Government And Economics.
Part of the "Critiques of Libertarianism" site.
Last updated 07/06/10.
Libertarians tend to consider government a drain on the economy,
when in actuality it is an active player in creating a more
Libertarianism, Property & Harm.
Chapter 2 of James Boyle's unpublished "Net Total: Law, Politics
and Property in Cyberspace". Thoroughly dismantles three libertarian
approaches to the problem of harms: [common] law, natural rights, and
What Russia Teaches Us Now: How Weak States Threaten Freedom.
Stephen Holmes' EXCELLENT article in
The American Prospect
which addresses the fundamental error that prevents libertarians
from understanding liberalism. Strong, ACCOUNTABLE government creates
rights and fosters prosperity. The current Soviet Union exposes the
lie of Atlas Shrugged.
Douglass North: Why Some Nations Can Sustain Growth
The necessity of government policy to generate strong growth.
Government for Modern Markets
It's time to rediscover the state, not as the central planner but as the
provider of the framework that complex modern markets need to operate
efficiently. If a country's citizens don't ask their government to be a
responsible and pro-active partner in building a market economy, the
best-intentioned reform initiatives will ultimately go wrong and the
economy will stagnate. "Fair and efficient markets do not occur by
accident," wrote economic development expert Dr. Robert Klitgaard, "they
are the products of . . . intelligent laws and public policies and
environments rich in information."
The American Antitrust Institute
A very new, independent watchdog organization interested in promoting
increased competition through antitrust. Many topical articles on
current antitrust developments and the justification for antitrust.
Also has an
excellent list of internet resources,
including international sites, and a fine guide to the
organizations dealing with antitrust issues
on both sides.
Public Choice Theory Criticized - McChesney, Money for Nothing.
American Antitrust Institute
review summarizes Public Choice theory as presented in
McChesney's book, and ends with a clear presentation of the conflict of
this Public Choice theory with reality.
How Education Drove Taiwan's Economic Development
Flora Tien outlines how Taiwan's government set ambitious educational
goals as an integral part of its economic strategy, paving the way for
an economic miracle.
The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods
Cliff Landesman's Princeton doctoral dissertation discussing
why voluntary provision would be expected to fail, ie. fall far below
Pareto optimality. Especially for rational egoists (in chapter 2.)
Making Work Pay: The Impact of the 1996-97 Minimum Wage Increase (executive summary)
Making Work Pay: The Impact of the 1996-97 Minimum Wage Increase (press release)
Economic Policy Institute
study by Jared Bernstein and John Schmitt that details the fact that
raising the minimum wage has not resulted in job losses, contrary
to libertarian propaganda ranging from the World's Smallest Political
Quiz to the Libertarian Party Platform.
The Chicago Acid Bath:
The Impoverished Logic of "Law and Economics"
Jedediah S.Purdy's article in
The American Prospect
that takes Richard Epstein and Richard Posner to task for
tautological and blinkered aspects of their field.
Economics, Academia, And Corporate Money In America: The 'Law And Economics' Movement
Judicial Seminars: Economics, Academia, And Corporate Money In America
Antitrust Law & Economics Review
articles that describe the promotion of "Law And Economics"
by overwhelming corporate funding to universities, departments, and
individual academics, not to mention extensive lobbying of the
judiciary. Explains fundamental ideas and flaws of the movement.
Antitrust Overview: Laissez-Faire, Monopoly, And Global Income Inequality; Law, Economics, History, And Politics Of Antitrust
An overview of the subjects of the
Antitrust Law & Economics Review.
Explains fundamental ideas and issues which disagree sharply with
common libertarian arguments.
The Real Reasons for Antitrust
Tom Nadeau explains antitrust in terms of two "government interferences
in the market": incorporation and intellectual property. Libertarians
are faced with the dilemma of rejecting those, or accepting the
validity of antitrust. One of the better
Feature Articles from the
Did Gore invent the Internet?
Scott Rosenberg, of Salon, details the smear on Gore, and shows yet
another example of how Gore and government do work, contrary to
libertarian ideas that technology develops in a vacuum.
Welfare vs. Privatization: the Truth Starts Here
Ian Montgomerie's review of
The Economics of the Welfare State
by Nicholas Barr. Undercuts libertarian arguments about optimality of
3 Problems of Libertarianism
Ryan Brooke illustrates some reasons why government should be involved
Labor Markets, Rationality, and Workers with Disabilities
Professor Michael Ashley Stein identifies major errors in law and
economics arguments (exemplified by Richard Epstein's) criticizing
Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act. From the
Berkeley Journal Of Employment And Labor Law.
Spheres of Affluence
The American Prospect
article points out ahistorical libertarian ideas on the benefits of
The Tradable Permits Approach to Protecting the Commons: What Have We Learned?
Tom Tietenberg provides an overview which shows how despite their market
gloss, tradable permits are a sophisticated government program, and
privatization in a very limited sense.
Laissez Not Fair
New York Times
article uses Enron's fall and Argentina's collapsing economy as
examples of why government activist policies are important for tasks
such as preventing financial abuses and fighting recession. From
The Unofficial Paul Krugman Archive.
Myth: The gold standard is a better monetary system.
Part of Steve Kangas' excellent
Liberalism Resurgent: A Response to the Right.
Gold standards return to bigger problems than they might prevent.
Human Capital Theory And Education Policy In Australia
John Quiggan's academic paper that explains why high public spending on
education is economically sensible. Technical.
Globalization and economic sovereignty
John Quiggan rejects neoliberal claims of "inevitability", and presents
historical and policy arguments limiting globalization.
Liberty! What Fallacies Are Committed in Thy Name!
Cosma Shalizi points out that libertarian-style arguments about
eliminating antitrust have severe empirical difficulties: ie. price
fixing is rampant in the global marketplace.
Cycles of Conventional Wisdom on Economic Development (pdf)
Paul Krugman points out that the association between free trade and
economic development is not supported by economic research, and in
fact is a recent, spurious belief.
Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion?
Dani Rodrik, of Harvard University, points out that the neoliberal
prescription of free markets, privatization, and non-interference
has been a great failure for developing nations. India and China have
done vastly better with their own prescriptions.
No Longer Getting By: An Increase in the Minimum Wage Is Long Overdue
Economic Policy Institute
briefing paper explains why minimum wages are a good idea and
refutes the usual conservative/libertarian arguments against them.
The Social Welfare State, beyond Ideology
article on how social welfare states do as well as or better than
low-tax, high-income countries. The punch line is that Friedrich Von
Hayek was wrong.
Markets Are Not Magic
Mark Thoma, at
Economist's View, explains when markets can perform very badly,
and how the belief that "privatization and deregulation are always best"
What Makes a Miracle: Some myths about the rise of China and India
Pranab Bardhan's Boston Review article debunks claims that China and
India's economic development is solely due to capitalism: communism,
democracy and socialism have also played major parts.
Regulation and the Theory of Market and Government Failure
Nobel Prize winner (economics) Joseph Stiglitz explains that government
can improve economic efficiency because real markets don't have the
properties of ideal markets. Technical, but not mathematical.
The links here are to
Amazon.com, through their associates program, primarily because of the
review information. Books without links are generally out of print,
and can often be easily found at
AddAll Used and Out Of Print Search.
Good sites for bargain shopping for sometimes expensive new books are
Online Bookstore Price Comparison
AddAll Book Search and Price Comparison.
Both of those list applicable coupons. Another is
"The Bigness Complex"
Pantheon Books, 1987.
(opposes libertarian antitrust position)
A. B. Atkinson
"The Economic Consequences of Rolling Back the Welfare State"
MIT Press, 1999.
Points out unintended negative side effects of reduction of government.
"The Economics of the Welfare State"
Stanford University Press, 1999.
A thorough overview of the real world economics of market failures and
Click here for a review.
"The Great Challenge: The Myth of Laissez-Faire in the Early Republic"
David Card and Alan B. Krueger
"Myth and Measurement: The New Economics Of The Minimum Wage"
Princeton Univ. Press, 1997.
Libertarians claim the minimum wage destroys jobs: real-world evidence points
the other way.
George W. Downs and Patrick D. Larkey
"The Search For Government Efficiency: From Hubris to Helplessness"
Random House, 1986.
A serious, scholarly study of efficiency. Not a polemic but very necessary to
balance the government as inefficient polemics.
Charles T. Goodsell
"The Case for Bureaucracy: A Public Administration Polemic"
Chatham House, 1994.
Reexamines empirical findings on U.S. bureaucratic performance, noting how
well the American system really works.
"Beyond the New Right: Markets, Government and the Common Environment"
Routledge 1994. John Gray once held views very close to
libertarianism, but in this book he repudiates both neoclassical liberalism and
libertarianism. Chapter 3, "The Moral Foundations of Market Institutions"
contains some strong criticisms of the libertarian position.
Donald P. Green
"Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory"
Yale University Press, 1994.
A serious, scholarly study of the intellectual failures of Rational Choice Theory.
Thomas Parke Hughes
Pantheon Books 1998. An analysis of how four large-scale government projects
basically invented and then transformed modern systems management and
operations research while also developing much of the core technology of the
"Rolling Back the State: Privatisation of Power in Aotearoa/New Zealand"
Paul & Co Publishing Consortium 1996. And
"Economic Fundamentalism: The New Zealand Experiment - A World Model for Structural Adjustment?"
Pluto Press 1996.
Two books that detail the unhappy consequences of a real-world libertarian
"Everything for Sale: The Virtues and Limits of Markets"
Why mixed economies would outperform pure markets. Essential for countering
libertarian economic arguments.
"Land of Desire"
Vintage Books, 1993.
Discusses the rise of America's consumerist culture and shows how our
capitalist system has depended on government support at every stage of
"Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace"
Basic Books, 1999.
A non-libertarian view of the threats to freedom in cyberspace both from
government and the market. Makes the point that freedom comes from a
particular kind of government, not no government.
Charles E. Lindblom
"The Market System: What It Is, How It Works, and What To Make of It"
Yale Univ. Pr. 2001.
The big picture of what markets do well and poorly, their benefits and harms.
William J. Novak
"The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America"
Univ. of North Carolina Pr., 1996. "Blasts to pieces... the libertarian
fantasy that until the twentieth century the American state left private
property owners and economic entrepreneurs alone." --Robert W. Gordon,
Yale Law School.
"Not So Free To Choose"
An extensive criticism of Milton Friedman's economic and social philosophy.
"Development As Freedom"
A Nobel prize-winning economist explains elimination of "capability deprivation"
in five categories as being crucial to freedom. Shows libertarian ideas of
economic freedom to be dreadfully incomplete for liberty or freedom.
"Free Markets and Social Justice"
(Oxford Univ. Press 1997). Takes on the claims of the Law and Economics camp,
libertarians such as Epstein and Posner.
"Ideology and Utopia in the Social Philosophy of the Libertarian Economists (Contributions in Economics and Economic History, No. 223)"
(Greenwood Publishing Group 2001). Challenges libertarian definitions of
freedom and democracy, and shows how libertarianism undermines democracy,
civil liberties, and social equality.
"The Limits of Public Choice: A sociological critique of the economic theory of politics"
Donald A. Wittman
"The Myth of Democratic Failure: Why Political Institutions Are Efficient"
University of Chicago Press, 1995.
"... refutes one of the cornerstone beliefs of economics and political science:
that economic markets are more efficient than the processes and institutions
of democratic government."
Copyright 2007 by Mike Huben ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
This document may be freely distributed for non-commercial purposes if it is reproduced in its textual entirety, with this notice intact.