Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jeremy Shearmur at Grove City College

This Friday September 12, the Grove City College Economics Department is hosting Jeremy Shearmur, emeritus professor at the Australian National University, who will be speaking on the topic, “Commitment, Scholarship, and Objectivity.” The lecture will be in Sticht Lecture Hall at 7:00-8:00 on Friday, September 12.

In his lecture, Shearmur will discuss questions such as how can a political commitment to freedom or traditional values, or a religious commitment, best be squared with the production of good scholarly work and with the successful pursuit of an academic career? He will also suggest one way in which the problems in this area might be resolved.

Shearmur is an Emeritus Fellow in the School of Philosophy, Australian National University.  He was educated at the London School of Economics, University of London, where he subsequently worked for eight years as assistant to Professor Sir Karl Popper, the political philosopher and philosopher of science. Shearmur taught philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, political theory at Manchester University, and was Director of Studies at the Centre for Policy Studies in London (a public policy institute of which Mrs Thatcher was a founder).  He was subsequently a Research Associate Professor at the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University, and then taught political theory and subsequently philosophy at the Australian National University.

He has wide academic interests in philosophy, political theory and the history of political thought, has published books on Popper and on Friedrich Hayek, and is currently editing Hayek’s Law, Legislation and Liberty for inclusion in Hayek’s Collected Works.  In addition to Popper and Hayek, he has a particular interest in C. S. Lewis, and in the ‘classical liberal’ or libertarian tradition.

I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Worst Five Years Since World War II

In a new essay, my colleague, Tracy Miller, explains why our economy has turned in the worst five-year performance since World War II. Miller notes that:
The Obama administration has pursued several policies that make it harder for market forces to work. These include: bailouts, expansion of entitlement programs, regulation of the economy, tax increases, and huge government deficits.
These policies cumulatively result in capital consumption and curtailment of entrepreneurship. They reduce the incentive and ability of people to save and invest and hamper the price system, making it more difficult for entrepreneurs to do their job of allocating resources to their most highly value uses.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Three Reasons Private Property Is Essential for Human Flourishing

In his Elements of Moral Science, published in 1835, Baptist minister and college president Francis Wayland cogently identified the positive link between private property and human flourishing.

He describes it in elegant prose:
Just in proportion as the right of property is held inviolate, just in that proportion civilization advances, and the comforts and conveniences of life multiply. Hence it is, that, in free and well-ordered governments, and specially during peace, property accumulates, all the orders of society enjoy the blessings of competence, the arts flourish, science advances, and men begin to form some conception of the happiness of which the present system is capable.
Economic theory teaches that Wayland was speaking truth. The right to property is absolutely essential for human flourishing, for it is the social institution necessary for the engines of economic prosperity to function.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hulsmann on the Cultural Consequences of Fiat Money

Our current monetary system is one of fiat money. The monetary units of all modern nations are money based on nothing but the government's say so. They ceased to be money substitutes for gold when the world left the last semblance of the gold standard back in 1971. In a lecture he recently gave at Mises University at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Guido Hulsmann explained the broader cultural consequences of fiat money. You can watch it below:

Hulsmann notes that economic phenomena help determine the culture of any society because the human action which is manifest in culture always involves using scarce goods.

The question he investigates is how does government intervention of fiat money change the culture. Hulsmann explains both the direct and indirect consequences of fiat money. He argues that the direct consequences of fiat money is centralization of government and tyranny, and the indirect consequences mainly flow from debt culture that is fruit of fiat money.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kyle Marchini Takes First Prize

Recent Grove City College economics graduate Kyle Marchini won the first place prize for his oral exam at this year's Mises University. This is the top honor awarded to a Mises University student. Congratulations Kyle!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dalrymple on the Capacity of the Poor

Here is a brief video clip from Poverty Cure featuring one of my favorite writers, Theodore Dalrymple. He is the author of a tremendous book, Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass. It is an outstanding picture of the ideologies, values, and behavioral habits of those in poverty Dalrymple came across in his vocation as a prison doctor and psychiatrist.

In the video above, Dalrymple urges those of us who are eager to help those in poverty to raise the questions,
"Why are these people uniquely unable to get out of their poverty? Is there not evidence, in fact, that when given the opportunity, they do in fact get out of poverty themselves?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Economic Freedom in the Early American Tradition

A video of my recent Founders Lecture, "Economic Freedom in the Early American Tradition" is now available at the Center for Vision and Values. You can watch the video by clicking here. Paul Kengor, Executive Director of the Center gave me a very (if not too) kind introduction and my remarks begin at the 4:25 mark of the video.

Note: I make at least one historical error. I say in the lecture that Samuel Willard's A Compleat Body of Divinity was published in 1606. In fact, Willard died in 1706 and his book was published posthumously in 1726.