Monday, January 17, 2011

Hazlitt on Justice

"...we recognize that Justice is not the ultimate ethical end, existing purely for its own sake, but is primarily a means, and even a means to a means. Justice and Freedom are the great means to the promotion of Social Cooperation, which in turn is the great means to the realization of each individual's ends and therefore to the realization of the ends of "society.""

"The subordination of Justice to a "mere" means, however important that means is regarded to be, may come as a shock to many moral philosophers, who have been accustomed to regard it as the supreme ethical end, at least in the social field. The extreme form of this view is epitomized in the famous phrase: fiat justitia, ruat caelum, or even fiat justitia, pereat mundus. Let justice be done though the heavens fall, let justice be done even if it destroys the world. Common sense draws back from any such frightful conclusion. But the answer to such slogans is not that we should be satisfied with a little less than Absolute Justice, in order to hold things together; the answer is that there is something wrong in the conception of justice embodied in such slogans. Justice was made for man, not man for justice."

Henry Hazlitt, The Foundations of Morality

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Intellectual Property and the Market Economy

Intellectual property results in monopoly prices and concomitant shortages, thereby harming the interests of consumers (all the members of society).  To demonstrate that, I present here a catallactic analysis of the function of ideas (recipes) in market production.

Recipes and Labor

As an act of production on the market, to formulate ideas (or recipes, in Misesian terminology) is to labor.  To formulate a recipe is to expend personal energy.  What the formulator directly gives up for the sake of formulating his ideas (his opportunity cost) is either his leisure, or the wages he might have otherwise earned had he not expended the personal energy to formulate the recipe.  It cannot be characterized as the performance of any other economic (catallactic) function.1  

It obviously cannot be characterized as a performance of the landowner function.  Neither can it be characterized as the performance of the capitalist function.  The formulator does not expend saved capital to directly formulate the recipe.  He may expend his savings on supporting his formulation of an idea (like, for instance, purchasing drafting materials). But supporting the thinking process is not itself thinking.  The act of thinking up an idea is itself labor, not the expenditure of saved capital.

Finally, it cannot be characterized as a performance of the entrepreneurial function, for the following reasons.

Entrepreneurs are uncertainty bearers. To truly bear uncertainty, one must be exposed to its downside, as well as its upside: to loss, as well as profit.  As Murray N. Rothbard pointed out, workers can in a sense be called entrepreneurs, because they are, like all humans, perpetually faced with uncertainty.  However, they cannot be said to incur entrepreneurial losses, since they cannot...
 “suffer negative incomes in production. Even if a laborer emigrates to a nation where pay turns out to be lower than expected, he ab­sorbs only a differential, or “opportunity,” loss from what he might have earned elsewhere. But he still earns a positive wage in production. Even in the unlikely event of a labor surplus vis-à-vis land, the laborer earns zero and not negative wages. But the capitalist-entrepreneur, the man who hires the other factors, can and does incur actual monetary losses from his entrepreneurial effort.”2
Because workers cannot be said to truly be subject to monetary loss, they cannot be said, in a strict sense, to fill the role of the entrepreneur in the Misesian framework of the market; a role which is by definition characterized by exposure to both profit and loss.  As Peter Klein has stressed in his work, the entrepreneurial function is predominantly filled by the capitalist-entrepreneur.3

Recipes and Economic Goods

For something to attain a price on the market, it must be an economic good, which is to say it must be scarce and rivalrous.  Recipes, in themselves, can never be scarce, and thus can never be rivalrous; recipes can never be economic goods.  Through enforcement, however, the privilege to utilize recipes, can be made scarce, and thus rivalrous.  Also through enforcement, the privilege to grant use-privileges for recipes can also be made scarce, and thus rivalrous.

Under most copyright and patent regimes, this usually entails the privilege to grant use-privileges for recipes being created, and granted solely to the formulator of the recipe.  This granting privilege is not created by the formulator-worker.  It is produced by whatever agency enforces the privilege, and granted to formulator, effectively, in exchange for his labor.  Thus, catallactically, the copyright/patent-holding formulator-worker can only be considered a hireling of the enforcing agency (generally the state) who is paid in privileges.

Again a recipe cannot ever be an economic good.  Only a marketable expression of the recipe (or a privilege to utilize it) can be.  Since the marketable expression can only be produced with saved, scarce means, it can only be produced by a capitalist, with the hired assistance of workers.  And in the real world of uncertainty, all capitalists are capitalist-entrepreneurs.

Recipes and Capitalist-Entrepreneurs.

Regardless of who originates a recipe, it must be adopted and acted upon by an capitalist-entrepreneur who gives the idea a marketable embodiment.  It is the capitalist-entrepreneur (whose own savings are on the line) who is the one who bears the uncertainty with regard to the scarce means invested in the physical expression of the recipe.  The person who, as a capitalist-entrepreneur, gave the recipe a marketable expression with saved scarce means may be the same person who, as a worker, formulated the recipe, but this need not necessarily be the case.  Thus the distinguishing characteristic of the functional concept of the capitalist-entrepreneur is not creativity per se, but judgment.4

Capitalist-entrepreneurs, by hiring labor and investing their savings, arrange and deploy the factors of production in order to better satisfy consumers in the future than they otherwise would be. An entrepreneur's way of arranging and deploying factors of production is a "how to" idea; it is a recipe.   Let us term such recipes "entrepreneurial recipes".  The capitalist-entrepreneur does not need to originally formulate a recipe; he need only judge it worthy of implementing, using his scarce means.  For example, an entrepreneurial recipe may be formulated by a hired middle manager.  But it can only be given expression by saved scarce means if it is adopted by the shareholders, as capitalist-entrepreneurs.  Even if the shareholders do not sign off on the plan (or even if they do not know about it), it is still their ultimate judgment which commits the saved scarce means to it, because they decided to put their capital under the revocable stewardship of the middle manager.

The better a capitalist-entrepreneur anticipates the future state of consumer tastes and desires, the more efficaciously, from the consumers' perspective, will he arrange and deploy the factors of production; in other words, the better will be the entrepreneurial recipe he adopted prove to have been. If his plan for arranging and deploying factors of production serves the consumers better than that of his competing entrepreneurs, he will make profits. If it serves the consumers poorly, he will incur losses. Profits put yet more of the factors of production in the hands of the entrepreneur who adopts an effective entrepreneurial recipe. So much the better for the consumers his judgment has served so well. Losses remove factors of production from the hands of the entrepreneur who adopts an ineffective entrepreneurial recipe. So much the better for the consumers he failed to satisfy.

Profits attract other capitalist-entrepreneurs to emulate the already-successful one. To emulate a successful entrepreneur is to copy key parts of his entrepreneurial recipe. The competition brought on by this emulation eliminates profits, but only gradually so. Early adopters of the key parts of the efficacious entrepreneurial recipe get high profits in direct correlation with how quick they were in arranging and deploying yet more factors of production according to the new and improved modus operandi. Consumer goods thus get cheaper, and entrepreneurs are thus impelled to move on to finding their next profit-lavishing, consumer-satisfying, and game-changing entrepreneurial recipe.

This is the way the market process works to continually transform the structure of production for the benefit of all (since we are all consumers).  Its functioning depends on the freedom of capitalist-entrepreneurs to adopt entrepreneurial recipes formulated by hired managers, and of other capitalist-entrepreneurs to emulated the successful entrepreneurial recipes of competitors.  Were formulators or first-adopters given sole privileges in the granting of use-privileges for entrepreneurial recipes, those use-privileges would command monopoly prices.  (Monopoly prices are discussed further below.)  This would result in drastic shortages of the entrepreneurial recipe use-privileges.  Since entrepreneurial recipes are present in almost every market event, this would cripple the market process.  Adoption and emulation would be entirely stymied, productivity would crash, and consumers (all the members of society) would suffer immensely.  Actually, a great portion of human population would die.

The above is important for the matter of intellectual property, because the chief catallactic importance of creative works is their role as entrepreneurial recipes. Remember, an entrepreneurial recipe is simply a way of arranging and deploying factors of production in anticipation of what will satisfy consumers better in the future. What is a vocal song? It is a way of arranging and deploying a human's vocal chords (which are factors of production) in order to please consumers of music better than they would have been had they not heard the song. What is a book? It is a way of arranging and deploying any digital or physical printing technology (which are factors of production) in order to please consumers of information, arguments, or stories better than they would have been had they not read the book.  It is the songwriter or author who, via his labor, originates a song or book.  But a marketable expression of his song or book requires scarce, saved means; it requires investment from a capitalist-entrepreneur (again, whether or not that capitalist-entrepreneur is the same person as the creator-laborer).

Moreover, the chief catallactic importance of technical inventions is their role as entrepreneurial recipes too. What makes a "more efficient" new design for a machine potentially useful is not the bare fact that it uses up certain resources less (like time, space, energy, coal, aluminum etc.). What makes it potentially useful is the anticipation that consumers will consider themselves better served if the resources saved by the new design are used instead for other purposes, and that they will not be too concerned about the machine perhaps using up certain other resources more prolifically. Thus, the efficient new design of a machine is also a way of arranging and deploying factors of production in anticipation of what will satisfy consumers better in the future.  It is the inventor who, via his labor, originates the design.  But a marketable expression of the design requires scarce, saved means; it requires investment from a capitalist-entrepreneur (whether or not the capitalist-entrepreneur is the same person as the inventor).

To make their case, advocates of patent and copyright law who base their advocacy on economic analysis, and who do not advocate intellectual property over entrepreneurial recipes, must explain how creative works and technical designs are different in their catallactic function from any other entrepreneurial recipe.

Recipes and Monopoly Prices

Some advocates of patent and copyright law have argued that monopoly prices do not necessarily harm consumer interests.  Below, I aim to demonstrate why the usual argument for this position is faulty.  First let us consider what monopoly prices are, why they are prejudicial to consumer satisfaction, and how they can arise due to intellectual property laws.

Monopoly prices occur when a monopolist is able to achieve higher net revenues by simply restricting supply, not so as to reallocate scarce means toward other consumers' goods more urgently demanded, but solely so as to raise his selling prices.  With monopoly prices (which are almost always brought about by government intervention), the consumer-oriented character of the market, and thus the harmony of interests that is characteristic of a capitalist society, breaks down to an extent.  Between consumers and producers, "with regard to monopoly prices there is not harmony, but conflict of interests."5

And, as Mises clearly states,
"recipes are as a rule free goods as their ability to produce definite effects is unlimited. They can become economic goods only if they are monopolized and their use is restricted. Any price paid for the services rendered by a recipe is always a monopoly price."6  
Sole ownership over the right to grant recipe use-privileges leads to monopoly prices for those use-privileges, because the sole owner can increase his net returns by restricting the supply of use-privileges, not for the sake of reallocating the privilege toward production more urgently demanded by consumers, but simply for the sake of increasing his selling price.  This results in use-privilege shortages, and thus shortages of the goods whose production requires them.  Therefore, sole ownership over the right to grant recipe use-privileges (in other words, intellectual property rights) harms the interests of consumers.

However, Mises did not take an unequivocal stand against copyrights and patents, for he admitted a possible exception:
"Yet there is an exception to this general rule that monopoly prices benefit the seller and harm the buyer and infringe the supremacy of the consumers' interests. If on a competitive market one of the complementary factors, namely f, needed for the production of the consumers' good g, does not attain any price at all, although the production of f requires various expenditures and consumers are ready to pay for the consumers' good g a price which makes its production profitable on a competitive market, the monopoly price for f becomes a necessary requirement for the production of g. It is this idea that people advance in favor of patent and copyright legislation. If inventors and authors were not in a position to make money by inventing and writing, they would be prevented from devoting their time to these activities and from defraying the costs involved. The public would not derive any advantage from the absence of monopoly prices for f. It would, on the contrary, miss the satisfaction it could derive from the acquisition of g."7
The advocate of copyright and patent law might say that often, creative works and technical designs are indeed needed for the production of goods that are potentially profitable (and thus serviceable to consumers); but, without copyright and patent laws, those creative works and technical designs would not attain any price at all.  They might argue that patents and copyrights are necessary to create monopoly prices for recipes (like the information content of a song or a blueprint), and that such monopoly prices are necessary to incentivize their creation, thereby making possible the wonderful consumer goods (like song recordings and physical machines) that depend on them.

Now in the case of f being a creative work or technical designs, it is actually impossible for a capitalist-entrepreneur to purchase f on the market, because, again, recipes cannot in themselves be marketable goods (see above).  The capitalist-entrepreneur who wants to produce g can only purchase the privilege to use f.

Yet, even if they accept this formulation, advocates of copyright and patent law might still take recourse to the above argument.  They might say that copyright and patent laws are necessary to create monopoly prices for privileges to use a recipe, by granting the sole privilege to grant use-privileges to the formulator of a recipe, and that such monopoly prices are necessary to incentive the creation of recipes, thereby making possible the wonderful consumer goods that depend on them.

However, the whole hypothetical scenario (presented in the block quote above) of any monopoly price for any kind of f benefiting consumers by resulting in g is faulty.  The core issue is the fact that complementary factors do not need to command prices on the market to be produced.  The production of the complementary factor can simply be hired as labor, as is done with all in-house talent.

The value of higher order goods is derived from the lower order goods they help to produce.  If, as is assumed in the hypothetical scenario, the production of f really is necessary to produce profitable good g, then a would-be capitalist-entrepreneurial vendor of g would have every incentive to acquire f.  And if he cannot purchase f on the market, he can simply hire somebody to produce f "in-house".

There are several upsides of producing something "in-house", perhaps foremost among which is avoiding transaction costs, as was pointed out by Ronald Coase.  There are also several downsides; for instance, as Rothbard noted, if a firm “vertically integrates” to the extent that it starts to completely subsume whole markets for its factors, it will start to suffer from calculation problems with regard to those factors.  The "make or buy" decision (as it is known in theory of the firm literature), like all decisions regarding capital on the market, are made by capitalist-entrepreneurs, with the aim of maximizing profits, by way of serving consumers better than their competitors.  Thus, in a market economy, "make or buy" decisions are ultimately under the sway of the sovereign consumers.  By not supporting a market price for f, the consumers are in effect supporting the "make" option with their dollars.  Anyone, including advocates of copyrights and patents, who insist that f be granted a monopoly price so as to make it saleable on the market, is essentially insisting on the "buy" option, in direct contravention to consumer preferences.


The formulation of recipes is labor.  The marketable expression of recipes can only be accomplished by capitalist-entrepreneurs, with the hired help of workers.  The market process depends on the fluid adoption and emulation of non-priced recipes.  The possession of sole privilege to grant recipe use-privileges by recipe formulators (or anybody else) results in monopoly prices, and thus shortages that harm the interests of consumers (all members of society).  Intellectual property, therefore, is prejudicial to the well being of all members of society.

1"The entrepreneurs, capitalists, landowners, workers, and consumers of economic theory are not living men as one meets them in the reality of life and history. They are the embodiment of distinct functions in the market operations." (Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, chapter 14, section 7.)

2Murray N. Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State, Chapter 9.

3Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur.


5Mises, Human Action, chapter 24, section 3.

6Mises, Human Action, chapter 16, section 6.

7Note that Mises does not say whether patents and copyrights generally, or even ever, meet the criteria for a hypothetical case of a monopoly price actually serving the interests of the consumers.  He merely states that that is what "people advance" to make the case for patents and copyrights.

8Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur.


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Significance and Success of the Mises Academy

Over a century ago, a young statist read a book. His life was never the same again. In fact, his reading of that book changed the world. Last year, an online school opened its doors. In what follows I will explain how these two events are connected.

The book the young man read was Principles of Economics by Carl Menger, and the young statist himself was Ludwig von Mises. Mises would later write that reading Principles, "made an economist out of me." On that day, an intellectual odyssey began; a single, coherent project of intellectual advancement that continues to this day. This Misesian project has been both scientific and pedagogical; for science and pedagogy are two sides of the same precious coin of intellectual progress. Through science, man discovers truth; and through pedagogy, successive generations discover it anew.

The crystalline mind of Mises--clear, ordered, and intricate--refracted the discoveries of classical political economy and Mengerian economics into a complete picture of the sciences of man, and what they entail for the big political choices that lie before us.

But, again, science was only one side of the coin. Then came the teaching. For Mises, teaching what he had discovered was particularly urgent, because the ideology of his age disastrously attempted to contravene every law of human action. As he saw it, the western world, in chasing the chimera of socialism, was flinging itself headlong into a "crisis of interventionism" in which civilization itself would be in mortal danger. Picture a conscientious epidemiologist transported to plague-ridden, 14th-century Europe. Imagine the sense of urgency such a fellow would have. Then you can have an inkling of what it must have been like for Mises to hold in his hands economic truth in a time of politico-economic madness.

Unfortunately for the world, Mises found himself at a severe disadvantage in his efforts to teach. As Jeffrey Tucker says in his splendid speech Dissident Publishing: Then and Now, it often surprises people to learn that Mises was never a full professor at the University of Vienna. As Mr. Tucker explains, Mises had three strikes against him in the eyes of the German-speaking academic establishment: he was Jewish, not a socialist, and principled. But, Mr. Tucker goes on, Mises did not despair or give up; he simply found a work-around. He got a job at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, and taught a private seminar out of his own office. This private seminar, the original Mises Circle, as Lew Rockwell writes in his moving essay Economics and Moral Courage, "grew into a full-blown economic society" before Mises was pressured out of Austria by the rise of Nazism, and the Circle was scattered to the four winds.
Years later, the Nazis forced Mises out of Europe altogether, and he took refuge in the United States. Yet, even in the "land of the free", there was no academic chair to be found for a true liberal, no matter how brilliant and accomplished. But Mises once again found a work-around. As Mr. Rockwell tells us, some of Mises' American admirers, "put together a fund that would provide Mises a position at New York University, where he could teach and write. He was not paid by the university, where he was always a visiting professor, but through a private endowment."

While countless others in his time abjured principle in order to "get along" with their careers (Mises' colleague in Austria Hans Meyer being the paradigm of this type), Mises always preferred the challenging, creative work-around over the easy, dishonest compromise.

That was also the principled approach Lew Rockwell took when, inspired by the examples of Mises and Murray Rothbard, he founded the Mises Institute. As Jeffrey Tucker explained in the speech mentioned above:
That's what the Mises Institute is about. We go outside official channels, and we try to make a difference. We've inherited this tradition.
The Mises Institute honors this inheritance in promoting unfiltered, unflinching Misesian science and all its pro-liberty implications by going outside official lecture channels with its Mises Universities and Mises Circles, by going outside official publishing channels with its web sites, books, and journals, and now by going outside official classroom channels with the Mises Academy. As of now, the Mises Academy does not offer credits that can be applied to a state-accredited school; what it does offer is real knowledge that can be applied to a state-afflicted world.

You see, we all share one unfortunate thing in common with Mises. We too live in a time of politico-economic madness. But we, like Mises, must never give in to disaster, but strive ever more boldly against it. For, as Mises wrote in the Conclusion of Socialism:
Society lives and acts only in individuals; it is nothing more than a certain attitude on their part. Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.
But, you might ask, how can "every man" take part in a "great historical struggle" that is fought with intellectual armament? Isn't such combat a matter solely for the experts? Solely for those with PhDs or working toward their PhDs? Although he was fully aware that creative geniuses like himself were few and far between, Mises would have none of that. As he wrote in Human Action:
Economics must not be... left to esoteric circles. It is the philosophy of human life and action and concerns everybody and everything. It is the pith of civilization and of man's human existence. (...) 
There is no means by which anyone can evade his personal responsibility. Whoever neglects to examine to the best of his abilities all the problems involved voluntarily surrenders his birthright to a self-appointed elite of supermen. In such vital matters blind reliance upon "experts" and uncritical acceptance of popular catchwords and prejudices is tantamount to the abandonment of self-determination and to yielding to other people's domination. As conditions are today, nothing can be more important to every intelligent man than economics. His own fate and that of his progeny is at stake. 
Very few are capable of contributing any consequential idea to the body of economic thought. But all reasonable men are called upon to familiarize themselves with the teachings of economics. This is, in our age, the primary civic duty. 
Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that economics cannot remain an esoteric branch of knowledge accessible only to small groups of scholars and specialists. Economics deals with society's fundamental problems; it concerns everyone and belongs to all. It is the main and proper study of every citizen.
In the two passages quoted above, Mises packed an entire manifesto into nineteen sentences: a general call to intellectual arms one might call the "Misesian Injunction".

The Mises Institute, more than any other organization, has heeded the Misesian Injunction by taking what has sneeringly been called a "populist" approach, but which would be more accurately characterized as public education in the best sense of that term.

The Mises Academy was a natural next stage in the Mises Institute's pedagogical mission. We have the openly available literature (and other media) to fill out a world-class syllabus, thanks to the tireless efforts of Mr. Tucker and his team. We have the expert teachers thanks to the educational groundwork provided years ago by Murray Rothbard and his students. We have the growing throng of brilliant students, largely thanks to Ron Paul's presidential campaign. And we have the communicative catalyst of the internet at hand, finally powered with the technology to make an all-online course effective. The Mises Academy brought these four reactants together, and the result has been powerful and brilliant.

It all started in spring 2010 with a single course, Understanding the Business Cycle with Robert Murphy.  Turnout for the course was huge: over 200 students.  And the post-class feedback was hugely and enthusiastically positive.  Then in the summer, with a slate of 3 courses we expanded from economics proper to economic history.  With the summer courses already underway, public awareness of F.A. Hayek’s classic, The Road to Serfdom, exploded.  The Mises Academy, with the reflexes and nimbleness that you’ll only find with an online, consumer-driven university, turned on a dime to seize the moment.  Thomas DiLorenzo was enlisted to teach a course covering the book, and the Mises Academy had another huge hit.  In the fall, the Academy broadened its horizons even further with courses on political history, legal history, and even legal theory.  With every new season, the enrollment numbers have swelled, relative to the previous season.  Hundreds upon hundreds of students have been guided through fascinating and enormously important subjects by top Misesian scholars, and they continue to love it.

And what's not to love?  This is not the online education of yesteryear, which generally consisted of little more than an online reading list.  Mises Academy classes have live video sessions, in which you can pose questions directly to, and get real-time answers from, economists like Robert Murphy, Thomas DiLorenzo, and Peter Klein; historians like Tom Woods, David Gordon, Doug French, and Hunt Tooley; and even to our resident legal scholar, Stephan Kinsella.  These are brilliant scholars who have made, and continue to make, tremendous advances for the scholarship of liberalism in the Austrian tradition.  Countless readers will never look at Lincoln the same because of DiLorenzo, or look at intellectual property the same because of Kinsella, or look at the 2008 market crash the same because of Woods.  Now, you can pour a glass of wine or grab a beer, fire up your laptop, and study with these outstanding thinkers in the comfort of your own home.

Students have greatly appreciated the lectures.  However, what's really unique about the Mises Academy experience is the question and answer period.  Not only have these sessions been useful opportunities for students to clear up anything they don't understand about the weekly topic, but students have loved just chatting it up with Mises Academy professors.  Conversations have ranged from hope for the cause of liberty, to the political and economic news of the day, to anecdotes about Ron Paul and Murray Rothbard.

Add to this a complete hyperlinked syllabus, archived lectures, course forums, and optional graded assignments such as quizzes and papers, and you've got yourself an exquisite educational experience.  Just ask repeat student Marc Abela, who took courses with Stephan Kinsella, Doug French, and Robert Murphy:
"Thank you so very much for all the excellent work — very few classes have really changed my life dramatically, actually only 3 have, and all 3 were classes I took at the Mises Academy, starting with Rethinking Intellectual Property (PP350) (the other two were EH476 (Bubbles), and PP900 (Private Defense)). …
My purposes for taking the classes are: 1. just for the fun of it, 2. learning & self-education, and 3. to understand what is happening with some degree of clarity so I can eventually start being part of the solution where I live — or at least stop being part of the problem.
The IP class was a total blast — finally (finally) sound reasoning. All the (three) classes I took dramatically changed the way I see the world. I'm still digesting it all, to tell the truth. Very few events in my life have managed to make me feel like I wished I was 15 all over again. Thank you. …
[M]uch respect and admiration for all the great work done by all the members of the whole team."
With our winter offerings, we've expanded our repertoire even further, with a slate of 6 courses on such a wide range of topics as to cover logic, Lincoln, libertarian law, the Fed, the internet, and basic economics.  What's more, we've taken advantage of digital economies of scale to slash our prices by 40%.

As Mises wrote, "everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."  For this, we hope you will make the Mises Academy your intellectual armory.