attempt to alter budget outcomes by constraining policy makers. They have been one of the primary responses to the recent string of fiscal crises around the globe. We ask if these rules succeed in altering fiscal outcomes by examining what is arguably the […]
The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in 12 vols. Fireside Edition (Boston and New York, 1909). Vol. 4 Representative Men.
Why do we accept the idea that the federal government can expansively regulate every aspect of the institutions they help fund?
Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville. Translated from the French by the translator of Napoleon’s Correspondence with King Joseph. With large Additions. In Two Volumes (London: Macamillan, 1861). Vol. 1.
“If you want to know why at present we own rather than share, the answer is transaction costs. And that is all going to change.” —Michael C. Munger, Tomorrow 3.0: Transaction Costs and the Sharing Economy
In his most recent book, Mike Munger sees Airbnb and Uber as portents of a future in which reduced transaction costs will allow us to make more efficient use of durable goods. In the process, Munger offers other important lessons in economics. His thesis also leads one to worry about the implications for liberty in a society where individuals own less and share more.
Alberto Mingardi, an assistant professor of the history of political thought at IULM University in Milan, Italy and director general of the free-market think tank Istituto Bruno Leoni, asks if Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) should belong in the history of classical liberalism? His answer is that Pareto’s drastic political realism—his ambition to look at politics for what it is—is not incompatible with a classical-liberal worldview, but it is incompatible with a classical-liberal program. He is joined in this discussion by Giandomenica Becchio, an assistant professor at the University of Torino; Rosolino Candela, a Senior Fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; and Richard E. Wagner is Holbert Harris Professor of Economics at George Mason University.
Public Goods and Externalities, from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Most economic arguments for government intervention are based on the idea that the marketplace cannot provide public goods or handle externalities. Public health and welfare programs, education, roads, research and development, national and domestic security, and a clean environment all have been labeled public goods.
Public goods have two distinct aspects—”nonexcludability” and “nonrivalrous consumption.” Nonexcludability means that nonpayers cannot be excluded from the benefits of the good or service. If an entrepreneur stages a fireworks show, for example, people can watch the show from their windows or backyards. Because the entrepreneur cannot charge a fee for consumption, the fireworks show may go unproduced, even if demand for the show is strong….
Sound intelligence about our adversaries is hard to come by—including in this book.
The Best of the OLL No. 49: “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” (1789) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2013).
T. M. BEJAN HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT 37.3 (2016): 556-587 Abstract: Lockean toleration has long been criticized as ethically minimal and indifferent to the interactions of private individuals. Yet these criticisms ignore Locke’s lasting preoccupation with intolerance and incivility as obstacles to coexistence. These concerns were instrumental in the development of his understanding of toleration as […]
Consumers pay a higher price for brand-name products than for products that do not carry an established brand name. Because this involves paying extra for what some!---- consider an identical product that merely has been advertised and promoted, brand names may appear to be economically wasteful. This argument was behind the decision to eliminate all brand names on goods produced in the Soviet Union immediately after the 1917 Communist revolution. The problems this experiment caused—problems described by economist Marshall Goldman—suggest that brand names serve an important economic function.
When the producers of products are not identified with brand names, a crucial element of the market mechanism cannot operate because consumers cannot use their past experience to know which products to buy and which not to buy. In particular, consumers can neither punish companies that supply low-quality products by stopping their purchases nor reward companies that supply high-quality products by increasing their purchases. Thus, when all brand names, including factory production marks, were eliminated in the Soviet Union, unidentified producers manufacturing indistinguishable products each had an incentive to supply lower-quality goods. And the inability to punish these producers created significant problems for consumers.
The 1st volume of Hippolyte Taine’s 3 volume history of the French Revolution which is part of his 5 part history of modern France, The Origins of Contemporary France, in 6 volumes. They are The Old Regime (1875); The Revolution, vol. 1 Anarchy (1878); The Revolution, vol. 2 The Jacobin Conquest (1881); The Revolution, vol. 3 The Revolutionary Government (1883); and The Modern Regime, in 2 volumes (1890-93).
John Lilburne reading from Coke's Institutes at his Treason Trial (1649)
From The Triall of Lieut. Collonell J. Lilburne by an extraordinary Commission of Oyear and Terminer, at the Guildhall of London, the 24, 25, 26 of Octob. 1649 Unto which is annexed a necessary Appendix, Published by Theodorus Verax (Southwark, 164).