2016 Miami Biennial Congress Papers

The Battle for Freedom: Where We Stand, Roads for Progress

September 18-23, 2016

Presidential Address by Pedro Schwartz Giron

Plenary Papers by Session

Session 1: Economic Freedom

Session 2: The Rule of Law

Session 3: Welfare State and Redistributive Factions

Session 4: Government Spending

  • Title: A Turning Point in American Fiscal Policy: Fiscal Stimulus or Structural Reform?
    Author: John B. Taylor
    Notes: This paper argues that whether the U.S. renews or turns away from discretionary demand-side policy should depend on (a) an assessment of the actual impact of discretionary fiscal packages during the past 15 years and (b) the estimated impact of budget reform with fiscal consolidation going forward. The papers reviews research that uses macroeconomic models to estimate the impact of recent stimulus packages; considers the direct impact of stimulus programs; and examines models designed to estimate the impact of fiscal consolidation plans, including those methods now used by the Congressional Budget Office.
  • Title:Better Than Government: New Ways of Managing Life’s Risks
    Author: John C. Goodman
    Notes: The paper argues there are Pareto optimal changes that might be implemented to allow individuals to benefit from opting out of government-run social insurance schemes, which simultaneously leaving taxpayers with a smaller burden to carry.
  • Title: Hyman Minsky: An advocate of Big Government
    Author: Juan Ramon Rallo
    Notes: Minsky’s defense of Big Government as a tool for stabilizing aggregate spending through budget deficits has become exceedingly influential. This paper offers a critique based on the crowding-out effects of government spending; the growth-hindering effects of bailing out inefficient enterprises; and the reshaping of the institutional structure of incentives by rewarding financial imprudence.

Session 5: History as the Fulcrum of Liberty

  • Title: Capitalism and the Historians Revisited
    Author: Tyler Goodspeed
    Notes: This paper offers a broad survey of the teaching of history, at the graduate and undergraduate levels, at a sample of European, North American, South American, Asian, and Oceanic universities. It finds that instruction in economic history is generally favorable to the historical role of markets in economic development, though there are non-trivial differences between history as taught in economics departments versus history departments, as well as regional variation in methodology and content.
  • Title:Could the History of Political Economy Still Help us Defend Human Freedom?
    Author: Maria Blanco and Pedro Schwartz
    Notes: This paper analyzes reasons the history of economic thought is no longer an inspiration for the defenders of freedom. In particular, it examines the changes of direction in economic thought at two crucial moments in the development of economic theory: first in the 1870s, when the classical era of economic thought ended and a narrow application of mathematics to economics began to prevail; and second in the 1930s, when John Maynard Keynes changed the paradigm of the greater part of the economics profession.
  • Title: Socrates and the Unending Trials of Impiety
    Author: James Otteson
    Notes: The paper posits that one lesson of the study of human history, which may lead toward classical liberal conclusions, is the enduring conflict between defenders of the status quo, who typically see themselves as preserving ancient, sometimes holy, traditions; and, on the other hand, intellectual, moral, and social entrepreneurs who wish to strike out in new directions, beating new paths and exploring new frontiers of human possibility.

Session 6: Moral Foundations of the Free Society

  • Title: Can Religion Serve As a Foundation for the Free Society?
    Author: Sam Gregg
    Notes: The paper outlines criteria by which one can consider whether a given religion is likely to support the growth and development of free societies in which unjust coercion is minimized. Among them: a religion’s understanding of the Divinity; a religion’s view of reason and free choice; and a religion’s conception of the state, especially its view of constitutionalism, understood not simply as a power-map but as arrangements which impose limits on the exercise of power and guarantee basic freedoms.
  • Title: The Place of Religion in the Quest for a Free Society
    Author: Onkar Ghate and Yaron Brook
    Notes: The paper argues that while a free society requires basic agreement on the purpose of government and law, it need not have a religious base. Rather, it posits an inverse relationship between religiosity in a society and its ability to strive for political freedom.

Session 7: The Security of the Free Society

  • Title: Against Militarism
    Author: Christopher Coyne
    Notes: The paper argues that militarism is the main channel through which the most dangerous and obnoxious aspects of Leviathan emerge, expand, and infect all areas of domestic life. It calls on classical liberals to combat what it sees as a dominant militaristic ideology that underpins U.S. foreign policy.
  • Title: Private Sector Options for Security of a Free Society
    Author: Erik Prince
    Notes: The paper looks at the advantage of private sector solutions to modern “Fourth Generation Warfare” largely involving non-state actors using previously classified commercial technology. It argues classical liberals should welcome competition to solving security concerns and that private actors should be judged against government-led efforts on the basis of accountability, reliability and cost.
  • Title: Technology, Privacy, and Security: The Case of Executive Order 12333
    Author: Kiron K. Skinner
    Notes: Do intelligence statutes and rules substantially contribute to U.S. security, or are they examples of government overreach? This paper looks at the case of Executive Order 12333 and whether it permits government agencies to act in ways that violates individual rights protected by the Constitution. It hi ghlights how government bodies are struggling to develop rules that keep pace with evolving technologies.

Session 8: The Battle for the Free Society in the Academy and in the World of Think Tanks