Citizen Economics - The Course
Welcome to Citizen Economics - The Course. This page is the heart and soul of this site, as well as its intellectual fountainhead.
One of the great principles of economics is the division of labor, where I do what I do best and you do what you do best and we exchange our surpluses with one another, making everyone infinitely better off than we could possibly be through self-sufficiency. Yet the one thing that we cannot delegate to specialists is the understanding of economics itself. The economics profession is at best focused on highly technical concepts, with charts and graphs and equations which lump you and me into mass aggregate categories and statistics; at worst it has been thoroughly corrupted, dissociated from moral or constitutional foundations, or even its own history. Don’t even get me started on lawyers and politicians who cherry-pick from the economic theories that justify their power grabs and exploitations.
For these reasons, each of us must become a citizen economist, able to discriminate between mature attempts to grapple with scarce resources which have alternative uses versus emotionally appealing political slogans that lead to destruction. Because if we do not do our jobs as citizen economists, then the politicians and power brokers will do it for us, which inevitably leads these self-appointed experts to the conclusion that their understanding of economics or their sheer political muscle qualifies them to run our lives for us.
The articles showcased below, together with the books recommended on the 'Bookshelf' page, constitute an introductory course of study for understanding the principles of economics which matter most to the average citizen and voter; hence the term Citizen Economics, a.k.a. Political Economy, a.k.a. Praxeology, a.k.a. the science of Human Action, a.k.a. the study of how human beings in society cope with scarce resources that have alternative uses. What is Capitalism and how does it work? What is Socialism and why doesn't it work? How do free markets, free trade, private property rights and free peoples solve the full range of economic, social, political and environmental problems? Why can’t Congress simply pass, and the president sign, the Law to Eradicate Poverty for All Time and in All Places, and have it be so? What are the PRINCIPLES behind the opinions and policies?
This work is the result of a journey begun over twenty years ago, all the while holding down full-time challenging technical career jobs in the private sector. It is not a tenured ivy-league armchair view, but one forged in the battlefield of real-world life experience, informed by minds far greater than my own. May your journey begin.
The Citizen Economics bibliography; from popular paperbacks to hard-core academic treatises.
How Does Prosperity Happen?
Politicians don’t create wealth; entrepreneurs do.
What is Capitalism?
Capitalism is the economic system of the free market. At the heart of Capitalism is Liberty; the freedom of the individual to do as (s)he pleases with what is his/hers, unbounded by forcible coercion or fear of agression against his life; only constrained by the equal liberty of every other individual human being.
The Entrepreneurial Cycle: From Scarcity to Abundance
We have been told over and over again that the world is running out of natural resources due to our short-sighted greed and overuse. This idea is nothing new; it has been preached not only in our own lives but for decades and even centuries on. Yet with every generation, the capitalist entrepreneurial cycle has proved these scares wrong.
Capitalism = Private Property, Voluntary Cooperation
Capitalism is a system of private property and voluntary cooperation; of free markets, free trade and free people operating under the rule of law. As long as each person respects the equal liberty of every other person, and therefore does not murder, assault, rob, steal, defraud, rape, persecute or conspire against others, (s)he is left alone to pursue his/her own happiness; to do what (s)he will with what is his/hers. Capitalism occurs when government is confined to the protection of the life, liberty and property of its citizens and otherwise does not attempt to influence outcomes, dispense favors or enforce prejudices.
Socialism, its Variants and its Results
Socialism is the highest order of civilizational evolution; an economic and social system in which everyone gives according to his/her ability and receives according to his/her need; where fairness and justice reign and human needs are given their due priority over profits, and parasitic capitalist exploiters are stomped out along with racism, sexism, homophobia, distinctions of class and environmental destruction.
Who could possibly have known that Socialism would fail?
Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian (later American) economist, demonstrated that Socialism could never fulfill its promise no matter what variation was attempted nor how wise and virtuous the men running it. In 1922.
Why we Don’t Need Trade Wars
International trade has tripled to quadrupled in the last 50 years. To all of our benefit.
Inflation and Monetary Crises - Part 1: A Crisis of Counterfeiting
In 1924, the German government printed and circulated a 100 trillion-Mark note. This is only one of the worst examples of the too-common scourge of government-initiated counterfeiting.
Inflation and Monetary Crises Part 2: Just What the Heck IS Money, Anyway?
In order to understand how to avoid the consequences of large-scale monetary disasters, of which hyperinflation is one and depression is another, we have to understand in the first place exactly what money is, how it came about, what it means, how it gets corrupted, and therefore how to manage it correctly.
Why we don't need a new New NEW Deal - Part 1
Herbert Hoover was not a free-market, laissez-faire capitalist, limited-government president.
Why we don't need a new New NEW Deal - Part 2
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Policies did not solve the Great Depression; to the contrary, they deepened and prolonged the misery.
Understanding the Financial Crisis of 2008
We have yet to learn the lessons of the housing meltdown, which guarantees we will suffer similar crises in the future.
What Happened to the Party of JFK?
John F. Kennedy would be rejected by today's Democrat party as a Tea-Party leader selling tax cuts for the rich.
What – Me Worry about Taxes?
If you think income taxes don’t matter to you because you don’t pay any, think again.
Sharing the Necessary Expenses of Government
Can’t we make the rich pay more? We have a budget deficit and a national debt, right? The government needs more money!
Index Income Taxes for Age
Should a 60 year-old pay the same income tax rate as a 30 year-old with the same income?
Nothing to Do About Jobs
The one thing the government hasn't tried to fix the unemployment problem is to get out of the way.
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