Can Enemies Agree To A Decentralized Framework of Law?

It is commonly believed, even among economists, that orderly resolution of disputes is possible only among groups of people with similar values, who agree to work together, but not among disparate social groups. This motivates the belief that there must be some Supreme Ruler who will watch over other watchers. As to who might watch… Continue reading Can Enemies Agree To A Decentralized Framework of Law?

Why Won’t Neo-Keynesianism Die?

Daniel J. Mitchell asks why Keynesian fallacies won't die. Keynesian economics is a failure. It didn’t work for Hoover and Roosevelt in the 1930s. It didn’t work for Japan in the 1990s. And it didn’t work for Bush or Obama in recent years. No matter where’s it’s been tried, it’s been a flop. So why,… Continue reading Why Won’t Neo-Keynesianism Die?

Of IEPs and Tar Pits

I used to live in Pittsburgh's North Side - a mixed neighborhood, with many people just this side of poverty. There were two nearby schools - a big expensive "free" school named after Martin Luther King, Jr - and a small Catholic school, named St. Peter's. It happened that my neighbor's little girl attended the… Continue reading Of IEPs and Tar Pits

Building Scholastic Culture In The Family

Many people who talk about "culture wars" are like bulls distracted by a red cape: aiming at the wrong place entirely. They're looking for certain results instead of methods; at ends rather than means. This way leads to confusion. A growing body of research about education is finally paying attention to the crucial role of… Continue reading Building Scholastic Culture In The Family

In Defense of Using “Autarchy” instead of “AnCap” and other Tainted Variations

What if we abandon the word "anarchy" to the communists and socialists? It's not like the word hasn't got a lot of baggage, between the communists on one side, and the belief that it would lead to "chaos" on the other. Why not just let the communists and socialists duke it out among themselves, if… Continue reading In Defense of Using “Autarchy” instead of “AnCap” and other Tainted Variations

Education: A Book List

A friend asked for my book list about education. What follows is a rough guide to why I believe as I do about education. My position:  government should have zero involvement in education, for a variety of reasons. People should be completely free to make their own choices, which would include "home schooling," "unschooling," and… Continue reading Education: A Book List

Refuting the Hoppean Closed-Border Argument

Hoppe makes the case for non-open borders, even in an anarcho-capitalist society, here and in other places. He begins with the classical argument for free trade and open borders, which I paraphrase: wages and capital utilization tend to equalize, other things being equal. An influx of migrants tends to lower nominal wage rates, but will… Continue reading Refuting the Hoppean Closed-Border Argument

An Unschooler Goes To College . . .

After 2 years at a community college, Cheri entered UNCC as a junior. She was only 17 years old, which nonplussed more than a few classmates, most of whom were over 20 years past their first wails. Cheri did her best to help other classmates past their rough spots, becoming the "go to girl" as… Continue reading An Unschooler Goes To College . . .

Nuke Government Schools? A Thought Experiment

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry proposes a thought experiment: Imagine that omnipotent space aliens from the planet Zyrglax land on Earth and take control of the United States. But these aliens are somewhat bizarre, and they change only one thing: they teleport all [government] school buildings into the sun, and prohibit the government from any action or law… Continue reading Nuke Government Schools? A Thought Experiment

Government Schools: Public Good or Public Bad?

revised and upgraded . . .


It is important to agree upon definitions. Public goods, as the term is used by professional economists, are both nonexcludable and nonrivalrous.

The typical school is an enclosed building with classrooms, which have doors. Those outside the door do not learn from or benefit from that class, except indirectly. This education is therefore an excludable good. Contrast this with a radio broadcast signal – once broadcast, anybody can obtain the full benefit of the signal. One way to solve the problem of funding such a good is to package a public bad – advertisements – for which one may obtain compensation, with the public good – the programming. Another is to use technology – cable TV is encrypted; one must pay to unlock the decryption device.

Classrooms are not broadcast mechanisms; the product (education) is delivered only to a select few, and the marginal cost of new customers is nonzero…

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