Category Archives: Murray Rothbard

What Adam Smith had to say about conspiracies

They are quite common, especially if they are given protection by government regulation

We often hear people being dismissive about “conspiracy theories”. Yet one of the most eminent thinkers of the 18th century, who is often called the founder of economics (although there were others, see here), Adam Smith, knew that they were commonplace. Here is what he wrote in his famous book with the (abridged) title “The Wealth of Nations”:

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. 

– The Wealth of Nations, Book I, Chapter X. 

Most people who remember reading this however don’t know that the really interesting part comes after that. Smith goes on to say:

It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary. A regulation which obliges all those of the same trade in a particular town to enter their names and places of abode in a public register, facilitates such assemblies. . . . A regulation which enables those of the same trade to tax themselves in order to provide for their poor, their sick, their widows, and orphans, by giving them a common interest to manage, renders such assemblies necessary. An incorporation not only renders them necessary, but makes the act of the majority binding upon the whole.

– The Wealth of Nations, Book I, Chapter X.

Regarding this, Sam Bowman of the Adam Smith Institute writes:

As Eamonn Butler has written, Smith’s point is that the only way businessmen can succeed in a ‘conspiracy against the public’ is if they are given protection by government regulation. If not, the pressures of competition will ensure that conspiring businesses are quickly undermined by their competitors.

Birthday of a great economist

Murray Rothbard

Today would have been the 97th birthday of Murray Rothbard, considered by those who know of him and his writings as the greatest economist of the second half of the 20th century. (The greatest economist of the first half was Ludwig von Mises. There is a great organisation dedicated to the work of both of them and other economists of their “Austrian” school of thought.)

On this occasion, Allan Stevo writes in a newsletter:

Never heard of him?

There’s a reason for that.

Sometimes the establishment wants you to hear about the losers, the court jesters, and court economists who will doubtless serve the interest of the establishment.

To hear from someone who gives you recipes for success and freedom alongside basic principles for using economics to enfeeble government — well, the establishment doesn’t want that. They do not want you strong.

If you’ve never heard of Rothbard and have a favorite economist, I can almost guarantee you that your favorite economist is a buster, a court jester, a court economist, someone who will only take the argument so far.

That is not Rothbard.

​Confined to a no-name school in an outer borough of New York for part of his career and then sent out to the deserts of Las Vegas to teach economics at UNLV for another portion of his career (the best American school that would accept this incredibly intelligent and prolific economist), the man was blackballed by academia for not having off limit topics.

The Libertarian Christian Institute

Just discovered this

From their “About” page:

If you have never heard of libertarianism before now, it is a very simple philosophy based on the non-aggression principle, which states that the initiation of physical force and the threat thereof is inherently illegitimate. In other words, everyone has the right to engage freely in whatever activity they choose so long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others.

For those familiar with libertarianism already, you might be asking can a Christian also be a libertarian? At LCI, we boldly answer YES! Christian libertarians believe that libertarianism is the only political philosophy that is truly consistent, that makes any rational or moral sense at all, and that agrees with what we understand in the Bible and Christian history. Read more about what it means to be a Christian libertarian by clicking here.

Central banks and wars

There is a connection between the two

“It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.”

So said Ron Paul, a humble man, great role model, honoured American elder statesman and honest thinker.

His quote goes a long way in explaining why we need to “repeal the 20th century”, as Murray Rothbard and Gary North have said. Along with central banks, of course.

Repealing the century of collectivism, mass destruction and genocide

Our hope resides in a resurrected God

“We shall repeal the 20th century.” These were words spoken by American economist Murray N. Rothbard (1926 – 1995) near the end of an article he wrote in 1992. Another American economist, Gary North (b. 1942), who is a historian and theologian as well, used these words near the end of a lecture he gave in 2010.

Rothbard made clear why he wants to repeal it, when he asked, ironically:

“Who would want to repeal the 20th century, the century of horror, the century of collectivism, the century of mass destruction and genocide, who would want to repeal that! Well, we propose to do just that.”

With “we” he meant what he hoped would be a resurrected movement which in America is called the Old Right, a movement that was libertarian in its core, supported decentralised structures, laissez-faire economics and minimal interference of the government into private lives. This movement was effectively killed off around the year 1900 and replaced by interventionist, imperialist, big-government and big-business supporting politics.

Similar things had happened, or were happening, in Europe. Nationalism was the name of the game, and that sentiment lead to centralised governments continually increasing their interventions into the economy to suit their lust for power. Imperialism was the natural outgrowth of this development. This in turn lead to the original catastrophe of our time, World War One.

Considering that we are by now one fifth into the next century, it is clear that we have been unable to repeal the 20th century. For, as an idea, or phenomenon, the 20th century, in all its awfulness, is still firmly with us. So, how can we go about “repealing” it?

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