The legacy of George Washington’s Postal Service Act of February 20, 1792

127304 600 End of Saturday Mail Delivery cartoons

WASHINGTON — Faced with billions of dollars in losses, the Postal Service announced on Wednesday (Feb. 06 2013) that it would seek to stop Saturday delivery of letters, a sweeping change in mail delivery that immediately drew criticism from postal unions, some businesses and lawmakers.

What went wrong I wonder?  Would it had been better if George Washington had never passed the Postal Service Act of 1792? How many billions would taxpayers have saved since then?  Would private companies like the  American Letter Mail Company of Lysander Spooner have served better the market? Or would the system have collapsed without government intervention?

In February 20, 1792 the Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department was signed by President George Washington.  An interesting date to remember in these days in which the Postal Service made it to the news with their Losses and their controversial solution by ending Saturday Letter Delivery.

We know for certain that in a free market no company would survive if they had kept losses as huge as the one USPS has had over all these years. They had losses of   $15.9 billion only last year.  A principle of free market transactions is that in competing  there appears a beneficial rivalry among sellers trying to achieve goals as increasing profits, market share, and sales volume by varying the elements of the marketing mix: price, product, distribution, and promotion.  Thus, enabling for those companies which succeed in growing larger and for those companies which fail to disappear.  With the existence of monopolistic services (like the Postal Service in the US) industries and business sponsored by government disrupted market transactions (bureaucratically made) and thus enabled for failing companies to continue existing even though they were not beneficial for society in the long-term.

126863 600 going postal cartoons

This reminds me to the company founded Lysander Spooner whom “being an advocate of self-employment and opponent of government regulation of business, Spooner started his own business called American Letter Mail Company which competed with the U.S. Post Office. Postal rates were notoriously high in the 1840s,[7] and in 1844, Spooner founded the American Letter Mail Company, which had offices in various cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.[8] Stamps could be purchased and then attached to letters which could be sent to any of its offices. From here agents were dispatched who traveled on railroads and steamboats, and carried the letters in hand bags. Letters were transferred to messengers in the cities along the routes who then delivered the letters to the addressees. This was a challenge to the United States Post Office’s monopoly.[7][9] As he had done when challenging the rules of the Massachusetts bar, he published a pamphlet titled “The Unconstitutionality of the Laws of Congress Prohibiting Private Mails.” Although Spooner had finally found commercial success with his mail company, legal challenges by the government eventually exhausted his financial resources. He closed up shop without ever having had the opportunity to fully litigate his constitutional claims. The lasting legacy of Spooner’s challenge to the postal service was the 3-cent stamp, adopted in response to the competition his company provided.[10]

Lets have this as food for thought…

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RIP James M. Buchanan (October 3, 1919 – January 9, 2013)

Nobel laureate and Classical Liberal economist James M. Buchanan has died today.  He was one of the most important economist of the 20th. Century and will be long remembered for his work on the principles of economic self-interest and their use to understand why politicians do what they do.

He received a Doctor Honoris Causa Degree from my home university at Universidad Francisco Marroquin in 2001 (link to video of his visit to UFM) and his books were some of the most important ones in my education during my college years.  At UFM I learned about Buchanan with Carrol Rios de Rodriguez.  Prof. Rodriguez is one of my favorite teachers and she was the former Director of the a Center for the Study of Public Choice, where the ideas of Buchanan and Tullock first were taught to me.

Here are some interviews to remember the work of this great man and I invite you all to read his books and continue learning!

Hayek and Buchanan: Rawls, Egalitarianism and Social Justice

James Buchanan on Chicago School Thinking: Old and New

James M. Buchanan on Economists and the Great Recession

James M. Buchanan on “Institutional Sources of America’s Fiscal Tragedy”

buchanan521

Rest in Peace James M. Buchanan

(October 3, 1919 – January 9, 2013)

Course on Human Action starts tomorrow!!!

Starting Tomorrow:

Human Action, Part 1

Instructor: David Gordon
Cost: $79 (50% off!)
Dates: September 12 – November 6, 2012
Length: Eight weeks

Register Now!

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 will clearly explain everything you need to know to make sense of the concepts presented in these chapters. He will define the terms, provide background for the references, and make clear 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, there is no better way to start than with this course, which will be followed by subsequent courses taught by Mises Academy faculty, covering the rest of Human Action.

Lectures

The video lectures are online. Lectures will be Wednesday evenings, 6:30-8:00 pm Eastern time. They will be recorded and made available for enrolled students to download.

Reading:

All readings will be free and online. A full hyper-linked syllabus with readings for each weekly topic will be available for all students.

Grades and Certificates

The final grade will depend on quizzes. Taking the course for a grade is optional. This course is worth 3 credits in our own internal system. Feel free to ask your school to accept Mises Academy credits. You will receive a digital Certificate of Completion for this course if you take it for a grade, and a Certificate of Participation if you take it on a paid-audit basis.

Refund Policy

If you drop the course during its first week (7 calendar days), you will receive a full refund, minus a $25 processing fee. If you drop the course during its second week, you will receive a half refund. No refunds will be granted following the second week.

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About David Gordon

David Gordon is a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He was educated at UCLA, where he earned his PhD in intellectual history. He is the author ofResurrecting Marx: The Analytical Marxists on Exploitation, Freedom, and JusticeThe Philosophical Origins of Austrian EconomicsAn Introduction to Economic Reasoning, and Critics of Marx. He is also editor of Secession, State, and Liberty and co-editor of H.B. Acton’s Morals of Markets and Other Essays.

Dr. Gordon is the editor of The Mises Review, and a contributor to such journals as AnalysisThe International Philosophic Quarterly,The Journal of Libertarian Studies, and The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.

New book!!! Living Economics by Peter J. Boettke

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Living Economics:
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
By Peter J. Boettke

The passion of the teacher is often the inspiration for the student. In Living Economics: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, Peter J. Boettke illuminates how economics affects all walks of life, whether in the marketplace, voting booth, church, family, or any human activity. Boettke believes that economics is not merely a game to be played by clever professionals, but a discipline that touches on the most pressing practical issues at any historical juncture. The wealth and poverty of nations are at stake; the length and quality of life turns on the economic conditions individuals find themselves living with.Economics provides a powerful framework for understanding what goes on in the marketplace, the voting booth, the family, the community, and every other sphere of social activity; indeed, the application (or misapplication) of its principles shapes the fate of nations. So teaching and learning economics are high stakes ventures. Living Economics introduces us to major thinkers: from Smith, Say, and Bastiat of the Classical School, to Neoclassical and Austrian scholars (Menger, Mises, Hayek, Kirzner, and Rothbard) on to New Institutional economists (Alchian, Coase, Demsetz, North, Ostrom and Williamson) and Public Choice theorists (Buchanan, Tullock, and others). This engaging and reasoned book is a must-read for economists, students, and everyone else who wishes to better understand economics.
» Read the Full Summary

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Praise for Living Economics:

Living Economics is a superb book. . . . It is vintage Boettke: engaging, witty, and chock full of insight. This book should be put in the hands of every first-year student of economics!”
Bruce Caldwell, Research Professor of Economics and Director, Center for the History of Political Economy, Duke University

“Boettke’s extraordinary intellectual generosity and unmatched intellectual enthusiasm [are] rare qualities which have enabled him to discover nuggets of valuable theoretical insight in the work of a wide array of economists, many of whom are generally thought to be far away from the Austrian tradition which Boettke himself splendidly represents.”
Israel M. Kirzner, Professor Emeritus of Economics, New York University

Living Economics is a solid book that counters the excessive simulations of modern academic economics while, at the same time, avoiding the temptation to extend application of the logic beyond reasonable limits.”
James M. Buchanan, Jr., Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, Advisory General Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, George Mason University

“Boettke’s passion for economics and the clarity of his vision make Living Economics a pleasure to read. No reader will fail to benefit from his broad and deep insights.”
Steven E. Landsburg, Professor of Economics, University of Rochester; author, The Armchair Economist

Living Economics is inspired by Boettke’s students and great teachers, such as Boulding and Kirzner, and the central theme that economics has strayed dangerously from a ‘mainline’ emphasis on process and rules, as opposed to outcomes. The mainline sinew is rooted in Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments extending to Hayek, Ostrom and other moderns whom Boettke examines with deep understanding of their relevance for our time.”
Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences; George L. Argyros Endowed Chair in Finance and Economics, Chapman University School of Law

“Loaded with content well worth reading and carefully arrayed gems from the history of thought. . . . But be careful as you read, Boettke’s love affair with economics is contagious. You will find yourself cheering for more.”
Bruce Yandle, Professor of Economics Emeritus, Clemson University

“Boettke’s deep scholarship, serious reflections and passion for economics come through on every page.”
Steve H. Hanke, Professor of Applied Economics, Johns Hopkins University

Living Economics is a spirited, passionate, and exciting tour of free-market economics. I enjoyed every page!”
Andrei Shleifer, Professor of Economics, Harvard University; Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research

Review of Austrian Economics—The Full Collection! (e-book format)

Review of Austrian Economics, Full Collection - Digital Book

This are great news for those of you interested in reading and learning more of the ideas that enabled a revolutionary development of new understandings on Economics and Human Action.

Murray Rothbard had long dreamed of an Austrian academic journal. In 1986, his dream came true. The Mises Institute published it, and it changed everything. Now they can be conveniently read on your digital device!

The individual issues have been nearly impossible to find, until now. Today you can own the entire set, learn from the pioneering articles that Murray and his co-editors saw as crucial, and see what gave the modern Austrian movement its scholarly momentum.”

GET THEM HERE

Free ebook: The Morality of Capitalism by Tom G. Palmer

Today I finished reading a great book titled “The Morality of Capitalism” written by Tom G. Palmer.

The book is the result of a project done by the US based think tank “Students for Liberty“. As explained by the think tank leaders, the book was written as a “new tool in the fight for liberty, a new book on The Morality of Capitalism, What Your Professors Won’t Tell You.”

About the book by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods

The book can be downloaded for free in the following website: full PDF of The Morality of Capitalism, What Your Professors Won’t Tell You or can be bought at only $0.99 in a Kindle format via Amazon.com

About The Book

“Love and friendship are the fruits of mutual benefit through cooperation, whether in small or in large groups.  Without such mutual benefit, society would simply be impossible.” – Tom G. Palmer

The book combines the writings of various philosophers, economists, Nobel Prize winners, and entrepreneurs to make the case that not only do “markets deliver the goods” as Vernon Smith says, but that a true free market system is a prerequisite for a just, prosperous, and cooperative society.

More resources like videos, websites, and similar works in Arabic, Chinese, French, and many other languages can be found in this link.

Milton Friedman and Social Security Taxes

Agreeing with the economist Milton Friedman,

“one of the things that have always shocked me is how people, whom I would have trust with my pocket book in their private capacity and of whom I would never question their integrity, will in their public capacity -because they believe it is in the best interest of other people- lie to the American People.”

And this is exactly what happens with Social Security in the U.S. and with the immense Nanny State in Europe and with the corrupt welfare systems of Latin America; all of which I have been able of knowing.  I invite you to take a look to this short video of Milton Friedman (1975) explaining how the Social Security taxes are fundamentally a lose-lose option for employees, employers and society.