Martín de Azpilcueta and his fellow Spanish Scholastics writing and teaching at the University of Salamanca during Spain’s Golden Age are rightly pointed to by historians of economic thought as being major contributors toward, if not outright founders of modern economic theory. Among these is the theory of time-preference for which Azpilcueta has repeatedly been given the credit for discovering. However, this discovery is a curious one given how the same man, Azpilcueta, condemned usury in general during his whole life. If Azpilcueta did in fact discover this theory and fully understand its implications, we would reasonably expect him to have questioned his support for the ban on charging an interest on a loan. This paper, therefore, challenges the claim that Azpilcueta understood and revived time-preference theory and shows how his understanding was much more nuanced, and, at times, inconsistent.
In times of pandemics or natural catastrophes, prices of commodities, such as water, food and medicines, tend to shoot up, in response to a surge in demand and depleting supplies. The government, in its misguided efforts to maintain “price affordability”, imposes price controls and anti-price-gouging legislation and bans the reselling of food and medical supplies. These interventions in the free market are the exact opposite of what the government should do, if it wants to ensure that enough commodities go to people who need them, that people do not hoard all available goods on grocery shelves, and most importantly, that suppliers have the incentive to produce more goods to meet current and future demand at market prices.
Libertarianism deals with what the law should be. In this article, we focus on what the appropriate law to punish criminals should be in a libertarian society; that is, one that respects the Non-Aggression Principle and property rights. We examine various theories of punishment and explain why some are incompatible with libertarianism. We contribute to the latest libertarian theory of punishment suggesting the necessity to take time preference into consideration. We conclude stating a limit and a limitation to libertarian punishment theories.
Peter Singer’s famous and influential article is criticised in three main ways that can be considered libertarian, although many non-libertarians could also accept them: 1) the relevant moral principle is more plausibly about upholding an implicit contract rather than globalising a moral intuition that had local evolutionary origins; 2) its principle of the immorality of not stopping bad things is paradoxical, as it overlooks the converse aspect that would be the positive morality of not starting bad things and also thereby conceptually eliminates innocence; and 3) free markets – especially international free trade – have been cogently explained to be the real solution to the global “major evils” of “poverty” and “pollution”, while “overpopulation” does not exist in free-market frameworks; hence charity is a relatively minor alleviant to the problem of insufficiently free markets. There are also various subsidiary arguments throughout.
This special issue of Studia Humana is devoted, and dedicated, to libertarianism; its promotion and its study. I am very grateful to the editors of this journal for inviting me to put together such a compilation. There are 16 contributions in all, covering most of the social science disciplines.
In this short paper, we investigate the problems with the employment of the notion of freedom and voluntariness in libertarianism. We pretend to demonstrate that these two, as conceived of by libertarians, figure in as the main issue when it comes to justifying its major institutions, say: bequeathing, gifts, transactions (or what they label as “voluntary transfer”). The difficulty here boils down to the fact that a purely rights-based idea of freedom and voluntariness, the pretentions of Nozick notwithstanding, cannot do alone, since it is the consideration whether we do something (e.g. bequeath, donate etc.) voluntarily (or freely) (in a non-moralized sense) that could account for the rights redistribution. Therefore, it seems that – at least sometimes – the notion of voluntariness (or freedom) is prior to the notion of rights.
Libertarianism has a problem, perhaps an insurmountable one, and its problem lies squarely in the domain from which it is sourced: the intellectual and political elite of the West. As such, it rests on an ontological viewpoint far outside the purview and experience of quotidian man. Furthermore, it rests on an epistemology of the person as sovereign, Natural Law, which requires a concomitant education or understanding of the Classics, or at least self-awareness and the ability to think logically. Many non-intellectuals are either uninterested or incapable of following the Libertarian arguments of personal sovereignty and instead submit. This unconscious submission to the authority of a government, father figure, or other self-appointed “authority” relieves the individual of the psychological pain of breaking out of the herd. C. G. Jung (1875-1961) was adamant that to be an individual is a radical act: “To develop one’s own personality is indeed an unpopular undertaking, a deviation that is highly uncongenial to the herd, an eccentricity smelling of the cenobite, as it seems to the outsider [11, Para. 298]. Further, Alexander Hamilton (1755 or 1747-1804) noted that the elite are more than happy to have the masses submit to their authority without question as it advances their control: “a fondness for power is implanted in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired” . The rest of this article explores this psychosis of authority and how Libertarianism suffers in popularity as a result.
Libertarianism has often found itself under attack from those with misplaced maternal instincts, who champion the state as the honorable protector of the vulnerable – and there is no one more in need of protection than a helpless infant. Consequently, much of the vitriol aimed at libertarianism and its laissez-faire attitude has included morbid references to child abuse and exploitation which would supposedly result from its implementation. It is therefore imperative that more work be done on the topic of children’s rights in order to reinforce the philosophical framework developed by Murray Rothbard  and expanded on by Walter Block and others , , , . The purpose of this paper is to provide an independent rational foundation for the conclusions drawn by Block and co-authors ,  and to expand on parts that are insufficient.
In his libertarian manifesto, For a New Liberty, Murray Rothbard  points to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an excellent model for what a private welfare program would look like in a free society. In analyzing this same organization, we can see that nearly 50 years later Rothbard’s analysis is truer than ever. Unlike the public welfare programs in the U.S., the LDS church has successfully helped lift countless individuals out of poverty and off the welfare rolls by increasing their level of productivity – a point that Henry Hazlitt  made in his book, The Conquest of Poverty. Public welfare, on the other hand, has continuously failed to increase the standard of living or even lift those it ostensibly seeks to help out of poverty; on the contrary, it is a system that prevents economic independence. The analysis in the present paper seeks to revive, amplify and bring up to date Rothbard’s observation and provide further insight on key factors that other private organizations can take from the Church’s model. Ultimately, it reveals that the successful journey out of poverty is not a public but rather a private endeavor.