Michele Boldrin: Against Intellectual Monopoly (1h19m)

This episode features an interview of research economist Michele Boldrin from 2009 by Russ Roberts, host of Econtalk. Boldrin argues that copyright and patent are used by the politically powerful to maintain monopoly profits. He argues that the incentive effects that have been used to justify copyright and patents are exaggerated–few examples from history suggest that the temporary and not-so-temporary monopoly power from copyright and patents were necessary to induce innovation. Boldrin reviews some of that evidence and talks about the nature of competition.

Orwell for Socialism

In a reflective moment, George Orwell wrote, “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”  Yet if you actually read his oeuvre, you’ll find a striking disparity: Orwell’s anti-totalitarian writing is massive, but his pro-socialist writing is wafer thin.

Roderick Long: An Anarchist Legal Order (1h30m)

This episode features a lecture by philosopher Roderick Long from 2006. A legal system is an institution to provide dispute resolution through judicial, legislative and executive functions. The state is that which maintains in large part a monopoly over force, geography and the legal system. What’s wrong with a forcible monopoly? You are saying that you are the only one who has this right. Under anarchy there is equality of authority. No one has monopolies of force or jurisdiction. Dispute resolutions are referred to arbitration. Anarchy is founded when one bypasses the state into voluntary system and the state withers away.

Lysander Spooner: The Forgotten History of the Man Who Started the First Private Post Office

Lysander Spooner is an important – and not exactly obscure – figure in the history of the liberty movement. He’s an idiosyncratic figure from the 19th century with no small cheerleading section in the 21st century. A bit of a throwback to a very different time, Spooner was a champion of the labor movement and was even a member of the First International at a time when socialists and anarchists coexisted peacefully within that movement.

What is Money?

The word “money” comes from the Latin moneta, which is where coins of precious metal were made and stored. Precious metals naturally rose to the top of money markets because they are scarce, long-lasting, and valued by weight. Gold in particular became the standard for money because it is uniquely suited to serve the purposes of money.