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by Enrico Colombatto

Politicians are using the European Union and the euro currency to raise their profile and popularity by blaming them for national ills. This scapegoating diverts attention from the real issues. But Europe’s politicians lack the courage and vision in the short term to take the major step to leave the EU or the euro currency.

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by Richard Ebeling

It is an old adage that there are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. Nowhere is this truer that in the government’s monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) that tracks the prices for a selected “basket” of goods to determine changes in people’s cost-of-living and, therefore, the degree of price inflation in the American economy.

On August 19th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its Consumer Price Index report for the month of July 2014. The BLS said that prices in general for all urban consumers only rose one-tenth of one percent for the month. And overall, for the last twelve months the CPI has only gone up by 2 percent.

A basket of goods that had cost, say, $100 to buy in June 2014 only cost you $100.10 in July of this year. And for the last twelve months as a whole, what cost you $100 to buy in August 2013, only increased in expense to $102 in July 2014.

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by Per Bylund

I have recently experienced a discussion with environmentalists, which was as frustrating as it was educational. The discussion started around the concept of economic growth, to which environmentalists are often ideologically opposed, but quickly turned into a rather cross-paradigmatic attempt at educating the other side really only talking past each other. I, as an economist, was quickly dismissed by the environmentalists for being an economist and for that reason “fundamentally naïve” and “completely in lack of knowledge” of economics. The reason? I did not realize, they claimed, the strictly physical limitations to economic reasoning.

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FEE President Lawrence W. Reed delivered these remarks, compiled from other articles and speeches, to mark the final event at FEE’s original headquarters in Irvington, New York, on Saturday, August 23, 2014.

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by Jeffrey Tucker

Many people who have never used bitcoin look at it with confusion. Why does this magic Internet money have any value at all? It’s just some computer thing that someone made up.

Consider the criticism of goldbugs, who have, for decades, pushed the idea that sound money must be backed by something real, hard, and independently valuable.
Bitcoin doesn’t qualify, right?

Maybe it does. Let’s take a closer look.

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by Keyu Jin

I view the prospects of the Chinese economy in the coming years with guarded optimism – guarded because distortions are rampant in the economy – from the vast misallocation of resources to the highly distortionary macroeconomic structure that propels a vicious cycle – but optimistic, for exactly the same reason. The existence of important and pervasive distortions means that there is still room for growth. The larger the misallocation, the greater the potential for efficiency gains.

China is different from other countries, because it is a highly distorted economy. Central-planning in the past has left many dislocations in place, still waiting to be removed one by one through bouts of individual reforms. Thus, unlike many emerging economies today, and unlike the East Asian Tigers of the past, China has a far more powerful development tool: reforms. Reforms which reallocate existing resources to its most productive use, will stimulate productivity growth that is inherently much more sustainable than capital accumulation.

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by Siegfried Herzog

An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians — 21 percent of the country’s population — were killed or died of starvation during the 1975-79 communist terror regime of the Khmer Rouge. In terms of percentage of the population, no country has ever suffered so much at the hands of its own leaders, who were crazed by a utopian ideology that turned life in Cambodia into a nightmare.

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by Richard Ebeling

We live at a time when politicians and bureaucrats only know one public policy: more and bigger government. Yet, there was a time when even those who served in government defended limited and smaller government. One of the greatest of these died one hundred years ago on August 27, 1914, the Austrian economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk.

Böhm-Bawerk is most famous as one of the leading critics of Marxism and socialism in the years before the First World War. He is equally famous as one of the developers of “marginal utility” theory as the basis of showing the logic and workings of the competitive market price system.

But he also served three times as the finance minister of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, during which he staunchly fought for lower government spending and taxing, balanced budgets, and a sound monetary system based on the gold standard.

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by Sydney Williams

The right to protest may not be specifically found in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights; though the rights to freely assemble, petition and speak are integral to the Bill of Rights. However, peaceful protests are embedded in our culture and history and manifested by those like Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King. Both men, while demonstrating for causes in which they strongly believed, were vigorous in their emphasis on, respectively, civil disobedience and peaceful marches.

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