Why Adam Smith’s Critique of Mercantilism Matters Today

By |2020-07-01T11:45:19-05:00July 1st, 2020|Categories: Adam Smith, American Republic, Capitalism, Economic History, Economics, Free Markets, Free Trade, Political Economy|

Adam Smith, the father of the discipline we now refer to as economics, was a moral and political philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment and contemporary and acquaintance of Edmund Burke. Long heralded as a proponent of self-regulating markets, limited government, and free-market “capitalism,” Smith is often invoked by proponents of corporate capitalism as an [...]

The First and Second Banks of the United States

By |2020-05-19T14:21:25-05:00May 19th, 2020|Categories: Alexander Hamilton, American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Economic History, Economics, History, Senior Contributors|

The First Bank of the United States influenced much more than mere economics. Many scholars indeed believe that divisions caused by the Bank led to the creation of the first real political divisions in the country. By the standards set by the Second Bank of the United States, the First Bank was tame. The [...]

The Forgotten American System

By |2020-05-18T18:24:30-05:00May 18th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Economic History, Economics, Free Trade, History, Politics, Republicanism|

Many people are unfamiliar with the “American System,” the policy of protection as the bulwark of industrial independence, and the foundation of American development and prosperity. A return to the American System would be a major step toward increasing prosperity and restoring the traditional social order in the United States. When Donald Trump spoke [...]

The Business of America: The New Economy of the 1920s

By |2019-12-22T22:10:11-06:00December 22nd, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Economic History, Economics, History, Mark Malvasi, Senior Contributors|

The new economy that emerged after 1921 seemed to relegate to the past such painful depressions as the one that troubled the United States during the immediate postwar years.  As the 1920s drew to a close, however, the movement toward a new economy was about to encounter impediments that made a mockery of efforts to [...]

The Business of America: Economy and Society During the 1920s

By |2019-12-22T22:12:18-06:00November 24th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Economic History, Economics, History, Mark Malvasi, Senior Contributors|

During the 1920s, America made the first excursion into mass affluence in the history of the world. However, the ethic of consumption that reached its apex in the 1920s fomented a subtle transformation not only of the American economy but also of American culture. I Long considered the haven of corrupt public officials and [...]

In Defense of Capitalism

By |2019-06-13T12:39:13-05:00December 2nd, 2018|Categories: Adam Smith, Capitalism, Economic History, Economics, Free Markets, Ludwig von Mises|

The term capitalism has long been used by critics as a catch-all to denote a system replete with greed, indulgence, excess, and deprivation. It is easy to misinterpret self-interest as selfishness and write off capitalism and economics. But the truth of the matter is much more complicated… I find myself still scratching my head over George [...]

How the Myth of the ‘Robber Barons’ Began—and Why It Persists

By |2020-05-27T01:48:31-05:00November 7th, 2018|Categories: Books, Capitalism, Communism, Economic History, Economics, Free Markets|

We study history to learn from it. If we can discover what worked and what didn’t work, we can use this knowledge wisely to create a better future. But when propaganda is the goal, accuracy is the victim. Cornelius Vanderbilt Capitalism Worked, But We Were Told It Didn’t We study history to [...]

Economists Must Answer for More than Just Economics

By |2019-09-19T13:09:59-05:00September 11th, 2018|Categories: Books, Capitalism, Conservatism, Culture, Economic History, Economics, Free Markets, Wilhelm Roepke|

Romanticizing and moralistic contempt of the economy, including contempt of the impulses which move the market economy and the institutions which support it, must be as far from our minds as economism, materialism, and utilitarianism... Editor's Note: The following excerpt comes from Wilhelm Röpke's excellent book, A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market, first published [...]

On the Nature of Wealth and the Wealth of Nature

By |2019-03-07T11:20:58-06:00March 23rd, 2018|Categories: Culture, Economic History, Economics, Gold Standard, History, Marcia Christoff-Kurapovna|

More than just the ultimate inflation hedge, the wealth of Nature—gold, forests, land, agriculture—and the cautious stewardship of these tangible assets over easily-inflated government “IOU’s” is what distinguishes wealth from riches… When King Louis XII, in the year 1499, formed the project of taking the Dukedom of Milan, to which he thought he had a [...]

What Is Capitalism and Where Did It Start?

By |2019-10-30T10:47:01-05:00August 5th, 2017|Categories: Capitalism, Economic History, Economics, England, G.K. Chesterton, Joseph Pearce|

Trade has always existed, and rich merchants have always been a part of the economic and political picture, but merchants have not always been the rulers, as they are today… In a recent essay for The Imaginative Conservative, I claimed that capitalism had its origins in England. I had expected such a sweeping statement to [...]

Abraham Lincoln & the Growth of Government

By |2020-04-26T18:53:28-05:00May 25th, 2017|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, Conservatism, Economic History, Featured|

Did the Republicans centralize power in the federal government under Lincoln? No doubt. But perhaps the more important question is: Which policies did Lincoln tolerate in order to achieve his overarching goal? Among those who consider themselves "conservatives" and/or "libertarians," the issue of the role of government in a free society is one of the [...]

Jeffersonian Political Economy

By |2020-05-17T01:06:07-05:00September 11th, 2015|Categories: Clyde Wilson, Economic History, Economics, Featured, Political Economy, Thomas Jefferson|

Our Southern forebears did not practice economics. They practiced political economy—which is concerned with human well-being. Those old-time Southerners did not assume that man is to be understood wholly or chiefly as an economic being. Economics, as practiced today, is a utilitarian and materialistic study. It is concerned with maximizing profit, with describing the [...]

The Free Market Wisdom of Milton Friedman

By |2019-08-30T11:21:41-05:00September 7th, 2015|Categories: Economic History, Economics, Friedrich Hayek, Keynesian|

Only a short time ago, the prediction that Professor Milton Friedman would receive the Nobel Prize in economics would have been greeted by a broad spectrum of reactions ranging from horrified impossibility to an unemotional expression of obvious inevitability. Indeed, when the formal announcements were made in the fall of 1976, the range of [...]

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