The Basic Truths of Saysian Economics and Their Contemporary Relevance教育阿特拉斯大學
The Basic Truths of Saysian Economics and Their Contemporary Relevance

The Basic Truths of Saysian Economics and Their Contemporary Relevance

August 8, 2023

This article was originally published by the Foundation for Economic Education and has been reposted under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.

Having studied quite a lot of political economy over the past four decades, and critically, I must say that I consider A Treatise on Political Economy (1803)1 by Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832)2 to be best work ever published in the field. It easily surpasses anything contemporary but also Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776) and Ludwig von Mises’s Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (1949). Nothing beats it. Not coincidently, I also judge Say to be history’s greatest political economist, indeed, “capitalism’s economist” (though the term “capitalism” wasn’t coined until 1850).3 He also wrote for beginners a succinct Catechism of Political Economy, with a Q&A format.4

Say, once accurately described as a “neglected champion of laissez-faire,”5 was original and provocative. I’d go so far as to say he was so ahead of his time that economists today are best interpreted as being well behind the times, at least scientifically speaking, because so many of them are virtual mercantilists (at least implicitly), thus pre-Smithian. Erosion in the quality and relevance of economics makes Say more relevant and helpful today than ever. Whether you’re a friend, a foe, or mixed in your view of capitalism, you should feel both obliged and motivated to grasp Say’s methodology, principles, and policy advice; armed with all that, you’ll find today’s often complex and confusing world to be more understandable, manageable, predictable, and curable. His Treatise will be prized by anyone who values prosperity, wants it examined clearly, and wishes to know its prerequisites.

Salsman: Economics in "Atlas Shrugged"

Why “Saysian Economics”

In coining the phrase “Saysian economics” in 20036 I sought to crystallize and “capture the essence of Say’s doctrines: the sanctity of private property, the primacy of production, the creative entrepreneur, the virtue of saving, the benefits of capital formation, the need for gold-based money, the gains from unilateral free trade and the case for laissez-faire capitalism.” I explained how “these are the causes of prosperity and investment portfolio gains,” while “departures from these principles bring poverty and portfolio losses.” Finally, I stressed that although “Saysian economics is the opposite of Keynesian economics” the latter, tragically, remains predominant.

Keynesianism persists for three reasons, I think. First, for a century or so, with rare exceptions, Saysian economics just hasn’t been taught, thus hasn’t been known, hence hasn’t been applied to ongoing events, or used to guide policy.7 Second, due to the first reason, Keynesianism is now seen as the “only game in town,” as the “go-to” policy cure for crises and recessions, even though, as a mere modern mode of mercantilism, it’s more often the cause of such troubles. Third, Keynesianism reflects and rationalizes the biases of statists who distrust or detest capitalism for ideological-political reasons and wish (always) to expand the size, scope and power of the state.

Nevertheless, with Saysian and Keynesian models available for all to see and assess, a more robust, fruitful debate can ensue. It’s helpful that “Saysian” and “Keynesian” rhymes (my intent). I hope before long the term “Saysian” will be heard at least as often as “Keynesian.” Meantime, friends of capitalism who hear “Keynesian economics” and “Keynesian policy prescriptions” should cite “Saysian economics” and offer “Saysian policy prescriptions.”

Say’s Principles: Original, Provocative, Timeless

Among historians of thought, Say is often miscast as a mere “popularizer” of Adam Smith’s works, but though he admired Smith as a pioneer, he was no mimic. Many passages in the Treatise identify Smith’s methodological and doctrinal errors and substitute truths in their place. For Say, Smith wasn’t sufficiently pro-capitalist. In a letter to Malthus in 1821 he wrote: “Smith has not embraced all the phenomena of the production and consumption of wealth,” and though “I revere Adam Smith,” nevertheless “I learned to go alone. Now I have ceased to belong to any school.” “I submit to the decrees of eternal reason, and I am not afraid to declare it.” The Treatise rejects roughly a half-dozen of Smith’s erroneous ideas, including his belief in the labor theory of value, his denial of the productivity of services, and his defense of usury laws. Say’s objectivity and independence made him reject the labor theory of value even as predecessors and successors—Smith (1776), Ricardo (1817), Malthus (1821), Mill (1848), and Marx (1869)—accepted it in their own texts, helping promote (by intent or not) anti-capitalism.

Summarizing his main discoveries and doctrines, we find that Say:

  1. contends that strict preservation and protection of private property advances both justice and prosperity;
  2. explains how intelligence is the main source of wealth and profit is the net production of wealth, not a “theft” from laborers nor an unearned monopolist “rent”;
  3. explains why a harmony of interests exists among seemingly disparate classes and all the factors of production, and why machinery is good and not, as Smith, Ricardo, and Marx believed, a source of alienation or mass joblessness;
  4. recognizes entrepreneurs as the premier producers, because skilled solicitors, organizers, motivators, and payers of the various factors of productions
  5. defends as productive what later became known as the “service sector” (including finance);
  6. promulgates the “law of markets” (later, “Say’s Law”), the principle that supply constitutes demand, that production has primacy (we must produce before we can demand), that aggregate supply and aggregate demand are inseparable (like two sides of a coin), so no aggregate “over-production” (or “general glut”) can possibly arise;8
  7. explains how recessions are caused not by prior episodes of “over-production” (or “deficient demand”) but by government impediments to producing and profiting (such as punitive or arbitrary taxation and regulation);
  8. rejects the labor theory of value (that economic value reflects some embodied time spent in manual labor) and in its stead explicates and advances the idea that utility is the sole basis of value and price, as embodied in prices;
  9. shows that the value of finished goods determines production costs (not the reverse);
  10. distinguishes demand and consumption, the first being a desire to purchase coupled with purchasing power (prior production), the latter a destruction (using up) of wealth; real demand is synonymous with supply; consumption per se (unless part of a net-value creation in a production process) is no boon to wealth-creation.9

That Say’s principles and policies are sorely needed today should be evident when we recall the pervasive trailing influence of myths perpetrated by Malthus, Marx, and Keynes. Malthus was the Keynes of Say’s time (early 1800s), a “general glut” worrywart, but Say refuted him directly in an exchange of letters,10 and so thoroughly as well, by using timeless principles, that the refutations were no less applicable (and devastating) to subsequent versions of similar error, whether pushed by Sismondi (1773-1842), Rodbertus (1805-1875), Marx, (1818-1883) or Keynes (1883-1946). It wasn’t necessary re-invent the wheel (Say’s Law), only to recall and re-apply it.

Sustainable Prosperity Requires the Protection of Private Property

Say was a principled defender of the constitutionally limited state, even more consistently so than many of his classically liberal contemporaries (or successors). To his credit, he was also no anarchist.

Perhaps Say is at his best when explaining the connection between politically protected property rights and economic progress. He devotes an entire chapter of the Treatise to “the right of property” and explains its many positive consequences. Economic derangements, in contrast, reflect rights violations.11 “Of all the means by which a government can stimulate production,” he wrote, “none is so powerful as the perfect security of person and property, especially from the aggressions of arbitrary power. This security is itself a source of public prosperity.”

Salsman: Rent Selling Countries are More Corrupt and Less Wealthy

According to Say, “the healthy state of industry and wealth is the state of absolute liberty, in which each interest is left to take care of itself.” Only with security of private property and sanctity of voluntary contract “can the sources of production, namely land, capital and industry, attain their utmost degree of fecundity.” Economic stagnation ensues if, due to bad policies, producer confidence wanes. “In times of political confusion and under an arbitrary government,” Say explains, “many will prefer to keep their capital inactive, concealed and unproductive, either of profit or gratification, rather than run the risk of its display. This latter evil is never felt under good government.” The “immutable laws” of political economy, as is so of the physical sciences, are true regardless of opinion, regardless of convention. Say gets this—and shows it—by his rational, integrative approach.

The Tragic Failure of Say’s Successors

Sadly, too few influential economists in the past century have grasped or used Saysian economics (or Say’s Law) to combat falsehoods. That’s why we see economies periodically enmeshed in destructive crises (1930s, 1970s, 2000-02, 2008-10, 2020) caused not by “market failure” but government failure—not by capitalism but varieties of anti-capitalism—with misdiagnoses ensuring future crises. We see economies weighed down by rights-abridging labor laws (including minimum wage laws), financial sector regulation, and punitive-confiscatory taxation, embodying Marxian myths “alienation,” “exploitation,” and “parasitism.” We observe persistent and pervasive Keynesian myths claiming that “deficient demand” causes recessions or that “excessive growth” causes inflation; such myths give rise to volatile, damaging monetary policies, debt monetization, and misnamed deficit-spending “stimulus” schemes that depress economies.12 We see tax codes hailed as “progressive,” as if progress flows from confiscatory rates and wealth is multiplied by dividing it. Meanwhile, “pro-market” neoclassical economists push perpetual government “fixes” to cure “market failures,” defined as market winners who disobey imaginary features of a Platonic-egalitarian model of an alleged “perfect” competition.13 We see economies strain under anti-capitalist environmental agencies and policies that codify sensational, unproved claims and phobias, derived mainly from long-refuted Malthusian myths, about “excessive” population growth and resource depletion.

Today most of Say’s doctrines are flatly denied (or blithely ignored) by Keynesians. Say’s views are most closely endorsed by supply-side economists, although today’s supply-siders are but a pale imitation of Say (and perpetuate many Keynesian fallacies). Nevertheless, even the (watered-down) supply-side program of Reaganomics in the 1980s (of which we still see vestiges today) was closer to Saysian economics than to Keynesian economics (which dominated in the 1960s and 1970s).14 Economic-investment performance has been far better under Saysian policies than Keynesian policies.

"Old, but True Always" Beats "New, but False"

Why consult a treatise that’s two centuries old? Many of Say’s principles have been lost or obscured, to the detriment of sound policy and sustainable prosperity. The Treatise is also a powerful antidote to the many Keynesian and Marxian notions that persist today and still inflict harm. Lost knowledge has bedeviled economics before. Classical economists (Say included) refuted protectionist mercantilists and taught how “the wealth of nations” is achievable for those who adopt rational policies. Marx and the socialists then gained influence by claiming capitalism was evil and unsustainable. Beginning in the 1870s the neoclassical and Austrian schools refuted Marx but rendered economics desiccated and overly mathematized. Keynes followed, blaming the Great Depression of the 1930s on a “deficiency of aggregate demand,” in the process illogically rejecting Say’s law and repeating the “general glut” myth, as initially pushed by Malthus in the 1820s. Marxian-Keynesian myths, we know, always stoke demand for state intervention, which Say rightly identifies as the cause of economic miseries.

Say’s principles have been rejected by Marxians and Keynesians but defended by great, prominent liberals—including Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850),15 William Hutt (1899-1988),16 Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973),17 and Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993).18 To its credit, for decades FEE has promoted the works of this heroic minority. As mentioned, Say’s principles were partly adopted in the “supply-side” policies of the 1980s, which fostered entrepreneurial activity, encouraged production, saving, and investment, and substantially revitalized America’s economy well into the 1990s. Even when applied in diluted form, Saysian political economy has performed wonders for ailing and failing economies. Saysian economics has been “modernized” and proved practical, to the extent incorporated in supply-side economics, but more must be done if it’s to live and serve humanity’s future.

Henry Hazlitt in 1959 described Keynesian economics thus: “what’s old in it isn’t new, and what’s new in it isn’t true.” Exactly right. Saysian economics may be old, to some—and therefore untrue, to them alone—but in truth it’s both old and true, and as such, can be made new again, respected again, applied again—because it’s true.

The Case for a Rational, Reality-Based Methodology

In the introduction to the Treatise, Say provides a penetrating assessment of the history of economic thought, distinguishing his innovations; he makes a case for using Bacon’s empirical-inductive method, then adopt it assiduously in his text, carefully deriving valid principles from objectively observed facts. Say rejects both “a priori” deduction (as in Ricardo’s work) and blind statistical empiricism (as in Malthus’s work).

Say believed political economy should be scientific, understandable, moral, and practical. Much of contemporary economics fails, to varying degrees, on each count, partly because it’s “method” is overly formal-mathematical, based on deliberately unrealistic assumptions, but also because it bifurcates reality into the realms of morality-politics and efficiency-economics, the first modeled as “normative” (emotive, arbitrary, merely asserted), the second as “positive” (factual, scientific, provable). But then, quite illogically, economists presume an innumerable array of “market failures,” magically fixable because somehow there exist wise, moral, and competent politicians, served by like-minded and motivated career bureaucrats. It’s all so utterly preposterous, of course. For Say, such error is avoided when we recognize that all fields must be scientific, not only the “natural” sciences but the social sciences too—ethics, politics, the law, economics. In Say’s words, from the opening passage of his Treatise,

A science only advances with certainty, when the plan of inquiry and the object of our researches have been clearly defined; otherwise a small number of truths are loosely laid hold of, without their connection being perceived, and numerous errors, without being enabled to detect their fallacy. For a long time the science of politics, in strictness limited to the investigation of the principles which lay the foundation of the social order, was confounded with political economy, which unfolds the manner in which wealth is produced, distributed, and consumed. Wealth, nevertheless, is essentially independent of political organization. Under every form of government, a state, whose affairs are well administered, may prosper. Nations have risen to opulence under absolute monarchs and have been ruined by popular councils [democracy]. If political liberty is more favorable to the development of wealth, it is indirectly, in the same manner that it is more favorable to general education.
All human knowledge is connected. Accordingly, it is necessary to ascertain the points of contact, or the articulations by which the different branches are united; by this means, a more exact knowledge will be obtained of whatever is peculiar to each, and where they run into one another.
In political economy, as in natural philosophy, and in every other study, systems have been formed before facts have been established; the place of the latter being supplied by purely gratuitous assertions. More recently, the inductive method of philosophizing, which, since the time of Bacon, has so much contributed to the advancement of every other science, has been applied to the conduct of our researches in this. The excellence of this method consists in only admitting facts carefully observed, and the consequences rigorously deduced from them; thereby effectually excluding those prejudices and authorities which, in every department of literature and science, have so often been interposed between man and truth. But, is the whole extent of the meaning of the term, facts, so often made use of, perfectly understood?

A Challenging, Productive, Consequential Life

Say lived courageously, in a time of tumult. Facing Napoleon’s censorship, he extolled rights and liberty.19 He attributed crises and recessions not to “market failures” but unjust, distortive state interventions. As both an intellectual and entrepreneur, Say was a principled “classical liberal” who contributed much to the Enlightenment, the 18th century epoch when reason and science were widely respected and applied to fields as diverse as astronomy, biology, and political economy.

The first French edition of the Treatise appeared in 1803, the second not until 1814 (due to Napoleon’s wrath). Use of the text spread quickly in Europe. In 1821 an English version appeared and for five subsequent decades it was adopted by professors as the main textbook in political economy at leading US colleges, including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. The Treatise was considered superior to rivals because it was sophisticated, logically ordered, and well-written. Say originated the sensible tripartite division of the discipline into the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth. Production, for Say, deserves the primary focus and thus comes first and occupies roughly half of his text. In contrast, most textbooks today devote undue space to consumption and portray the consumer as super-causal. Producing, Say argues, is more difficult than consuming; the former must surmount innumerable hurdles and isn’t automatic; the latter takes care of itself. Production is the creation of useful wealth (utility), while consumption is the destruction of wealth. We produce so that we can consume, but also so that we can save and accumulate wealth. We cannot, as many say, boost production by boosting consumption (least of all by government); nor can we prosper more simply by saving less.

Say’s influence on America in the 19th century was important to her remarkable, unprecedented rise, domestically and globally. In a letter to the American editor of his Treatise, Say asked “where should we expect sound doctrine to be better received than within a nation that supports and illustrates the value of free principles, by the most striking examples?” and added that “the old states of Europe are cankered with prejudices and bad habits” while “it is America who will teach them the height of prosperity which may be reached when governments follow the counsels of reason, and do not cost too much.” Say’s great Treatise being so readily and widely deployed in American colleges, it’s possible to conclude without doubt that he more than anyone else taught sound economics to Americans, in a century when, not coincidentally, they advanced so much in their liberty and prosperity.

The great French liberal Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) popularized much of Say’s political economy and in his Economic Harmonies (1848)20 wrote of Say and Say’s Law as follows:

It is fortunate for society that men of genius like Say have patiently and tirelessly applied themselves to observing, classifying, and setting down methodically all the facts that constitute this excellent science [of political economy]. Henceforth the human mind can move forward from this firm base toward new horizons. . . You too might be able to take this same torch from the hands of your predecessors and turn its light upon some of the dark recesses of the social sciences, and particularly upon those that have recently been plunged into darkness by the dissemination of mad doctrines.

The torch for Bastiat is Say’s Law. There’s no more important principle in political economy to get right and avoid getting wrong. As Bastiat knew, it’s akin to a torch that illuminates and facilitates the spread of knowledge, based on reason and reality. The torch helps us avoid a deleterious dissent into the darkness of “mad doctrines.”

If, as Say requires, the principles of political economy must be derived inductively from the facts of reality and applied deductively to new cases, they’ll be practical and thus worth studying. As Gilles Jacound explains,

Jean-Baptiste sought to make the subject of political economy known to a wide public and taught it right up to the last few weeks of his life. For Say, political economy is worth studying because it’s capable of making men more virtuous and societies more civilized. To do this, it must establish irrefutable truths. This is possible thanks to use of the experimental method which, in political economy, enables the establishment of laws as sound as those that exist in the field of physics. Once these laws are known, they help individuals act according to their true interests, enabling them to improve their material conditions. The material affluence favored by the knowledge of political economy contributes to men’s fulfilment and makes nations more civilized.21

Our Potential Saysian Future

Jean-Baptiste Say was, Palmer explains, “an economist in troubled times.”22 Likewise, today’s Saysian economist lives in troubled times, as an unprotected minority, troubled by the sight of crises and chaos caused by contraventions of pro-capitalist, pro-constitutional (Saysian) principles, yet blamed on freedom and met with still further resort to Keynesian excuses and abuses, pushing the world still further down a still-worse road to serfdom. Still, the Saysian principles abide; they exist; they’re true; they’re valuable, retrievable, applicable.

Draw My Life: My Name is Finance

America at her best once knew and practiced Say’s political economy. Then she lost it. But being true and timeless, it can be revisited, re-learned, and applied anew, in contemporary times, for the peace, propriety, and prosperity of all. Let’s now see who dares to seize Say’s torch, to wield it courageously for human betterment.


1 At FEE, see A Treatise on Political Economy (1880 edition; initial publication 1803). For an convenient, searchable version of the Treatise, click here.

2 For profiles of Say and his works, see Online Library of Liberty, Mises Institute, and David M. Hart, “The Life and Works of Jean-Baptiste Say,” The Library of Economics and Liberty, January 2, 2001.

3 Richard M. Salsman, “The Mind-Based Etymology of ‘Capitalism,’” The Objective Standard, Winter 2018.

4 Jean-Baptiste Say, Catechism of Political Economy (1821).

5 Larry J. Sechrest, “Jean-Baptiste Say: Neglected Champion of Laissez-Faire,” July 15, 2000.”

6 Richard M. Salsman, “Saysian Economics,” Part I (December 31, 2003) and Part II (January 4, 2004), The Capitalist Advisor, InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., summarized here. The full report is available upon request, here:

7 For a worthy exception, see the works of Steven Kates, especially Two Hundred Years of Say's Law: Essays on Economic Theory's Most Controversial Principle (Edward Elgar, 2003); Say’s Law and the Keynesian Revolution: How Macroeconomic Theory Lost its Way (Edward Elgar, 2009); What's Wrong with Keynesian Economic Theory? (Edward Elgar, 2016); and for today’s classroom or self-study, Free Market Economics: An Introduction for the General Reader (Edward Elgar, 2017).

8 Temporary micro-level surpluses (or shortages) can occur but are brief and necessarily, fully counterbalanced by micro-level shortages (or surpluses) elsewhere; persistent micro imbalances arise only if price adjustment is resisted, discouraged, or legally prohibited. For more on Say’s Law, see Richard M. Salsman, “Say’s Law versus Keynesian Economics,” American Institute for Economic Research, February 9, 2020; Richard M. Ebeling, “Jean-Baptiste Say and His Timeless Law of Markets,” Foundation for Economic Education, July 6, 2017; Steven Horwitz, “Understanding Say’s Law of Markets,” Foundation for Economic Education, January 1, 1997;  Thomas Sowell, Say’s Law: An Historical Analysis (1972); William Hutt, A Rehabilitation of Say’s Law (1974); and two books by Steven Kates: Two Hundred Years of Say's Law: Essays on Economic Theory's Most Controversial Principle (Edward Elgar, 2003) and Say’s Law and the Keynesian Revolution: How Macroeconomic Theory Lost its Way (Edward Elgar, 2009). See also, Steven Horowitz, “Say’s Law is Back: Steven Kates Rehabilitates Say’s Law of Markets,” Foundation for Economic Education, August 1, 1999.

9 In the Treatise Say contends that “the encouragement of mere consumption is of no benefit to commerce, for the difficulty lies in supplying the means, not in stimulating the desire to consume; it is the aim of good government to stimulate production, of bad government to encourage consumption.” Moreover, government is primarily (often significantly) a consumer, not a productive institution which can “stimulate” an economy (beyond its legitimate purpose of legally protecting private property rights and ensuring the rule of law).

10 Jean Baptiste Say, Letters to Mr. Malthus (1821).

11 See also Gary M. Galles, “Jean Baptiste Say on Why Property Rights Are the Key to Prosperity,” Foundation for Economic Education, February 18, 2019.

12 See Richard M. Salsman, “The Production of Money Isn’t (Necessarily) the Production of Wealth,” American Institute for Economic Research, March 18, 2019; James C.W. Ahiakpor, “On the Mythology of the Keynesian Multiplier: Unmasking the Myth and the Inadequacies of Some Earlier Criticisms,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 60(4), October 2001, pp. 745-773; Casey B. Mulligan, The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy (Oxford, 2012); and two by Harvard’s Robert Barro: “Government Spending is No Free Lunch,” Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2009 and “Voodoo Multipliers,” Economists’ Voice, February 2009, pp. 1-4.

13 George Reisman, “Platonic Competition,” Mises Daily Articles, Mises Institute, December 20, 2005.

14 See Raymond Keating, “A Walk on the Supply Side,” Foundation for Economic Education, June 1, 1995, who writes that “the seeds of supply-side thought were firmly planted by such classical economists as Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say.” According to Bruce Bartlett (Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action, 1981), “In many respects, supply-side economics is nothing more than classical economics rediscovered. More particularly, it is Say’s Law of markets rediscovered. The essence of Say’s Law, named after the great French economist Jean-Baptiste Say, is that goods are ultimately paid for with other goods. Thus, it is production which limits the satisfaction of human wants, not the ability to consume.” Bartlett and Timothy Roth (The Supply-Side Solution, 1983) explain that “in the 1830s the great French economist Jean Baptiste Say articulated what has come to be called supply-side economics. Say’s Law declared that goods are ultimately paid for with other goods. Thus, it is aggregate supply that determines national income.”

15 Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Harmonies (1850).

16 William H. Hutt, A Rehabilitation of Say's Law (1974).

17 Ludwig von Mises, “Lord Keynes and Say’s Law,” The Freeman, Foundation for Economic Education, October 30, 1950.

18 Henry Hazlitt, “Keynes vs. Say’s Law,” in The Failure of the New Economics (1959).

19 Scholarly and illuminating intellectual-biographical accounts include R.R. Palmer, J-B. Say: An Economist in Troubled Times (Princeton, 1997); Evelyn L. Forget, The Social Economics of Jean-Baptiste Say: Markets and Virtue (Routledge, 1999); Richard Whatmore, Republicanism and the French Revolution: An Intellectual History of Jean-Baptiste Say’s Political Economy (Oxford, 2000); and Evert Schoorl, Jean-Baptiste Say: Revolutionary, Entrepreneur, Economist (Routledge, 2013).

20 Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Harmonies (1850).

21 Gilles Jacound, “Why Does Jean-Baptiste Say Think Economics is Worth Studying?” History of Economics Review 55 (Winter 2012), pp. 29-46

22 R.R. Palmer, J-B. Say: An Economist in Troubled Times (Princeton, 1997).

Richard M. Salsman Ph.D.
About the author:
Richard M. Salsman Ph.D.

Dr. Richard M. Salsman is a professor of political economy at Duke University, founder and president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, and senior scholar at The Atlas Society. In the 1980s and 1990s he was a banker at the Bank of New York and Citibank and an economist at Wainwright Economics, Inc. Dr. Salsman has authored five books: Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions (1990), The Collapse of Deposit Insurance and the Case for Abolition (1993), Gold and Liberty (1995), The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence (2017), and Where Have all the Capitalists Gone?: Essays in Moral Political Economy (2021). He is also author of a dozen chapters and scores of articles. His work has appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, Reason Papers, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Sun, Forbes, the Economist, the Financial Post, the Intellectual Activist, and The Objective Standard. He speaks frequently before pro-liberty student groups, including Students for Liberty (SFL), Young Americans for Liberty(YAL), Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), and the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

Salsman博士在鮑登學院獲得法律和經濟學學士學位(1981年),在紐約大學獲得經濟學碩士學位(1988年),在杜克大學獲得政治經濟學博士學位(2012年)。他的個人網站可以在 找到。

Salsman博士每月為The Atlas Society舉辦一次道德與市場網路研討會,探索倫理,政治,經濟和 市場 之間的交叉點。您還可以在這裡找到Salsman的Instagram 收購 摘錄,每個月都可以在我們的 Instagram 上找到!


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近幾十年來,在政治經濟學領域,一個重要而有價值的重點被放在“尋租”上,“尋租”被定義為壓力集團遊說(並獲得)特殊恩惠(給予自己)和不利(強加給競爭對手或敵人)。但尋租只是政治偏袒的需求方;不太被強調的供應方——稱之為 租房銷售——才是真正的煽動者。只有國家才有能力創造零和政治恩惠、不贊成和親信。任人唯親不是資本主義的品牌,而是混合系統的癥狀;對社會經濟結果產生重大影響的干預主義國家積極邀請受影響最大、最負擔得起的人(富人和有權勢的人)進行遊說。但偏袒的根本問題不在於賄賂的需求者,而在於勒索的供應商。“裙帶資本主義”是一個公然的矛盾,是將反資本主義政策的結果歸咎於資本主義的詭計。

北約擴張是俄烏戰爭的煽動者——會所,2022 年 3 月 16 日

在這個90分鐘的音頻採訪中,薩爾斯曼博士討論了1)為什麼國家自身利益應該指導美國的外交政策(但不是),2)為什麼北約長達數十年的向東向俄羅斯邊境擴張(並暗示它可能會增加烏克蘭)助長了俄烏衝突和當前的戰爭,3)雷根 - 布希如何英勇地(和平地)贏得了冷戰, 4)本世紀的民主黨總統(柯林頓,歐巴馬,拜登)如何/為什麼拒絕培養冷戰後的和平,一直是北約的推動者,對俄羅斯無理地好戰,並破壞了美國的國家實力和安全,5)為什麼烏克蘭不自由和腐敗,不是真正的美國盟友(或北約成員國),與美國國家安全無關, 並且不值得美國任何形式的官方支援,以及 6)為什麼今天兩黨幾乎無處不在的對更廣泛戰爭的支援,由MMIC(軍事 - 媒體 - 工業 - 復合體)大力推動,既魯莽又不祥。

烏克蘭:事實不能為普京開脫,但他們確實譴責北約 —— 資本主義標準,2022 年 3 月 14 日


代價高昂但蓄意的美國工作力短缺 -- AIER,2021 年 9 月 28 日

一年多來,由於 Covid 恐懼症和封鎖,美國遭受了各種類型和程度的工作力短缺,在這種情況下,潛在僱主要求的工作力數量超過了潛在雇員提供的數量。這不是偶然或暫時的。失業既是強制性的(通過關閉“非必要”企業),也是補貼(提供利潤豐厚和延長的“失業救濟金”)。這使得許多企業難以吸引和僱用足夠數量、品質、可靠性和可負擔性的工作力。物質或長期的盈餘和短缺反映的不是“市場失靈”,而是政府未能讓市場清理。為什麼連那些應該更瞭解的人都不清楚呢?這不是因為他們不懂基本的經濟學;許多人在意識形態上是反資本主義的,這使他們對僱主有偏見;他們引導馬克思,錯誤地認為資本家通過少付工人工資和向顧客收取過高的費用來獲利。

從快速增長到無增長再到去增長 ——AIER,2021年8月4日

長期的日益繁榮是通過短期的持續經濟增長實現的;繁榮是一個更廣泛的概念,不僅意味著更多的產出,而且意味著買家重視的產出品質。繁榮帶來更高的生活水平,我們享受更好的健康,更長的壽命和更大的幸福。不幸的是,美國的實證測量表明,其經濟增長率正在減速,這不是一個暫時的問題;這種情況已經發生了幾十年;可悲的是,很少有領導人認識到這一嚴峻趨勢;很少有人能解釋它;有些人甚至更喜歡它。下一步可能是推動「去增長」 ,即經濟產出的連續收縮。多年來,緩慢增長偏好被正常化,這也可能發生在去增長偏好中。今天的去增長追隨者是少數,但幾十年前增長緩慢的粉絲也是少數。

當理性消失時,暴力就進來 了—— 《資本主義》雜誌,2021年1月13日

在上周特朗普煽動的右翼襲擊美國國會大廈之後,每一「一方」都正確地指責對方虛偽,沒有「實踐他們所宣揚的」,沒有「言出必行」。。去年夏天,左翼人士試圖為自己在波特蘭、西雅圖、明尼阿波利斯和其他地方的暴力辯護(作為“和平抗議”),但現在譴責國會大廈的右翼暴力。為什麼虛偽,一種惡習,現在如此普遍? 它的對立面是正直的美德,這在當今很少見,因為幾十年來大學一直在灌輸哲學實用主義,這種學說不提倡“實用性”,而是通過堅持固定和有效的原則是不可能的(因此是可有可無的),意見是可以操縱的來破壞它。對於實用主義者來說,“感知是現實”,“現實是可以談判的”。 代替現實,他們更喜歡“虛擬實境”,而不是正義,“社會正義”。它們體現了所有虛假和虛假的東西。作為行動指南的,剩下的只是等級機會主義、權宜之計、“激進分子的規則”,無論什麼“有效”——贏得爭論、推進事業或制定法律——至少目前(直到......它無法工作)。是什麼解釋了今天的兩黨暴力?缺乏理性(和客觀性)。(字面意思)沒有理由,但有一個解釋:當理性消失時,說服與和平集會抗議也消失了。剩下的是情感主義和暴力。

拜登對股東的蔑視是法西斯主義 —— 《資本主義標準》,2020年12月16日


薩西經濟學的基本真理及其當代相關性—— 經濟教育基金會,2020年7月1日

讓-巴蒂斯特·薩伊(Jean-Baptiste Say,1767-1832)是憲法限制國家的有原則的捍衛者,甚至比他的許多古典自由主義同時代人更加堅定。他以經濟學第一原理「薩伊定律」而聞名,他應該被認為是資本主義最一致和最有力的代表之一,比這個詞被創造(由它的反對者在 1850 年代)早幾十年。 幾十年來,我研究了相當多的政治經濟學,認為薩伊的《 政治經濟學論文 》(1803)是該領域有史以來最好的著作,不僅超過了當代著作,而且超過了亞當·斯密的《 國富論 》(1776)和路德維希·馮·米塞斯的《 人類行動:經濟學論文 》(1949)。

財政貨幣“刺激”令人沮喪 -- 希爾,2020年5月26日



不可分割原則的要點是提醒我們,各種自由是一起上升或下降的,即使有各種滯後,即使一些自由在一段時間內似乎在上升,而另一些自由則在下降;無論自由朝哪個方向移動,最終它們都趨於吻合。自由不可分割的原則反映了這樣一個事實,即人類是身心、精神和物質、意識和存在的結合;該原則意味著人類必須選擇行使他們的理性 - 他們獨有的能力 - 來把握現實,以合乎道德的方式生活,並盡其所能地蓬勃發展。這個原則體現在一個更為人所知的原則中,即我們擁有個人權利——生命、自由、財產和追求幸福的權利——政府的唯一和正當目的是成為我們自衛權的代理人,在憲法上維護、保護和捍衛我們的權利,而不是削減或取消它們。如果一個民族想要維護自由,他們必須在所有領域為維護自由而鬥爭,而不僅僅是他們最常生活或最受青睞的領域——不是在一個領域,也不是在某個領域,而是在另一些領域,也不是在一個領域或一些領域,而不是在一個或一些領域以犧牲其他人為代價。

三方治理:正確決策的指南 ——AIER,2020年4月14日

當我們聽到「政府」這個詞時,我們大多數人都會想到政治——國家、政權、國會大廈、機構、官僚機構、行政部門和政治家。我們稱他們為“官員”,假定他們擁有獨特的、崇高的和權威的地位。 但這只是我們生活中的一種治理方式;這三種類型是公共治理、私人治理和個人治理。我最好將每一個都設想為一個控制範圍,但三者必須適當平衡,以優化權利和自由的保護。最近的不祥趨勢是公共(政治)治理對個人和私人治理領域的持續入侵。

自由的東西和不自由的人 -- AIER,2019年6月30日

今天的政客們大聲而神聖地斷言,許多東西——食物、住房、醫療保健、工作、兒童保育、更清潔、更安全的環境、交通、學校教育、公用事業,甚至大學——都應該“免費”或公共補貼。沒有人問為什麼這種說法是有效的。 它們是憑信心盲目接受還是僅僅憑直覺(感覺)來肯定?這聽起來不科學。 難道不應該所有關鍵主張都通過邏輯和證據的檢驗嗎?為什麼免費贈品聲稱對這麼多人來說「聽起來不錯」? 事實上,他們是卑鄙的,甚至是無情的,因為不自由,因此從根本上來說是不人道的。在自由的資本主義憲政制度中,法律面前人人平等,而不是歧視性的法律待遇;沒有理由將一個群體置於另一個群體之上,包括消費者對生產者的特權(反之亦然)。 每個個人(或協會)都必須有自由選擇和行動,而不必訴諸於騷擾或搶劫。 免費贈品的政治競選和政策制定方式公然迎合了欺騙,並通過擴大政府的規模、範圍和權力,也將搶劫制度化。

我們也應該慶祝財富的多樣性 -- AIER,2018年12月26日


為了阻止槍支屠殺,聯邦政府必須停止解除無辜者的武裝 -- 福布斯,2012年8月12日


保護主義是相互受虐狂 —— 資本主義標準,2018年7月24日



今天是安·蘭德(Ayn Rand,1905-1982)的《 阿特拉斯聳聳肩 》(1957)出版60周年,安·蘭德(Ayn Rand,1905-1982)是一位暢銷小說家兼哲學家,頌揚理性、理性的自我利益、個人主義、資本主義和美國主義。很少有這麼舊的書能繼續暢銷,即使是精裝本,許多投資者和首席執行官長期以來一直稱讚它的主題和洞察力。在 1990 年代為國會圖書館和月度圖書俱樂部進行的一項調查中,受訪者認為 阿特拉斯聳聳肩 是僅次於聖經的第二本書,因為它對他們的生活產生了重大影響。 社會主義者拒絕蘭德是可以理解的,因為她拒絕他們關於資本主義是剝削性的或容易崩潰的說法;然而,保守派對她持謹慎態度,因為她否認資本主義依靠宗教。她的主要貢獻是表明資本主義不僅是經濟上富有生產力的制度,而且是道德正義的制度。 它獎勵誠實、正直、獨立和富有成效的人;然而,它使那些選擇不人道的人邊緣化,它懲罰了惡毒和不人道的人。無論一個人是親資本主義者、親社會主義者,還是兩者之間的冷漠,這本書都值得一讀——她的其他作品也值得一讀,包括《 源頭》( 1943年)、《 自私的美德:利己主義的新概念 》(1964年)和 《資本主義:未知的理想 》(1966年)。

特朗普和共和黨縱容壟斷醫學 —— 資本主義標準,2017年7月20日

共和黨和特朗普總統通過拒絕「廢除和取代」歐巴馬醫改而厚顏無恥地違背了他們的競選承諾,現在聲稱他們將廢除它,看看會發生什麼。不要指望那個。從根本上說,他們並不真正介意奧巴馬醫改及其導致的“單一付款人”系統(政府藥品壟斷)。儘管這很可惡,但他們在哲學上接受它,所以他們也在政治上接受它。特朗普和大多數共和黨人寬恕歐巴馬醫改中潛伏的社會主義原則。也許他們甚至意識到它將繼續侵蝕該系統的更好方面,並導致“單一付款人系統”(政府對藥物的壟斷) - 奧巴馬[和特朗普]一直表示他們想要。今天,大多數美國選民似乎也不反對這種壟斷。幾十年後,當他們意識到獲得健康保險並不能保證獲得醫療保健(特別是在社會化醫療下,這會降低品質,可負擔性和可及性)時,他們可能會反對它。但到那時,恢復那些使美國醫學如此偉大的更自由的因素為時已晚。

不平等之辯論:不考慮掙錢的毫無意義 -- 福布斯,2012年2月1日

而不是辯論我們這個動蕩時代真正具有重大意義的問題——即政府的適當規模和範圍是什麼?(答案:更小),我們應該有更多的資本主義還是更多的社團主義?(答案:資本主義)——相反,政治媒體正在辯論所謂的“不平等”之惡。他們無恥的嫉妒最近猖獗,但對不平等的關注對保守派和左派來說都是方便的。 奧巴馬接受了一種錯誤的“公平”理論,這種理論拒絕了常識性的、基於功績的正義概念,美國老年人可能會認為這種概念是“沙漠”,在這種概念中,正義意味著我們應該得到(或贏得)我們在生活中得到的東西,如果我們是自由選擇的話。合法地,有“分配正義”,獎勵良好的或生產性的行為,以及“報應正義”,懲罰邪惡或破壞性行為。

資本主義不是社團主義或任人唯親 -- 福布斯,2011年12月7日

資本主義是人類歷史上最偉大的社會經濟制度,因為它是如此道德,如此富有成效——這兩個特徵對人類的生存和繁榮至關重要。它是道德的,因為它奉行並培養理性和自我利益——“開明的貪婪”,如果你願意的話——如果我們要追求和獲得生命和愛情、健康和財富、冒險和靈感,我們都必須有意識地採用和實踐這兩種關鍵美德。它不僅產生物質經濟上的豐富,而且產生藝術和娛樂中的美學價值。但究竟什麼是資本主義?當我們看到它或擁有它時,或者當我們沒有或沒有時,我們如何知道它? 資本主義最偉大的知識分子領袖安·蘭德(Ayn Rand,1905-1982)曾將其定義為“一種基於承認個人權利的社會制度,包括財產權,其中所有財產都是私有的。這種對真正權利(而不是強迫他人得到我們想要的東西的“權利”)的承認至關重要,它具有獨特的道德基礎。事實上,資本主義是權利、自由、文明、和平和非犧牲性繁榮的體系;不是政府制度不公正地偏袒資本家而犧牲他人的利益。它提供了一個公平的法律競爭環境,以及作為低調裁判(而不是武斷的規則制定者或分數改變者)為我們服務的官員。可以肯定的是,資本主義也意味著野心、才能、收入或財富的不平等,因為這就是個人(和公司)的真實情況;它們是獨一無二的,而不是平等主義者聲稱的克隆或可互換的部分。

聖經與福利國家 -- 福布斯,2011年4月28日

許多人想知道為什麼華盛頓似乎永遠陷入僵局,哪些政策可以治癒過度支出,預算赤字和債務。我們被告知,問題的根源是“兩極分化的政治”,“極端分子”控制著辯論,排除了只有兩黨團結才能提供的解決方案。 事實上,在許多問題上,雙方完全同意——建立在共同宗教信仰的堅實基礎上。 簡而言之,沒有太大的變化,因為雙方都同意很多,尤其是在道德上“做正確的事”意味著什麼。它沒有被廣泛報導,但大多數民主黨人和共和黨人,無論是左派還是右派,在政治上都非常虔誠,因此傾向於支持現代福利國家。即使不是所有的政治家都對此有如此強烈的感覺,他們也懷疑選民這樣做(正確地)。因此,即使是限制政府支出的小提議也會引起指責,即支援者冷酷無情,無情,不慈善,非基督徒 - 這些指控對大多數人來說都是正確的,因為聖經長期以來一直使他們接受福利國家。

資本家都去哪兒了? —— 福布斯,2010年12月5日

柏林牆倒塌(1989年)和蘇聯解體(1991年)后,幾乎每個人都承認資本主義是社會主義的歷史“勝利者”。然而,近年來,主要反映社會主義前提的干預主義政策捲土重來,而資本主義則被指責為導致2007-2009年金融危機和全球經濟衰退的原因。是什麼解釋了世界對資本主義估計的這種看似突然的轉變?畢竟,無論是資本主義還是社會主義的非政治經濟體系,都是一個廣泛而持久的現象,在邏輯上不能被解釋為一個十年是有益的,卻在下一個十年是破壞性的。那麼資本家都去哪兒了呢?奇怪的是,今天的“社會主義者”意味著將社會主義的政治經濟制度作為道德理想的宣導者,而“資本家”意味著華爾街金融家,風險資本家或企業家 - 而不是資本主義的政治經濟制度作為道德理想的宣導者。事實上,資本主義體現了理性自利的提升生活、創造財富的倫理——利己主義、“貪婪”,如果你願意的話——這也許最明顯地體現在利潤動機上。只要這種人道倫理不被信任或鄙視,資本主義就會因任何社會經濟弊病而遭受不勞而獲的指責。二十年前社會主義政權的崩潰並不意味著資本主義最終因其許多美德而受到歡迎;這一歷史事件只是提醒人們資本主義的生產能力——這種能力早已得到證明,甚至被其最大的敵人所承認。今天對資本主義的持續敵意是基於道德上的,而不是實際的。除非理性的自我利益被理解為符合真正人性的唯一道德準則,並且對資本主義的道德估計因此得到改善,否則社會主義將繼續捲土重來,儘管它有深刻而黑暗的人類苦難記錄。