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  • Author: Walter E. Block x
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Russian Roulette; Rejoinder to Robins

Abstract

This paper is an attempt to understand and elaborate upon libertarian punishment theory. It is completely non-controversial, even amongst non-libertarians, that the criminal must be forced to return his ill-gotten gains to the victim. At least among libertarians, it is agreed upon, in addition, that the punishment for the criminal must be proportionate to his crime. This, typically, implies that what he did to the victim should be done to him. For example, if A steals a car from B, A must be compelled to return that automobile to B, and, then, to give B a vehicle owned by A. But what about the fact that A scared B when he committed his dastardly crime? Should punishment theory take that into account too, and, if so, how? That is the subject of the present paper.

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Prostitution, Essential and Incidental Aspects: A Libertarian Argument for Legalization

Abstract

Prostitution is often depicted as an aggressive and coercive activity. We have convincing empirical evidence that sometimes this is indeed the case. However, this is not sufficient to make it illegal. We argue that an activity should be outlawed if and only if it is essentially aggressive and/or coercive. But prostitution is not inherently violent, only incidentally. Indeed, prostitution could be defined as “the act of rendering, from the client’s point of view, non-reproductive sex against payment” (Edlund and Korn, 2002). No aggression and/or coercion necessarily enters this all-inclusive definition. This is why prostitution should be legalized laws to the contrary repealed.

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The Case for the Stateless Society: Law

Abstract

What is the argument against government? There are several. For one thing, there is automatic exit for failure: businesses that do not earn a profit go bankrupt, and their resources tend to migrate to other, more effective, managers. For another, entrepreneurs operate with their own funds, or those voluntarily entrusted to them. This does not apply to bureaucrats and politicians, in sharp contrast. Perhaps most important, in the case of each and every commercial interaction in the market, buying, selling, renting, lending, borrowing, there is mutual gain at least in the ex ante sense of anticipations, and usually ex post, after the trade, as well. This rarely occurs under statism, at least not with regard to its source of funds, taxation, since it is not voluntary. An exception would be the relatively unimportant cases in which a consumer purchases something from the government, such as a ticket to cross a bridge, or a producer sells something to this organization, such as an airplane. The present paper is an attempt to elaborate upon this considerations.

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Oeconomia Suffocato: The Origins of Antipathy Toward Free Enterprise Among Catholic Intelligentsia

Abstract

What is the source of the antipathy of Catholic intellectuals toward free markets? That is the issue addressed in the present paper. We see the antecedents of this viewpoint of theirs in terms of secular humanism, Marxism and mistaken views of morality and economics. One of the explanations for this phenomenon are the teachings of St Augustine. He greatly distrusted the City of Man, seeing it as anarchic and chaotic. In contrast, his City of God is more orderly, but far removed from the hurly burly of free enterprise. Another source of the rejection of capitalism on the part of Catholic intellectuals is liberation theology, which is Marxism minus the atheism of that doctrine. Both economic and cultural Marxism have played a role in the alienation of such intellectuals from the tenets of laissez faire capitalism. Are there any counter currents? Yes, the School of Salamanca, which has been all but forgotten in this community.

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A Praxeological Approach to Intentional Action

Abstract

The concept of Intentional Action is at the core of Praxeology, as developed by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises. Under this unique approach, defined as the science of human action and designed to study the field of the social sciences, Mises create “action axiom”: the contention that every acting man more satisfactory state of affairs for a Austrian scholar is able to derive the fundament human action; such as value, scale of value, scarcity, abundance, profit, loss, uncertainty and causality, among others. This paper intends to present the praxeological perspective on intentional action and its epistemologic implications; it also attempts to answer objections to this thesis.

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Christianity, the Free Market, and Libertarianism

Abstract

In recent centuries Christians of various denominations have endorsed many different political philosophies that they see as being truly biblical in their approach. Over this time there has been an increasing hostility, by some Christians, towards free markets and political philosophies that hold human liberty as the highest goal such as libertarianism and classical liberalism. This criticism is unwarranted and misplaced as libertarianism and free markets are not only compatible with Christianity, they are also the most biblically sound of all economics systems and political philosophies endorsed by Christians today. Therefore, this paper will argue that Christians of all denominations should endorse free markets and libertarianism if they wish to create a world that follows biblical principles and the teachings of Jesus.

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Ordinal Or Cardinal Utility: A Note

Abstract

Modern microeconomic theory is based on a foundation of ordinal preference relations. Good textbooks stress that cardinal utility functions are artificial constructions of convenience, and that economics does not attribute any meaning to “utils.” However, we argue that despite this official position, in practice mainstream economists rely on techniques that assume the validity of cardinal utility. Doing so has turned mainstream economic theorizing into an exercise of reductionism of objects down to the preferences of ‘ideal type’ subjects.

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Racial Discrepancies in the Participation Between Alcohol Prohibition and the Drug War

Abstract

Why is it that young Italian-American men were shooting each other over turf during the prohibition of alcohol in the 20th century, and young African-American men are shooting each other over turf in the 21st? Was this just a historical accident? Could it easily have been the other way around? That is the question with which the present paper attempts to wrestle.

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