Archive for the ‘Austrian Economics’ Category

Start you education by visiting these top personal freedom and liberty sites.

Hat tip to The Capital Free Press for putting the list together!

This is a ranking of the top libertarian websites based on the number of unique visitors in the most recent month according to the data compiled by Compete. They only compile data for domains and subdomains, so perhaps this list is more accurately described as the most visited libertarian domains rather than websites. It is compiled through calls to Compete’s API, so it will automatically update when they release new data each month. For more information on this list, see the blog post introducing it.

Automating everything means that adding a new website is as simple as plugging a new url into my list, so you have any suggestions for a website to add, please email me at patrick@capitalfreepress.com.

Due to the restrictions on the free use of the Compete API, there is a chance that I could run out of API calls in a 24 hour period (resets at midnight EST). The way that I compile this list and the terms and conditions on the use of their API prevent me from displaying the number of unique visitors for each website in the chart, though that information and more can be accessed via the link I have provided.

Rank Name Website
1 LewRockwell.com lewrockwell.com Compete Site Profile
2 Electronic Frontier Foundation eff.org Compete Site Profile
3 Ron Paul 2012 Official Campaign Website ronpaul2012.com Compete Site Profile
4 Reason Magazine reason.com Compete Site Profile
5 Daily Paul dailypaul.com Compete Site Profile
6 The Cato Institute cato.org Compete Site Profile
7 Ludwig von Mises Institute mises.org Compete Site Profile
8 AntiWar.com antiwar.com Compete Site Profile
9 RonPaul.com ronpaul.com Compete Site Profile
10 Outside the Beltway outsidethebeltway.com Compete Site Profile
11 Economic Policy Journal economicpolicyjournal.com Compete Site Profile
12 Library of Economics and Liberty econlib.org Compete Site Profile
13 The Daily Bell thedailybell.com Compete Site Profile
14 Ron Paul Forums ronpaulforums.com Compete Site Profile
15 Endorse Liberty PAC endorseliberty.com Compete Site Profile
16 Tenth Amendment Center tenthamendmentcenter.com Compete Site Profile
17 Cato-at-Liberty Blog cato-at-liberty.org Compete Site Profile
18 The Freeman thefreemanonline.org Compete Site Profile
19 Future of Freedom Foundation fff.org Compete Site Profile
20 Campaign For Liberty campaignforliberty.com Compete Site Profile
21 The Independent Institute independent.org Compete Site Profile
22 Advocates for Self Government theadvocates.org Compete Site Profile
23 Marginal Revolution marginalrevolution.com Compete Site Profile
24 The Agitator – Radley Balko theagitator.com Compete Site Profile
25 Carpe Diem – Mark J. Perry mjperry.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
26 Libertarian Party lp.org Compete Site Profile
27 Tom Woods tomwoods.com Compete Site Profile
28 Whiskey and Gunpowder whiskeyandgunpowder.com Compete Site Profile
29 Revolution PAC revolutionpac.com Compete Site Profile
30 Run Ron Paul runronpaul.com Compete Site Profile
31 The Ayn Rand Institute aynrand.org Compete Site Profile
32 Cop Block copblock.org Compete Site Profile
33 Acton Institute acton.org Compete Site Profile
34 Free State Project freestateproject.org Compete Site Profile
35 Adam Vs The Man adamvstheman.com Compete Site Profile
36 United Liberty unitedliberty.org Compete Site Profile
37 Reason Foundation reason.org Compete Site Profile
38 Moment of Clarity – Tim Nerenz timnerenz.com Compete Site Profile
39 Cafe Hayek cafehayek.com Compete Site Profile
40 Downsize DC downsizedc.org Compete Site Profile
41 Free Keene freekeene.com Compete Site Profile
42 The Humble Libertarian humblelibertarian.com Compete Site Profile
43 Laissez-Faire Books lfb.org Compete Site Profile
44 Strike-The-Root strike-the-root.com Compete Site Profile
45 Foundation for Economic Education fee.org Compete Site Profile
46 John Locke Foundation johnlocke.org Compete Site Profile
47 Break The Matrix breakthematrix.com Compete Site Profile
48 BuildFreedom.com buildfreedom.com Compete Site Profile
49 Competitive Enterprise Institute cei.org Compete Site Profile
50 Libertarianism.org libertarianism.org Compete Site Profile
51 Vox Popoli voxday.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
52 The Institute for Justice ij.org Compete Site Profile
53 OpenMarket.org – The Blog of the CEI openmarket.org Compete Site Profile
54 Freedomain Radio freedomainradio.com Compete Site Profile
55 Institute for Humane Studies theihs.org Compete Site Profile
56 Peter Schiff Show schiffradio.com Compete Site Profile
57 Center for a Stateless Society c4ss.org Compete Site Profile
58 Learn Liberty learnliberty.org Compete Site Profile
59 Young Americans for Liberty yaliberty.org Compete Site Profile
60 Young Americans for Liberty yaliberty.org Compete Site Profile
61 Reason.tv reason.tv Compete Site Profile
62 Free Talk Live freetalklive.com Compete Site Profile
63 The Future of Capitalism futureofcapitalism.com Compete Site Profile
64 Doug Wead The Blog dougwead.wordpress.com Compete Site Profile
65 Libertarian Republican libertarianrepublican.net Compete Site Profile
66 Adam Smith Institute adamsmith.org Compete Site Profile
67 The Capital Free Press capitalfreepress.com Compete Site Profile
68 Bleeding Heart Libertarians bleedingheartlibertarians.com Compete Site Profile
69 Militant Libertarian militantlibertarian.org Compete Site Profile
70 Students for Liberty studentsforliberty.org Compete Site Profile
71 Coyote Blog coyoteblog.com Compete Site Profile
72 Ron Paul News ronpaulnews.net Compete Site Profile
73 Republican Liberty Caucus rlc.org Compete Site Profile
74 Bastiat Institute bastiatinstitute.org Compete Site Profile
75 The Libertarian Standard libertarianstandard.com Compete Site Profile
76 AgainstCronyCapitalism.org againstcronycapitalism.org Compete Site Profile
77 Coordination Problem coordinationproblem.org Compete Site Profile
78 Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom c4sif.org Compete Site Profile
79 realfreemarket.org realfreemarket.org Compete Site Profile
80 Goldwater Institute goldwaterinstitute.org Compete Site Profile
81 Liberty Radio Network lrn.fm Compete Site Profile
82 Ideas – David Friedman daviddfriedman.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
83 Daily Anarchist dailyanarchist.com Compete Site Profile
84 Stephan Kinsella stephankinsella.com Compete Site Profile
85 NeverTakeaPlea.org nevertakeaplea.org Compete Site Profile
86 Liberty Underground 1787network.com Compete Site Profile
87 Liberty Pulse libertypulse.com Compete Site Profile
88 Peace, Freedom & Prosperity peacefreedomprosperity.com Compete Site Profile
89 Free Advice – Robert Murphy consultingbyrpm.com Compete Site Profile
90 Libertarian Leanings libertarianleanings.com Compete Site Profile
91 Americans for Limited Government getliberty.org Compete Site Profile
92 Liberty Documentaries libertydocumentaries.com Compete Site Profile
93 Liberty PAC libertypac.net Compete Site Profile
94 Taking Hayek Seriously hayekcenter.org Compete Site Profile
95 Liberty Maven libertymaven.com Compete Site Profile
96 Congress Shall Make No Law: IJ’s Free Speech Blog makenolaw.org Compete Site Profile
97 Ron Paul Radio ronpaulradio.com Compete Site Profile
98 LacrosseWatchDog lacrossewatchdog.org Compete Site Profile
99 Bad Quaker badquaker.com Compete Site Profile
100 Libertarian Papers libertarianpapers.org Compete Site Profile
101 Porcupine Freedom Festival porcfest.com Compete Site Profile
102 The Libertarian Patriot thelibertarianpatriot.com Compete Site Profile
103 The Southern Libertarian thesouthernlibertarian.com Compete Site Profile
104 The Tireless Agorist tirelessagorist.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
105 Liberty Classroom libertyclassroom.com Compete Site Profile
106 Government by Contract governmentbycontract.com Compete Site Profile
107 Freespace – Timothy Sandefur sandefur.typepad.com Compete Site Profile
108 Austrian Dad austriandad.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
109 JasonPye.com jasonpye.com Compete Site Profile
110 Libertarian Advocate libertarianadvocate.blogspot.com Compete Site Profile
111 Liberty Web Alliance libertyweballiance.com Compete Site Profile
112 Liberty On Tour libertyontour.com Compete Site Profile
113 Libertarian Book Club libertarianbookclub.com Compete Site Profile
114 Run Rand Run runrandrun.com Compete Site Profile
Advertisements

Below is a recent post on Mises Daily by Joel Poindexter. I highly recommend both Mises Daily and Mr. Poindexter. See his blog at EconomicHarmonies.

Joel Poindexter is a student working toward a degree in economics. His writing has been published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, LewRockwell.com and the Tenth Amendment Center. He lives with his wife and daughter near Kansas City.

Full article below:

In the course of my deployments to Iraq I learned a great deal about economics, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I hadn’t yet been introduced to the Austrian School or a Rothbardian view of laissez-faire capitalism. Looking back, however, I can see quite clearly that in several important areas voluntary systems not only existed in that country but thrived.

My first deployment was to Baghdad, that ancient Mesopotamian city positioned on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It was there I discovered how, even during the most violent and unstable times, markets can adapt to the needs of consumers and peacefully provide essential services to humanity.

The focus of this article will be on economic provision, rather than the war itself. However, it’s important to note that the following free-market solutions have blossomed in spite of being in the heart of a country ravaged by economic sanctions and all but total war. Not only was the US-led war destructive of the physical means to provide such services; it also destroyed the institutions that delivered them, adding to the difficulty in restoring them.

Utility Services

In the United States virtually all utilities are a service provided by government. Whether they are directly controlled by municipal governments or simply regulated to the point of being creatures of those organizations, relatively few cases exist where the market provides utilities unhindered. Baghdad, however, was not so tightly regulated.

Being the capital city, it is home to all of the major government offices and thus has a priority for electrical power; this was true before and after the invasion. However, after a decade of brutal sanctions, followed by a relentless bombing campaign of “shock and awe,” the socialized infrastructure was entirely unfit to meet demand. The solution arrived at by the Iraqi people was brilliant.

Taking advantage of economies of scale, residents would pool their resources and either buy a large generator or contract with someone who already owned one. Then a mechanic would be hired to maintain the generator, guarding it against thieves and ensuring it was properly fueled. The more clients a neighborhood had, the lower the consumer cost and higher the profits for the owners.

The one flaw in this system was that fuel was supplied by a centrally planned government agency. As might have been expected, shortages were frequent, leading to power outages. Had fuel been freed from the highly politicized and bureaucratic web of government, there’s no doubt an equally innovative and peaceful solution would have arisen to address this need.

Money

Another pocket of freedom that many Iraqis enjoy is in market-based currency, or something similar. After the collapse of Iraq’s government, the central bank no longer issued notes for the Iraqi dinar. At this time the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which was the US-lead interim government, began a large-scale influx of the US dollar. Between large shipments of currency from the CPA, and the widespread use of the dollar by hundreds of thousands of troops, its supply quickly increased. And while many thought the result would be large-scale abandonment of the dinar, quite the opposite in fact occurred.

B.K. Marcus describes the result here, wherein the dinar actually increased in value and was in many cases the preferred currency by many in the country. One primary reason seems to be that the value of the dinar remained fairly constant, due to its supply being more stable. But other currencies existed, some fiat-based, others springing from the market.

In another account of the market in Iraq, Edward Gonzales described how in the western region of the country, sheep and bottled water acted as money. Their value floated based on the season and relative quantities of one or the other. While I never witnessed trades made with livestock or other commodities, I did see that not just dinars and dollars were used for exchange.

My second deployment was to the Babel province, south of Baghdad, and the Iranian rial was fairly common there. This was particularly true in the Shia towns and neighborhoods, as might have been expected. I was not familiar with the exchange ratios among the currencies, but all were used in trade. It was not uncommon for a man’s wallet to contain two or more of a different states’ moneys, even all three at times.

Defense Services

Perhaps the state’s longest running and most institutionalized monopoly is that of defense. Advocates of limited government will quickly concede that most services ought to be provided in a free market. This provides incentives for firms to compete for market share, thus raising quality while driving down prices. One service that must be provided by the state, according to everyone from socialists to minarchists, is defense of persons and their property.

Even many who claim to believe steadfastly in free enterprise will concede that defense is the sole purview of government. By doing so they implicitly argue that the same economic laws that govern the provision of trash collection are rendered impotent when applied to defending property. This certainly does not hold water theoretically, nor is it true when applied to the market in Iraq.

In most of the country there were multiple layers of government police and military, and martial law had become the norm. Despite (or perhaps because of) the saturation of the market by government defense monopolists, private services were a valuable commodity. In Baghdad, circa 2005, there were 175,000 US troops engaging various guerilla forces. On top of that, the government’s police never bothered with the pretense of scruples and corruption was standard fare. Private security quickly became a profitable enterprise.

It is often suggested by advocates of a free society that, theoretically, defense would be an individual endeavor. So long as individuals are free to own property, goes the argument, they’ll be able to arm themselves for protection. This is largely how it played out in Iraq. Each adult male was permitted to own one AK-47 rifle, for personal defense, and gun ownership was nearly ubiquitous. (This allowance was expanded later to allow shotguns for hunting).

As an added layer of protection, many neighborhoods employed night watchmen. These were typically middle-aged men who were contracted by their neighbors to patrol the streets and defend against thieves. Their teenage sons would often assist, and we came to know the groups well. Some took employment in the markets, hired by the business owners to protect commercial interests. Others were posted near residential street corners, keeping a watchful eye on their clients’ homes through the night.

These were trusted men in the community, who had found a way to earn a living in a ravaged economy by supplying a highly valued service to their fellow man. They did as good or better a job than we did at securing neighborhoods. Recognizing this, we equipped them with infrared lights, indicating they were friendlies, to help protect them from our helicopter gunships and other units passing through the area at night.

Conclusion

In each of these cases, where proponents of the state argue we must have active government involvement, individuals found voluntary, peaceful solutions to their problems. In spite of the failure by both the Iraqi and US governments to provide essential services, such as adequate electrical power and the defense of property, private solutions quickly sprang up among the violence and disorder. Money too was not something that required a government fiat to make trade possible. The market, unhindered by the state, provided a currency by which individuals could exchange with one another.

Copyright © 2012 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided full credit is given.