Robert Higgs


Robert Higgs, senior fellow at the Independent Institute, discusses the widening gap between public and private sector pay, an increase in affluent military towns, the disappearance of traditional checks on state power and predation and the incremental “ratchet effect” of governmental authority that increases “temporarily” during wartime but never fully recedes.

MP3 here. (28:41)

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Higgs is the editor of The Independent Institute books Opposing the Crusader State, The Challenge of Liberty, Re-Thinking Green, Hazardous to Our Health? and Arms, Politics, and the Economy, plus the volume Emergence of the Modern Political Economy.

His authored books include Neither Liberty Nor Safety, Depression, War, and Cold War, Politická ekonomie strachu (The Political Economy of Fear, in Czech), Resurgence of the Warfare State, Against Leviathan, The Transformation of the American Economy 1865-1914, Competition and Coercion, and Crisis and Leviathan. A contributor to numerous scholarly volumes, he is the author of more than 100 articles and reviews in academic journals.

17 thoughts on “Robert Higgs”

  1. The Rich must pay more tax. The more money the state spends on welfare, the more business and income there are overall like in Scandinavia. Or Canada maybe. The poor don´t spend all welfare on booze and dope. If the state gives a lot of welfare it helps many small businesses a lot and the nation as a whole gets richer. A state isn´t a shop. Sometimes it´s worth it that the state spends a lot on welfare to "kick-start" the economy. I believe the most humane system is in Scandinavia. What´s wrong with Colombia is that former president Uribe paid less than ½ % tax according to El Espectador and all his rich friends hardly pay any tax at all. That´s the problem. The US needs a Social Democratic Party.

  2. One thing to keep in mind Mr. Hamle: "The State" doesn't have any money to spend. It creates no wealth. Zero, zip, nada. They simply take from some and give it to politically favored others. What they do is the very essence of corruption.

  3. Paul, sadly there are lots of people like Claus. They look only at one side of a transaction and pretend the other one doesn't exist. They tout the "multiplier" effect and leave out the "divider" effect, which is not coerced and is the source of genuine abundance. It's all about THEIR feelings — playing Santa with other peoples' resources and lives — like the neocons.

  4. I recently met a Lt.Col. in the U.S. army at a science lecture & had a chance to converse with her during dinner before the lecture. (She is the first military person I have ever met.) Among many interesting impressions, one was that her life seems so 'normal,' in the 1950s, 60s sense when I was growing up. Other than her two times in Iraq (it sucked in her words), she has a middle class life, reasonable pay, benefits, and her undergrad & graduate degrees (she's doing a PhD at NYU) are being completely paid for by the military. Don't know many non-military families who could afford her lifestyle.

    1. I wonder how many second and third generation "security clearances" there are in the national security state. Becoming a family biz?

    2. eCAHNOMICS – It is unfortunate that you haven't met many military families or perhaps understood the drive and patriotism that is attached to those who serve this great country. I'm 67 yrs old female former Marine, Vietnam, son also former Marine, Gulf War, Father, Army- WWII, Grandfather, Army wwI, Uncles in Korean War, Great great great Grandfather, Civil War and can trace our hertiage back to the founding of this country in 1605 with a relative named Powell coming in at Virginia. My DNA is all about this country. Have two daughters who are currently serving, one in Air Force, LT COL with PhD,yes paid by the government for her sacrafice to be called at any time in harms way. Please get to know more military personnel and why they enlist and others don't. God Bless America and may she forever stand before God and His laws defending our rights that are only God given.

  5. A concise and on-point critique of our current dilemma. The politicians, of course, don't want to hear any of it. To accept the Austrian view would force them to admit they're at fault and they would have to relinquish power. Keynesianism appeals to the political class because it tells them what they want to hear: Spend more of other people's money.

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