Thursday, July 23, 2015

Herbener on the Division of Labor and Social Order

This week the Ludwig von Mises Institute is hosting its Mises University. My department chair, Jeffrey Herbener is one of the faculty for this event. Here is his lecture from Monday on the nature and benefits of the division of labor:

Students at Grove City College get this level of economics every day.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rothbard University!

I am blessed to be on the faculty of this year's Rothbard University presented by Mises Institute Canada. I am joining Walter Block, Glen Fox, David Howden, David Clement, Pedrag Rajsic, and Pierre Desrochers. Yesterday I gave lectures on entrepreneurship and money. Today I provide a lecture an history of thought lecture on the Austrian school of economics and tomorrow I finish up  discussing economic development. The entire program is being live streamed. You can access it by clicking here.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Aquinas on Private Property

My friend Harry Veryser explains in this brief video three reasons Thomas Aquinas thought that private property is a social virtue.

Veryser teaches economics at The University of Detroit - Mercy and is the author of It Didn't Have to Be This Way: Why Boom and Bust Is Unnecessary-and How the Austrian School of Economics Breaks the Cycle.

I also briefly mention Aquinas in my Foundations of Economics: A Christian View when discussing the Christian ethic of property. While it is true that Aristotle's view of private property has been tremendously influential, I would also argue that we can trace the idea back farther to at least the book of Exodus.

Friday, July 3, 2015

IPS Civics Summitt: Critical Condition

If you are going to be in the Modesto, California area the last weekend in July, you will not want to miss this year's Civics Summit hosted by the Institute for Principle Studies. The theme for this year is as timely as today's headlines: our health care mess.
We know that healthcare is expensive, and it affects us all on a daily basis. In fact, despite major attempts to reduce costs, the United States has some of the highest healthcare costs in the world. The real question is: why? A thorough study of both economics and biblical principles can give us insight into why current policies are not working, and what better alternatives exist. 
I will again be presenting lectures, speaking about the Biblical foundations of economics, the economics of the third party payer systems, why middle-of-the-road policy so often leads to socialism, and why health care is so expensive. For more information and to register click here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Another Reason To Be Happy Hamilton Is Leaving the Ten Dollar Bill

When the Federal Reserve System Chairman who helped convince the intelligentsia that the only thing we have to fear is deflation itself and gave us quantitative easing for who knows how long

says he is "appalled" at the prospect of Hamilton's portrait leaving the ten dollar bill.

In a reversal of the old Debbie Boone line, it must be right if Bernanke feels it is so wrong. Bernanke's case for Hamilton is a list of how Hamilton worked to bring more of the economy under the sphere of the state and its central bank. That has not worked out so well.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Is Private Propety Biblical?

Anne Bradley of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics explains why the answer is yes.

Bradley cites various Scriptural passages and our theological tradition. She also points us to a better understanding of social justice. I have also written on this issue in my book Foundations of Economics: A Christian View and in an article, "The Scriptural Case for Private Property and a Free Economy" in the Aeropagus Journal.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fixing Problems Requires Understanding Them

Dambisa Moyo thinks that one of the problems of the economics profession is that we spend too much fighting and not enough time actually fixing problems, especially regarding poverty and economic development. Her solution is to put down ideology and pragmatically embrace the virtues of any and all systems of economic thought.

She uses the competing ideas of Hayek and Keynes as a framework through which to illustrate her point. He perspective is demonstrated by the pragmatism she thinks we need:
A balanced economic approach that draws on the Hayekian incentive-based prescriptions, but also recognizes the critical role of strong central governments to act effectively in times of crisis, their role in boosting aggregate demand, putting to work underutilized resources and clearing markets when they won’t clear themselves.

While Moyo's goals are laudible--economics serves people as it provides them guidance for ameliorating economic problems--her prescription will achieve her ends only if both Keynesian and Austrian theory are relevant and applicable in different circumstances. There a plenty of reasons to question the soundness of Keynesian theory and the success of Keynesian economic policy. It may very well be that we need to fight the intellectual battles to discover and establish true theory, so we can then rightly apply it in economic policy. Formulating economic policy based on bad economic theory is a recipe for doing more harm than good.