Defending the Judeo-Christian Heritage, limited government, and the American Constitution
Sunday February 7th 2016

‘Sandy Ikeda’

Capitalist Theory Is Better Than Socialist Reality

Capitalist Theory Is Better Than Socialist Reality

In This Case, Turnabout Is Fair Play SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN Tell someone on the left that crony capitalism is not the same as the free market and they’ll often respond that capitalism as it really exists is crony capitalism. They will say that there has never been an instance of capitalism in which government-sponsored or [...]

How Does Paris Get Fed?

How Does Paris Get Fed?

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN Frédéric Bastiat, the great 19th-century economic journalist, famously asked, “How does Paris get fed?” In a nutshell, I think that’s the central question of economics. My version of the question is wordier: In the presence of scarcity, human and natural diversity, and imperfect knowledge, how does social [...]

We Are Destroying the Earth and Government Must Do Something

We Are Destroying the Earth and Government Must Do Something

Clichés of Progressivism, Part 15 SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN People often complain that mankind is destroying the earth: that insatiable consumption and relentless production have laid waste to irreplaceable swaths of our planet, and that these activities have to stop or someday it will all be gone. Which raises the question: What does it [...]

Competition in the Marketplace of Libertarian Ideas

Competition in the Marketplace of Libertarian Ideas

Reflections on the International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC) SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN I just returned from the eighth International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC), which took place February 13–15 in Washington, DC. According to ISFLC’s website, “last year’s event featured over 1,200 attendees from 26 [...]

Wages and the Free Market, Part 1

Wages and the Free Market, Part 1

Dispelling labor market myths with theory and data SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN If you have a superficial understanding of modern economics, the following argument sounds plausible: In the free market, employers have an incentive to lower costs by driving wages down, which is bad for workers. Since driving down wages is what efficiency requires, [...]

Slogans or Science?

Slogans or Science?

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN The debate over raising the legal minimum wage (LMW) to $10 an hour has people on both sides saying things they should know better than to say. For example, a friend recently posted the following meme (which isn’t the worst I’ve seen) on Facebook: One year ago this week, San Jose decided to raise its minimum wage [...]

The Bonsai and the Candy Bag

The Bonsai and the Candy Bag

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN It’s natural to pay attention to something that has a high market value, but to take little notice of something of low market value. And that’s despite the fact that those differences in value are in no way the result of the amount of care and labor that go into making them. I don’t see anything wrong with that, [...]

Urban Design and Social Complexity

Urban Design and Social Complexity

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN This week’s column is drawn from a lecture I gave earlier this year at the University of Southern California on the occasion of the retirement of urban economist Peter Gordon. One of my heroes is the urbanist Jane Jacobs, who taught me to appreciate the importance for entrepreneurial development of how public [...]

Um, Scarcity?

Um, Scarcity?

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN The new mayor of New York wants to make city streets safer. According to The New York Times: Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping set of proposals aimed at improving street safety in New York City, pledging considerable police resources and even precious political capital in Albany to a most ambitious [...]

Passing a Law Won’t Get It Done

Passing a Law Won’t Get It Done

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN I’ve become so annoyed by prime-time demands by politicians for government intervention to solve this or that perceived social problem: low wages, inequality, lack of personal aspirations. One of my Facebook friends facetiously wrote, “Why not just pass a law making everyone good?” My response has been to start [...]

Ikeda: Thinking Outside the Circle

Ikeda: Thinking Outside the Circle

Political spectra are often designed to make a "center" appear reasonable. SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN A circle is sometimes a useful image, but not in the way it’s often used to depict the political spectrum. Here is an example I found on the Internet of what I’m referring to. You’ve got the Left and the Right at opposite sides of [...]

The Right to Not Sell

The Right to Not Sell

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN A common belief about the free market is that it’s mainly, if not exclusively, about making as much money as you can at the expense of other values. It’s not. The free market—based on the absence of legal privilege and political expediency—is about enabling you to use your property in ways that you yourself [...]

Broken-Windows Macroeconomics

Broken-Windows Macroeconomics

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN As I’ve written before, every time I teach microeconomics I remind students that the fundamental difference between macroeconomics and microeconomics has nothing to do with subject matter. That is, macroeconomics doesn’t tackle the “big” questions while leaving the “small” questions to microeconomics. The [...]

The Virtue of Market Inefficiency

The Virtue of Market Inefficiency

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN Markets are often rightly characterized as extraordinary problem solvers. Under the right rules of the game (including private property, free exchange, and the rule of law) people following their own self-interests can coordinate their plans with one another more or less successfully, generating an overall order without [...]

Moving Beyond Free-Market Minimalism

Moving Beyond Free-Market Minimalism

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN The “economic point of view” means, to a lot of people, assuming people are nothing but cost-cutting opportunists—economizers who wouldn’t hesitate to gain at someone else’s expense if they could get away with it. Such bloodless calculators, though perhaps staying within the law, wouldn’t miss a chance to [...]

What Ever Happened to Division of Labor

What Ever Happened to Division of Labor

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN Very early in The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith discusses the concept of the division of labor and its importance for economic development. That discussion, so central to Smith’s framework, appears in some form in nearly every introductory textbook in economics and is one of the ideas most closely associated with [...]

“You Didn’t Build That . . .”

“You Didn’t Build That . . .”

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN In a recent stump speech President Obama articulated a view of the social world that reflects an all-too-common political perspective. Here is part of that speech: If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this [...]

Individualism Versus Selfishness-ism

Individualism Versus Selfishness-ism

Adam Smith and F. A. Hayek had it right SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN The citizens of a free society keep political power to a minimum and jealously protect individual rights. As a result a free society undermines legal privilege by removing the threat of aggression against upstarts of all kinds and preserves their autonomy. It offers the only [...]

Cavemen, Money, and Spontaneous Orders

Cavemen, Money, and Spontaneous Orders

SANDY IKEDA, THE FREEMAN Who invented money?  Who invented market prices?  Who invented cities?  What about language?  The answer is: no one. But wait!  Don’t people spend money, set prices, build cities, and speak language?  Yes, they do, but that doesn’t mean that they were originally the result of conscious human design or [...]

Donald Shoup Takes San Francisco

Donald Shoup Takes San Francisco

Sandy Ikeda, The Freeman Every so often during his tenure as mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg has tried to push through congestion pricing, in which drivers would have to pay to use city streets in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. That’s a popular solution to chronic overcrowding but, like drinking coffee to try to cure a hang over, it [...]

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