Donald J. Boudreaux is a senior fellow with American Institute for Economic Research and with the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; a Mercatus Center Board Member; and a professor of economics and former economics-department chair at George Mason University. He is the author of the books The Essential Hayek, Globalization, Hypocrites and Half-Wits, and his articles appear in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, US News & World Report as well as numerous scholarly journals. He writes a blog called Cafe Hayek and a regular column on economics for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Boudreaux earned a PhD in economics from Auburn University and a law degree from the University of Virginia.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Articles from Donald J. Boudreaux
We can admire the engineering prowess that enabled NASA to land men on the moon and return them safely to earth. But even if politicians (contrary to fact) were apolitical stewards of the public welfare, governing society is not an engineering task. It follows that NASA’s remarkable achievement emphatically does not imply that we should look to government to solve our problems.
Talk of “our” balance of trade is talk of something that doesn’t really exist; it’s merely a figment of the imagination made to appear real by an accounting convention that has the name “trade balance.” Nevertheless, this fictitious creature is daily demagogued by those seeking to clear the way for protectionist interventions.
Markets guided by prices daily lead each of us to share happily and abundantly with each other despite the reality that we are, to each other, mostly strangers. Familiarity, affection, and brotherly love are virtuous feelings but these feelings do not contribute as reliably to our material well being as does market exchange.
One of the most common faulty premises that infects discussions of economic policy is the premise that a country is like a private for-profit company, only larger. Nearly everything that the United States President says about trade makes sense if you understand him to believe that the United States economy is a gargantuan for-profit firm.