Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Austrian Student Scholars Conference

From my department chair, Jeffrey Herbener:

Grove City College will host the twelfth annual Austrian Student Scholars Conference, February 26-27, 2016. Open to undergraduates and graduate students in any academic discipline, the ASSC will bring together students from colleges and universities across the country and around the world to present their own research papers written in the tradition of the great Austrian School intellectuals such as Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and Hans Sennholz. Accepted papers will be presented in a regular conference format to an audience of students and faculty.

Keynote lectures will be delivered by Drs. Mark Brandly and Matthew McCaffrey.

Cash prizes of $1,500, $1,000, and $500 will be awarded for the top three papers, respectively, as judged by a select panel of Grove City College faculty. Hotel accommodation will be provided to students who travel to the conference and limited stipends are available to cover travel expenses. Students should submit their proposals to present a paper to the director of the conference ( by January 15. To be eligible for the cash prizes, finished papers should be submitted to the director by February 1.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ritenour on Money

This past July I was blessed to lecture at Rothbard University sponsored by the Ludwig von Mises Institute Canada. One of the lectures I presented was an introduction to the nature of money. Mises Institute Canada has posted it on its YouTube channel. If you can stomach it, you can watch it below:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Is Health Care a Right?

Caroline Baum says no as she gets to the heart of the political-economic problem with socialized health care. Countering Bernie Sanders recent statement, "When you look around the world, you see every other major country providing health care to all people as a right, except the United States," Baum explains,
"The problem with his statement is that rights aren't the government's to give. John Locke, the 17th century English philosopher, wrote about inalienable rights: God-given rights that can't be taken away."
A significant problem with declaring an economic good a right is that people immediately think it is the government's responsibility to either provide it for the masses or at least insure that it is provided. Because the good being declared a right is a scarce goods, other people will be forced to incur the costs of providing the good. Some will benefit while others will be harmed involuntarily.

The most obvious way the government could provide health care is for a fully socialized, single-payer government provided health care system--the kind that Bernie Sanders desires. Such a system would be a disaster. With the broken system we have now, the number one purchaser of medical services already is the government. The primary reason health care services are so expensive is that there is very little profit and loss calculation undertaken by anyone because the third-party-payer system drives a wedge between the demander of medical services (the patient) and the supplier of the services (the doctor and/or hospital). Sanders' proposal (and all single payers systems like it) drives the wedge even deeper and farther. 

Additionally, any claims that, under a plan such as Sanders desires, we'll all be more healthy would be laughable if the issue were not so serious. What Sanders' plan will do is increase the demand for medical services, but it will not increase supply, so we should expect the same sort of shortages they experience in Great Britain's National Health Service. On the issue of government intervention in the health care industry, I highly recommend Colin Gunn's film Wait Till Its Free.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Moral Basis of Economics vs. Socialism

That is the topic I discussed with Dan Elmendorf during my most recent appearance on A Plain Answer, a weekly program broadcast on the Redeemer Broadcasting Network.

We talked about the Christian ethic of private property and what that ethic implies for economic policy. We also talked about the economic benefits of a free market and why socialism always fails. You can access a podcast of the program by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mises Was Right!

About socialism, says Andrea Rondón García, director of CEDICE’s Property Rights Committee, and academic director of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute in Venezuela. She also teaches at the Andrés Bello Catholic University.

In a recent column, Garcia explains Venezuela's socialist disaster  She cites Ludwig von Mises as she notes how socialism breeds economic regression, poverty, and political and civil repression as well:
Since 2003, the Venezuelan government has pushed central-economic planning as its fundamental policy: Chavistas have imposed price and exchange controls, ignored property rights, expropriated businesses, and destroyed the private sector’s productive capacity.

When economic liberties are compromised, political and civil liberties go with them. The blatant threat against César Miguel Rondón demonstrates how low the government has sunk in its attack on freedom of speech.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Herbener on Welfare Economics

. . . .on the Tom Woods Show. Grove City College Economics Department Chairman, Jeffrey Herbener was interviewed by Tom Woods about welfare economics, sound and unsound. He explains the nature of the claim that a free market maximizes social welfare and what economists can say and importantly what they cannot say about these matters. Grove City College economics students are blessed with this level of education every day.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Government Subsidies to Students Drive Up College Tuition

Awhile ago someone pointed me to a meme somebody else made with my photo. Although I did not say what was included as the caption, I generally agree with the sentiment. Mundane economics indicates that when the government subsidizes consumers, they will demand more. Recently William Shuggart explained why it is true that when government money is poured into the hands of demanders of higher education, the demand for college increases, resulting in higher tuition. A recent study by the New York Federal Reserve Bank corroborates this principle.