Did Inequality Fall During the Great Depression ?

The graph above is taken from Piketty and Saez in their seminal 2003 article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. It shows that inequality fell during the Great Depression. This is a contention that I have always been very skeptical of for many reasons and which has been – since 2012 – the reason why I view … Continue reading Did Inequality Fall During the Great Depression ?

How Canada Tracked the US during the Great Depression

Over the last few years, while I continued my research on other fronts, I started spending small amounts of time on a daily basis to read about the Great Depression and more precisely, how Canada lived through the depression. Since the old adage is that Canada gets pneumonia when the US gets the flu, I … Continue reading How Canada Tracked the US during the Great Depression

Did 89% of American Millionaires Disappear During the Great Depression?

Over the years, I became increasingly skeptical of using tax data to measure inequality. I do not believe that there is no value in computing inequality with those sources (especially after the 1960s, the quality is much better in the case of the US). I simply believe that there is a great need for prudence in not … Continue reading Did 89% of American Millionaires Disappear During the Great Depression?

Why Britain, in the Great Depression, is the best example in favor of NGDP targeting

A few weeks ago, I finished reading Scott Sumner’s The Midas Paradox. As an economic historian, I must say that this is by far the best book on the Great Depression since the Monetary History of the United States. Moreover, it is the first book that I’ve read that argues simply that the Great Depression … Continue reading Why Britain, in the Great Depression, is the best example in favor of NGDP targeting

Financial History to the Rescue: On Bitcoiners’ Many Troubles

This article is part of a series on bitcoin (and bitcoiners’) arguments about money and particularly financial history. See also: (2): ‘Rothbard’s First Impressions on Free Banking in Scotland Were Correct’, Joakim Book, AIER (2019-08-18) (3): ‘The Harder Money Wins Out’, Joakim Book, NotesOnLiberty (2019-08-19) (4): ‘Bitcoin’s Fixed Money Supply Is a Weakness’, Joakim Book, … Continue reading Financial History to the Rescue: On Bitcoiners’ Many Troubles

The State in education

Mary Lucia Darst maryluciadarst@gmail.com Part I: A History In Beyond Good and Evil, written after breaking with composer Richard Wagner and subsequently rejecting hyper-nationalism, Friedrich Nietzsche proposed the existence of a group of people who cannot abide to see others successful or happy. Appropriately, he dubbed these people and their attitude “ressentiment,” or “resentment” in French. … Continue reading The State in education

The State and education – Part IV: Conclusion

On August 17, 2018, the BBC published an article titled “Behind the exodus from US state schools.” After taking the usual swipes at religion and political conservatism, the real reason for the haemorrhage became evident in the personal testimony collected from an example mother who withdrew her children from the public school in favour of … Continue reading The State and education – Part IV: Conclusion

The minimum wage induced spur of technological innovation ought not be praised

In a recent article at Reason.com, Christian Britschgi argues that “Government-mandated price hikes do a lot of things. Spurring technological innovation is not one of them”. This is in response to the self-serve kiosks in fast-food restaurants that seem to have appeared everywhere following increases in the minimum wage. In essence, his argument is that minimum wages … Continue reading The minimum wage induced spur of technological innovation ought not be praised

2017: Year in Review

Well folks, another year has come and gone. 2017 was Notes On Liberty‘s busiest year yet. Traffic came from all over the place, with the most visits coming from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and India. (In the past, India and Germany have vied for that coveted 5th place spot, but this year India … Continue reading 2017: Year in Review

Auftragstaktik: Decentralization in military command

Many 20th century theorists who advocated central planning and control (from Gaetano Mosca to Carl Landauer, and hearkening back to Plato’s Republic) drew a direct analogy between economic control and military command, envisioning a perfectly functioning state in which the citizens mimic the hard work and obedience of soldiers. This analogy did not remain theoretical: … Continue reading Auftragstaktik: Decentralization in military command

Ten best papers/books in economic history of the last decades (part 2)

Yesterday, I published part 1 of what I deemed were the best papers and books in the field of economic history of the last few decades. I posted only the first five and I am now posting the next five. Carlos, Ann M., and Frank D. Lewis. Commerce by a frozen sea: Native Americans and … Continue reading Ten best papers/books in economic history of the last decades (part 2)

Ten best papers/books in economic history of the last decades (part 1)

In my post on French economic history last week,  I claimed that Robert Allen’s 2001 paper in Explorations in Economic History was one of the ten most important papers of the last twenty-five years. In reaction, economic historian Benjamin Guilbert asked me “what are the other nine”? As I started thinking about the best articles, I realized that … Continue reading Ten best papers/books in economic history of the last decades (part 1)

Stock markets and economic growth: from Smoot-Hawley to Donald Trump

In a recent article for the Freeman, Steve Horwitz (who has the great misfortune of being my co-author) argued that stock markets tell us very little about trends in economic growth. Stock markets tell us a lot about profits, but profits of firms on the stock market may be higher because of cronyism. Basically, that is Steve’s … Continue reading Stock markets and economic growth: from Smoot-Hawley to Donald Trump

On quasi-rents and the minimum wage

Ryan Murphy of Southern Methodist University has a new article published in Economics Bulletin regarding the minimum wage and “quasi-rents”.  The argument made by Ryan has the advantage of theoretically fleshing out a point made by many skeptics of the new literature. Generally, the argument has been that in the short-term, the minimum wage may have minimal effects, … Continue reading On quasi-rents and the minimum wage