Monday , March 4 2024
Home / Ryan McMaken
Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken is the editor of Mises Wire and The Austrian. Send him your article submissions, but read article guidelines first. (Contact: email; twitter.) Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado, and was the economist for the Colorado Division of Housing from 2009 to 2014. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

Articles by Ryan McMaken

No, the Civil War Did Not Forever Settle the Matter of Secession

9 days ago

There are many arguments against secession. Some of them are quite prudent, such as those that simply contend that national separation may not be a good idea at this time. 
Many others are premised on the refusal to acknowledge the human right known as self-determination. This argument is wrong and immoral, and is nothing more than the traditional imperialist-colonialist argument repackaged for modern audiences. 
Perhaps the worst "argument" against secession is the use of the phrase "we tried it before and it didn’t work." I put "argument" in scare quotes because the statement isn’t an argument at all. It’s simply a claim that, because a political strategy failed in the past, it can never be tried again. Ever. 
We can see how simplistic this claim is when we

Read More »

Welfare for Migrants Ensures the Border Crisis Will Continue

11 days ago

Earlier this month, The New York Post reported that the mayor of New York is giving away pre-paid cash cards—each carrying "up to $10,000"— to foreign nationals in New York. Most of these foreign nationals—i.e., "illegal immigrants"—have arrived in New York with no invitation, no employment prospects, and no plan for housing. But most of them plan on staying. And why shouldn’t they? Upon arrival, thousands of them immediately went on the public dole in some way or another, relying on taxpayer-funded shelters, housing programs, and a variety of sources for "free" food. Those immigrants who have not found taxpayer funded housing in hotels—there are presently at least 66,000 of them—simply live on the taxpayer-funded streets as vagrants. 
The latest idea from the

Read More »

How the US Regime Subsidizes Immigration—both Legal and Illegal

18 days ago

In recent months, stories from both the legacy media and the independent media have continued to pile up on how undocumented foreign nationals—also known as “migrants” and “illegal aliens”—are able to take advantage of a vast network of taxpayer funded benefits in daycare, medical care, housing, and more.
For example, both the New York Post and Denver Post report that these foreign nationals have “overwhelmed” the Denver Health hospital system in Denver, and that the situation is “unsustainable.” Meanwhile, public schools report classrooms are filling up quickly with the children of these foreign nationals. Denver is hardly alone. The New York Post notes that both the City of New York and the state government have expanded local welfare programs, including

Read More »

A Short History of the Right to Self-Determination

19 days ago

Modern international law tends to grant a right to “remedial self-determination” only in extreme cases. Unfortunately, this position accepts that states ought to be free to violate human rights so long as the abuses fall short of war crimes and genocide. 
Original Article: A Short History of the Right to Self-Determination

[embedded content]

Tags: Featured,newsletter

Read More »

New Jobs Report: Full-Time Jobs Disappear as Fewer Americans Find Work

23 days ago

According to a new report from the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics last Friday, the US economy added 353,000 jobs for the month of January while the unemployment rate held at 3.7%. CNN news was sure to tell us that this was a "shockingly good jobs report" and it "shows America’s economy is booming." 
At this point, many of us who follow these numbers have become accustomed to the routine: the BLS reports "blowout" jobs numbers each month, and the legacy media dutifully reports that the jobs growth is astoundingly good, proving all is well in the economy. 
The media rarely reports on any other economic indicators with nearly as much enthusiasm. The monthly jobs report—well, one specific statistic within it—has become something of a proxy for the

Read More »

The December Jobs Report Is Mostly Bad News

January 13, 2024

According to a new report from the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics last Friday, the US economy added 216,000 jobs for the month while the unemployment rate held at 3.7%. NBC news was sure to tell us that this "beat expectations."  Market estimates suggested total jobs added at 170,000 with the unemployment rate at 3.8%.  The media’s general consensus on the report is that the jobs economy is "robust" and everything is heading on schedule toward a "soft landing" as predicted by Federal Reserve economists. 
What are we to make of this report? Well, the jobs market looks pretty good so long as one doesn’t dig any deeper than the first paragraph of the press release. But once we look more carefully as numerous indicators of employment as found in part

Read More »

The “Great Replacement” on the Frontier: When Anglo Immigrants Replaced Hispanics

January 11, 2024

The phrase "great replacement" has been increasingly thrown around by both conservatives and progressives in recent years. Conservatives claim the "great replacement theory" explains deliberate efforts by regime operatives to replace non-Hispanic whites with various groups of Hispanics and non-whites. Progressives, on the other hand, claim it is all a racist conspiracy theory. 
I won’t bore you with the details of the present political debate, but the idea that one demographic group can replace another—with vast political repercussions—is hardly a new idea. Indeed, the phenomenon has been observed in many times and places. Replacing one demographic group with another is often the explicit goal of settler colonization. This can be observed historically in parts of

Read More »

Immigration and Geopolitics: Should Latvia Have an Open Border with Russia?

January 9, 2024

In the debate over immigration among laissez-faire liberals and libertarians, one aspect of the open-borders side becomes quickly apparent: the debate generally ignores problems related to geopolitics such as international conflict, ethnic strife, and expansionist states. Rather, the libertarian advocates of open borders tend to focus overwhelmingly on why rich countries should open their borders to migrants from lower-income countries. These open-border arguments generally stick to listing the practical benefits of immigration in terms of economic factors like productivity and per capita GDP. It is assumed that open borders will necessarily lead to a rising standard of living for the residents of the host country. Yet, we rarely see these open-border arguments

Read More »

Why the Fed Sends Mixed Messages on Rate Cuts

January 5, 2024

The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee released the minutes to its December meeting yesterday, and the minutes further strengthen the view held by many Wall Street investors and observers that the Fed plans to implement rate cuts by the middle of 2024. Specifically, the most recent Fed survey of market participants "suggested that the first reduction in the policy rate would occur in June." 
This contrasts only slightly with the FOMC members themselves, who, in their own internal survey (i.e., the Summary of Economic Projections,or SEP) overwhelmingly suggests a cut to the policy rate of at least 50 basis points this year. Or as the minutes put it: "almost all participants indicated that, reflecting the improvements in their inflation outlooks, their baseline

Read More »

The Bill of Rights: The Only Good Part of the Constitution

January 4, 2024

The Bill of Rights turns 232 years old today. Adopted in 1791 as a consolation prize for the Anti-Federalists,  it has been the most important part of American legal history since the 18th century.
Original Article: The Bill of Rights: The Only Good Part of the Constitution

[embedded content]

Tags: Featured,newsletter

Read More »

Why More Secession Means Lower Taxes and More Trade

January 3, 2024

[This article is Chapter 9 of Breaking Away: The Case of Secession, Radical Decentralization, and Smaller Polities.]
When we hear of political movements in favor of decentralization and secession, the word “nationalist” is often used to describe them. We have seen the word used in both the Scottish and Catalonian secession movements, and in the case of Brexit. Often the term is intended to be pejorative.
When used pejoratively—as by the critics of Brexit—the implication is that the separatists seek to exit a larger political entity for the purposes of increasing isolation, throwing up greater barriers to trade, and pursuing a more autarkic economic policy. In other words, we’re supposed to believe that efforts at decentralizing political systems leads to states

Read More »

When Nationalism Fuels Decentralization and Secession: Lessons from the Cold War

January 1, 2024

[This article is chapter 6 of Breaking Away: The Case for Secession, Radical Decentralization, and Smaller Polities. Now available at Amazon and in the Mises Store.]
During the early 1990s, as the world of the old Soviet Bloc was rapidly falling apart, the economist and historian Murray Rothbard saw it all for what it was: a trend of mass decentralization and secession unfolding before the world’s eyes. The old Warsaw Pact states of Poland, Hungary, and others won both de jure and de facto independence for the first time in decades. Other groups within the Soviet Union began to demand full blown de jure independence as well.
Rothbard approved of this, and he set to work encouraging the secessionists over the opposition of many foreign policy “experts.”

Read More »

Why Secession Offers a Path to Wealth and Self-Determination

December 28, 2023

[This article is chapter 5 of Breaking Away: The Case for Secession, Radical Decentralization, and Smaller Polities. Now available at Amazon and in the Mises Store.]
One of the most consistent and enthusiastic defenders of human rights and “natural rights” in the twentieth century was the economist and historian Murray Rothbard. A self-described libertarian, Rothbard would also have fit in well among the more radical liberals of the nineteenth century such as the Belgian-French economist Gustave de Molinari and the American anarchist Lysander Spooner.
Like Spooner—a New England abolitionist who advocated for the dissolution of the United States through secession—Rothbard supported the “radical decentralization” of the state. Indeed, Rothbard regarded secession and

Read More »

Rothbard and Mises vs. Calhoun on the Natural Right to Secede

December 20, 2023

There are many reasons to support the breaking up states into smaller pieces. This is done via secession, and acts of secession produce smaller states. All else being equal, smaller states tend to be richer and they tend to have lower taxes. They tend to exercise less power over the resident population—because it’s easier for people to escape smaller states than larger ones. Moreover, setting these tangible and practical considerations aside, secession may also be desirable simply as a matter of freeing minority populations from the control of a larger dominating majority. For much of the world in the 1990s, the benefits of secession were self-evident as more than a dozen new states seceded from the Soviet Union when it collapsed. 
But do human beings have a right

Read More »

From the Editor—November/December 2023

December 20, 2023

The Mises Institute is different. We don’t change our positions or our ideology to match the current zeitgeist. Rather, we’re in it for the long haul. Our business is to change the minds of both scholars and the general public. Victory in the battle of ideas doesn’t begin in legislative committee rooms. It begins in classrooms and living rooms.
To achieve this goal, it’s important to not sacrifice consistency to score some short-term and fleeting victories. This is why the Mises Institute hasn’t changed its core positions in the forty-plus years of its existence. Today we’re just as opposed to the state, its socialism, and its wars as we were when Lew Rockwell founded the Institute decades ago.
One of the specific positions that really sets us apart in this way is

Read More »

How Fossil Fuel Revolutionized Our Kitchens and Our Food

December 16, 2023

Coal drove the development of a whole new way of cooking and a radically different diet. A menu based upon coal-fired food was the cuisine that accompanied industrialization. Food and fuel were intricately linked in a fossil fuel-burning age.
Original Article: How Fossil Fuel Revolutionized Our Kitchens and Our Food

[embedded content]

Tags: Featured,newsletter

Read More »

Napoleon: Europe’s First Egalitarian Despot

December 11, 2023

For those who value self-determination, free markets, peace, and freedom, Napoleon provides little to be admired. He was a despot, a warmonger, a centralist, and a hypocrite who claimed to spread freedom to justify his own lust for conquest and power. 
Original Article: Napoleon: Europe’s First Egalitarian Despot

[embedded content]

Tags: Featured,newsletter

Read More »

The First Enemies of Free Markets Were Conservatives, Not Socialists

December 7, 2023

As with the Republican party and the conservative movement in the United States, conservatism in the United Kingdom does not constitute a coherent ideological movement. It is, rather, a coalition of ideological groups and interest groups. Some of these are fairly libertarian in nature, as with the Thatcherites. On the other hand, conservative parties and activist groups also contain traditionalist conservatives and nationalists, neither of which are primarily or necessarily free-market or laissez-faire in orientation. The general free-market orientation of conservatives tend to come from the fact that they are anti-Left and anti-socialist. In the UK, as elsewhere, to be anti-Left means in many cases to be de facto pro-market (to varying extents).
A similar

Read More »

The Money Supply Continues its Biggest Collapse Since the Great Depression

December 5, 2023

Money supply growth fell again in October, remaining deep in negative territory after turning negative in November 2022 for the first time in twenty-eight years. October’s drop continues a steep downward trend from the unprecedented highs experienced during much of the past two years.
Since April 2021, money supply growth has slowed quickly, and since November, we’ve been seeing the money supply repeatedly contract year over year. The last time the year-over-year (YOY) change in the money supply slipped into negative territory was in November 1994. At that time, negative growth continued for fifteen months, finally turning positive again in January 1996. 
Money-supply growth has now been negative for twelve months in a row. During October 2023, the downturn

Read More »

How Fossil Fuel Revolutionized Our Kitchens and Our Food

November 23, 2023

[The Domestic Revolution: How the Introduction of Coal into Victorian Homes Changed Everything, by Ruth Goodman, Liveright Publishing Corporation; 2020. xxi + 330 pp.]
The subtitle of Ruth Goodman’s book The Domestic Revolution doesn’t come close to describing what this book is really about. Yes, this book tells us a lot about coal and how it affected Victorian domestic life. But this book is really about how what we eat and how we prepare food has been closely tied to economic, industrial, and technological changes over 400 years of history. 
Moreover, this book will provide some valuable perspective for anyone who thinks he or she spends a lot of time "slaving" over a hot stove. Whatever time we spend cooking and cleaning in the twenty-first century is nothing

Read More »

Napoleon: Europe’s First Egalitarian Despot

November 22, 2023

With the release of Ridley Scott’s new film Napoleon, viewers encounter a cinematic version of Napoleon caught up in a tumultuous romance against the backdrop of the upheavals of the Napoleonic wars. 
This has revived interest in the French military commander and left many wondering what they are to make of the real, historical Napoleon. For many Americans in the audience—who, unlike Europeans, devote virtually no time to Napoleon in school—this may be the first time they’ve thought much about Napoleon at all. 
Overall, this question certainly isn’t new. Napoleon does not have a reputation like Hitler, for example. Even people who have never read a history book in their lives know they’re not supposed to like that guy. Nor are we routinely told that Napoleon is

Read More »

You’re Paying for the Israel War. You’ll Also Pay for the Refugees.

November 21, 2023

Resettling Gazans in America—at taxpayer expense—will be sold as a "humanitarian" effort, but anyone who sees through the propaganda will see that it’s really all a cynical effort to please Israeli politicians.
Original Article: You’re Paying for the Israel War. You’ll Also Pay for the Refugees.

[embedded content]

Tags: Featured,newsletter

Read More »

You’re Paying for the Israel War. You’ll Also Pay for the Refugees.

November 15, 2023

The United States regime has picked sides in the Israel-Hamas war and has committed to funding Israel’s ongoing bombing of non-combatant men, women, and children in the Gaza strip. Northern Gaza’s infrastructure is now all but destroyed, with millions of Gazans displaced and homeless. Nearly ten times more Gazans than Israelis have now died in the conflict. Many Gazans have fled to the southern portion of Gaza, but homelessness and abject poverty awaits them there. 
By employing what is essentially the carpet-bombing approach, Tel Aviv has made the choice of adopting a policy that is sure to produce hundreds of thousands of refugees—or perhaps even more than a million. Indeed, many in the Israeli regime are motivated to maximize refugees, and push Gazans out of

Read More »

The Fed Has No Plan, and Is Just Hoping for the Best

November 10, 2023

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) last week left the target policy interest rate (the federal funds rate) unchanged at 5.5 percent. This "pause" in the target rate suggests the FOMC believes it has raised the target rate high enough to rein in price inflation which has run well above the Fed’s arbitrary two-percent inflation target since mid-2021. I say "believe," but perhaps the more appropriate word here is "hope." 
That is: the Fed hopes it has raised the target interest rate high enough. Moreover, the Fed hopes this will both reign in price inflation and also avoid raising unemployment too high. (See below for what is meant by "enough" and "too high.")
After all, the Fed has no idea what the "correct" federal funds rate is to achieve

Read More »

There’s No Easy Way Out of This Debt Spiral

November 7, 2023

We’re about six weeks into fiscal year 2024, but if this year looks anything like last year, we can assume the federal government will continue to pile up debt at astonishing rates. 
According to the September Monthly Treasury report, the US government accumulated an additional 1.7 trillion dollars in debt for the 2023 fiscal year, which ended October 31.  That’ up by $319 billion, or 23 percent, from the 2022 fiscal year. As recently as June, budget-watchers had estimated the year-end deficit would be $1.5 trillion, but deficits quickly added on an unexpected $200 billion by years’ end:

The pace of increase, however, may have been even higher than 23 percent. As CNN noted, the $1.7 trillion number may reflect some creative accounting. As CNN reports, the

Read More »

October’s Sobering Jobs Report Adds to Mounting Bad Economic News

November 4, 2023

The Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) released new jobs data on Friday. According to the report, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs rose 150,000 jobs in October, month over month. The unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.8 percent to 3.9 percent over the same period. 
The headline payroll increase of 150,000, however, was possibly among the best news to be found in today’s new jobs data, however. Once we delve more deeply into the numbers, we find substantial evidence that the "strength" of the job situation is greatly overstated by the payroll numbers while employed persons, wages, and other measures point to trouble ahead in in economy already strained by growing bankruptcies, mounting debts, and disappearing savings. 
For example, more than one-third of all

Read More »

American History Is a Preview of the Israel-Palestine End Game

October 28, 2023

As news of the Hamas attack on southern Israel began to trickle in on October 7, many who follow the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict knew the bad news was just beginning. It was immediately obvious that the ferocity of the Hamas attack, and the high proportion of women and children among the victims, would provide the Israeli state with political justification to launch devastating and revanchist attacks against civilians within the Gaza strip in retaliation. 
Indeed, deaths on the Gaza side now greatly outnumber deaths and injuries suffered by the Israeli population. Whereas Israeli deaths total approximately 1,400, deaths among Palestinians—more than half of them civilians—likely number over 5,000. Hamas has already been ejected from Israeli territory, so from

Read More »

Get the US Out of the Middle East

October 13, 2023

Hamas’s invasion of Israel happened in spite of decades of US intervention and spending in favor of Tel Aviv. Yet, this ongoing conflict has nothing at all to do with the safety and security of the United States itself. It’s time for the US to get out. 

Original Article: Get the US Out of the Middle East

[embedded content]

Tags: Featured,newsletter

Read More »

Dollarization Puts Foreign Economies at the Mercy of the US Regime

October 11, 2023

Some free-market advocates are pushing for dollarization in Argentina. But the devastating US sanctions against Panama in 1989 show us how dollarization helps the US exercise more hegemonic power over foreign economies. 

Original Article: Dollarization Puts Foreign Economies at the Mercy of the US Regime

[embedded content]

Tags: Featured,newsletter

Read More »

The Left Is Now Telling Us (Ukrainian) Nazis Aren’t So Bad After All

October 11, 2023

Members of the Canadian Parliament recently applauded a Ukrainian member of the Nazi Waffen-SS during World War II. Apparently, it’s now okay to be a Nazi so long as you’re fighting the Russians.

Original Article: The Left Is Now Telling Us (Ukrainian) Nazis Aren’t So Bad After All

[embedded content]

Tags: Featured,newsletter

Read More »