Economic Freedom in America: What is Economic Freedom?

Economic Freedom in America: What is Economic Freedom?

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride legitimately, by the grace of god.

—Thomas Jefferson, letter to Roger C. Weightman, June 24, 1826

Writing in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence, Jefferson optimistically believed that the example of American freedom and individual rights had opened the eyes of the world to the value of liberty. Nearly two centuries after Jefferson wrote, it is clear that America has indeed been the shining example of freedom for the rest of the world. Since Jefferson wrote, people around the globe have sought either to imitate the example of American freedom by replicating its institutions or to enjoy that freedom directly by migrating to the United States.

The example of American freedom is a powerful one. Nowhere else has the liberty of average citizens been greater, more secure, and more protected. Lovers of freedom have admired all its aspects, from our protection of religious conscience to our free elections, from our freedom of speech to our impartial judicial system to our ability to choose our own private associations and more. One of the most persuasive features of our freedom, of course, is America’s high degree of economic freedom and the wealth and widespread abundance that has resulted from it.

Surveying the record of American productivity and prosperity is an inspiring task. In the space of just one-and-a-half centuries, American standards of living not only rose above those of most of the rest of the world, but they also rose beyond all expectation. Who among the most visionary forecasters of the mid-19th century could have imagined both the nearly unlimited economic opportunities available to Americans in the 21st century and the fact that these opportunities would be available to everyone who strived to achieve them without regard to race, creed, noble birth, or the accidents of fortune?

Our ancestors would scarcely recognize a world where jet airliners can whisk people from hemisphere to hemisphere in less than a day, where information about world events is available instantaneously, where corporations coordinate the economic activity of tens of thousands of employees around the globe (working in modern, climate-controlled high-rise offices, no less) while producing products to be sold to tens of millions, where diseases, plagues, and famines are a rare and tragic exception and not an accepted part of life.

Even the richest American in the early 19th century would likely marvel at what is available to the average worker in 2008—the dizzying variety of food (from year-round fresh fruits and vegetables to exotic meats to instantly prepared meals-on-the-go), the comforts of life (from cheap clothing and transportation to modern housing and appliances), and the provision for optimal health (from MRIs and laser surgeries to organ transplants and universal vaccination), and beyond. That same 19th-century elite would be flabbergasted and stupefied by the fact that obesity—essentially, the consumption of too many calories and expenditure of too little physical labor—is a leading problem among the poor. In sum, by all economic measures, each successive generation of Americans enjoys indisputably better lives than previous ones. They work less and earn more, they can spend less on necessities and more on conveniences, and they live longer more pleasurable and more productive lives.1

It is not just migrants and imitators, however, who have noticed the superior material results that accrue to Americans as a result of their high levels of freedom. Over the past 20 years, scholars have increasingly directed attention to the problem of measuring different levels of prosperity around the world and correlating those observations with the differing levels of freedom.2 Since 1995, the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have produced the annual Index of Economic Freedom, which scores the nations of the world on a multi-factor formula that determines their level of economic freedom. Since 1996, the Fraser Institute and Cato Institute have teamed with an international network of free-market think tanks to produce and distribute the annual Economic Freedom of the World reports.

These studies’ conclusions are unambiguous and clear—economic freedom not only correlates with economic growth and prosperity, but also is a direct cause of and necessary condition for it. Likewise, comparing these lists of the most economically free countries with the annual ranking of countries according to levels of political freedom and civil liberties by Freedom House, titled Freedom in the World, shows a direct link between levels of political and economic freedom.

Economic Freedom in America

The United States as a nation has consistently scored in the top 10 of each of these studies, confirming the high degree of economic and political freedom enjoyed by Americans. Despite the high level of economic freedom in America generally, there is, nevertheless, a wide degree of variation in the United States itself. That uneven level of freedom forms the heart of our study and poses the central questions for it. How does economic freedom vary in the United States? What are the causes and the results of that variation?

Despite the high aggregate levels of economic freedom found in the United States, especially as compared with other nations, there is, nevertheless, a lack of uniformity in the distribution of that freedom. Within the United States, different groups of citizens experience different levels of economic freedom, often with drastic results. The lines that divide the levels of freedom in America are not based on class or race or sex. Instead, the origin of variation is found in the very nature of the American political compact—the federal nature of our republic. Because each of the 50 states has the sovereign power to direct local economic policy within its boundaries, there can be 50 different climates of economic freedom in the United States.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once observed that the states could serve as “laboratories of democracy” by “try[ing] novel social and economic experiments.” Brandeis hoped that the states could experiment with economic policy and thereby encourage more economic planning, more regulation, and more intervention on the socialist model.3 His observation about the potential for the states to serve as laboratories is an apt one, even if the results are the opposite of what he might have expected. Instead of embracing the socialist model through state-level experimentation, Americans have demonstrated their belief in economic freedom by adopting the most basic strategy available to them—by doing what economist Charles Tiebout called “voting with their feet.”4 That is, given the freedom of Americans to move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, we have found that Americans move away from states that impose regimes of less economic freedom in favor of those upholding more economic freedom.

Some Definitions, Assumptions, and Methods

At first blush, freedom can be a difficult concept to measure. Freedom, as a concept, is as old as written history itself. The earliest example of its written form dates to the 24th century B.C.5 It initially seems quite simple—nearly everyone recognizes the visceral reaction when one’s freedom is restricted. When people do or do not feel restrained or curtailed by some authority, there we might find a rough measure of the extent of their freedom. Yet this is too simplistic. We cannot rely merely on self-reporting to measure something as important as freedom. We need a more objective standard by which we can determine whether a society or a government upholds and protects freedom or restricts and denies freedom. In short, we need a set of criteria based on an explicit definition of economic freedom whereby we can measure objectively the levels of freedom state-by-state. Thus, we must begin our study with a clear definition of freedom.

Economic freedom is an application of political freedom. The most basic distinction at the heart of the concept of freedom is the distinction between voluntary action and compulsion or coercion. Where individuals can choose their thoughts and actions, where they are free from physical coercion, they are free. We operate from a negative definition of freedom—it means the absence of physical restraints that halt or forcibly redirect one’s thoughts or actions. In the economic realm, this means that economic freedom is the freedom to produce and trade goods and services according to one’s own judgment, unrestrained by the physical coercion or compulsion of others, including the government. One must be free to acquire, use, and dispose of private property. Individuals must be free to enter into voluntary contractual relationships. The root identification here is that no man has a moral right to stake a claim on the productive activity of another against his will.

The implementation of freedom in society requires the identification and protection of individual rights, including property rights, and the creation of a government restrained by the rule of law, with the sole purpose of that government being the protection of those rights. Thus, the proper functions of government are the provision of a realm of freedom for individuals to engage freely in economic transactions. To do this, a government must protect its citizens from bodily harm or physical coercion from criminals or hostile foreign powers. It must also provide a system of courts and laws that objectively define the rules of social interaction among individuals—that is, they must prohibit the initiation of force and place the retaliatory use of force under the control of a properly delimited government. Under such a system, individuals are free to exercise their rights in any manner that does not violate the rights of others. In the economic realm, this means that the government must provide a legal system whereby individuals’ rights to property and contract are upheld and where disputes can be settled by law, not violence.

In summary, we define economic freedom as the right of individuals to pursue their interests through voluntary exchange of private property under rule of law.

Thus, to make the measurement of different levels of economic freedom more objective requires that we specify a series of indicators and tie them to whether they advance or inhibit the proper functions of government in regard to an economy. In cases where an indicator leads, for example, to a greater ability of individuals to contract voluntarily with their fellow citizens, such a variable indicates a greater degree of freedom. Where an indicator leads to a diminished capacity for individuals to acquire, use, or dispose of their private property, for example, such a variable indicates a lesser degree of freedom.

This central insight has been the heart of a continuing project of studying and evaluating economic freedom in America. This 2008 Report is the third edition of the U.S. Economic Freedom Index, which began in a 1999 study6 by John D. Byars, Robert E. McCormick, and T. Bruce Yandle, and was revised in 2004 by Ying Huang, Robert E. McCormick, and Lawrence J. McQuillan.7 It measures the differing levels of economic freedom on a state-by-state basis. By applying a methodology similar to the comparison of economic freedom between countries, we have endeavored to measure differing levels of economic freedom between states. That is, we have compiled criteria that illustrate a range of characteristics that indicate levels of freedom and that can vary between states. (A more complete discussion of the methodology is in chapter 2.) We define economic freedom as the right of individuals to pursue their interests through voluntary exchange of private property under rule of law.

What Others Have Said

The literature on economic freedom has been growing significantly in recent years. Since the original publication of this index, scholars have focused more attention on the basic questions we investigate and their implications. Does economic freedom vary in significant ways in the United States? Can we observe a movement of people and human capital across state borders in response to differing levels of freedom? Are economic growth and personal income higher in states with more economic freedom?

In a wider conception, however, the literature on economic freedom was already well established and historically rich when this index was first published. Great minds throughout history have observed and remarked on the relationship between political and economic freedom and have arrived at the same conclusions. Our purpose here will be to survey their thought briefly and then review the modern literature.

The founder of modern economics, Adam Smith (1723–1790), was a strong proponent of free markets and free trade. His treatise, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), is arguably the first investigation into how different levels of economic freedom affect economic growth and prosperity. Though Smith did not endeavor to index levels of freedom, his work makes a forceful argument that supports our conception of economic freedom. Smith believed that our “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another” would lead to “general opulence.”8 Such a system, Smith believed, required that “every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, [be] left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way.”9

The French classical economist Jean-Baptiste Say (1767–1832), writing in the early 19th century, improved on Smith’s formulations and extended his analyses. Say made the connection between a limited government and economic productivity explicit in his Treatise on Political Economy (1803). Say recommended comparing the economic situation of the nations of Western Europe with those of Asia and Africa with an eye to their government. “[O]f all the means by which a government can stimulate production,” he noted, “there is none so powerful as the perfect security of person and property, especially from the aggressions of arbitrary power. This security is of itself a source of public prosperity that more than counteracts all the restrictions hitherto invented for checking its progress. Restrictions compress the elasticity of production; but want of security destroys it altogether.”10

Influenced by both the classical economists and Enlightenment political philosophers such as John Locke, the American Founders also articulated a defense of economic freedom as a means of securing prosperity and happiness. As Jefferson noted in 1785, “I think all the world would gain by setting commerce at perfect liberty.”11 The Founding generation believed that property rights and economic freedom were absolutely essential to freedom and liberty more generally. “The right of property is the guardian of every other right,” explained Arthur Lee, “and to deprive a people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.”12

In their disputes with Britain during the Revolutionary Era, the Founders contested the mother country’s excessive taxation, her invasive trade regulations, her bounties and subsidies for favored industries, her prohibition of certain trades, and in general, her attempt to control and manage an economy that they believed should be left free.13

The best analysis of the relationship between economic freedom, prosperity, and government came from the pen of James Madison in an essay he published in 1792, titled, simply, “Property.”14 The proper end of government, Madison noted, “is to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses.” The crucial point that Madison made is that there is a deep connection between economic rights and all of our other rights. As he noted, “as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.” There was, for Madison, no possibility of happiness, prosperity, or security under a government that did not protect both economic and political rights equally. For Madison, these were mutually necessary and mutually reinforcing. This vital connection between the economic and political rights of the individual is a theme that 20th-century thinkers have picked up and advanced in important ways. The free-market economists Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises each observed that economic freedom can only exist where individuals have the right to determine for themselves the course of their own thoughts and actions. “Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest,” Hayek noted in 1944, “it is the control of the means for all our ends. And whoever has the sole control of the means must also determine which ends are to be served, which values are to be rated higher and which lower—in short, what men should believe and strive for.”15 Government, Mises observed, “is a guarantor of liberty and is compatible with liberty only if its range is adequately restricted to the preservation of what is called economic freedom.”16

These economists shared with their colleague Milton Friedman a belief that economic freedom and political freedom went hand in hand, and that such a unity of liberty was the only means of achieving prosperity. “Freedom in economic arrangements,” Friedman wrote in 1962, “is itself a component of freedom broadly understood, so economic freedom is an end in itself. . . . [but] economic freedom is also an indispensable means toward the achievement of political freedom.”17 He believed that “competitive capitalism—the organization of the bulk of economic activity through private enterprise operating in a free market” is “a system of economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom.”

Among the thinkers who advocated economic freedom in the 20th century, philosopher Ayn Rand stands out as a staunch champion of that cause. In her novels and non-fiction works, Rand explained the crucial relationship between economic and political freedom as being rooted in the requirement of human beings to have freedom of thought and action. “Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom,” she noted in 1961, “[and] political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.”18

Rand also emphasized the crucial distinction between freedom as a political concept and freedom as an economic concept. Politically, Rand defined freedom as “freedom from government coercion.” It does not mean, she continued, “freedom from the landlord, or freedom from the employer, or freedom from the laws of nature which do not provide men with automatic prosperity.”19

Rand argued that the key to human prosperity was the protection of individual rights. Since the reasoning mind, she argued, is the source of our ability to produce material values, and since its use must remain free to follow its conclusions, the political system necessary for prosperity was capitalism, the only system that fully and uncompromisingly protects man’s rights. “History and, specifically, the unprecedented prosperity-explosion of the nineteenth century,” Rand noted, gave a dramatic illustration that “capitalism is the only system that enables men to produce abundance—and the key to capitalism is individual freedom.”20

In all, these thinkers illustrate the fact that economic freedom and prosperity, happiness, development, and growth are maximized under a system of freedom, which means a system of capitalism.

Recent Investigations of Economic Freedom

The literature on economic freedom is a growing and diverse one. A brief search of the EconLit database indicates that more than 350 articles investigate some aspect of the question of how economic freedom interacts with other factors. Although much of this literature has focused on the international context, an encouraging trend is the appearance of more investigation of economic freedom in the United States.

For scholars who believe in the value of competition, one of the highlights of recent years has been the appearance of competing indexes of economic freedom that focus on a state-by-state comparison instead of just international ones. Since 2002, the Fraser Institute has published Economic Freedom of North America, which includes each of the American states and Canadian provinces in their analysis.21 In 2007, the American Legislative Exchange Council published Rich States/Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index.22 Although both of these studies adopt a different set of variables to examine the levels of economic freedom, readers interested in the topic of economic freedom in the United States now have three richly researched sources to consider.

One of the areas where promising work remains to be done is the investigation of different applications of the basic conclusion of our study, that different levels of economic freedom in the states affect economic performance and outcomes. Recent studies have investigated the effects of different levels of economic freedom among the states on net business formation,23 levels of interstate migration,24 human capital migration (also known as “brain drain”),25 entrepreneurship,26 and income inequality.27 These studies have all illustrated the vital role that economic freedom plays in determining positive economic outcomes, but more research needs to be done.

A recent study and policy analysis of West Virginia edited by Russell S. Sobel, Unleashing Capitalism: Why Prosperity Stops at the West Virginia Border and How to Fix It,28 investigates the reasons why West Virginia consistently ranked near or at the bottom of average income and why its policies have been hostile to capitalism. The particular genius of the approach of Unleashing Capitalism is the observation that residents of West Virginia have not just ranked lower in average income across the state when compared to other states, but that residents in the counties of West Virginia that lie immediately across the border from Virginia or Kentucky have lower incomes than people who live in almost identical environments.

In addition to income levels, Sobel and his co-authors illustrate the different levels of economic growth and investment that appear to halt magically at the West Virginia border. By applying the fact of varying economic freedom across state boundaries, Sobel et al. have confirmed that incomes are lower where economic freedom is lower. The dramatic illustrations of Unleashing Capitalism recall the vivid differences that Julian Simon illustrated between the free and unfree peoples of South Korea and North Korea, or West Berlin and East Berlin, or Taiwan and China—what Andrew Bernstein has called “the great laboratories of capitalism and socialism.”29

In sum, scholars are beginning to produce a rich literature describing the empirical connection between economic freedom and various measures of economic performance. Recent work has even suggested that scholars can measure the higher levels of aggregate happiness that accrue to those who experience higher levels of freedom.30 As more scholars work in the field, we are confident that the details will bear out the more general conclusions that we draw here in this index—that economic freedom is the key to growth, development, happiness, and well-being, indeed to supporting the very system of political freedom itself.
This is why it is so important to measure economic freedom.

The above was excerpted from Chapter 1. of the the U.S. Economic Freedom Index: 2008 Report published by the Pacific Research Institute. Download the PDF of the entire report.

References:

1 The most comprehensive sources for information on how American life has improved are the exhaustive statistical sources available from the U.S. Census Bureau and from other compilers of these data. The most recent Census data are conveniently available online (https://www.census. gov/compendia/statab/)
Two recent publications provide a rich historical context for the changes in these measures of economic performance: Susan B. Carter et al., eds., Historical Statistics of and Richard Alm, Myths of Rich and Poor: Why We’re Better Off Than We Think (New York: Basic Books, 1999); Robert William Fogel, The Escape From Hunger and Premature Death, 1700-2100: Europe, America, and The Third World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
2 A brief sample of the best of the many studies in this area would include: Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell, How The West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World (New York: Basic Books, 1986); David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998); Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, Revised and Updated Edition (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002); Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (New York: Basic Books, 2000).
3 New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262 (1932) [Brandeis dissenting.] In this case, Brandeis voted to uphold an Oklahoma law that declared the manufacture, sale, and distribution of ice to be a public business, thereby requiring a licensing regime. The legislature, in a classic case of rent-seeking, gave the licensing board the discretion to withhold licenses if existing licensees “are sufficient to meet the public needs.” The result was a monopoly capture by the existing ice companies when they gained the political power sufficient to block new competitors. Justice Sutherland and the Court struck down the Oklahoma law on the moribund judicial distinction between public and private businesses, which the Court obliterated two years later in Nebbia v. New York 291 U.S. 502 (1934).
4 Charles Tiebout, “A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures,” Journal of Political Economy 64:5 (October 1956): 416–424.
5 The “amagi” cuneiform used by Liberty Fund, Inc., for its logo, for example, represents the earliest-known form of the word (https://www.libertyfund.org/aboutlogo.htm).
6 John D. Byars, Robert E. McCormick, and T. Bruce Yandle, Economic Freedom in America’s 50 States (Arlington, Va.: State Policy Network, 1999).
7 Ying Huang, Robert E. McCormick, and Lawrence J. McQuillan, U.S. Economic Freedom Index: 2004 Report (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute, 2004).
8 Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), I.2.1. The quotation here is from the online Liberty Fund edition, www.econlib.org/LIBRARY/Smith/smWN.html.
9 Ibid., IV.9.51.
10 Jean-Baptiste Say, Treatise on Political Economy (1803), I. XVIII.11. The quotation here is from the translation available on the Liberty Fund website, https://www.econlib.org/LIBRARY/Say/sayTtoc.html.
11 Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to John Adams, July 1785,” in John P. Foley, ed., The Jefferson Cyclopedia (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1900), 361.
12 Arthur Lee, “An Appeal to the Justice and Interest of the People of Great Britain, in the Present Dispute with America,” quoted in James W. Ely, The Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property Rights, Third Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 26.
13 In addition to Ely’s Guardian, other useful sources on the Founders’ ideas about the connection between economic freedom and liberty include: Bernard Siegan, Economic Liberties and the Constitution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Ellen Frankel Paul and Howard Dickman, eds., Liberty, Property, and the Foundations of the American Constitution (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989); Edmund S. Morgan, The Challenge of the American Revolution (New York: W. W. Norton, 1972).
14 James Madison, “Property,” in Robert A. Rutland and Thomas A. Mason, eds., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14 (Charlottesville, Va.: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 266–268. This is also available online: https://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch16s23.html
15 F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, 50th Anniversary Edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 101.
16 Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, 4th Revised Edition (San Francisco: Fox & Wilkes, 1996), 285.
17 Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, 40th Anniversary Edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 8.
18 Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual (New York: Signet, 1961), 25.
19 Ayn Rand, “Conservatism: An Obituary,” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (New York: Signet, 1967), 192.
20 Ayn Rand, “Requiem for Man,” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 308.
21 Amela Karabegovic and Fred McMahon with Christy G. Black, Economic Freedom of North America (Vancouver, Canada: Fraser Institute, 2007). The full text of each of the annual reports is available on the Fraser Institute’s website, https://www.freetheworld.com/efna.html.
22 Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore, Rich States/Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index (Washington, D.C.: American Legislative Exchange Council, 2007). The full text of the report is available online at: https://www.alec.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Rich_States_Poor_States.
23 Noel D. Campbell and Tammy M. Rogers, “Economic Freedom and Net Business Formation,” Cato Journal 27 (Winter 2007): 23–36.
24 Nathan J. Ashby, “Economic Freedom and Migration Flows between U.S. States,” Southern Economic Journal 73 (January 2007): 677–697.
25; Randall G. Krieg, “Human-Capital Selectivity in Interstate Migration,” Growth and Change 22 (January 1991): 68–76; Susan B. Hansen, Carolyn Ban, and Leonard Huggins, “Explaining the ‘Brain Drain’ from Older Industrial Cities: The Pittsburgh Region,” Economic Development Quarterly 17:2 (2003): 132–147. See also, Douglas T. Gurak and Mary M. Kritz, “The Interstate Migration of U.S. Immigrants: Individual and Contextual Determinants,” Social Forces 78 (March 2000): 1017–1039. The topic of “brain drain” has also appeared frequently in the media and in state policy group reports.
26 Steven F. Kreft and Russell S. Sobel, “Public Policy, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Freedom,” Cato Journal 25 (Fall 2005): 595–616; and Russell S. Sobel, “Testing Baumol: Institutional Quality and the Productivity of Entrepreneurship,” Journal of Business Venturing, forthcoming.
27 Two recent studies examine this topic: Nathan J. Ashby and Russell S. Sobel, “Income Inequality and Economic Freedom in the U.S. States,” Public Choice 134 (March 2008): 329–346; Gerald W. Scully, “Economic Freedom and the Trade-Off between Inequality and Growth,” NCPA Policy Report No. 309 (Dallas, TX: National Center for Policy Analysis, March 2008), available online at
https://www.ncpa.org/pub/st/st309.
28 Russell S. Sobel, ed., Unleashing Capitalism: Why Prosperity Stops at the West Virginia Border and How to Fix It (Morgantown, W.Va.: The Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia, 2007). This study’s full text is also available online at https://www.be.wvu.edu/divecon/econ/sobel/UnleashingCapitalism/
29 Andrew Bernstein, The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2005), 293-332; Julian L. Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2, Revised Edition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), 491-512.
30 Arthur C. Brooks, Gross National Happiness: Why Happiness Matters for America—and How We Can Get More of It (New York: Basic Books, 2008).

Eric Daniels is a research assistant professor at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Capitalism Magazine. Excerpts are limited to 250 words, so long as the source and link are provided to the original article. See our terms of use for details.

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