Upcoming and Current Course Enrollments:


Speakers: Mark Thornton, Joe Salerno, Dan Sanchez, and Jonathan Newman Through the generosity of the Tatum family this seminar is free to everyone.


Independent Study Courses:


This course examines the critical period of American history from the stock market crash of 1929 to the end of World War II, focusing on domestic affairs. Topics include: the 1920s boom and bust, the Hoover record in light of recent scholarship, the New Deal programs and agencies, the evolution of the Supreme Court, international parallels, political and intellectual opposition to FDR, and the economic consequences of World War II. Readings include primary documents, works by contemporaries, and recent scholarship and commentary.

Taught by Robert P. Murphy, this course consists of eight lectures of fantastic economics instruction from the ground up utilizing Professor Murphy's textbook Lessons for the Young Economist. Though the textbook was written with a high school student audience in mind, the course itself is ideal for anyone looking for a solid intellectual foundation in Austrian Economics. The goal is to present economics in the same way that it was presented to Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard early in their schooling: a paradigm to inspire a lifetime of understanding and scholarship. No prior exposure to economic logic is required.

The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek

The Road to Serfdom: Despotism, Then and Now

PP_RTS_2013_C — with Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Cost: $49   Length: 5 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

The purpose of this course, "The Road to Serfdom: Despotism Then and Now," is to educate students about these contemporary dangers and arm them with the intellectual ammunition that they will need to oppose them and champion freedom instead. The totalitarian socialists of the early 20th century understood that they could not succeed unless they first discredited the ideas of freedom. The only way to stop their intellectual descendants ("the totalitarians in our midst," as Hayek would call them) is to counter their totalitarian ideas. Hayek was a hero of society for putting his career as a renowned economic theorist on hold (for most of the rest of his life, it turned out) to lay out one of the most articulate arguments for a free society ever made.

BuyAmericanWar

The Political Economy of War

IS_Econ_PEW — with Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Cost: $49   Length: 5 lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Thomas DiLorenzo discusses the course: It is a testament to the power of government propaganda that several generations of self-described conservatives have held as their core belief that war and militarism are consistent with limited, constitutional government. These conservatives think they are "defending freedom" by supporting every military adventure that the state concocts. They are not. Even just, defensive wars inevitably empower the state far beyond anything any strict constructionist would approve of. Prowar conservatives, in other words, are walking contradictions. They may pay lip service to limited constitutional government, but their prowar positions belie their rhetoric. "War is the health of the state," as Randolph Bourne said in his famous essay of that title. Statism, moreover, means central planning, heavy taxation, fascist or socialist economics, attacks on free speech and other civil liberties, and the suffocation and destruction of private enterprise. Classical liberals have always understood this, but conservatives never have. (Neoconservatives either don't understand it or don't care.) Thus, you have the celebrated neoconservative writer Victor Davis Hanson writing in the December 2, 2009, issue of Imprimis that antiwar activism and other "factors" that make people "reluctant" to resort to war are "lethal combinations" that supposedly threaten the existence of society. Hanson was merely repeating the conservative party line first enunciated by the self-proclaimed founder of the modern conservative (really neoconservative) movement, William F. Buckley Jr. Murray Rothbard quoted Buckley as saying in the January 25, 1952 issue of Commonweal magazine that the Cold War required that: we have got to accept Big Government for the duration — for neither an offensive nor a defensive war can be waged … except through the instrumentality of a totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores.… [We must support] large armies and air forces, atomic energy, central intelligence, war production boards and the attendant centralization of power in Washington. "We" must advocate the destruction of the free society in the name of defending the free society, said "Mr. Conservative," a former CIA employee. In reality, antiwar "factors" are a threat only to the military/industrial/congressional complex, which profits from war; they are not a threat to society as a whole. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Seeing through the dense murk of such war propaganda is one of the purposes of this five-lecture course. Students will learn about the economics and politics of war from some of the giants of classical liberalism, such as Ludwig von Mises, Frederic Bastiat, Lionell Robbins, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, Robert Higgs, and others. Among the topics to be discussed are: - Why capitalism is the very opposite of war - The economic causes of war - Why nationalism is always a threat to peace and prosperity - Why Marx was wrong about war and imperialism, but the Austrian economists got it right - Why and how war is the health of the state, always ratcheting up governmental power at the expense of individual liberty and prosperity - The role of free trade in deterring war - The evils of military conscription - How war cripples a nation's economy, benefiting only a small group of war profiteers in the process - How the state employs the Fed to hide and disguise the costs of war - The role of statist intellectuals in promoting war precisely because they, too, understand that war is the health of the state - Why conservatives love war and the state - The dangerous myth that democracy promotes peace - Private alternatives to a massive "national-defense" establishment - What is a just war?

Lincoln Phoenix

Lincoln: Founding Father of the American Leviathan State

H_LALS_2013_B_IS — with Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Cost: $49   Length: 5 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

In Omnipotent Government (p. 268) Ludwig von Mises wrote that “the adversaries of the trend toward more government control describe their opposition as a . . . contest of states’ rights versus the central power.” To Mises, centralized governmental power was the greatest threat to liberty. And as Edmund Wilson once noted, no one is more responsible for the birth of the centralized, bureaucratic state that Americans slave under than Abraham Lincoln, the “Great Centralizer.” This course will apply Austrian economics and Austrian social theory to understand the economic and political legacies of the real Lincoln, the man who waged total war on his own citizens, killing some 350,000 of them; who shredded the Constitution and essentially declared himself dictator; who suspended Habeas Corpus and imprisoned political opponents by the thousands; who shut down opposition newspapers by the hundreds; who intimidated federal judges and deported an opposition member of Congress; who ignored how most of the rest of the world ended slavery peacefully; who destroyed the voluntary union of the founding fathers that was based on states’ rights and federalism; and whose regime introduced America to income taxation, military conscription, decades of protectionism, corrupt corporate welfare, the internal revenue bureaucracy, and transformed the country from a republic to an empire.

Escher's Waterfall

How to Think: An Introduction to Logic

IS_Phil_IL — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 7 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

David Gordon discusses this course in a Mises Daily article here. He writes: [This course] has one main emphasis: how to analyze arguments, especially arguments about philosophy, politics, and economics. I've found that many, if not most, writers on these subjects fall victim to common fallacies. Once you are aware of these fallacies, you will find them easy to avoid in your own arguments — or at least easier to avoid than if you weren't aware of them. Logic used to be a key component in liberal education: it was part of the classic "trivium." Being able to masterfully wield logic in debate enabled Peter Abelard to advance medieval philosophy past the Neoplatonic rut it was mired in, and made him the closest thing in his day to a rock star. The School of Salamanca used scholastic logic to give birth to economic theory. Even after scholasticism was unfairly discredited, logic was still widely studied by schoolboys throughout the west. The Austrian School used logic to rigorize and advance economic science. However, the rise of positivism rang the death knell for the widespread study of logic. It is time to reinstate logic as a tool, and the Mises Academy is doing it's part to make that happen. This course presents the essentials of logic---the science of correct reasoning. Deductive reasoning transmits truth from premises to conclusion. If one starts with true premises, and reasons correctly, the conclusion will be true also. Common fallacies are identified and examples from discussions in politics and economics are given. The course emphasizes ordinary language reasoning rather than mathematical logic. Although practical application is stressed, some of the philosophical issues that logic raises are also covered. Whatever your career path or field of study, you will find the use of logic to be invaluable.

This course is taught by Stephan Kinsella, a leading libertarian theorist, and will provide detailed discussions of the foundations of libertarian theory and related topics such as individual rights; justice, punishment and restitution; anarchy and minarchy; contract theory; inalienability; property rights and homesteading; intellectual property; legislation versus common law; legal positivism; Austrian economics and libertarianism; and causation and responsibility. Optional testing will include a multiple-choice mid-term exam and a multiple-choice final exam.

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How to Know: The Epistemology of Ludwig von Mises

IS_Phil_HKME — with David Gordon

Cost: $39   Length: 5 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Ludwig von Mises held distinctive and original views about the philosophical foundations of economics. He maintained that economics forms part of praxeology, a science of human action deductively derived from the self-evident axiom that man acts. He presented this view in the first part of Human Action, and understanding it is essential to knowledge of Misesian economics. Many readers, though, find what Mises says there hard to understand. This course has as its main aim to help you to grasp Mises’s meaning. If you complete this course, you will be able to follow the main lines of Mises’s ideas in this section of Human Action and his other philosophical works, including Epistemological Problems of Economics, Theory and History, and The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science. Also to be considered will be criticisms and defenses of these views, but the course will concentrate on explaining Mises in a way that you will find easy to follow. Mises’s contributions to epistemology were not confined to his work on the nature of economic knowledge. He also had original and important things to say about historical knowledge, and the course will explore this topic in detail. If you find the philosophical sections of Mises’s books puzzling, you may find this course helpful. Dr. Gordon discusses the course here: Mises's Epistemology A brief outline of what to expect is below: - Lecture 1: Praxeology, A Commonsense Method of Economics - Lecture 2: Mises vs. the German Historical School and the Logical Positivists - Lecture 3 : Mises and the Philosophy of History - Lecture 4: Mises vs. Rand - Lecture 5: The Ultimate Given, Determinism, and Ethics

rothyoung

Praxeology Through Price Theory

IS_Econ_PTPT — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $69   Length: 8 lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment
Program: Man, Economy, and State

This course is a systematic study of the fundamentals of Austrian Economics. As well as being an excellent introduction to economic reasoning, principles, and advanced concepts on its own, it is the first of a three-course series that cover the definitive textbook on Austrian Economics, Murray Rothbard's "Man, Economy, and State," in its entirety. This series of courses provides a comprehensive education in sound economic science. This particular course covers the first four chapters (318 pages) of "Man, Economy, and State" ("Fundamentals of Human Action," "Direct Exchange," "The Pattern of Indirect Exchange," and "Prices and Consumption").

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Ayn Rand and Objectivism

IS_Phil_ARO — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Dr. Gordon remarks: Ayn Rand polarizes people. To her enemies, she was a vicious person who taught a gospel of unconcern for others. One of her critics says that she was “eerily ignorant of all the interesting problems of ontology, epistemology, or logic.” Her followers, by contrast, rank her as one of the foremost philosophers of all time. Her system of Objectivism developed and extended the insights of Aristotle and represents the highest level of reason yet attained. Is either view correct, or is Rand best looked at from some other perspective? In this course, we examine some of her distinctive doctrines. What does she mean by the primacy of existence over consciousness? Are the far reaching conclusions she draws from the Law of Identity about causality and the nature of necessity correct? Is she right that the Law of Identity mandates atheism? Her views about sense perception and how we acquire concepts also receives attention. In ethics, she is of course most famous for her defense of egoism; two lectures examine her arguments on this topic. Criticisms of her views advanced by other philosophers, including Robert Nozick and Michael Huemer, are considered. I compare her approach to ethics with those of Mises and Hayek as well. Rand was one of the most famous twentieth-century defenders of a free society, and her ideas about government are covered. Her reasons for rejecting anarchism and her defense of intellectual property are addressed. I compare her views on anarchism with Murray Rothbard’s. Also, I look at Objectivist work on foreign policy and the morality of war. I am not an Objectivist; but I’m not attempting in the course to advocate a competing philosophical theory of my own, though it is hardly a secret that my own political views are Rothbardian. Rather, I wish to evaluate the arguments that she presented. The course is primarily designed for those who would like to learn the essentials of Rand’s thought; but I encourage Objectivists and others who already have strong opinions about Rand to enroll in the course too. The course consists of six lectures. A brief outline follows: Lecture 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology Lecture 2: Metaphysics and Epistemology, continued Lecture 3: Ethics Lecture 4: Ethics, continued Lecture 5: Political Philosophy: Rights and the State Lecture 6: Political Philosophy: Intellectual Property, Foreign Policy, and the Morality of War

nozick

Libertarianism and Modern Philosophers

IS_PP_LMP — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Those of us who are libertarians often cannot understand why everyone else is not a libertarian too. Isn’t the case for freedom easy to make and, once grasped, utterly convincing? Most contemporary moral and political philosophers think otherwise, though; they reject libertarianism and demand a more egalitarian system. This course considers some of the leading arguments advanced against libertarianism. Do these criticisms have any validity? How should libertarians respond to them? The course also considers important philosophical arguments raised by libertarian philosophers, e.g. Robert Nozick’s defense of a minimal state and the argumentation ethics of Hans Hoppe and Frank van Dun. The non-libertarian philosophers discussed include G.A. Cohen, John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Ronald Dworkin, and T.M. Scanlon.

hoppe

The Social Theory of Hoppe

PP750 — with Stephan Kinsella

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

This six-lecture course will present and discuss Hans-Hermann Hoppe's most important ideas and theories, including his brilliant critique of positivist methodology as applied to the social sciences, his groundbreaking "argumentation ethics" praxeological approach to political philosophy, his encompassing comparative analysis of socialism and capitalism, his profound critique of democracy, and a host of other insights and contributions to areas such as monopoly theory, the theory of public goods, the sociology of taxation, the private production of security, immigration, the nature of property and scarcity, economic methodology and epistemology, and the evolution of monetary institutions and their impact on international relations.

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Production and the Market Process

IS_Econ_PMP — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $69   Length: 8 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment
Program: Man, Economy, and State

This course is a continuation of Professor Murphy's course Praxeology Through Price Theory, which covers chapters one through four of Murray N. Rothbard's Man, Economy, and State. In this course, Professor Murphy guides students through chapters five through nine, exploring Rothbard's delineation of the structure of production, interest rates, the pricing of factors of production, the entrepreneur's roll in a market economy, and productive incomes. Individuals seeking to deepen and broaden their understanding of economic science in the Rothbardian tradition will find the course material a valuable asset and Professor Murphy's guidance thorough and illuminating.

Learn how to "see the unseen" as Professor David Gordon teaches you how to apply logic and fundamental axioms to reason through economic problems. Learn to catch common economic fallacies, see the underlying order in the market economy, and deduce the unintended consequences of government intervention.

MAA_Kinsella_LibertarianControversies_2011

Libertarian Controversies

PP70 — with Stephan Kinsella

Cost: $49   Length: 5 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Modern libertarianism is a young, developing and vibrant science. Variants includes classical liberalism, minarchism, and, in its most rigorous form, anarcho-Austrian libertarianism. Libertarians of various stripes are influenced by utilitarian, pragmatic and natural law theories, and by thinkers including Ayn Rand, Hayek, Rothbard, Mises, and others. For decades there has been vigorous debate among different camps of libertarians about a host of controversial issues, from the foundation of rights to the nature of government, and about concrete issues such as abortion, strategy and activism, living in an unfree world, anarchy v. minarchy, punishment and restitution, and so on. In this course, libertarian legal theorist Stephan Kinsella will explore a variety of libertarian misconceptions and controversies, from an Austro-libertarian perspective.

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The Sovereign Debt Crisis

EH810 — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $37   Length: 4 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

In this 4-week course, Professor Murphy will survey the sovereign debt crisis roiling world financial markets. The class will provide an overview of the worldwide housing bubble and its impacts on various countries and their banks. It will explain the formation of the euro, and the theories--both mainstream and Austrian--of the optimal size of a currency area. The course will also document the fiscal situation of the various at-risk countries, and will outline the various interventions that governments, the European Central Bank, and the Fed have used to postpone the day of reckoning. Finally the course will assess the current situation and offer prospects for the future.

The great debate between Keynesians and Austrians enters the digital age with the Mises Academy's first ever online formal debate, between economists Karl Smith and Robert P. Murphy. RESOLVED: GOVERNMENT SPENDING CAN PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN BOOSTING ECONOMIC GROWTH Smith will argue in favor of this resolution, and Murphy will argue against.

This webinar will consider why the current recovery is proceeding so slowly, if at all. It will approach this question by comparing the current situation with the incomplete recovery from the Great Depression that occurred between 1933 and 1939. Before 1929, in U.S. history, absent extensive government intervention in the market system, business-cycle recoveries normally occurred within a year or two. Slow recovery, ironically, has been associated with extensive government efforts to bring about or speed recovery. The webinar will consider various ways in which the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations and the Bush and Obama administrations impeded a rapid, complete recovery from a business bust. Special attention will be given to how “do something” governments can create “regime uncertainty”―pervasive, serious apprehension about the security of private property rights―which causes private investors and business people to refrain from the long-term investment and the hiring of full-time, permanent employees that are necessary for normal recovery and sustained economic growth.

RothbardChalkboard

Money, Monopoly, and Market Intervention

IS_Econ_MMMI — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $69   Length: 8 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment
Program: Man, Economy, and State

This course will cover chapters 10, 11, and 12 of Murray Rothbard's systematic treatise on economics, Man, Economy, and State. In this course, you will have the ideal instructor: Robert Murphy, the author of the study guide to Man, Economy, and State. Chapter 10 contains one of Rothbard's foremost original contributions to economic science: his discussion of monopoly and competition. Rothbard went beyond even Mises in exculpating the pure market economy from the arguments of antitrust-advocating market critics. Rothbard argued that on the free market there can be no such thing as a monopoly price which is different in any significant way from a competitive price. In chapter 11, Rothbard presents a thorough and completely Misesian exposition of monetary theory. Among other highlights, this chapter includes the most devastating and succinct critique of Keynesianism ever penned, as well as a thorough refutation of Irving Fisher's "equation of exchange" doctrine, thereby discrediting much of monetarism, and undercutting (before the fact) many of the arguments of the modern, quasi-Austrian, "Free Banking" school. And chapter 12 is a methodical deconstruction of the folly of all state intervention into the market economy. After having spent 11 chapters describing the essence and functioning of the market system, chapter 12 elucidates what happens when government throws a wrench in the gears. This course is a perfect follow-up to Murphy's previous courses based on Man, Economy, and State. However, having taken those courses is NOT required, and this course stands alone as an excellent study of 3 crucial areas in Austrian theory. This course is well-suited for anyone conversant with the Austrian understanding of the market process.

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Libertarian Ethics

IS_PP_LE — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

David Gordon writes: "In The Ethics of Liberty, Murray Rothbard proposed a natural law foundation for libertarianism. In doing so, he rejected as not fully adequate the distinctive brand of utilitarian ethics defended by his teacher Ludwig von Mises. Was he correct in his criticisms of Mises? If you are attracted to both views, must you choose between them? Both Mises and Rothbard’s positions have aroused a great deal of discussion. Hans Hoppe decisively intervened in this discussion with his proposal, a libertarian version of argumentation ethics. Hoppe’s approach accepts Rothbard’s conclusions but establishes them on a rather different basis. Rothbard argued from an Aristotelian–Thomist basis: Hoppe, like his teacher Jürgen Habermas, owes much to Kant. In his argument, Hoppe claims that to deny that you own yourself involves a performative contradiction. Is he right? These are among the topics that Danny Sanchez and I examine. Students who take this course will acquire a good grounding in these three major theories and be in a position to form their own opinion about them. Further, looking at these three theories offers an excellent way to study the foundations of ethics. Are ethical judgments objectively true? Is ethics merely a social institution, or is it more than this? In an introductory lecture, I describe the three positions and explain how they raise the foundational issues just mentioned. Daniel Sanchez, whose penetrating posts have shown him to be a foremost expositor and defender of Mises’s ethics, gives three lectures on that subject. I give two more lectures, one each on Rothbard and Hoppe." Questions such as these have divided libertarians. Mises was a firm utilitarian. Rothbard adopted a "natural rights" position. Hans Hermann Hoppe developed an "argumentation ethics" doctrine. This course will cover the ethics of each of the above thinkers. David Gordon will cover Rothbard and Hoppe. And co-instructor Daniel Sanchez will present and defend Mises' ethics.

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The Real Causes of America’s Wars

IS_H_RCAW — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

"War is the health of the state." These famous words of Randolph Bourne have been confirmed throughout the course of American history. This course examines the origins of a number of America's wars. In each case, the courses studies the real origins of the war and compare this with the officially circulated mythology. All too often, America's wars are presented as conflicts between the "good guys," us, and the "bad guys," our enemies. Propaganda to view the wars in this way played a key role in advancing the power of the state, and it is essential for libertarians to understand the issues involved. After World War I, a group of historians including Sidney Bradshaw Fay, Harry Elmer Barnes, and Charles Callan Tansill challenged the view of World War I popular during the war. These historians, called "revisionists" because they wanted to revise the war-guilt clause of the Treaty of Versailles, denied that Germany bore exclusive responsibility for the onset of war. Tansill in particular exposed Wilson's unneutral conduct in leading America into war. In part as a result of these historians' research, American public opinion in the 1930s came to see America's entry into World War I as a mistake. Unfortunately, this shift in opinion did not prevent Franklin Roosevelt from maneuvering America into a new war. A similar revisionist movement arose during and after America's entry into World War II. Many of the World War I revisionists, including Barnes and Tansill, again joined battle against the official propaganda line. Murray Rothbard highly esteemed these writers and was himself a notable contributor to the movement. This course emphasizes the contributions of the revisionist historians and will consider extensions of their approach to other wars, along the lines set out by Rothbard. The course consists of six lectures, on the following wars: - Lecture 1: The War Between the States - Lecture 2: The Spanish-American War - Lecture 3: World War I - Lecture 4: World War II - Lecture 5: The Onset of the Cold War and the Korean War - Lecture 6: Vietnam

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How to End Unemployment in One Day

W5 — with Walter Block

Cost: $10   Length: 1 Session
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Austrian economist and libertarian philosopher Walter E. Block will address the topic: "How to End Unemployment in One Day.” Well, actually, this is somewhat of an exaggeration, since it would be VERY difficult, but not impossible, to explain how that can be done. Watch him bust his gut trying to do just that. However, most of his lecture will consist of an analysis of why we have unemployment in the first place; in this regard he will discuss the Austrian Business Cycle theory, and other causes of unemployment such as minimum wage laws, union legislation, the Community Reinvestment Act, Obamacare, The Fed, fractional reserve banking and Ayn Rand’s theory that the movers and shakers of the economy are now “on strike.”

“It is a very significant fact that the adversaries of the trend toward more government control describe their opposition as a fight against Washington and Berne, i.e., against centralization. It is conceived as a contest of states’ rights versus the central power.” —Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government Most people who advocate a more limited, constitutional government concentrate their efforts on electing people to public office who share their views. This can be thought of as a “horizontal” view of politics, namely, that there is a left/right ideological continuum, with the far left representing totalitarian government, and the far right representing a voluntary society with no government. The goal of libertarians under this scenario is to elect like-minded people to public office who promise to nudge public policy to the right. An alternative viewpoint is what one might think of as a “vertical” view of politics that focuses on the devolution of power away from the central government in Washington, which by definition transfers decision-making powers to the people as individuals or as political communities at the state and local levels. This is the essence of the American “states’ rights” tradition, also known as “federalism.” It is the basis of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which Thomas Jefferson believed was the cornerstone of the entire document. It is also the one unique American contribution to political philosophy, historian Forrest McDonald wrote in his book, States’ Rights and the Union. Ironically, says McDonald, this tradition has benefited other countries of the world in their attempts to restrain the relentless growth of the Leviathan State, but has been all but abandoned in America. The purpose of this four-lecture course is to introduce to students some of the key ideas about federalism: how it was intended and how it has been used to battle government tyranny, and why the worst political tyrants in history are its mortal enemies. An outline of the lecture readings and topics is below: Lecture 1: The Jeffersonian States’ Rights Tradition Thomas DiLorenzo, “Constitutional Futility” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo74.html) John C. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government (http://www.constitution.org/jcc/disq_gov.htm) Thomas DiLorenzo, “Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo93.html) Thomas Jefferson, "The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798" (http://www.constitution.org/cons/kent1798.htm). Lecture 2: Nullification William J. Watkins, “The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions: Guideposts of Limited Government” (http://www.constitution.org/lrev/kentvirg_watkins.htm) Clyde Wilson, “Jefferson and Nullification” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/wilson/wilson33.html) Clyde Wilson, “Q & A on Nullification and Interposition” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/wilson/wilson32.1.html) Lecture 3: The American Secessionist Tradition Donald Livingston, “The Secession Tradition in America,” in David Gordon, editor, Secession, State and Liberty (http://www.ditext.com/livingston/tradition.html) Thomas DiLorenzo, “Yankee Confederates: New England Secession Movements Prior to the War between the States” (http://ditext.com/dilorenzo/yankee.html) Thomas DiLorenzo, “Happy Secession Day” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo103.html) Lecture 4: Enemies of States Rights and Limited Government Thomas DiLorenzo, “Doomed from the Start: The Myth of Limited Constitutional Government in America” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo182.html) Thomas DiLorenzo, “The Founding Father of Constitutional Subversion” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo144.html) Thomas DiLorenzo, “Lincolnite Totalitarians” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo77.html) Thomas DiLorenzo, “Jaffa’s Hitlerian Defense of Lincoln” (http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo20.html)

TheoryOfMoneyAndCreditBook

Mises on Money and Banking

IS_Econ_MMB — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $69   Length: 8 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

This course tours Ludwig von Mises' classic work, Theory of Money & Credit. We focus on Mises' two crucial achievements in the book: (1) His unification of "micro" and "macro" by successfully applying the modern subjective theory of value to money, and (2) his development of (what we now call) Austrian business cycle theory. The course showcases not only Mises' brilliance as a novel thinker, but also his excellent command of the literature and his selection of the best ideas from other schools.

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The Totalitarians

H440_IS — with Hunt Tooley

Cost: $49   Length: 8 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

The totalitarian regimes in the twentieth century have formed the backdrop and counterpoint to much of modern thinking about individualism, the market, and socialism since the 1920s and 1930s. Mises's wartime treatise on the total state, Omnipotent Government, and other Austrian writings provide a theoretical basis for looking at the total regimes of the twentieth century. Vast historical literatures from the mid-twentieth century to the present likewise give us much food for thought in assessing the nature of the total regimes and their meaning for us. This eight-topic course will be about the classic totalitarian regimes, chiefly the Soviet Union and the Third Reich. One component of the course will be a careful look at Mises's Omnipotent Government. Another element will be a detailed examination of the rise and course of the totalitarian regimes, their inner workings, and their impact on the world. Readings will include the whole of Omnipotent Government as well as many other selected readings. All readings will be available online.

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Economic Thought Through the Ages

IS_EH_ETTA — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

"An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought," the capstone of Murray Rothbard’s career, is one of the greatest works of intellectual history written in the twentieth century. It is a massive book, over one thousand pages of small print, and students often find it hard to read. This course, the first of a two-part series, covers the first volume. Students who take it will gain a thorough knowledge of some of the key themes of the book. People with three different interests will find this course of value. First, if you want to learn Austrian economics, it is essential to grasp how this system grew out of previous economic thought. Austrian economics developed the insights of the Spanish Scholastics, in particular the subjective theory of value, and reacted against the classical economics of Adam Smith and his followers. Rothbard’s book is an unrivaled source of insight on these vital topics. Second, if you are interested in the thought of Murray Rothbard, you need to read "An Austrian Perspective." It contains his views on many topics either not otherwise available or not discussed elsewhere in so much detail. These include the key mistake in Aristotle’s economics, why Adam Smith is overrated, the place of religion in economic development, and the importance of Cantillon and Turgot. Third, if you are interested in history, you will find in Rothbard’s book a treasure trove of insights. How did the idea of natural law develop? What role did Catholics and Protestants play in the development of capitalism: is the Weber thesis correct? Was Machiavelli a teacher of evil? How did the modern state arise? What was the basis of mercantilism? Here is a general outline for the course: Topic 1: Greek and Medieval Economic Thought: The Fallacy that Exchange Requires Equal Value and How the Middle Ages Broke Free From It. Rothbard’s Method of Historical Inquiry Topic 2: The Spanish Scholastics: How They Developed the Subjective Theory of Value and Monetary Theory. Their Role as Precursors of Austrian Economics Topic 3: The Rise of the Absolute State: How the Divided Sovereignty of the Middle Ages Was Replaced by the Centralized State Topic 4: Mercantilism: How the State Controls the Economic System Topic 5: Cantillon and Turgot: The Real Founders of Modern Economics. Their Main Subjectivist Insights Topic 6: Adam Smith’s Counterrevolution: Abandoning the Subjective Theory of Value. Smith’s Compromises with the State.

This course offers a detailed look at the American Right since World War II, based on Murray Rothbard’s The Betrayal of the American Right. Rothbard argued that American conservatism since the 1950s sharply reversed the policies of what he called the Old Right. This latter movement combined opposition to Roosevelt’s New Deal with principled non-interventionism in foreign affairs. Post-war conservatism abandoned laissez-faire and a foreign policy of peace in favor of an interventionist State, essential for the pursuit of an aggressive Cold War strategy aimed at the overthrow of World Communism. In this transition, William F. Buckley and his circle at National Review played a pivotal role. Buckley began as a disciple of the American individualist anarchist Frank Chodorov, but he soon executed an about-face, holding that laissez-faire must be abandoned for the duration of the Cold War. True to his convictions, he worked as an agent of the CIA. The views of Willmoore Kendall and James Burnham, key editors of National Review who along with Buckley were former CIA agents, were completely at variance with the individualism of the Old Right. Burnham was also a former Trotskyite; and another influential editor, Frank S. Meyer, at one time a high official of the Communist Party (CPUSA). The course examines the views of these writers as well as the efforts of Buckley to purge from the American Right individuals and groups, including John T. Flynn, the John Birch Society, Ayn Rand and her followers, and Rothbard himself, who refused assent to his doctrines. After Rothbard’s book was written in 1973, a new group of statist activists, the neoconservatives, rose to influence and power. Buckley, whose own views, like those of his mentor Burnham, prefigured the ideas of the neoconservatives, soon allied with them. The course will examine the views of key figures in this movement, including William and Irving Kristol and Robert Kagan. How important was Leo Strauss in this movement? To what extent were the neoconservatives responsible for the Gulf War and the Iraq War? These are among the questions the course adresses. Besides The Betrayal of the American Right, the reading material will consist of additional articles by Rothbard and selected writings of the persons discussed in the course.

3714

Classical Economics

IS_EH_CE — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

This course covers a vital period in the history of economics, using Murray Rothbard’s Classical Economics as the text. Austrian economics can’t be fully understood without knowledge of its main rival, the classical economics developed by David Ricardo. Rothbard gives a devastating analysis of Ricardo’s system, and the course shows how some of its mistakes survive in contemporary non-Austrian economics. One of the most important of these is what Rothbard calls “verbal mathematics”. Ricardo’s approach will be compared with the causal realist method of J.B. Say, which prefigured the Austrian method. Among libertarians, fractional reserve banking has been one of the most debated issues. Anyone interested in this topic will find the course of value. Rothbard gives a detailed account of the bullionistcontroversy, involving the Bank of England, and an analysis of the Banking and Currency Schools. This is an indispensable background to understanding the Austrian theory of the business cycle. One of the highlights of the book is Rothbard’s analysis of Marxism. He not only provides a thorough account of the fallacies of Marxist economics but gives a full treatment of the philosophical basis of Marxism in messianic speculation as well. The course also covers Rothbard’s criticism of Jeremy Bentham, which provides his most detailed discussion of utilitarianism. Students will learn why Rothbard rejected this influential system. One of the funniest parts of the book is Rothbard’s discussion of John Stuart Mill, who, to say the least was not his favorite person. One lecture will be dedicated to Rothbard's view of Mill’s economics and political philosophy. As will be apparent, the course will be of interest not only to students of economics but also to those interested in philosophy, politics, and history. The course continues my course on Volume 1 of Rothbard’s history, but that course is not a prerequisite for this one, and no material from it is presupposed.

The heart of Austrian economics is its theory of value, exchange, production, and market intervention, what is typically called “price theory” or “microeconomics.” Austrian microeconomics was introduced by Carl Menger and developed and extended by his Austrian, British, and American followers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Unlike his contemporaries Walras and Jevons, Menger focused not only on the principle of marginal analysis, but also on the subjective, human aspects of valuation and the scientific principle of cause and effect. As such, Austrian price theory is substantially different from the microeconomics of contemporary, neoclassical textbooks. This course provides a systematic overview of Austrian microeconomics, starting with the basic of scarcity, choice, and value; then moving to exchange and demand; the determination of prices; factor markets and factor pricing (including labor); profit, loss, and the entrepreneur; the structure of production; and competition and monopoly. Though the emphasis is theoretical, the course utilizes several case studies in order to examine principles that apply broadly to everyday, ordinary economic problems. The main text is Milton M. Shapiro, Foundations of the Market-Price System (University Press of America, 1985), supplemented by sections from Thomas C. Taylor, An Introduction to Austrian Economics (Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1980) and Percy L. Greaves, Jr., Understanding the Dollar Crisis (Western Islands Publishers, 1973).

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Political Thought Through the Ages

IS_PP_PTTA — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

From Professor Gordon: Libertarians believe in at most a strictly limited state. Throughout the history of political philosophy, this has not been the dominant view. Why do political thinkers think that obedience to the state is justified? What rights, if any, do people have? Do any of the thinkers lend support to libertarian themes? These are among the question we explore in this course. The course is based on readings from the great political philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. We also consider libertarian arguments against the state, advanced by Lysander Spooner and Murray Rothbard. It will come as no surprise that I accept these libertarian arguments, but we examine what critics of the libertarian viewpoint have said as well.

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Atlas Shrugged

IS_PP_AS — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 7 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Atlas Shrugged is one of the best selling novels of the twentieth century, and reading it is an enjoyable way to learn about the philosophy of the book’s author, Ayn Rand. Her philosophy, called Objectivism, includes distinctive views of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. The principal theme of this course will be an account of some of the most important of these views, illustrated through episodes in the novel. The novel has aroused both intense admiration and equally intense hatred. One need not identify as an Objectivist to gain valuable insight from this book. Students who take the course will acquire an understanding of one of the most important philosophical influences on contemporary libertarianism. The course also discusses Rand’s theory of aesthetics and considers some of the critical reactions to the novel, so that students can form their own opinions of the book's strengths and weaknesses.

B896

What Is Morality? The Ethics of Hazlitt

IS_Phil_WMEH — with David Gordon

Cost: $15   Length: 1 Two-Hour Session
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Professor David Gordon remarks: Henry Hazlitt is best known as an economist, in particular as the author of the brilliant "Economics in One Lesson," but he was also an important, though neglected, ethical theorist. His outstanding book in the field is "The Foundations of Morality." In the book, Hazlitt contended that there was no fundamental opposition between morality and self-interest. Like his friend Ludwig von Mises, Hazlitt saw social cooperation through the free market as central to morality. I discuss the strengths of this way of looking at ethics and also cover Hazlitt’s sharp criticism of Kant’s ethics. We also examine what Hazlitt has to say about free will and determinism. Hazlitt’s book is written with his characteristic clarity and reading it offers an almost painless way to grasp some of the central topics of ethics.

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Anarcho-Capitalism

IS_PP_AC — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Dr. Robert Murphy remarks: Just about everyone is drawn to the libertarian respect for property rights. Yet most people draw back from fully embracing property rights, and taking libertarianism to its fulfillment in “anarcho-capitalism” or free-market anarchy. “Sure,” the cynics say, “it would be great to live in a society without the government and taxes, but who would write the laws? Who would protect it from foreign invasion?” The course provides detailed answers to these and other questions, and after the course you will realize that the Founders who called government a “necessary evil” were only half right. Lecture topics include: 1. Private Law I 2. Private Law II 3. Private Defense 4. Common Objections 5. Historical Applications 6. How We Get There The first three lectures sketch an outline of how a truly free society—with no agency holding the power to tax or monopolize any type of service—could codify and defend property rights, and how it could defend itself from foreign conquest. Naturally, no one ca say exactly what a free society would look like—libertarians don’t have the hubris of central planners. Even so, the way in which market forces would generally lead to a much more peaceful and prosperous society is examined. The fourth lecture deals with common objections to the mechanisms described earlier, including: “Wouldn’t the mafia take over?” “The biggest defense agency would turn into a de facto State!” “Why couldn’t a convict appeal his case indefinitely?” and so on. The fifth lecture covers several historical episodes that illustrate the power of voluntary communities to solve conflicts in a relatively peaceful manner. Students will see that not just in theory, but in practice, that you can't help a group of people by anointing a small fraction of them “the authorities” who get all the guns and make all the rules. Lastly, the sixth lecture tackles what may be the toughest challenge of all: After seeing the elegance and feasibility of a society with no institutionalized coercion, people want to know, “How can we make this a reality?” This lecture relies on insights from Étienne de la Boétie, Murray Rothbard, and even Gandhi to explore the various possibilities The vision of a truly free society in which no one could legally violate the property rights of anyone is one of the most exciting topics in libertarian analysis.

4762

Bailouts 101

W9 — with Jörg Guido Hülsmann

Cost: $10   Length: 1 Session
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Governments have tried to hold the financial crisis at bay by bailing out insolvent banks and other firms. The present lecture gives an overview of the main bailout techniques, some of which are currently being applied in the US and the Eurozone. We also question the rationale of bailouts and highlight the market alternative. The lecture is open to all audiences. We presuppose some basic acquaintance with the mechanics of balance sheets. Outline: Rationale of Bailouts Recapitalisation Artificial Markets Fictional Accounting Currency Reforms

B976

Human Action: Austrian Economics & Philosophy

IS_Econ_HA1 — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 8 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment
Program: Human Action

It is perhaps the most important and profound book ever written. Yet how many, in their attempts to read it, have been stopped in their tracks by Part I? In those 7 chapters, Mises lays out the philosophical underpinnings of economics and social philosophy. So they are crucial for understanding the rest of the treatise. Yet, for the reader not versed in philosophy, the technical terminology and references can be daunting. In this course, David Gordon explains everything you need to know to make sense of the concepts presented in these chapters. He defines the terms, provides background for the references, and elucidates exactly what it is that Mises is saying in these passages. If this classic has been sitting on your shelf or in your Kindle just waiting for you to tackle it, then there is no better way to start than with this course.

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World War One: Crucible of the Age of Statism

WWI_2012d_IS — with Hunt Tooley

Cost: $49   Length: 8 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

The death knell of the age of liberalism could be heard in the cannonades of the First World War, a war which inaugurated the age of planning and the apotheosis of the total state. Understanding the path to this horrible turning point and its impacts is crucial in understanding the course of modern civilization. In this course, historian Hunt Tooley, an expert on the era, will detail the causes and course of The Great War from an anti-state, revisionist perspective: the perspective you'll never get in mainstream schools.

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The Economics of the Great Depression

IS_EH_EGD — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $49   Length: 5 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

In this 5-lecture course, Dr. Murphy reviews the causes of the Great Depression, the response of the Hoover Administration, and the New Deal. The focus is more on economic analysis rather than historical narratives, contrasting the Keynesian interpretation of various events versus the Austrian explanation in particular. Topics include the operation of the gold standard and the allegation that it inhibited policymakers from implementing the “stimulus,” Herbert Hoover’s supposed austerity program, the Friedman-Schwartz theory that the Fed’s unwillingness to inflate led to the severe downturn in the early 1930s, recent academic research showing the cartelization effects of the New Deal, and the myth of wartime prosperity. Dr. Murphy’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, would be very helpful for students, but it is not required for the course. All necessary reading materials are provided.

This course builds upon the basic analytic principles of Austrian economics, including basic supply and demand analysis and the theories of entrepreneurship and factor pricing, to present the fundamentals of Austrian macroeconomics. The Austrian approach to macroeconomics was developed by the followers of Carl Menger, and in modern times included most notably Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard. Unlike mainstream macroeconomics, Austrian macroeconomics is not a body of theory separate from basic value and price theory that aims at analyzing the economy as a holistic entity apart the individual households, firms and markets that constitute it. Austrian macroeconomics is only “macro” in the limited sense that it uses general economic theory to analyze specifically those phenomena that pervade individual exchanges throughout the market economy. Thus Austrian macroeconomics is the economics of time and money. Money is routinely traded on all markets and hence changes in its value influence all economic transactions. Likewise, all consumption and production choices must take into account two facts about human action. First, all action takes time; second, waiting longer for the result of action by saving is always less desirable because of “time preference,” but more productive because it permits longer processes of production that increase the scope for the use of capital goods that improve productivity. The interest rate pervades the entire price system because it both reflects all consumption/saving choices and regulates the extent to which capital is used in the overall economy. This course will provide an overview of several topics, using analysis and case studies. It will cover the origin, nature, and value of money, the various types of money, and the causes of changes in the value of money (that is, “inflation” and “deflation”). It will explain the operation and consequences of fractional-reserve banking and central banking and how intervention into money by governments and their central banks influence its value. The nature and determination of the interest rate and its relationship with the structure of production and economic growth will be discussed. The Austrian theory of the business cycle will be explained and used to analyze how central bank manipulation of the money supply and interest rates causes cycles of economic boom and depression. This will be illustrated by the application of the theory to explaining the housing bubble and financial crisis.

2437

Rothbard: A Life Lived for Liberty

IS_EH_RLLL — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Murray Rothbard was the most important libertarian theorist of the twentieth century. This course examines his unique synthesis of Austrian economics and individualist anarchism, which has set the agenda for much of the contemporary libertarian movement. The course covers both Rothbard’s life and works. Students who complete the course will learn how Rothbard arrived at his libertarian views and his main activities in advocating them. Students will gain exposure to his life as a scholar and cover his main contributions to economic theory, political philosophy, and history. The course is based on readings from Rothbard’s main works and also on Dr. Gordon's The Essential Rothbard. In addition, Dr. Gordon refers to what he learned from Rothbard in his own conversations with him over many years throughout the course.

One of the themes of Murray Rothbard’s writings on the nature of the state is that state power ultimately depends on the perpetuation of a body of beliefs and superstitions about the benevolence and necessity of the state, and the alleged evils of private property, free enterprise, individual liberty, and the civil society. Because the citizens always outnumber any ruling class by many orders of magnitude, they must somehow be made to acquiesce in the ruling class’s plundering of their society in the name of “progress,” “nationalism,” “the greater good,” “socialism,” or whatever. Beatings, imprisonment, torture, and mass murder are time-tested tools of the state, but they can be very costly and can instigate a revolution. Therefore, relentless propaganda is often relied upon instead to secure the power and privileges of the state and statists. Once the people of the Soviet empire finally understood that socialist propaganda was all a big lie, the regime was doomed. At that point it was always just a matter of how much beating, imprisonment, torture, and mass murder the thugs and criminals who ran the Soviet government could get away with to keep the system going. American history is vastly different from the grotesque history of Soviet Russia, but in some ways it is similar. Until recently, there has never been much of a movement to bring full-fledged socialism to America. The ideological battle was not so much capitalism versus socialism but capitalism and freedom versus interventionism and paternalistic regulation and taxation. The interventionists eventually won out, so that today’s political/economic system (in the U.S. and in many other copycat countries) can be described as “participatory fascism,” to borrow a phrase used by Robert Higgs. It is a system of crony capitalism financed by a central bank, government borrowing, and pervasive taxation. It is a system that is of plutocratic elites, for plutocratic elites, and by plutocratic elites (to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, the true founding father of this system). The massive welfare state is merely used to buy enough votes to maintain the “legitimacy” of the system. Like Soviet socialism, this system is grounded on a particular ideology or collection of superstitions about the evils of private, competitive markets and the supposed benevolence and necessity of state intervention. The ideology is not socialism but goes under several different names, such as “economic nationalism” or “Hamiltonianism.” This five-lecture course covers the historical evolution of this interventionist ideology, and what it means for Americans (and others) today. The system of economic nationalism was almost entirely cemented into place during the American “Civil War,” and was the ultimate victory of a political movement that was led at first by Alexander Hamilton, and then by Henry Clay, and then Lincoln. An outline of the topics examined in each lecture is below: Lecture 1: Hamilton, Jefferson, and the Debate Over American Mercantilism Lecture 2: The Hamilton/Clay “American System” Lecture 3: Abraham Lincoln and the Triumph of Hamiltonian Mercantilism Lecture 4: Hamiltonian Hegemony Lecture 5: The Importance Today of “The Revolution of 1913”

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Human Action: Austrian Sociology

IS_Econ_HA2 — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment
Program: Human Action

This course covers Part II of Human Action. It is not required to have taken Human Action, Part I before taking this course. In this course, some of the most important concepts in Human Action are examined. Mises asked a profound question: what is the basis of human society? He found the answer in social cooperation. Human beings gain more from peaceful exchange than from destructive struggles, and Mises made this fundamental fact the basis of his social theory. Social cooperation through the free market makes possible the division of labor. Trade and specialization are keys to continued prosperity. The course covers Mises’s brilliant extension of David Ricardo’s law of comparative cost into a more general law of association. The course also examines Mises’s account of the role of ideas in history, his refutation of collectivist and holistic accounts of society, and his explanation of calculative action. The course does not presuppose any previous knowledge of Human Action.

This course utilizes Murray Rothbard's "power elite analysis" to expose the intersection of banking and politics in US History. Selections from the following books by Rothbard will be assigned: - Origins of the Federal Reserve - Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy - History of Money and Banking in the United States The quotations below will give an idea of what to expect: "Robert Morris's nationalist vision was not confined to a strong central government, the power of the federal government to tax, and a massive pubic debt fastened permanently upon the taxpayers. Shortly after he assumed total economic power in Congress in the spring of 1781, Morris introduced a bill to create ... the first central bank ... the Bank of North America ... modeled after the Bank of England." —Murray Rothbard, A History of Money and Banking in the United States "The Bank of the United States promptly fulfilled its inflationary potential. ... The result of the outpouring of credit and paper money by the new Bank of the United States was ... an increase [in prices] of 72 percent [from 1791 to 1796]." —Murray Rothbard, A History of Money and Banking in the United States "[The Bank of the United States] ran into grave difficulties through mismanagement, speculation, and fraud." —James J. Kilpatrick, The Sovereign States "[Henry Clay's] income from this business [general counsel to the Bank of the United States] apparently amounted to what he needed: three thousand dollars a year from the bank as chief counsel; more for appearing in specific cases; and a sizable amount of real estate in Ohio and Kentucky in addition to the cash. ... When he resigned to become Secretary of State in 1825, he was pleased with his compensation." —Maurice Baxter, Henry Clay and the American System "I believe my retainer has not been renewed or refreshed as usual. If it be wished that my relation to the Bank [of the United States] should be continued, it may be well to send me the usual retainer." —Letter from Daniel Webster to Nicholas Biddle, president of the Bank of the United States "[The Bank of the United States] is a monster, a hydra-headed monster equipped with horns, hoofs, and tail so dangerous that it impaired the morals of our people, corrupted our statesmen, and threatened our liberty. It bought up members of Congress by the Dozen ... subverted the electoral process, and sought to destroy our republican institutions." —President Andrew Jackson "Congress gave [Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson ... $700 billion, and the first thing he did was to take $125 billion out of the bag and give it to his pals at the nine biggest banks and investment banks in the country. Never one to display ingratitude, he gave $10 billion to Goldman Sachs, the firm he had headed before passing through the revolving door to the Treasury." —Robert Higgs

3118

Bubbles, Booms, and Busts

Econ_BBB_2013_D — with Mark Thornton

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

This course will cover special topics in Austrian Business Cycle Theory, including the "Skyscraper Index," the art of predicting downturns, and the causes of the housing bubble and burst that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

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Broken Capitalism

Econ_BC_2013_C — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

This course will use some of the best writing of Henry Hazlitt and Ludwig von Mises to study state intervention into the market and its pernicious effects.

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Anatomy of the Fed

IS_EH_AF — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $69   Length: 8 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

This course covers both the theory and history behind the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States. Instructor Robert Murphy details the theory of free-market banking, and contrasts it with the distorted banking sector resulting from special government privileges. Murphy relays the sordid tale of how the Federal Reserve Act was designed on Jekyll Island in a secret meeting of government officials and international bankers. He also covers the mechanics of modern Fed operations and the commercial banking sector. The course also applies Austrian business cycle theory to the stock market crash of 1929 and the recent housing bubble. The goal of the class is to provide a solid introduction to both the theory of free-market versus cartelized central banking and the day-to-day mechanics of the Federal Reserve in action. After explaining how money and banking would develop in a free-market economy, Professor Murphy explains central banking from a theoretical perspective. Specifically, the course examines how central banking — that is, a government-sponsored cartel of banks with one privileged bank sitting atop the pyramid — serves to circumvent the market's natural checks on credit expansion. In addition to increasing the money supply and prices, central banking also fosters the boom-bust cycle. After reviewing the theory of free versus central banking, the course explores the historical origins of the Federal Reserve. Students will learn the institutional structure of the Fed and learn how to read its balance sheet in real time. Professor Murphy walks through conventional and unconventional Fed operations, studying not just the theory but also the implementation. (For example, exactly how does the Fed go about buying an extra $600 billion in Treasury securities? Are the cuddly bears being paranoid or not?) Finally, the course wraps up by connecting the operations of the Fed — and its predecessors — with financial crises from US history. These will include the Fed-induced crises of the Great Depression and the housing bubble, but also earlier panics attributable (at least partially) to the swings in credit engineered by earlier incarnations of the US central bank.

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Adventures in Energy Economics

Econ_AIEE_2013_C — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $49   Length: 5 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

In this five-lecture course, Dr. Robert Murphy—who is the Senior Economist for the free-market Institute for Energy Research—sketches the field of energy economics from an Austrian perspective. Readings will cover classic articles from Murray Rothbard and Walter Block, as well as the world's leading Austrian energy economist, Robert Bradley. Topics will include finite resource depletion, how a free market would deal with "negative externalities" such as pollution, and an extensive treatment of the economics of carbon taxes (Murphy's specialty). The final lecture will focus on the policy debate, where Murphy will discuss his adventures in energy economics in academia, the Think Tank wars, and Capitol Hill.

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Why Capitalism?

IS_Econ_WC — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 5 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Forget Ronald Reagan; Henry Hazlitt was the true “great communicator.” Especially in his classic work Economics in One Lesson, Hazlitt brought to bear his prodigious writing talents, honed through his long career as a journalist, to make the case for the free market to the lay reader. Ludwig von Mises was a master theorist who made hugely important contributions to economic science. Yet, he too was a master communicator. Especially in his popular essays and in his speeches, he explained the wondrously beneficial workings of the market economy with clarity and force. This course will be an exploration of how capitalism lifts men from poverty to plenty, using a selection of Hazlitt’s and Mises’s best writing.

Murray Rothbard was a brilliant Austrian School economist and the most famous libertarian scholar of the twentieth century. Deeply educated in history, political philosophy and science, as well as economics, he was known for his extraordinarily astute analyses of the state and all of its activities. The recent explosion of interest in the writings of Rothbard (and of Austrian economics in general) has focused on Rothbard’s work on money, banking, and business-cycle theory. The reason for this is the increasingly widespread understanding that it was the Greenspan Fed — and other government policies — that created the housing bubble in 2001 and, subsequently, the “Great Recession” that began in late 2006. Only the Austrians recognized these bubbles and predicted the inevitable bursts. Rothbard’s work challenges the notion of the Public Choice school of economic thought lead by Nobel laureates James M. Buchanan and George Stigler, who maintain that state is somehow a voluntary organization. His work also demolishes the theory held by mainstream economists that taxation, too, is somehow voluntary. Relying on more than just narrow economic theory, Rothbard’s work explains such phenomena as the role of the state’s “ideological minions," i.e. the Paul Krugmans and Doris Kearns-Goodwins of the world, the role of ideology, the role of intellectuals, the nature of state coercion, and much more. This eight-week online course explores Rothbard’s theories about the nature of the state, libertarian class theory, bureaucracy, the economic analysis of government spending and taxing, interventionism and socialism, central banking, war, and other concepts. The goal of the course is to equip students with the kind of economic, historical, and philosophical theoretical framework that Rothbard himself employed so well in analyzing the effects of the state on society. The topical course outline is as follows: Rothbard’s “Anatomy of the State” John C. Calhoun and Libertarian Class Theory Rothbardian Analysis of Bureaucracy Rothbardian Analysis of Government Spending Rothbardian Analysis of Taxation Interventionism and Socialism Central Banking and the State War and the State

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Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism

PP_IAI_2013_C — with Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Cost: $49   Length: 5 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

For generations, American students have been taught that their government was a constitutional republic and, as such, is truly “exceptional.” So-called American exceptionalism is contrasted first with the imperialistic British empire from which the original colonists rebelled. A war was fought against the Spanish empire in the late nineteenth century, and against the monarchical empires of Old Europe in World War I. The fascist empires of Germany and Japan were defeated in World War II, after which the U.S. government commenced a new war against the Soviet empire. With the demise of the Soviet Union, American exceptionalism was once again invoked to impose democracy at gunpoint all over the world in the name of peace. All of this standard narrative is a lie. How can the world’s biggest opponent of imperialism (supposedly) have become the biggest imperialistic empire the world has ever known? How does an “anti-imperialistic” government end up with hundreds of military bases spanning the entire globe, with “military command centers” on every continent, even including an “African Command” operated out of Germany? Was William Graham Sumner right when he argued in his 1898 essay, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain,” that America itself had finally evolved into an imperialistic empire not unlike the Spanish empire it had just defeated in a short war? The answer to this rhetorical question is “yes and no.” Sumner was right about the nature of the U.S. government as of the turn of the twentieth century, but his timeline was off. The road to imperialism began many decades earlier. Beginning on the evening of Monday, September 9, I will be teaching a five-week online Mises Academy course on Imperialism and Anti-imperialism, featuring the writings and ideas of such scholars as Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Joe Salerno, Tom Woods, Randolph Bourne, Robert Higgs, William Graham Sumner, Joseph Stromberg, and Justin Raimondo, among others (including myself). The economic and political nature of imperialism will be discussed, followed by discussions of American imperialism in action. The fallacies of the contemporary arguments for never-ending war – that “democracies” supposedly never fight wars with each other – will be exposed and the consequences of this philosophy and policy examined. An important element of the course will be the study of the anti-imperialistic tradition in America – and in the world. This tradition acknowledges that, as Rothbard once wrote, “The State thrives on war . . . expands on it, glories in it” as “the aggrandizement of State power crosses national boundaries into other States pushing other people around” as a sort of “foreign counterpart of the domestic aggression against the internal population.” Or as Ludwig von Mises wrote, under imperialism, “the individual no longer has value. He is valuable to [the state] only as a member of the whole, as a soldier of a army.” And as a payer of ever-increasing taxes, I would add. The “imperialistic peoples’ state,” Mises wrote, has a “lust for conquest” that is “unlimited,” and “foreign peoples are in its eyes not subjects but objects of policy.” Is there a more precise definition of American foreign policy over the past century?

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History of Anarchist Thought

PP_AT_01 — with David Gordon

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

This course will cover the political philosophies of six great anarchist thinkers: Boetie, Molinari, Spooner, Proudhon, Tucker, and Rothbard.

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Basics of Economics: Action and Exchange

Econ_2013_D_BoE_AE — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment
Program: Basics of Economics

This is a six-week course that offers an introduction to the Austrian understanding of action and barter exchange. This course, titled “Action and Exchange,” is the first of a three-part series that uses the instructor's Lessons for the Young Economist as the main textbook.

The Great Deformation

The Age of Crony Capitalism

EH_2013_D_ACC — with Robert Batemarco

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

For most of US history, crony capitalism has been in a struggle with free-market capitalism for the heart and soul of the American economy. For the past half century, crony capitalism has been gaining the upper hand. This course examines the factors responsible for this expansion of crony capitalism at the expense of the free market, relying heavily on The Great Deformation, David Stockman's authoritative chronicle of these events along with the insights of Austrian economics. Topics covered include the expansion of the role of the Fed, the ideology of too-big-to-fail and the consequences of financial engineering. It's a story of human folly that will affect the lives of all of us for a long time to come.

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The Economics of ObamaCare

IH_EH_EOC — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $29   Length: 4 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Economist Robert P. Murphy explains the economic folly of ObamaCare. The course will also cover the standard arguments for government intervention in health care and health insurance, including the common claim that “socialized medicine works in Europe.”

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Basics of Economics: Introduction to the Free Market

IS_Econ_BoE_FM — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $69   Length: 8 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment
Program: Basics of Economics

Part 2 of the Basics of Economics series which covers Robert Murphy's textbook, Lessons for the Young Economist. Having taken part 1 is NOT necessary for taking this course, but it is available as an independent study course. Part 3 will be delivered live starting April 24, and it is also available for enrollment.

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The Interwar Years

H_2014_A_Interwar_IS — with Hunt Tooley

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

This is a history of the world between the wars, the world that produced Keynes, Hitler, Mao, Stalin... and Mises and Hayek. We will be looking at the Paris Peace and its results, the "rebuilding" of the war-torn world, inflation and depression, financial manipulation, neo-mercantilism, and the vast plans for securing resources that the emerging "military industrial complexes" were hatching out. And in the foreground, the story of the Austrian school and how the forces for liberty ever made it through this chaotic time of statism, socialism, and totalitarianism.

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Austrian Economics for Managers

Econ_2014_A_Managerial — with Peter Klein

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Business people – and business-school students – often view economics as a dry, technical subject with little relevance to business practice. One could easily get that impression from studying neoclassical economics at most business schools! But economics, as understood especially by the Austrian school, has important implications for managers, investors, and entrepreneurs. The Austrians’ thorough analysis of purposeful human action and their causal, realistic approach to prices and markets contains valuable insights not only for students, citizens, and policymakers, but for business professionals as well. This course offers a brief overview of managerial and organizational economics from an Austrian perspective. Unlike the typical case-based business-school course, it is primary theoretical, though the discussion is filled with real-world illustrations and applications. The focus is how to use Austrian economic analysis to frame, analyze, and solve business problems. As we’ll see, the Austrian approach to value, price and exchange, the notion of resources as heterogeneous and subjectively perceived, the concept of competition as rivalry, and the Austrian understanding of the entrepreneur all provide critical insights on how successful firms deal with customers and suppliers, interact with competitors, attract and retain employees, grow and restructure, and organize and govern themselves. Traditional courses in managerial economics have limited value. They embrace the artificial abstractions of neoclassical economics (for example, treating the business firm as a single decision maker that buys inputs in markets at prices determined by the impersonal forces of demand and supply, transforms the least-cost combination of those inputs into an output in accordance with a given production function, and given the demand curve for the output, produces the profit maximizing amount of output). This approach underlies neoclassical models of markets and prices, but is basically useless for people managing actual firms. Instead, we need a causal, realistic framework that starts from individual choice and builds to demand, capital and production, entrepreneurship and change, and industry structure. The firm is viewed not as a production function, but a team of individuals trying to coordinate their behavior to create and capture economic value. This includes issues of managing information flows, motivating people, deciding how to fund the firm’s activities, whether to make inputs or buy from outside suppliers, how to react to competitors’ behavior, and so on. Our course begins with an overview of Austrian-style price theory and an introduction to core concepts about valuation, marginal analysis, pricing, resources, production, and competition. We’ll then cover details of demand and the consumer, production and cost, firm boundaries, organizational design, and more.

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Basics of Economics: Government Intervention

2014_A_Econ_BoE_GI_IS — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment
Program: Basics of Economics

Robert Murphy writes: The fall of the Soviet Union should have spelled the demise of central planning, yet the socialist mentality thrives — albeit in a diluted form — in all governments in the so-called “free world.” No one explained the failures of pure socialism and of (the more moderate) interventionism better than Ludwig von Mises. Whether we want to understand why people are starving in North Korea, why minimum wage laws lead to teen unemployment, or what caused the boom and then crash in the U.S. housing market, the answer is in the Austrian School of economics. As the Obamacare disaster unfolds before our very eyes, it is critical for the average person — both adults and young people alike — to understand how economic science makes sense of these heartbreaking outcomes, and shows the way to solve them. In this context, I am pleased to present a six-lecture Mises Academy course that offers an introduction to the Austrian understanding of both pure socialism and of interventionism (or what is often called “the mixed economy” though Mises himself didn’t use that term). This course, titled “How Government Wrecks the Economy,” is the final installment of a three-part series that uses my Lessons for the Young Economist as the main textbook. (The first installment, “Action and Exchange,” gave an introduction to economic science and studied isolated individuals as well as a simple barter economy. The second course in the series, “Introduction to the Free Market,” explained money, comparative advantage, savings and investment, profit and loss, the stock market, and other topics in the setting of a pure market economy free from government interference. Both are available as independent study courses at the links provided, but they are not necessary to take the present course.) Specifically, in “How Government Wrecks the Economy” we will cover chapters 15 through 23 of Lessons for the Young Economist, finishing our coverage of the book.

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Understanding Monetary Chaos

econ_2014_B_soundmoney — with Joseph Salerno and Mark Thornton and Robert P. Murphy and Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Cost: $49   Length: 6 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

The purpose of this course is to illustrate how Austrian monetary economics is used to analyze historical and current events and policies. The course will also cover controversies between Austrian and mainstream monetary theorists in interpreting the causes, consequences, and remedies for important episodes of monetary disorder. Topics will include: Rothbard Versus Friedman: Were the 1920s Inflationary? Were the 1930s Deflationary? Deflation: Good or Bad? The War on Cash Who or What Caused the Financial Crisis and Great Recession? Beware of False Gold Standards: From Bretton Woods to the Dollar Bill Standard World Currency Wars: Who Will Win and Who Will Lose?

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The Mises Curriculum

MC — with Mises Institute

Cost: $99   Length: 1 Year
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

In 2010 we started Mises Academy, the first — and best — Austrian economics online learning platform in the world. Next we added a broader range of liberty-focused courses to the Academy. Since then we’ve delivered dozens of in-depth, high-caliber live courses to thousands of students around the world. We have always developed courses with systematic, long-term study in mind, intent on building an archive of courses so integrated and comprehensive that it constitutes a thorough Austro-libertarian curriculum. And we are now making that treasury of truth-teaching available as one amazing resource: The Mises Curriculum. The 50+ courses in the Mises Curriculum will guide you through Austrian economics, from the action axiom to advanced monetary theory, and through libertarian political philosophy, from the non-aggression principle to advanced libertarian legal theory. Also included are courses on history, philosophy, and even logic. Course design and lecture delivery are by the soundest thinkers and the top scholars in the Misesian/Rothbardian tradition: Joseph Salerno, Peter Klein, David Gordon, Robert Murphy, Thomas DiLorenzo, and others. You’ll get the real deal: thoroughly praxeological and completely free-market economics, as well as principled, radical, and uncompromising libertarian theory. For a mere $99/year, you can get full access to all of these courses, including hours of lectures recorded in both video and audio, hyperlinked syllabi of online readings, professor-written quizzes, certificates of completion, and more. Work through whole courses from start to finish, or fill in gaps in your understanding by zeroing in on particular lectures and lessons from multiple courses. Acquire a solid foundation in economics and liberty in the comfort of your home or office.

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Mises Curriculum Gift Enrollment

MCGE — with Mises Institute

Cost: $99   Length: 1 Year
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

Purchase a one-year gift enrollment in The Mises Curriculum for that student of liberty in your life. You will be provided with a digital gift certificate you can print out to give to your recipient. Put it in a nice envelope to make the gift extra special! The certificate includes your name, the Mises Academy logo, the signature of Mises Institute founder and chairman, Lew Rockwell, and the web address and code for the recipient to use for enrollment. Not yet enrolled in the Mises Curriculum? Then feel free to use the code to enroll yourself! (Be sure to use the code before February 1.)