Donald Boudreaux

Donald J. Boudreaux is professor of economics at George Mason University and holds the Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the university’s Mercatus Center, where he is a senior fellow with the F.A Hayek Program.


Science: A Short Story


Several years ago Uncle Sam declared Jones, a man in his mid-40s, to be uniquely entitled to retire immediately at double his real annual income of $100,000 for life. Jones took Uncle Sam up on this offer. Each and every year until Jones enters oblivion Uncle Sam now transfers to him $200,000. Jones is made […]

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Foreign Subsidies Do Not Justify Protectionist Policies


Here’s a letter to a relatively new Cafe Hayek patron: Mr. Javier Durand Mr. Durand: You ask why I oppose “trade protection for US firms who compete with subsidized foreign firms.” Good question.  Here’s a three-part answer. First, subsidized foreign firms that sell outputs in the U.S. make Americans richer, not poorer. Such subsidies amount […]

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If You Have No Good Intellectual Arguments, Accuse Your Opponents of Being Shills


The stupidest, lamest, and couldn’t-be-more-mistaken charge often leveled at those who find great merits in free markets (such as me and my colleagues at GMU Economics and the Mercatus Center, and my dear friends at institutions such as the Cato Institute and the Hoover Institution) is that we’re “bought off by” or are “paid shills […]

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Water Is Not a Public Good


Last night in my seminar on Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations my students and I covered Smith’s chapters on public goods. During the course of the discussion one of my superb students, Chris Kuiper, mentioned in passing that Paul Krugman, in a recent New York Times column, mistakenly described safe drinking water as a public good. Here’s that column. Mr. […]

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Gains: Or What’s in a Book Title?


Saturday’s mail brought a copy of Peter Lindert’s and Jeffrey Williamson’s new book, Unequal Gains: American Growth and Inequality since 1700. I’ve not yet read as much as the first page, but I’m already eager to read the whole book. But … but … I here register a cavil. The main title irritates me. If […]

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Rerun: A 2011 Open Letter to Donald Trump


Here’s an open letter that I wrote (and posted here at Cafe Hayek) to Donald Trump in February 2011. The questions I ask in this letter remain relevant and as yet unanswered: Open Letter to Donald Trump 11 February 2011 Mr. Donald TrumpNew York, NY Dear Mr. Trump: Congratulations on your successful talk at the […]

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Young Lauren Chilton Visits Cuba


Economist Steve Pejovich’s granddaughter Lauren Chilton — a second-year economics major at the University of Texas — recently visited Cuba with her parents. Here’s a letter that Ms. Chilton wrote to her family members about the experience. I share her letter here, in full, with permission. (I put in bold my favorite paragraph.) Family, My […]

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Another Open Letter to Bernie Sanders


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Capitol Hill Washington, DC Mr. Sanders: In last-night’s debate you said: “I was on a picket line in the early 1990s against Nafta, because you didn’t need a Ph.D. in economics to understand that American workers should not be forced to compete against people in Mexico making 25 cents an hour.” […]

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An Ocean Consists Mostly of Countless Drops of Water


On Saturday I argued (seriously) that economic progress in the United States over the past century has been so great that the typical middle-class American today is materially richer than was John D. Rockefeller a mere 100 years ago. That is, within the lifetimes of many people who are still alive, economic progress has been such […]

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A Giant Sucking Sound? Or, Which Way Flow the Equity Investments in Manufacturing?


In this New York Times essay, Steven Rattner writes about a talk he recently gave: Then I went rogue and uttered two blasphemous words: “Ross Perot.” He had a point, I said heretically, when he campaigned in 1992 against the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement, saying that it would result in a “giant sucking […]

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