Abstract: In his book The Economic Laws of Scientific Research, Terence Kealey deconstructs major misconceptions about scientific research and its relation to the state. He shows, through revisionist history and economic data, that the premises behind common defenses of government funding of science are fallacious. Even though science is related to economic growth, the state cannot boost the economy by injecting funds into scientific research. Also, the state cannot discover which scientific projects are most important because it cannot rely on market signals from the price system. Finally, the state cannot determine the right level of funding for scientific research, because it has no way of knowing which projects will have positive economic impact. Not surprisingly, after showing how the market produces science in a rational way, Kealey recommends a laissez-faire approach to scientific research.
Abstract: There are many factors that may affect the analysis of ethical problems: the physical acts that occur, the relevant history, verbal communication, contracts, etc. One factor that can be difficult to incorporate is the role that socials norms play. This is because norms can vary widely between societies, and even within societies individuals are not usually consciously aware of the norms that they act upon. This paper examines how norms can effect ethical problems and gives one approach for investigating their effect.
Download Paper: “Norms and the NAP”
Abstract: If property is defined as something over which an individual should have exclusive control, then the traditional notion of property must be abandoned. Specifically, the idea that a physical object is someone’s property fails to meet the definition given. This paper examines why an individual should not always have exclusive control over physical things, and, if not objects, what exactly an individual should have exclusive control over.
The proposed solution is that property be delineated not by physical boundaries, but by human action. This does not include all action, for scarcity makes certain actions mutually exclusive. Therefore, property is conceived of as proper action, i.e., action consistent with the non-aggression principle. Those physical objects traditionally considered property are then simply means of proper action.
The benefits of this change in perspective are then examined with regard to production, exchange, aggression and other related topics.
Download PDF: Cause No Conflict
Abstract: The human body shield problem involves an apparent dilemma for a libertarian, forcing him to choose between his own death and the death of an innocent person. This paper argues that the non-aggression principle permits a forceful response against the property of innocent individuals when a conflict is initiated with that property. In other words, a libertarian may shoot the hostage in order to save himself.
Download Paper: 20. “The Human Body Sword”
Abstract: In his paper, “Is There an ‘Anomalous’ Section of the Laffer Curve?”, Walter Block describes some situations in which it appears that a libertarian should violate the non-aggression principle. To rectify this, Block proposes a different perspective on libertarianism which he calls punishment theory. This paper argues that no new theory is needed, as the non-aggression principle can be used to resolve the apparent conundrums.
Download Paper: “Risking Aggression: Reply to Block”