05 Oct 2016

More Praise for *Choice*, Part 2 of 3

*Choice* 2 Comments

For a different project (details forthcoming), I had to type up the blurbs that praise my book on Mises, namely Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action. I suspect that some of you are thinking, “I’m sure it’s a fine book, but I feel no reason to order it.”

Well, that would be a serious mistake. So over the next few days I’ll run some of the blurbs here, to prod you into human action.


Choice is a welcome book—a well-written, penetrating presentation of Ludwig von Mises’ economic analyses and insights. A most compelling read.” – Steve H. Hanke, Professor of Applied Economics and Co-Director of the Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise, Johns Hopkins University


“Robert P. Murphy is a master communicator. In Choice he makes the main ideas from the most important economics book of the twentieth century, Human Action, accessible to the average person.” – Benjamin W. Powell, Director, Free Market Institute, Texas Tech University


“[T]hanks to Robert P. Murphy in his important book Choice, we have the essentials of Mises’ famed treatise well tailored for twenty-first century readers together with revealing comparisons of Austrian economics with the modern-day mainstream alternative.” – Roger W. Garrison, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Auburn University


“With the publication of Choice, Robert P. Murphy joins Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard in the ranks of master teachers. His complete command over the entire discipline of economics…makes him the ideal guide into the origin, nature, theorems, and applications of economics in the tradition of Carl Menger…Choice is a master class in economics, open and accessible to all.” – Jeffrey M. Herbener, Chair and Professor of Economics, Grove City College

04 Oct 2016

More Free Market Economists Who Are Pro-*Choice* Part 1 of 3

*Choice* No Comments

For a different project (details forthcoming), I had to type up the blurbs that praise my book on Mises, namely Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action. I suspect that some of you are thinking, “I’m sure it’s a fine book, but I feel no reason to order it.”

Well, that would be a serious mistake. So over the next few days I’ll run some of the blurbs here, to prod you into human action.


“In Choice, economist Robert P. Murphy has achieved the much-needed idea of rendering Ludwig von Mises’ masterwork, Human Action, in prose that is user-friendly to twenty-first century readers of English with no prior training in economics.” – Gene Epstein, Economics and Books Editor, Barron’s


“Students will benefit greatly from a careful reading of Murphy and it will prepare them to better appreciate the depth of Mises’ contributions. Highly recommended!” – Peter J. Boettke, University Professor of Economics and Philosophy; Director, F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study, George Mason University


“In Choice, Robert P. Murphy brings this masterwork [Human Action] down from the summits of theory and history into the hands of today’s citizens in the form of a pithy text as topical as headline news and as trenchant as the original work of the Austrian titan himself.” – George Gilder, author of Knowledge and Power, Wealth and Poverty and other books; Co-founder, Discovery Institute


Choice is one of the best introductions to the foundations of modern Austrian School economics that I have ever read…We owe Murphy a great debt for Choice, and one can only hope that it will be a smashing success both as a textbook and a book read by the general public. I highly recommend that you get a copy and read it.” – Robert D. Tollison, J. Wilson Newman Professor of Economics, Clemson University

04 Oct 2016

Trolling Update

Humor, Scott Sumner 6 Comments

Scott has playfully pushed back against my nomination of myself as Best Troll of an Economics Blog 2016; you can read that and the comments if you are really committed to doing nothing productive for the next 15 minutes.

After that, I encourage you to consider just one more example of my trolling, on an EconLog post where Scott defended Gary Johnson’s “brain freeze”:

Charley Hooper wrote:

“Asking a libertarian to name their favorite world leader is like asking a vegan to name their favorite steakhouse.”

…and Scott applauded the analogy.

OK guys, that’s fine insofar as it goes, but let me make it more analogous to what actually happened:

(1) Two guys are running on the Vegan ticket. Chris Matthews asks them, “Name your favorite steakhouse.”

(2) The Vegan running for president is having a brain freeze. His VP says, “Ruth’s Chris” right away.

(3) The Vegan running for prez has recovered somewhat. “It’s um, the one that sounds like Willie Horton, but that’s not it…” Then the VP bails him out by prodding, “Morton’s.” The prez candidate lights up. “MORTON’S STEAKHOUSE, that’s what I was trying to come up with.”

(4) A day later, on Twitter, the Vegan running for president tweets out, “24 hours later, I still can’t think of a steakhouse I like.”

(5) People on leading vegan (small-v) websites applaud the honesty of their candidate.


03 Oct 2016

My Thoughts On Trump’s Tax Return

Politics, Shameless Self-Promotion, Trump 35 Comments

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know that this issue has absorbed a large portion of my sanity since Sunday. Hopefully this post will get it out of my system. An excerpt:

If you still feel like Trump is cheating, realize you too can take advantage of this “vast benefit.” I’ll show you how you can avoid paying all federal income tax next year. First, figure out your annual income; let’s say it’s $85,000. Then start a consulting business, and spend $85,000 buying printer paper and hiring a receptionist. During the course of the year, do absolutely nothing with this business, but you instruct your employee (who is getting paid a salary) to rip up the paper and throw it in the garbage, before she goes to the store to buy some more. Come tax time, when your accountant tells you that your new business suffered an $85,000 operating loss, use that to offset your $85,000 in other income. Your net income is $0 and so you owe nothing. Voila! Hey man, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

P.S. Tyler Cowen is the only blogger I’ve seen making (one of) my obvious points. The guys at Vox (not to mention the NYT) really did not have a good moment on this one.

03 Oct 2016

My Response to R Street’s Appeal to Conservatives to Support Carbon Tax

Climate Change, Shameless Self-Promotion 1 Comment

I was unusually saucy in this IER piece. Some excerpts:

Rather than reiterating our list of technical objections, let me in this post instead simply step back and ask: What is the point of studies such as the R Street proposal? It’s not as if President Obama or Gina McCarthy are making a substantive offer here. Rather, R Street’s proposal (and others like it) are fantasy land bargains from people with no political power in order to get conservatives and libertarians to abandon their opposition to a massive new tax. What is the point of this exercise?

Allow me to let Catrina Rorke and Greg Ip in on a dirty little secret: The typical progressive activist, and the typical administrator at the EPA, do not share their general admiration for the market economy. It is not as if the people of Greenpeace toss and turn at night, lamenting the Pareto inefficiencies in our economy and the fact that industry produces a bit above the “optimal” level of pollution. No, these people do not like capitalism, period, and think Americans are consuming too much.

In this context, it’s an irrelevant academic point of whether a new carbon tax, with all funds directed to tax breaks for corporations and capitalists, plus the elimination of all other federal regulations on emissions, would be economically beneficial on net. When I read studies like R Street’s, I feel like I’m a bank teller looking at guys storming in with shotguns and ski masks, and my colleague says, “Let’s offer them free checking.”

03 Oct 2016


Humor, Market Monetarism, Scott Sumner 6 Comments

I put forward my own name for Best Troll on an Economics Blog in 2016. Here’s but one example.

Now look, there are some master trolls who hang out at Landsburg’s blog, and there are arguable professionals at Marginal Revolution. So I’m not asking that I win. All I ask, is that you don’t ding me since I’m already up for Best Economics Blogger in 2016. That’s really not fair to say I can only be one or the other.

02 Oct 2016

Your Father Knows You Need These Things

Religious 2 Comments

I recently had some personal experiences and found this passage very satisfying. (It was the topic of the Bible study I do in Lubbock and it really came in handy.) So I searched YouTube to see if I could find a nice video, maybe an animated Bible story or something, but instead I found this guy who has posted a bunch of videos. This one was exactly the topic I wanted, and it had 1 view, so I thought, “Maybe he made this just for me and my readers.”


01 Oct 2016

Sarandon Is a True Progressive

Politics 7 Comments

I can respect Susan Sarandon, even though (of course) I disagree with a lot of her policy views. But I think this is incredibly brave of her. So I respect her the same way I respect Glenn Greenwald, who was totally anti-Bush because of the war and civil liberties, and then was consistent when Obama continued the same horrible policies.

I also love her lines near the end, where she says (paraphrasing) that “if you think it’s smart to shore up the status quo, then you don’t understand the status quo.”

This is why I so profoundly disagree with people like Steve Landsburg, Scott Sumner, and Scott Alexander. They all think (to varying degrees) that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be nearly as risky as Trump, because hey at least it will be basically another term of Obama.

Uh, right. That’s why I actually think Trump might be better, though I can totally see why Trump is scaring the #$()#$ out of these guys.

It’s funny, people warn that “Trump is Hitler” a lot. But right now, if you want to talk like this, then the people “trying to take over the world” aren’t supporting Donald Trump. No, they are actively opposing him.