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In this essay from last year, Richard Ebeling explains the importance of W.H. Hutt’s concept of “consumer sovereignty.”  A slice:

This logic of the competitive process of the free market, however, is often misunderstood because the nature and workings of laissez-faire capitalism is confused with the affect of various government interventions on the outcomes of market interactions.

What are outcomes and effects resulting from interferences by government in the market process are erroneously identified with the results of the free market, or “capitalism.”

This, too, was discussed and explained by William H. Hutt back in the 1930s through a distinction that he made between “natural scarcities” and “contrived scarcities.”

Dan Ikenson reports the happy news that the Cato Institute will host a debate later this year on the trade deficit capital surplus.  (This accounting artifact doesn’t sound so scary when called by a different yet equally descriptive name.)  My Mercatus Center colleague Dan Griswold and I intend – in our newly formed program at Mercatus, the Program on the American Economy and Globalization – also to focus a great deal of effort to correcting the huge deficit of understanding on the so-called ‘balance-of-trade’ issue.

Parts of Netflix’s new animated film The Little Prince made me wince, but other parts – particularly the part that takes aim at ‘factory education’ – made me cheer.

Countering Travis Rieder’s fact-free – and economics-free – conclusion that conceiving and having children today is unethical, David Harsanyi sounds a Julian Simon theme.  Here’s Harsanyi’s conclusion:

Even the United Nations estimates that the world population of 9 billion expected by 2050 could be supported with the technology we already possess. What Malthusians never take into consideration are the efficiencies and technology we don’t have yet, which continually amaze us and undermine their dark vision of humankind’s future.

The real problem we face is sustaining population. The replacement fertility rate is 2.1, and in certain places where they fail to meet this threshold—parts of Europe and Japan, for example—they’ve suffered economic and cultural stagnation. Here in the United States we have, for a variety of reasons, long struggled with this problem, as the Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Last has argued. The success of developing nations also portends a similar slow-down.

Here’s a provocative thought: Maybe it’s the best time in history to have children.

And here’s Steve Horwitz on the same issue.

Walter Olson convinces Laurence Tribe that the IRS’s ideological-targeting scandal is real.


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