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Monday, November 18, 2013

Calculus of Consent and Classical Liberalism

I'm discussion leader at a Liberty Fund conference in Alexandria, VA.  It's "The Calculus of Consent and Classical Liberalism."  Great crowd.  Caldwell, Hurd, Lomasky, Lopez, Tarr, Vanberg...and Meg McArdle, with pictures of her enormous dog Fitzgerald!  November 7-10.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Boom and Bust: Montana!

Monday August 19-Friday August 23: Boom and Bust in America--Parables from Montana. At the Three Forks, MT Sacagawea Hotel.  Linked at Free... From the web site....

This seminar will explore social, economic, and ethical aspects of Boom and Bust. This phenomenon is commonly associated with the c ol lapse of mining . It includes, however, cities that declare bankruptcy or ones whose primary industries fail. Consider textiles, steel mills, or auto manufacturing, and the nearly bankrupt states of California and Illinois. What valuable lessons can the Boom and Bust phenomenon offer in helping us ethically respond to today’s environmental, industrial, governmental, and social justice conflicts? 

We will begin at the Gallatin Gateway Inn with an evening and day of presentations and discussions. An all day field trip to Butte will give us a retrospective story on the economic bust of a one industry town. Presentations on the Bakken oil developments in Montana and North Dakota will highlight the e x citement and physical and social problems of economic booms . 

How are human needs of tens of thousands of work ers affecting local communities and life long residents? What happens when the resource is exhausted? How can ethical and social justice concerns be addressed and by whom? What kinds of roles can social entrepreneurs play to ameliorate some effects of boom and bust economies? Presentations and discussions will focus on these and similar questions... 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Economic Development Forum in Mitchell County

Doing an Economic Development Forum in Mitchell County, NC.

Heading out to visit my friend Jay Pittard, Duke alum and finance guru.

Bakersfield, NC, 6 - 8 pm.  Bowman Middle School Auditorium.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Had a great time with my man, Hartmut Kliemt.  A plenary Friday July 26 at the SABE/IAREP meetings, on the legacy of James Buchanan.  Conference LinkProgram Link.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Locke and Euvoluntary Exchange

Giving a talk today at Australian National University, Philosophy Department.  It's in the Benjamin Library at 11 am. 

Subject is "Euvoluntary Exchange, with Applications to Locke's Venditio,"  Then a lunch with some folks from the Federal Treasury here in the capital of Oz.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Published: Too Big to Fail?

My article with Richard Salsman, "Is 'Too Big to Fail' Too Big?" was published, in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy

Happy to send a PDF if you email me.

Heading for Oz

Heading out for Australia.  Flying to Sydney, then taking the bus (I am ALL about the mass transit) three hours to lovely Canberra.

Going to visit H. Geoffrey Brennan, at ANU.  Will hang at his house, and have him teach me SOMETHING about wine.  (I don't know much, but he knows a lot).  And maybe some restaurants.  I expect we'll have some fair dinkum tucker.

Wow.  It's actually quite cool in Canberra, down to 0 at night and hanging around 12 during the day.  I'll need to pack a couple of jumpers, I guess.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Liberty Matters

Robert Leroux posted "Bastiat and Political Economy" on July 1.  Several of us respond.  People comment.  And everybody has a great time! 

Here it is.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Euvoluntariness and Locke's Venditio

Just published (with Ricardo Guzman) a paper in Public Choice, link here for (gated) download.  Happy to send the PDF if you email me!  mcmunger at gmail dot com.

Abstract:  It is a maxim of Public Choice that voluntary exchanges should not be interfered with by the state. But what makes a voluntary market exchange truly voluntary? We suggest, contra much of the economics literature, that voluntary exchange requires consent uncoerced by threats of harm, but that this is not sufficient. In particular, a person pressured to exchange by the dire consequences of failing to exchange—e.g., dying of thirst or hunger—is still coerced, and coerced exchange cannot be voluntary. The weaker party’s desperation gives the other party unconscionable bargaining power. We argue for a distinction, based on a neologism: in the case of coercion by circumstance but not by threat, exchange is still voluntary in the conventional sense, but it is not euvoluntary (i.e., truly voluntary). We will argue that all euvoluntary exchanges are just, while non-euvoluntary exchanges may or may not be unjust; that in competitive markets all exchanges are just, even those that are not euvoluntary, while in bilateral monopolies some exchanges are neither euvoluntary nor just. We will propose a mental device, the “fictitious negotiation”, to determine the just price in non-euvoluntary market exchanges. A primitive version of these ideas can be found in a little known monograph by John Locke, which we will analyze in detail.


From EconTalk:

Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of formal rules and informal rules in sports. Many sports restrain violence and retaliation through formal rules while in others, protective equipment is used to reduce injury. In all sports, codes of conduct emerge to deal with violence and unobserved violations of formal rules. Munger explores the interaction of these forces across different sports and how they relate to insights of Coase and Hayek. 
Listen up! 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

IHS at Towson State

IHS seminar on teaching about teaching, June 28-30.

At Towson State, north of Baltimore.  Sharing the stage with JS Taylor and Dirk Mateer, as well as the jolly fighting pirate squirrels from IHS staff.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

CATO Unbound!

On June 3, check out CATO Unbound.  I have the lead essay on "The Political Economy of Recycling." 

Responses will follow, from
Edward Humes – June 5 (published June 7)
Melissa Walsh Innes – June 7 (published June 9)
Steven E. Landsburg – June 10 (published June 12)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

IHS at James Madison

Heading for the weeklong Intro for the Koch Fellows at James Madison U, in mighty Harrisonburg, VA.  Will be there for the week, Saturday Jun 1 through Friday June 7.  Good times!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Liberty Fund--Indy at Conrad Hotel

Discussion Leader at LF Conference, Indianapolis:  Limiting Majoritarianism in Republican Constitutional Theory

Thursday May 9 - Sunday May 12

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Heading for U of Dayton to give a talk for Prof. Anthony Caporale, in his Econ 301 class.  Looking forward to it!

Truly Voluntary Exchange and the Ethics of Markets
University of Dayton
Thursday, April 28
3:00 - 4:15 (classroom, not open to the public)

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Political Theory of Non-state spaces

April 18-19 Discussant for Duke  English Dept/Gerst Program Political Theory Working Group Conference (Breedlove)The Political Theory of Non-state spaces
 Durham, NC

Robert Paul Wolff, Umass
Paul Cantor, University of Virginia
Inger Brodie, UNC
Kim Stanley Robinson (writer)
David Friedman, Santa Clara

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Philadelphia Society, Indianapolis

Heading to Indianapolis for the Philadelphia Society meetings.  Friday April 5 through Sunday April 7.  Gonna meet up with my peeps Fred Fransen, Bobbi Herzberg, and of course Leonard Liggio.  Should be great!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Butler University, April 10: Throwdown!

The Roles of Capitalism and Government in Society:  Butler University, Indianapolis, IN.  April 10.  For details check the Butler link...

Radio Show

Appearing on Atlanta's "Biz1190 WAFS," Butler on Business show, 10:34 am.  Wednesday March 20.