Cover contest for Machinery of Freedom

David D. Friedman has announced a cover contest for the new edition of The Machinery of Freedom. (Drafts of new chapters here.)  I’ve always liked this one from a 1973 paperback edition that I found at a used book sale many years ago.
Friedman - Machinery of Freedom

Leave a comment

Filed under economics

Phone Encryption, the NSA, & the FBI: Must You Speak with Others in a Way Government Can Understand?

Paul Hsieh, MD writes:

Cryptography is just a tool that can be used for good or evil ends — like a knife or a gun. Guns can be used for both legitimate sporting and self-defense purposes, as well as to help commit crimes. Most advocates of individual liberty recognize that we shouldn’t restrict the rights of the vast majority of honest gun owners just because a small minority misuse guns for criminal purposes.

The same applies to encryption. Government officials like [FBI] Director Comey basically want to forbid Apple and Google from selling a product that lets users communicate in a way the government can’t understand.

I recognize that allowing the FBI backdoor access to encrypted communications might help solve some crimes. But so would any number of privacy-violating laws. For instance, consider a hypothetical law outlawing cash and instead requiring that all commercial transactions be conducted electronically, with records stored in a master database searchable with a government warrant. Such a law might help solve some crimes. But most Americans would also regard this as an outrageous violation of their individual rights.

If the FBI wants to argue that “a child might die” because of secure encryption, then we should also ask how many innocent children (and adults) might be injured or killed by insecure cryptography that can be breached by criminals, hackers, and repressive governments.

Read the whole article: PJ Media » Should You Have to Speak with Others in a Way the Government Can Understand?.

Leave a comment

Filed under public policy

Listen Up, Authoritarians: Make Everything Illegal, Create More Eric Garners

Robby Soave:

When a million things are highly regulated or outright illegal—from cigarettes to sodas of a certain size, unlicensed lemonade stands, raw milk, alcohol (for teens), marijuana, food trucks, taxicab alternatives, and even fishing supplies (in schools)—the unrestrained, often racist police force has a million reasons to pick on people. Punitive cigarette taxes, which disproportionately fall on the backs of the poorest of the poor, contribute to police brutality in the exact same way that the war on drugs does. Liberals [sic] readily admit the latter; why is the former any different?

More: Make Everything Illegal, Create More Eric Garners – Hit & Run :

“Liberal” is not a proper term for such authoritarians.  Some are better described as “progressive, social democrat, leftist, or left-liberal.”

Leave a comment

Filed under public policy

If increasing cost of carbon decreases its use, does increasing cost of labor decrease employment? (#minimumWage)

Via Don Boudreaux at Cafe HayekCoyote Blog’s Warren Meyer offers this useful Venn diagram:

See also:

Mark Perry:

Does thinking realistically about the proposed minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour alternatively as a $5,700 annual “unskilled labor tax” make minimum wage proponents less enthusiastic about that increase and its inevitable adverse effects on unskilled workers?

More: Instead of $10.10 per hour, think of the proposed minimum wage as a $5,700 annual tax per full-time unskilled worker.

Also, from Mark Perry:

Mark Perry, professor at the University of Michigan and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, explains that minimum wage hikes ultimately affect the number of hours worked, not the number of workers employed by a firm. (more)

And the chapter on minimum wage laws in Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. And finally, this video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity:



Leave a comment

Filed under economics

Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes

Part of an e-mail I received from the Institute for Justice (IJ):

There’s been tremendous activity over the past few weeks in our campaign to end civil forfeiture, so I want to give you a report.

Imagine getting pulled over for a broken taillight or a forgotten turn signal only to have your car and the cash you were traveling with confiscated by the police.  As The Washington Post documents this week in an explosive three-part series, that nightmare is an underreported reality for thousands of American motorists each year.  IJ contributed heavily to the Post series, which has been months in the making, and we are featured in the opening video and quoted in the series finale.

So what’s behind the epidemic of forfeiture abuse?  A groundbreaking IJ strategic research report released this week exposes the profit incentive at the heart of civil forfeiture laws.  The report, Bad Apples or Bad Laws?  Testing the Incentives of Civil Forfeiture, details a cutting-edge experiment that shows that civil forfeiture isn’t a problem of just a few “bad apple” police officers or rogue prosecutors, but rather that bad laws encourage bad behavior.  Civil forfeiture creates a real and perverse incentive for law enforcement to pursue profits instead of justice.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Paul #Krugman: Stop Calling People Names

“Simply saying “You’re wrong, I’m right, and, furthermore, you’re stupid for not agreeing with me.” is something you’d expect from a child, not a grown up and certainly not from a columnist for the New York Times who sports a Nobel Prize.” — economist Laurence Kotlikoff re. Paul Krugman

Full post “Paul Krugman: Stop Calling People Names” via Trevor Burris in Forbes.

More on Krugman in “Civilizing the Marketplace of Ideas,” by Niall Ferguson and my Paul Krugman links.



Leave a comment

Filed under economics

Jay Austin’s Beautiful, Affordable, but Illegal Tiny House: The harms of #zoning restrictions.

Matchbox could help to ease the shortage of affordable housing in the capital city. Heating and cooling costs are negligible. Rainwater catchment systems help to make the homes self-sustaining. They’re an attractive option to the very sort of residents who the city attracts in abundance: single, young professionals without a lot of stuff, who aren’t ready to take on a large mortgage.

But tiny houses come with one enormous catch: they’re illegal, in violation of several codes in Washington DC’s Zoning Ordinance.

More: Jay Austin’s Beautiful, Illegal Tiny House –

Leave a comment

Filed under economics, public policy