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Lipton Matthews

Lipton Matthews

Lipton Matthews is a researcher, business analyst, and contributor to Merion West, The Federalist, American Thinker, Intellectual Takeout, mises.org, and Imaginative Conservative. Visit his YouTube channel, with numerous interviews with a variety of scholars, here. He may be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter (@matthewslipton).

Articles by Lipton Matthews

Slavery Did Not Promote Capitalism: The New Economic History of Capitalism Is Simply Wrong

October 22, 2022

The “new history of capitalism” (NHC) continues to receive widespread acclaim despite mounting inaccuracies. Although critical reviews have punctured adherents’ arguments many still cling to wrongheaded assumptions that exaggerate the role of slavery and cotton in powering America’s economic progress. Several industries were complicit in fueling slavery, but their success was never hinged on slave production.
In fact, slavery proved to be a hindrance to commercial progress. Dependence on slavery reduced the incentive to invest in physical infrastructure and real estate development. For instance, during the apex of the canal boom in the 1830s, five times as many miles were built in the Northern as in the Southern states. Because slaves could be levied as collateral

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What Drove the Industrian Revolution in Britain? It Wasn’t Slavery

October 4, 2022

The link between the transatlantic slave trade and industrial growth in Britain is a recurring theme in public discussions. There is a widespread assumption that the profitability of the slave trade requires Britain to compensate the descendants of Africans, since slavery helped to enrich some institutions. It is true that the slave trade made profits, but its contribution to the economy was marginal. Technological change rather than the slave trade was the force that propelled the Industrial Revolution.
Studies examining the profitability of the slave trade have also failed to account for the impact of British human capital and institutional innovations on the viability of the trade. Slave trades have been ubiquitous throughout history, yet we know considerably

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The Other Immigration Question: Should People from Wealthy Countries Migrate to Poorer Ones?

September 26, 2022

The immigration debate has polarized societies across the Western world. Objectors assert that the influx of migrants has corroded social relations, and defenders argue that immigrants release a dose of entrepreneurial dynamism. Debates will persist because it’s unlikely that people can be discouraged from migrating to rich countries in the West. Migrants will continuously flock to places like America and Canada, since they provide better opportunities.
Besides offering immigrants more options to build wealth, rich countries in Europe and North America also attract many through their well-endowed welfare systems. Researchers contend that welfare acts as a magnet that lures migrants to prosperous countries. The allure of welfare is so potent that limiting benefits

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By Compensating Slave Owners, Great Britain Negotiated a Peaceful End to Slavery

September 10, 2022

The 2018 announcement that the British government completed the payment of a loan that was borrowed to compensate slave owners for the abolition of slavery continues to evoke a flurry of emotions. Many find it outrageous that the British government would contemplate compensating planters rather than the enslaved. Such responses are expected because people are using current moral standards to judge historical realities.
But an appreciation of the sociopolitical events surrounding the loan suggests that compensating planters was a feasible alternative at the time. English laws and customs placed a premium on protecting the rights of property owners, and slaves were considered property. The idea of owning people today seems abhorrent; however, this was not always the

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When Honesty Is Disincentivized, Don’t Be Surprised That Trickery Abounds

September 7, 2022

Appreciating cultural nuances is difficult without understanding the stories that provide insight into a society’s soul. Stories reflect a nation’s values, aspirations, and ideals. Songs, poems, and literature illuminate the tastes of citizens and even political and economic preferences. Economist and polymath Deidre McCloskey in her bourgeois trilogy argues that the evolution of a promarket rhetoric was central to the wealth explosion in the West.
Indeed, economists are becoming amenable to cultural explanations for differences in development. However, few explore how engaging national tales can aid the development process by availing information that fills the gaps in official narratives. Stories help to bridge the gap between experts and locals by tackling

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Economies Cannot Produce Wealth without Patience and Long-Term Horizons

August 13, 2022

People decrying poverty in developing countries usually overlook the fact that there is a dearth of long-term economic thinking.

Original Article: “Economies Cannot Produce Wealth without Patience and Long-Term Horizons”

In a pioneering study, psychologist Walter Mischel demonstrated that delaying gratification in childhood led to success in later life. The experiment entailed placing toddlers in a room with treats and giving them the option of eating them immediately or waiting for fifteen minutes so that they could get a second offering. Follow-up studies found that participants were more successful in adolescence if they exercised self-control by waiting for fifteen minutes before eating the treats.
The observation that self-control is correlated with

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The Industrial Revolution and the West Indies: Did the Colonies Spark Progress in the Metropole?

July 16, 2022

There is a renewed interest in the West Indian colonies’ relevance to the British industrial revolution and the subsequent economic transformations that substantially altered Western society’s fortunes. This literature has been provoked by the urge to challenge earlier interpretations that underestimate colonies’ value to Western countries by showing how interconnected global economies were. Colonies were expensive for Britain, and economists contend that there would have been greater benefits if funds for the imperial project had instead been allocated to domestic investments.
However, the new literature on colonialism aims to refute the observation that colonies were marginal to Britain’s economy by demonstrating that they constituted a viable source of economic

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Entrepreneurship Should Be the Goal, Not White-Collar Jobs

July 7, 2022

Black entrepreneurship in the United States has a remarkable history. Even during the inhospitable climate of Southern slavery, both enslaved and free blacks managed to establish lucrative ventures. Research on black entrepreneurship has revealed that in the Antebellum South black entrepreneurs’ pursuits spanned the entire gamut of industry, ranging from merchandising to transportation.
Indeed, the success of some black entrepreneurs was so astounding that the demand for their services transcended the boundaries of race and class. The case of Archy Carey, a black slave who acquired his freedom, merits attention. Carey was the proprietor of a successful hack-driving business, owner of several investment properties, and was even revered by eminent whites. “He is a

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Market Success Is about Giving People What They Want

June 14, 2022

Economists are often examining the variables that lead to prosperity, but surprisingly, intelligence is rarely featured in this literature, despite its high replicability in research. Intelligence is a robust predictor of well-being, job performance, and other social outcomes. Due to heightened reasoning abilities, intelligent people are more cooperative and adept at defusing tension. Intelligent people are also appreciative of the long-term reverberations of their actions because they are more future oriented; as result, highly intelligent people are less likely to make rash decisions.
One can argue that intelligence is a cost-saving mechanism, since intelligent people are unlikely to make flippant decisions that can incur unwarranted costs. For example, if a

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Christianity and the Development of Human Capital: Challenging the Narratives

May 29, 2022

While the standard secular narrative is that Christianity held back science and human development, history tells a different story, one of literacy and the development of human capital.
Original Article: “Christianity and the Development of Human Capital: Challenging the Narratives”

Undeniably, the advent of Christianity has fundamentally transformed the world. But this startling fact has been obscured by thinkers eager to depict Christianity as a backward religion that derailed progress. The conventional narrative suggests that Christianity is an archaic religion responsible for thwarting science in the Middle Ages and delaying the transmission of human capital. However, modern research has provided a corrective to these falsehoods by illustrating that

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Global Governance versus Freedom and Free Enterprise

January 18, 2022

When assailing global governance, pundits rarely comment on its impact on small countries. Yet the degree to which small countries are ignored by global institutions—like the G7, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank—helps to illustrate how institutions of global governance tend to primarily reflect the values of managerial elites from large and wealthy states.
That is, global policies are earnestly tailored by rich states in the West in response to specific challenges. In Western countries leaders have expressed concern that major corporations use tax havens as a mechanism to lower their tax burden. Therefore, to rectify the problem, leaders of G7 nations are recommending a minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15 percent.
Such a policy will

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How Market Freedom Combats Economic Inequality

December 12, 2021

For many, income inequality is a disease ravaging the fabric of capitalist societies. Therefore, curing this ailment, according to progressives, necessitates an injection of welfare benefits and higher taxes on the wealthy. Guided by a zero-sum outlook, critics believe that the success of the affluent is gained at the expense of the poor. To remind voters that he takes income inequality seriously, during his presidential campaign, Joe Biden expressed concern that the intensity of income inequality in the US would foment discord. “When we have income inequality as large as we have in the United States, today it brews and ferments political discord and basic revolutions, “he said.
Fast-forward to 2021, and the polarizing rhetoric of income inequality is even

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Africa’s Long History of Trade and Markets

December 5, 2021

Market reforms in Africa can be thwarted because of propaganda asserting that markets are a Western import. Notwithstanding the currency of this belief, it is patently absurd. Markets flourished in Africa prior to colonialism, and wherever they are repressed, the result is social immiseration, as economist William Hutt points out in his pathbreaking study, The Economics of the Colour Bar. Merchants in precolonial Africa organized large-scale trading networks that spanned several regions.
According to Alberta O. Akrong (2019), the diversity of African trade transacted on land and waterways enhanced the continent’s accessibility to strategic resources. Like elsewhere, in precolonial Africa, Africans designed mechanisms to enable commerce. Gareth Austin in his

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War Has Declined in the West Because War Isn’t “Worth It” for Rich Countries

September 17, 2021

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War Has Declined in the West Because War Isn’t “Worth It” for Rich Countries

September 17, 2021

The triumph of peace in contemporary societies is expressed as an obvious fact by mainstream intellectuals. Noting the relatively peaceful state of the world is part of a broader narrative to paint a positive picture of humanity. Yet there is a kernel truth to the assertion that quality of life indicators are improving, as explored by Marian Tupy and other optimists. But the game of warfare is more complicated.
Steven Pinker in his compelling tome The Better Angels of Our Nature posits that warfare is declining. Numerous graphs and statistics are adduced to marshal his case for the ascent of peace. But since its publication in 2011, Pinker’s thesis has spurred internecine debates. But before embarking upon an exploration of Pinker’s audacious claim, we must assess

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Colonies Compared: Why British Colonies Were More Economically Successful

March 29, 2021

Last month, British black studies professor Kehinde Andrews argued that the British Empire was “far worse than the Nazis.” It was a controversial comparison to be sure, but it raises the question: Compared to other expansionist regimes, how bad was the British Empire?
A survey of the evidence suggests that the British Empire was relatively less harmful than other imperial efforts, and this is reflected in outcomes—in terms of health and economic growth, among other outcomes—compared among British colonies and other sovereign states in similar times and places.
This should not surprise us, since, as far as empires go, the British one was unusually liberal and open in terms of trade, centralization, and economic regulation.
One can certainly argue that colonial

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The Myths Behind the “Capitalism Is Racist” Claim

January 22, 2021

Though numerous studies prove the contrary, it is still widely assumed that capitalism perpetuates racism. Celebrities and academics incessantly broadcast the message that capitalism engenders racism. For example, recently on Twitter, superstar athlete Andre Iguodala informed his followers that capitalism cannot be divorced from racism: “Capitalism and racism go hand in hand. And you can’t have one without the other.” Equally scathing is the blistering declaration of sociologist Edna Bonacich in an academic review: “Capitalism and racism are closely connected….The huge wealth of America’s white-owned corporations rests on the backs of the hard labor of workers, many of whom are people of color.”
Despite the popularity of anticapitalist rhetoric, it is woefully

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Climate Change Policy Isn’t Worth Its High Cost

December 9, 2020

In most economies, inventories are valued at market prices, while in China they are valued by the authorities and adjusted later. This is just one of many ways China manipulates GDP data.

The year 2020 will be an extremely tough year for the European economy. Added to an unprecedented drop is a strong impact in the fourth quarter due to the new lockdowns. Morgan Stanley estimates that the eurozone’s GDP will fall by 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter, a 7 percent drop in the full year 2020. In addition, the investment bank has lowered the outlook for 2021, with a rebound of only 5 percent in the average of the euro area, delaying the recovery of 2019 GDP to 2023.
The “jobless recovery” is even more worrying. The apparently spectacular rebound data for the third

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No, the American Republic Was Not Founded on Slavery

October 31, 2020

The fact that some Americans supported slavery in the eighteenth century is not at all remarkable. Most of the world agreed with them. What is remarkable is that many of them sought to abolish slavery in the new republic.

This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.
Original Article: “No, the American Republic Was Not Founded on Slavery“.

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A Review of Stephanie Kelton’s The Deficit Myth
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No, the American Republic Was Not Founded on Slavery

October 30, 2020

Journalistic propaganda is a powerful instrument of indoctrination. Without evidence, foul ideas can easily penetrate mainstream discourse. For instance, recently it has become fashionable to posit that slavery is America’s original sin. To sensible people, this is a risible claim, because there is nothing particularly American about slavery. But revisiting the history of slavery in non-Western societies in Asia and Africa would do little to change the minds of America’s critics. A more appropriate strategy would be to contrast the opinions of the Founding Fathers on slavery with those of leaders in other countries. Only after undertaking this task will we be able to judge America.
In a larger historical context, asserting that some of the American founders owned

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Problems with Theories on the Black-White Wealth Gap

October 9, 2020

The wealth gap between white and black Americans is frequently discussed. Today it’s becoming popular to attribute disparities to black culture. Clearly all cultures are not equal, but can the subculture of some black American communities explain variations within the wealth gap?
For instance, fifty people in an inner-city neighborhood may engage in maladaptive activities; however, their actions are atypical of the broader black community. Discussing this issue is quite complicated since black culture is not monolithic. The culture of upper-class black Americans is different from that of their working-class peers. There are even subtle differences among various people from the working classes. Notwithstanding such nuances, the culture thesis is gaining

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The Failures of Federal Race-Based Paternalism

September 7, 2020

In an address to the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1865, Frederick Douglass noted that he had often been asked “What should we do with the Negro?” Douglass remarked:
I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall….And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!
Having been born into slavery, Douglass was a man who understood the failures of government policy quite well. Moreover, the paternalism of the plantation was perhaps something he had no desire to recreate in the halls of government

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