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Independent Hill, United States

Higgs R.,Independent Institute
Independent Review | Year: 2014

Robert Higgs discusses Leo Tolstoy's remarkable book 'The Kingdom of God Is Within You'. The book contains many very long block quotations and much unnecessary repetition. Tolstoy's understanding of economics was abysmal and leads him into foolish notions of the equivalence between state acts and capitalist acts. He seems also to have given no thought to what the consequences would be if his communistic preferences about the distribution of property were adopted in practice. Although he had excellent insights into the role of ideology in the maintenance of the state-dominated social order, he entertained a view of how the dominant ideology was changing and would continue to change. He regarded the various Christian churches as totally corrupt and as the propagators of false and spurious doctrines that only helped the dominant elites to retain their hold on political, social, and economic power while oppressing the great mass of the people. Self-serving members of the upper crust were, in his eyes, willing to avert their eyes from the truth, especially the Truth of Christianity. Thus, as a Christian anarchist, he comes close to occupying a class of his own. Source


Higgs R.,Independent Institute
Independent Review | Year: 2014

The highest yield available to ordinary investors who seek a simple, low-risk investment of their funds is, at best, roughly equal to the rate of overall price inflation. Nearly all ordinary investors are now being progressively impoverished because the nominal return on their investments is too small to compensate for the loss of the dollar's purchasing power during the term of the investment. Getting a positive real rate of return is effectively impossible for the proverbial widows and orphans. The Fed's defenders historically have argued, among other things, that central- bank monetary policies have a sort of neutrality: they affect aggregate demand, the overall price level, and other macroeconomic variables, but they do not attempt to carry out the kind of micromanagement of the credit market or the overall economy that Soviet-style central planning attempts. Source


Eland I.,Independent Institute
Independent Review | Year: 2013

The article considers the mechanism using which war establishes an opening for creating or expanding government programs or taxes. War-usually regarded as a significant societal or in some cases existential crisis-creates an opening for the state to take autonomous action that conflicts with dominant interests in the society, which normally have policy locked down during peacetime. The income tax is one of the most intrusive and economically irrational taxes the government can impose. It usurps liberty by necessitating government snooping into the private details of people's lives to ensure tax collection. The federal income tax originated during the emergency of the Civil War, although many at that time regarded it as unconstitutional. The Civil War, the nation's first modern war, required huge amounts of additional government revenue to prosecute. Spending by the federal government increased from less than 2 percent of gross national product (GNP) to an average of 15 percent of GNP. Source


Robert H.,Independent Institute
Independent Review | Year: 2014

The US has a long history of population growth and concomitant labor-force growth. For the past six years, however, the number of men in the labor force has fluctuated around a fairly level trend line at approximately 82 83 million. This cessation of growth came on the heels of a 6-million-man increase during the previous seven years. In the post World War II era, the number of women in the labor force grew even more quickly than the number of men and also tended to grow fairly steadily. Labor inputs are major contributors to the production of goods and services. Increases in labor productivity are only a partial substitute unless the rate of productivity growth can be made much greater than observed historically over long periods. Meanwhile, however, the population has continued to grow, and therefore the ratio of civilian employment to civilian non-institutional population age sixteen and older is in much worse shape than total employment. Source


Stromberg J.R.,Independent Institute
Independent Review | Year: 2013

Joseph R. Stromberg reviews the book 'The Myth of Reliqious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict,' by William T. Cavanaugh, a professor of theology at DePaul University (Chicago). William takes up the difficult and thankless task of overthrowing the entrenched view that religion uniquely fosters violence and that by imposing secularism the modern state has saved people from what would otherwise be a world of ongoing and remorseless sectarian violence. Western imperialists, armed with their notion of religion as a global genus, at first found no religion in the foreign places they seized. Cavanaugh directly challenges the notion that generic religion was the dark, strife-ridden force from which modern states delivered us. Contemporaries such as Spinoza, Hobbes, and Locke took that view, but Cavanaugh finds the account extremely implausible. In Cavanaugh's view, American elites sponsored a nondenominational Protestant establishment down to about 1940. Source

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