Donald J. Boudreaux is a senior fellow with American Institute for Economic Research and with the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; a Mercatus Center Board Member; and a professor of economics and former economics-department chair at George Mason University. He is the author of the books The Essential Hayek, Globalization, Hypocrites and Half-Wits, and his articles appear in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, US News & World Report as well as numerous scholarly journals. He writes a blog called Cafe Hayek and a regular column on economics for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Boudreaux earned a PhD in economics from Auburn University and a law degree from the University of Virginia.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Articles from Donald J. Boudreaux
Unlike progressives and conservatives, libertarians judge society and government policy by how well individuals are able to fulfill their goals; libertarians do not suppose that individuals who comprise the large collectives that we call “countries” do or should aim at fulfilling the non-existent higher goals of these large collectives.
Because free markets typically give to producers as well as to consumers strong incentives to use their unique bits of knowledge in ways that promote the general welfare, that both the knowledge problem and the incentive problem exist at all levels of government decision-making means that what is warranted is a strong and general presumption against government intervention – or, worded differently, what is warranted is an ideology of freedom.
We can admire the engineering prowess that enabled NASA to land men on the moon and return them safely to earth. But even if politicians (contrary to fact) were apolitical stewards of the public welfare, governing society is not an engineering task. It follows that NASA’s remarkable achievement emphatically does not imply that we should look to government to solve our problems.
Talk of “our” balance of trade is talk of something that doesn’t really exist; it’s merely a figment of the imagination made to appear real by an accounting convention that has the name “trade balance.” Nevertheless, this fictitious creature is daily demagogued by those seeking to clear the way for protectionist interventions.