Liberty Fund

Liberty Fund was founded in 1960 by Pierre F. Goodrich, an Indianapolis lawyer and businessman, to the end that some hopeful contribution may be made to the preservation, restoration, and development of individual liberty through investigation, research, and educational activity.


Great books are the repository of knowledge and experience. Liberty Fund seeks to preserve the wisdom and learning of the ages and to strengthen our understanding and appreciation of individual liberty and responsibility.

For over four decades, Liberty Fund has made available some of the finest books in history, politics, philosophy, law, education, and economics—books of enduring value that have helped to shape ideas and events in man’s quest for liberty, order, and justice.

Featured Book Commentary on Filangieri’s Work

By Benjamin Constant
Edited and Translated by Alan S. Kahan

Commentary on Filangieri’s Work addresses the principal political and social questions that Benjamin Constant, one of the most important liberal thinkers of the nineteenth century, ever discussed. This translation will help give the work its deserved importance in political theory.


Commentary on Filangieri’s Work


These resources are designed to further Liberty Fund’s educational activities. They include classic works in the tradition of limited government, as well as lively current discussions of how classical-liberal principles apply in today’s world.

Law & Liberty October 17, 2019

Contending with Demons

Dostovesky suggests an appeal to the nation untouched with a concern for eternity itself will prove insufficient to defeat ideology.

EconLog October 16, 2019

Is the UK about to become Canada?, by Scott Sumner

Overall, I believe the EU has had a positive effect on Europe. Unfortunately, it has become too interventionist in some areas, especially when imposing regulations that are better left to national or local governments. At the same time, in many other areas it has not gone nearly far enough, especially in terms of creating a free trade zone in services.

The UK is likely to leave the EU in the near future and there are indications that it may adopt a relationship that is roughly like the relationship between Canada and the US:

What really matters is that Mr Johnson is seeking a goods-only or “Canada minus” deal for the rest of the UK.                             

This will involve only minimal coverage of services, they write. “It will also involve significant non-tariff barriers on trade”, because there will be extra costs for business as the UK operates its own customs regime. 

This means the Johnson deal is far worse for the economy than Theresa May’s. Menon and Portes calculate that, under the May deal, income per capita would have been 1.7 per cent lower than under continued EU membership.

Law & Liberty October 16, 2019

Prohibition and the Constitution’s Limits

Prohibition may have been disastrous for America, but it reflected a deep respect for American constitutionalism we should envy today.

EconLog October 16, 2019

A Coupon for Kids, by Bryan Caplan

Imagine I offer you a coupon for “CHOCOLATE – 25% off!” and you respond…

You fail to consider that chocolate is fattening!  Also, it can kill dogs.  And it’s linked to acne.  Furthermore, many people are diabetic.  And lots of people are too poor to buy chocolate even if it’s 50% off.  I also have to tell you that chocolate melts.  Sometimes it makes your hands sticky.  And when you’re hands are covered with melted chocolate, you might get ugly stains on your clothes.  And dry cleaning costs money.

I trust you’ll agree that this is a bizarre reaction to a chocolate coupon.  Reasonable people will save their breath and do one of the following:

a. Take the coupon, buy as much chocolate as they originally planned, and enjoy the extra consumer surplus.

b. Take the coupon, buy more chocolate than they originally planned, and enjoy the extra consumer surplus.

c. Discard the coupon.

Law & Liberty October 17, 2019

Reviving the Contract Clause: An Acid Test for Originalism

The Commerce Clause offers the most explicit recognition of the beneficence of private ordering in the entire Constitution. Why can't it be revived?

OLL November 21, 2011

John Hopkins’s Notions on Political Economy (Jane Haldimand Marcet)

John Hopkins’s Notions on Political Economy (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, 1833).

Liberty Forum October 1, 2019

“Two Kaisers in the Same Grave”: Prohibition at 100

The centennial of Prohibition is an opportunity to retrace our steps and consider afresh the limits of politics.

OLL November 21, 2011

The Unconstitutionality of Slavery: Part Second (1860) (Lysander Spooner)

The Unconstitutionality of Slavery: Part Second (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1860).

AdamSmithWorks August 9, 2018

The Theory of Moral Sentiments: Part VII, Section III, Chapter I

Of those Systems which deduce the Principle of Approbation from Self-Love

EconTalk October 14, 2019

Andrew McAfee on More from Less

More-From-Less-199x300.jpgAndrew McAfee of MIT’s Sloan School of Management talks about his book, More from Less, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. McAfee argues that technology is helping developed nations use fewer resources in producing higher levels of economic output. The improvement is not just a reduction in energy per dollar of GDP but less energy in […]

Law & Liberty October 16, 2019

Wanting the Worst

Without “a minimum of envy,” Helmut Schoeck argues, the traditions that provide stability and order would be swept away by eager revolutionaries.

OLL | Quotations August 27, 2007

The IVth Amendment to the American Constitution states that the people shall be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures and that no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause (1788)

Liberty Law Talk October 15, 2019

Justifying Originalism

Originalism provides the surest way to access the Constitution's legal meaning and then to implement it over time.

OLL | Quotations October 16, 2006

In Measure for Measure Shakespeare has Isabella denounce the Duke's deputy for being corrupted by power, "it is excellent To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant" (1623)


Econlib April 4, 2018


Natural Resources, from theConcise Encyclopedia of Economics

The earth’s natural resources are finite, which means that if we use them continuously, we will eventually exhaust them. This basic observation is undeniable. But another way of looking at the issue is far more relevant for assessing social welfare. Our exhaustible and unreproducible natural resources, if measured in terms of their prospective contribution to human welfare, can actually increase year after year, perhaps never coming anywhere near exhaustion. How can this be? The answer lies in the fact that the effective stocks of natural resources are continually expanded by the same technological developments that have fueled the extraordinary growth in living standards since the industrial revolution….

Environmental Quality, from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

There are many different measures of environmental quality, and most of those in use show that environmental quality is improving. For example, from 1970 to 2000, concentrations of carbon monoxide, a pollutant, fell by 75 percent in the United States and by 95 percent in the United Kingdom. From 1975 to 2000, nitrogen oxides declined by 35 percent in the United States and by 40 percent in the United Kingdom. The percentage of beaches in Denmark not complying with local or European Union regulations fell from 14 percent in 1980 to approximately 1 percent by 2000. Between 1969 and 1994, DDT and PCB contamination of fish fell by more than 80 percent. Indeed, it is difficult to find measures indicating that environmental quality is deteriorating in countries enjoying relatively high incomes….

OLL | Images of Liberty April 13, 2016

New Picture of Tocqueville in 1848

Friday 10 February 2012 While putting Tocqueville's "Recollections" online I found this lovely "photogravure" picture of him here which I compare to a contemporary picture of Bastiat, both of whom served in the Chamber of Deputies during the 1848 Revolution. Tocqueville_Recollections1600-portrait400.jpg



OLL | Liberty Fund Books November 21, 2011

The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State and Other Essays (1978 ed.) (Auberon Herbert)

Herbert state compulsionA collection of essays by a leading late-19th century radical individualist and follower of the ideas of Herbert Spencer. Herbert discusses the moral problems of state coercion, especially when applied to state education, and outlines the principles of “voluntaryism”.

OLL September 6, 2013

Gustave de Molinari, “Of the Liberty of Government” (1849) (Gustave de Molinari)

MolinariThe Best of the OLL No. 53: Gustave de Molinari, “Of the Liberty of Government” (1849) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2013).

CEE February 5, 2018

Foreign Aid

CEE foreign aidForeign aid as a form of capital flow is novel in both its magnitude and its global coverage. Though historical examples of countries paying “bribes” (see below) or “reparations” to others are numerous, the continuing large-scale transfer of capital from rich-country governments to those of poor countries is a post–World War II phenomenon. The origins of these transfers lie in the breakdown of the international capital market in the period between the two world wars and in the rivalry for political allies during the cold war.

The breakdown of the international capital market provided the impetus for the creation of the World Bank at Bretton Woods. Its purpose was to provide loans at market interest rates to poor countries that were shut out of Western capital markets—especially the largest, the United States—because of their widespread defaults in the 1930s and the imposition of the U.S. government’s “blue sky” laws, which forbade U.S. financial intermediaries to hold foreign government bonds. Meanwhile, European markets were closed through exchange controls; the United Kingdom, for example, had its exchange controls until 1979. Official loans to poor countries at commercial interest rates, as laid down in the charter of the World Bank’s parent, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, would have been justified purely on efficiency grounds to intermediate the transfer of capital from where it was less scarce to where it was scarcer.

OLL | Liberty Matters September 3, 2019

Carlo Lottieri, "Exchanges, Claims, and Powers: About Bruno Leoni's Social Theory" (September, 2019)

Liberty MattersIn this discussion, Carlo Lottieri, Professor of Philosophy of Law at the University of Verona, argues that the main intellectual contribution of the Italian jurist Bruno Leoni (1913-1967) is usually connected to his analysis of the opposition between legislation and law, between the order built by lawmakers on one side and the set of norms defined by jurists (as in Roman jus civile) or courts (as in ancient English common law) on the other. But at the core of his analysis is what he wrote about individual claims: the idea that the legal order is the outcome of specific individual activity when people demand something from the other members of society. However, he argues, that two aspects of Leoni’s theory are quite problematic. First, a philosophy identifying law with the most common claims cancels the tension between legality and legitimacy, between what is and what should be. Second, from the perspective of a general theory of law, it seems reasonable that human coexistence can be better explained if we introduce something more demanding than simple exchange and at the same time something less demanding but no less important, namely the permanent presence of violent behavior. Carlo is joined in the discussion by Boudewijn Bouckaert, professor emeritus of the Ghent University Law School in Belgium; Peter T. Leeson, the Duncan Black Professor of Economics and Law at George Mason University; and Edward Peter Stringham, the Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation at Trinity College.

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