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Waltz #12 in E-flat Major, Op. 88 (2018) – Musical Composition by G. Stolyarov II

Waltz #12 in E-flat Major, Op. 88 (2018) – Musical Composition by G. Stolyarov II

G. Stolyarov II


A waltz for two pianos and a string orchestra, conveying an even-tempered cheerfulness – in a largely 19th-century style but including a bit of melodic experimentation.

Download the MP3 file of this composition at http://rationalargumentator.com/music_stolyarov/Stolyarov_Waltz_12.mp3.

This composition and video may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The fractal artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Abstract Orderism Fractal 69, available for free download here.

Carson Valley Variations, Op. 87 – Musical Composition by G. Stolyarov II

Carson Valley Variations, Op. 87 – Musical Composition by G. Stolyarov II

G. Stolyarov II


Four orchestral variations in a late 19th-century style build upon a piano theme begun by Mr. Stolyarov in 2002 and subsequently rediscovered and completed in 2018. The strong chords and frequent major-minor contrasts evoke the dramatic, sweeping views of the Carson Valley, which often encompass multiple contrasting weather phenomena.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

This composition and video may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

How the Education System Destroys Social Networks – Article by Jeffrey A. Tucker

How the Education System Destroys Social Networks – Article by Jeffrey A. Tucker

The New Renaissance HatJeffrey A. Tucker
******************************

I was at a restaurant for lunch and had time to visit with the waitress, who turns out to be a college graduate from a good institution. She has a degree in European languages. Here she is waiting tables with nondegreed people, some five years her junior, some 10 years her elder.

She is making good money, but so are her co-workers. You have to wonder: given her position, what was the professional advantage to her of those four hard years in school and the $100K spent on them? What were the opportunity costs?

This is not another article to disparage the value of a college degree. I would like to raise a more fundamental question. It concerns the strange way in which our education system has overly segmented our lives into a series of episodic upheavals, each of which has little to do with the other, the value of one accomplishment being oddly disconnected from the next stage, and none of them directly connecting to our professional goals except in the unusual case.

From the earliest age until adulthood, we’ve been hurled from institution to institution in a way that eventually sets young people back from developing continuity of plans and a social support system to realize their goals. At the end of it all, people find themselves back where they started: figuring out their market worth and trying to find a buyer for their services.

Instead of drawing down on accumulated capital, they end up starting fresh at age 22. Even after years of building social capital, they are drawing down on a nearly empty account.

There is something seriously wrong with this system. Shouldn’t our investments in our friendship networks extend across and beyond the stages of our development to make more of a difference in our lives?

The post-graduation diaspora

In a couple of months, for example, many millions of high school students will graduate. Celebration! Sort of. It’s great to finish school. But what’s next?

Many students find themselves devastated to lose the only social group and friendship network they’ve ever known. They worked for years to cultivate it, and in an instant, it is blown apart. They are left with a piece of paper, a yearbook of memories, a transcript, and, perhaps a few recommendation letters from teachers — recommendations that do them little good in the marketplace.

“Don’t ever change,” they write in each other’s yearbooks. The sentiment expresses a normal longing to hold on to the investment the students make in each other’s lives, even as everything about the system tries to take that investment from them.

Is this the way it should be?

Then, the same group, or at least many among them, look forward to college, where they are mostly, again, starting from scratch in a social sense. It can be very scary. College students begin their new experience isolated. They work for another four years to develop a network — a robust social group — to find their footing and to establish both a reputation and sense of self. This is the only world they’ve known for years, and they have invested their hearts and souls into the experience.

The social fabric ends up rich and wonderful, with intense friendships based on shared lives.

Finally, after four years, the graduation march plays, the tassel is moved from one side of the cap to the other, and the whole social apparatus goes up in smoke — again. Then, another diaspora.

Once again, students find themselves nearly alone, with few hooks into the world of commerce and employment. They have a degree but few opportunities to monetize it. Their social network is of limited use to them. All they have, yet again, is a piece of paper. Plus they have recommendation letters from professors that still do them little good in the marketplace.

This not always the case. There are workarounds, and digital networking is helping. People join fraternities and social clubs, and those can be useful going forward. But it might take years for these connections to yield results. The more immediate question is this: What do I do now? Lacking a broad sense of the way the world works, and missing any influential hooks into prevailing networks, a college grad can often find herself feeling isolated once again, starting over for the third time.

The failure of the central plan

This is the system that the civic culture has created for us. For the years from the ages of 14 through 22, students’ primary focus of personal investment and social capital building is centered on their peers. But their peers are just the same as they are: hoping for a good future but having few means to get from here to there.

Why does this keep happening? Looking at the big picture, you can start to see a serious problem with the educational system politicians have built for us. It is keeping people “on track” — but is it a track that prepares people for the future?

A core principle of the education system, as owned and controlled by government, is Stay in school and stay with your class. This is the emphasis from the earliest grades all the way through the end of college. The accidents of birth determine your peer group, your primary social influences, and the gang you rely on for social support.

To be “held back” is considered disgraceful, and to be pushed forward a grade is considered dangerous for personal development. Your class rank is your world, the definition of who you are — and it stays with you for decades. Everyone is on a track as defined by a ruling class: here is what you should and must know when. All your peers are with you.

Many factors entrench this reality. The public school system is organized on the assumption of homogeneity, a central plan imposed from the top down. It didn’t happen all at once. It came about slowly over the course of 100-plus years, from the universalization of compulsory schooling, to the prohibition of youth work, to the gradual nationalization of curricula.

In the end, we find the lives of young people strictly segmented by stages that are strangely discontinuous. Where are the professional contacts that result? Where are the friends who can smooth your way into the world of professional work? They aren’t among your former classmates. Your peers are all in the same position you are in.

Laws that lock people out

The workplace might help to mitigate this problem, but it’s incredibly difficult for young people to get a regular job thanks to “child labor” laws that exclude teens from the workforce. For this reason, only one in four high school kids has any real experience outside their peer group. They miss all the opportunities to learn and grow that come from the workplace — learning from examples of personal initiative, responsibility, independence, and accountability.

There are extremely narrow conditions under which a 14-year-old can find legal employment, but few businesses want to bother with the necessary documentation and restrictions. A 16-year-old has a few more opportunities, but, even here, these young people can’t work in kitchens or serve alcohol. The full freedom to engage a larger community outside the segmented class structure doesn’t come until after you graduate high school.

By the time the opportunity comes around to do authentic remunerative work, a student’s life is filled with other interests, mostly social, but also extracurricular. Instead of working a job, people are doing a thousand other things, and there seems to be no time left. It’s not uncommon for people to graduate with no professional experiences whatsoever to draw on. Their peers are their only asset, their only really valuable relationships, but these relationships have little commercial value.

How natural is any of this?

If you look at the social structure of homeschooling co-ops, for example, younger kids and older kids mix it up in integrated social environments, and they learn from each other. Parents of all ages are well integrated too, and it creates a complex social environment. The parents know all the kids and, together, they form a diverse microsociety of mutual interests. This is one reason that homeschooled kids can seem remarkably precocious and poised around people of all ages. They are not being artificially pegged into slots and held there against their will.

A better way

When you read about the experiences of successful people in the late 19th century, they talk of their exciting and broad experiences in life, working in odd jobs, meeting strange people of all ages and classes, performing tasks outside their comfort zone, encountering adult situations in business that taught them important lessons. They didn’t learn these things from sitting in a desk, listening to a teacher, repeating facts on tests, and staying with their class. They discovered the world through mixing it up, having fabulous and sometimes weird experiences, being with people who are not in their age cohort. They drew on these experiences for years following.

The system to which we have become accustomed is not of our choosing, and it certainly isn’t organic to the social order. It has been inflicted on us, one piece of legislation at a time. It is the result of an imposed, rather than evolved, order. Why wait until age 22 to get serious about your life?  Why stick with only one career choice in the course of your appointed 40 years in professional life? Why retire at the young age of 65, just because the federal government wants you to do so?

Think about this the next time you attend a graduation. Are the students shedding only tears of joy? Or, in the sudden mixture of emotions, is there also the dawning realization that they are witnessing the destruction of a social order they worked so hard to cultivate? Are they also overwhelmed with the knowledge that, in short order, they will have to recreate something entirely new again? Where is the continuity? Where is the evidence of an evolved and developing order of improved opportunities?

The most important question is this: What are the alternatives?

Bring back apprenticeships. Bring back remunerative work for the young. Look beyond the central plan, and don’t get trapped. Rethink the claim that staying in school is an unmitigated good. Find other ways to prevent your heavy investments in others from dissipating; ensure instead that they will pay more immediate returns. Our friends should remain in our lives — and yield a lifetime of returns.

Jeffrey Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education and CLO of the startup Liberty.me. Author of five books, and many thousands of articles, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.  Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook. Email

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

One of the Greatest Entrepreneurs in American History – Article by Daniel Oliver and Lawrence W. Reed

One of the Greatest Entrepreneurs in American History – Article by Daniel Oliver and Lawrence W. Reed

The New Renaissance HatDaniel Oliver and Lawrence W. Reed
******************************
Introduction by Lawrence W. Reed
***

One hundred years ago this May, James J. Hill, the subject of this fine 2001 essay by Daniel Oliver, passed away. Hill was 77 when he died on May 29, 1916, leaving a legacy of achievement surpassed only by a handful of the many great entrepreneurs in American history. He defied the now-infamous epithet, “You didn’t build that.”

James J. Hill was a “1 percenter” of his day who improved the lives of others not by giving speeches but by creating wealth.  

Hill was no Leland Stanford, who used his political connections to get the California legislature to ban competition with his Central Pacific Railroad. Hill was happy to compete because he knew he could. Perhaps he also had the conscience and good character that political entrepreneurs often lack. He built the only privately funded transcontinental railroad in American history. Unlike the ones that he competed with and that were government subsidized, his operation never went bankrupt.

Thirty years ago, I wrote a newspaper column about Hill. One of the papers that published it was the Havre Daily News in northern Montana. It turned out that the little town of Havre was the headquarters of the western division of the Burlington Northern, the successor railroad to Hill’s Great Northern. The division’s president contacted me to express appreciation and to invite me to give a couple of speeches in town. If I accepted, he promised to put me up in an old but restored executive rail car that Hill had built himself. How could I say no?!

For two nights, I lodged on the tracks in that beautiful car, marveling at its turn-of-the-19th-century fixtures and thinking how cool it was that all around me were vestiges of Hill himself. Only two other people were housed in the car during my stay — the cook who prepared my breakfasts and a security guard. After my speeches, Burlington Northern workers hooked the car to a locomotive. Accompanied by the division president and the local newspaper editor, I then experienced one of the most memorable rides of my life — west across northern Montana, through the Marias Pass that Hill himself chose as the best route for his tracks, ultimately arriving and disembarking at the town of Whitefish.

As Oliver explains, Hill deserves to be remembered as a builder, a risk-taker, and an innovator. He was a “1 percenter” of his day who immeasurably improved the lives of others not by giving speeches but by creating wealth.

— Lawrence W. Reed
President, Foundation for Economic Education


In 1962, Ayn Rand gave a lecture titled “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business” (collected in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal), in which she identified two types of businessmen. Burton W. Folsom Jr. later called these “economic and political businessmen.” The first were self-made men who earned their wealth through hard work and free trade; the second were men with political connections who made their fortunes through privileges from the government.

Never before had someone tried to build a railroad without government land and grants. 

James Jerome Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railroad, was the only 19th century railroad entrepreneur who received no federal subsidies to build his railroads. All other builders, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, received aid. Perhaps more than any other American, Hill helped to transform the American Northwest by opening it to widespread settlement, farming, and commercial development. In the process, he became one of the wealthiest men of the Gilded Age, amassing a fortune estimated at $63 million.

Some critics have charged that Hill did indeed receive federal subsidies to construct the Great Northern. But this charge confuses federal subsidies with land grants. Unlike a taxpayer subsidy, a land grant is the ceding of unimproved government land to a private developer. Critics wrongly assume that government has the power to acquire land by non-Lockean means — that is, by simply claiming to own it without “mixing one’s labor with the land.”

Early Career

Hill was born in the small town of Rockwood in southern Ontario, on September 16, 1838. Because his father died when Hill was young, he had to temporarily forgo formal education to help with family finances. Showing academic ability, however, he received free tuition at Rockwood Academy. Hill later lost an eye to an accidental arrow shot, which prevented him from pursuing the career in medicine that his parents had hoped for.

At age 18, Hill became interested in the Far East and decided on a career in trade. He headed west in hopes of joining a team of trappers, arriving by steamboat in St. Paul, a major fur-trading center, on July 21, 1856. However, Hill missed the last brigade of the year and had to stay in the city. Nonetheless, he grew to like St. Paul and decided to remain there.

Hill’s first job was as a forwarding agent for the Mississippi River Steamboat Company. He set freight and passenger rates and learned about steamboat operations. Unable to fight in the War between the States because of his eye, Hill organized the First Minnesota Volunteers. He also worked as a warehouseman, pressing and selling hay for the troops’ horses. It was there that he learned how to buy and sell goods at a profit and use the least expensive method to ship goods.

After the war, Hill became an agent for the First Division of the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad. At the time, the line used wood for fuel. Hill believed rightly that coal would be cheaper, so he made a contract with the company to supply it. He also formed a business with Chauncey W. Griggs, a Connecticut man in the wholesale grocery business. Together, they created Hill, Griggs & Company, a fuel, freighting, merchandising, and warehouse company.

Hill later became interested in the Red River of the North that flows north to Lake Winnipeg. Since Fort Garry (now Winnipeg) was an important Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, Hill began transporting personal belongings there. Later, Hudson’s Bay employee Norman Kittson left the company to join Hill in forming the Red River Transportation Company.

In 1870, Hill traveled up the Red River to investigate a French and Indian mob that had captured Fort Garry. During that trip and others, Hill saw the region’s rich soil while observing the St. Paul & Pacific’s steady decline. He became convinced that he could make the line profitable by extending it to Fort Garry. When the panic of 1873 put the railroad under receivership, he saw his chance to buy it and other lines in crisis.

Hill and Kittson went to Donald Smith of the Hudson’s Bay Company and told him their plan. Smith offered money and approached George Stephen, president of the Bank of Montreal. Together, the four bought the St. Paul & Pacific for $280,000 (millions in today’s dollars), which Hill estimated as only 20 percent of its real value.

Hill purchased rails, rolling stock, and locomotives and hired laborers who laid more than a mile of track a day. In 1879, the tracks were connected at St. Vincent, Minnesota, to a Canadian Pacific branch from Fort Garry. Since the Canadian Pacific’s transcontinental route was not yet completed, all traffic through Fort Garry had to use Hill’s route. He received two million acres of land through the Minnesota Land Grant for completing the rail line on time. He also renamed his railroad the St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Manitoba. His timing was perfect since the area experienced two exceptional harvests that brought extra business. In addition, a major increase of immigrants from Norway and Sweden allowed Hill to sell homesteads from the land grant for $2.50 to $5.00 an acre.

Expanding the Line

While planning the St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Manitoba, Hill was also involved in constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway. While Donald Smith and George Stephen led this transcontinental route, Hill gave advice about selecting routes and construction techniques. But because the Canadian Pacific would soon compete with his own planned transcontinental route, Hill resigned from the business and sold all his stock in 1882.

Only a year after purchasing the St. Paul & Pacific, Hill decided to extend his railroad to the Pacific. Many thought that he could never do it. Never before had someone tried to build a railroad without government land and grants. Railroads like the Union Pacific, Central Pacific, and Northern Pacific were all given millions of acres of government land to build their transcontinental routes. People thought that even if Hill could achieve his dream, he wouldn’t be able to compete with government-funded lines. His quest came to be known as “Hill’s Folly.”

The St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Manitoba reached Minot, North Dakota, in 1886. Because the Northern Pacific had steep grades and high interest charges and was saddled by high property taxes, the new railroad resulted in a much more profitable route.

A railroad line would obviously help the economy of any town it passed, so Hill was able to get good rights of way. However, one town, Fort Benton, Montana, rejected Hill’s request for a right of way. He decided to cut the town off by building around it. Showing his attitude toward those who tried to stand in his way, Hill left Fort Benton one mile from the railroad.

After speedy construction using 8,000 men and 3,300 teams of horses, the St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Manitoba reached Great Falls in October 1887. Hill connected it there with the Montana Central Railroad, which went on to Helena, bringing lots of new business. In 1890, he consolidated his railroad into the Great Northern Railroad Company.

Hill also encouraged settlement along the lines by letting immigrants travel halfway across the country for $10. In addition, he rented cheap freight cars to entire families. These strategies, rarely used by other railroads, encouraged even more business.

People thought Hill wouldn’t be able to compete with government-funded lines.

In 1893, the St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Manitoba reached Puget Sound at Everett, Washington. However, during the same year, a panic put the Northern Pacific as well as the Santa Fe and Union Pacific into receivership. Hill made an agreement with businessman Edward Tuck and Bank of Montreal associate Lord Mount Stephen to buy the Northern Pacific. A stockholder objected, however, arguing the deal would violate Minnesota law, and the agreement was stopped. But Hill got around this by having his associates help buy Northern Pacific stock as individuals instead of as a company. The Northern Pacific became part of the Great Northern in 1896. The lines came to be widely known as the “Hill Lines.”

Hill realized that the only eastbound traffic for the first few years would be lumber, and this limitation would make the line less profitable than it might be. Wishing to acquire a line to Chicago and St. Louis, where he could deliver the lumber, Hill researched the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy railroad that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains. This acquisition would also give him a line that could haul cotton to St. Louis and Kansas City and connect to the smelters of Denver and the Black Hills. The trains would be kept full at all times. Working with J.P. Morgan, Hill purchased the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy.

Hill began to expand his shipping empire internationally via Seattle. He supplied Japan with cotton from the south and shipped New England cotton goods to China. He also shipped northern goods such as Minnesota flour and Colorado metals to Asia.

Hill continued to expand his railroads in the early 20th century. He bought the Spokane, Portland, & Seattle Railway and added a 165-mile line from Columbia along the Deschutes River to the town of Bend. He also purchased several electric rail lines to compete with the Southern Pacific, and an ocean terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River near Astoria. He had two large steamships that operated between the terminal and San Francisco. This proved to be good competition for the Southern Pacific.

Conservation

Hill had many other business interests, including coal and iron-ore mining, shipping on the Great Lakes, finance, and milling. A major related interest was farmland conservation. Hill was widely known in his day as a leader in this area. Unlike most environmentalists today, Hill believed that natural resources should be privately owned and locally controlled, although in some cases he believed state-level ownership was justifiable. He considered the federal government too distant to competently manage resources. Indeed, he once criticized the US Forest Service, saying that “The worst scandals of state land misappropriation, and there were many, are insignificant when compared with the record of the nation.”

His interest in conservation stemmed both from his concern for the nation’s food supply, a popular philanthropic cause at the time, and from business concerns. Since his railroads largely transported agricultural products, Hill paid close attention to fluctuations in the grain markets. Falling grain yields in the Great Plains would mean fewer goods to transport.

Believing that better farming methods would both increase yields and conserve soil quality, Hill used his own resources for agricultural research and for the dissemination of findings to farmers. He even had his own greenhouse that served as a laboratory. He hired agronomy professor Frederick Crane to do soil analyses in Minnesota, Montana, and North and South Dakota. Farmers were paid to cultivate experimental plots on their land according to Crane’s instructions. These were a tremendous success, yielding 60 to 90 percent more than the conventional acreage of the time.

In a speech, Hill once said,

Out of the conservation movement in its practical application to our common life may come wealth greater than could be won by the overthrow of kingdoms and the annexation of provinces; national prestige and individual well-being; the gift of broader mental horizons, and best and most necessary of all, the quality of a national citizenship which has learned to rule its own spirit and to rise by the control of its desires.

In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Hill to a governors’ conference on conservation and appointed him to a lands commission. Hill was never pleased with the position, preferring action to talking, but he did make his views known.

Hill was also a major philanthropist. He supported the Roman Catholic seminary in St. Paul and endowed the Hill Reference Library, which operates to this day.

Views on Government

Hill was a great champion of free markets. He was particularly critical of tariffs, calling them “a great enemy of conservation” and pointing out that by prohibiting imports of such products as timber from other countries, the United States was accelerating the depletion of its own. Regarding the federal government’s ability to conserve resources, he once said, “The machine is too big and too distant, its operation is slow, cumbrous and costly.”

A 1910 speech to the National Conservation Congress in St. Paul summarizes Hill’s views on government. He remarked,

Shall we abandon everything to centralized authority, going the way of every lost and ruined government in the history of the world, or meet our personal duty by personal labor through the organs of local self-government, not yet wholly atrophied by disuse…? Shall we permit the continued increase of public expenditure and public debt until capital and credit have suffered in the same conflict that overthrew prosperous and happy nations in the past, or insist upon a return to honest and practical economy?

Hill once said, “The wealth of the country, its capital, its credit, must be saved from the predatory poor as well as the predatory rich, but above all from the predatory politician.”

A Classic Entrepreneur

In 1907, at the age of 69, Hill turned over leadership of the Great Northern to his son, Louis W. Hill. But he remained active in running his railroads and went to his office in St. Paul every day.

In May 1916, Hill became ill with an infection that quickly spread. He went into a coma and died on May 29 at the age of 77. At 2:00 p.m. on May 31, the time of his funeral, every train and steamship of the Great Northern came to a stop for five minutes to honor him.

“Shall we abandon everything to centralized authority, going the way of every lost and ruined government in the history of the world?” — James J. Hill  

Hill exhibited the classic traits of a successful entrepreneur. He diligently studied all aspects of his businesses, such as which mode of transport was best for carrying track to be laid: caboose, handcar, horse, locomotive, or passenger coach. He did all the analyses of grades and curves himself and often argued with his engineers and track foremen, demanding changes that he felt necessary. He insisted on building strong bridges made with thick granite and on using the biggest locomotives and the best quality steel.

At the end of his life, a reporter asked Hill to explain the reason for his success. He replied simply that it was due to hard work. His hard work earned him the title “the Empire Builder,” and at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, he was named Minnesota’s greatest living citizen.

Hill was remarkable because he developed an area that most people thought never could be developed. His railroads made Minnesota and the Dakotas major destinations for huge waves of immigrants. In fact, Hill sent employees to Europe to show slides of western farming in efforts to urge Scotsmen, Englishmen, Norwegians, and Swedes to settle in the Pacific Northwest. As a result, more than six million acres of Montana were settled in two years. And because of Hill, the small town of Seattle, Washington, became a major international shipping port.

James Jerome Hill has rightly earned a place as one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history.


Daniel Oliver

Daniel Oliver is a research associate at the Washington, DC-based Capital Research Center and a freelance writer. 

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed is President of the Foundation for Economic Education and the author of the forthcoming book, Real Heroes: Inspiring True Stories of Courage, Character and Conviction. Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Thomas Carlyle: The Founding Father of Fascism – Article by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Thomas Carlyle: The Founding Father of Fascism – Article by Jeffrey A. Tucker

The New Renaissance HatJeffrey A. Tucker
******************************

Thomas Carlyle fits the bill in every respect

***

Have you heard of the “great man” theory of history?

The meaning is obvious from the words. The idea is that history moves in epochal shifts under the leadership of visionary, bold, often ruthless men who marshal the energy of masses of people to push events in radical new directions. Nothing is the same after them.

In their absence, nothing happens that is notable enough to qualify as history: no heroes, no god-like figures who qualify as “great.” In this view, we need such men.  If they do not exist, we create them. They give us purpose. They define the meaning of life. They drive history forward.

Great men, in this view, do not actually have to be fabulous people in their private lives. They need not exercise personal virtue. They need not even be moral. They only need to be perceived as such by the masses, and play this role in the trajectory of history.

Such a view of history shaped much of historiography as it was penned in the late 19th century and early 20th century, until the revisionists of the last several decades saw the error and turned instead to celebrate private life and the achievements of common folk instead. Today the “great man” theory history is dead as regards academic history, and rightly so.

Carlyle the Proto-Fascist

Thomas_CarlyleThe originator of the great man theory of history is British philosopher Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), one of the most revered thinkers of his day. He also coined the expression “dismal science” to describe the economics of his time. The economists of the day, against whom he constantly inveighed, were almost universally champions of the free market, free trade, and human rights.

His seminal work on “great men” is On Heroes,  Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (1840). This book was written to distill his entire worldview.

Considering Carlyle’s immense place in the history of 19th century intellectual life, this is a surprisingly nutty book. It can clearly be seen as paving the way for the monster dictators of the 20th century. Reading his description of “great men” literally, there is no sense in which Mao, Stalin, and Hitler — or any savage dictator from any country you can name — would not qualify.

Indeed, a good case can be made that Carlyle was the forefather of fascism. He made his appearance in the midst of the age of laissez faire, a time when the UK and the US had already demonstrated the merit of allowing society to take its own course, undirected from the top down. In these times, kings and despots were exercising ever less control and markets ever more. Slavery was on its way out. Women obtained rights equal to men. Class mobility was becoming the norm, as were long lives, universal opportunity, and material progress.

Carlyle would have none of it. He longed for a different age. His literary output was devoted to decrying the rise of equality as a norm and calling for the restoration of a ruling class that would exercise firm and uncontested power for its own sake. In his view, some were meant to rule and others to follow. Society must be organized hierarchically lest his ideal of greatness would never again be realized. He set himself up as the prophet of despotism and the opponent of everything that was then called liberal.

Right Authoritarianism of the 19th Century

Carlyle was not a socialist in an ideological sense. He cared nothing for the common ownership of the means of production. Creating an ideologically driven social ideal did not interest him at all. His writings appeared and circulated alongside those of Karl Marx and his contemporaries, but he was not drawn to them.

Rather than an early “leftist,” he was a consistent proponent of power and a raving opponent of classical liberalism, particularly of the legacies of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill. If you have the slightest leanings toward liberty, or affections for the impersonal forces of markets, his writings come across as ludicrous. His interest was in power as the central organizing principle of society.

Here is his description of the “great men” of the past:

“They were the leaders of men, these great ones; the modellers, patterns, and in a wide sense creators, of whatsoever the general mass of men contrived to do or to attain; all things that we see standing accomplished in the world are properly the outer material result, the practical realization and embodiment, of Thoughts that dwelt in the Great Men sent into the world: the soul of the whole world’s history….

One comfort is, that Great Men, taken up in any way, are profitable company. We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon a great man, without gaining something by him. He is the living light-fountain, which it is good and pleasant to be near. The light which enlightens, which has enlightened the darkness of the world; and this not as a kindled lamp only, but rather as a natural luminary shining by the gift of Heaven; a flowing light-fountain, as I say, of native original insight, of manhood and heroic nobleness;—in whose radiance all souls feel that it is well with them. … Could we see them well, we should get some glimpses into the very marrow of the world’s history. How happy, could I but, in any measure, in such times as these, make manifest to you the meanings of Heroism; the divine relation (for I may well call it such) which in all times unites a Great Man to other men…

Carlyle established himself as the arch-opponent of liberalism — heaping an unrelenting and seething disdain on Smith and his disciples.And so on it goes for hundreds of pages that celebrate “great” events such as the Reign of Terror in the aftermath of the French Revolution (one of the worst holocausts then experienced). Wars, revolutions, upheavals, invasions, and mass collective action, in his view, were the essence of life itself. The merchantcraft of the industrial revolution, the devolution of power, the small lives of the bourgeoisie all struck him as noneventful and essentially irrelevant. These marginal improvements in the social sphere were made by the “silent people” who don’t make headlines and therefore don’t matter much; they are essential at some level but inconsequential in the sweep of things.

To Carlyle, nothing was sillier than Adam Smith’s pin factory: all those regular people intricately organized by impersonal forces to make something practical to improve people’s lives. Why should society’s productive capacity be devoted to making pins instead of making war? Where is the romance in that?

Carlyle established himself as the arch-opponent of liberalism — heaping an unrelenting and seething disdain on Smith and his disciples. And what should replace liberalism? What ideology? It didn’t matter, so long as it embodied Carlyle’s definition of “greatness.”

No Greatness Like the Nation-State

Of course there is no greatness to compare with that of the head of the nation-state.

“The Commander over Men; he to whose will our wills are to be subordinated, and loyally surrender themselves, and find their welfare in doing so, may be reckoned the most important of Great Men. He is practically the summary for us of all the various figures of Heroism; Priest, Teacher, whatsoever of earthly or of spiritual dignity we can fancy to reside in a man, embodies itself here, to command over us, to furnish us with constant practical teaching, to tell us for the day and hour what we are to do.”

Why the nation-state? Because within the nation-state, all that is otherwise considered immoral, illegal, unseemly, and ghastly, can become, as blessed by the law, part of policy, civic virtue, and the forward motion of history. The leader of the nation-state baptizes rampant immorality with the holy water of consensus. And thus does Napoleon come in for high praise from Carlyle, in addition to the tribal chieftains of Nordic mythology. The point is not what the “great man” does with his power so much as that he exercises it decisively, authoritatively, ruthlessly.

The exercise of such power necessarily requires the primacy of the nation-state, and hence the protectionist and nativist impulses of the fascist mindset.

Consider the times in which Carlyle wrote. Power was on the wane, and humankind was in the process of discovering something absolutely remarkable: namely, the less society is controlled from the top, the more the people thrive in their private endeavors. Society needs no management but rather contains within itself the capacity for self organization, not through the exercise of the human will as such, but by having the right institutions in place. Such was the idea of liberalism.

Liberalism was always counterintuitive. The less society is ordered, the more order emerges from the ground up. The freer people are permitted to be, the happier the people become and the more meaning they find in the course of life itself. The less power that is given to the ruling class, the more wealth is created and dispersed among everyone. The less a nation is directed by conscious design, the more it can provide a model of genuine greatness.

Such teachings emerged from the liberal revolution of the previous two centuries. But some people (mostly academics and would-be rulers) weren’t having it. On the one hand, the socialists would not tolerate what they perceived to be the seeming inequality of the emergent commercial society. On the other hand, the advocates of old-fashioned ruling-class control, such as Carlyle and his proto-fascist contemporaries, longed for a restoration of pre-modern despotism, and devoted their writings to extolling a time before the ideal of universal freedom appeared in the world.

The Dismal Science

One of the noblest achievements of the liberal revolution of the late 18th and 19th centuries — in addition to the idea of free trade — was the movement against slavery and its eventual abolition. It should not surprise anyone that Carlyle was a leading opponent of the abolitionist movement and a thoroughgoing racist. He extolled the rule of one race over another, and resented especially the economists for being champions of universal rights and therefore opponents of slavery.

As David Levy has demonstrated, the claim that economics was a “dismal science” was first stated in an essay by Carlyle in 1848, an essay in which non-whites were claimed to be non-human and worthy of killing. Blacks were, to his mind, “two-legged cattle,” worthy of servitude for all times.

Carlyle’s objection to economics as a science was very simple: it opposed slavery. Economics imagined that society could consist of people of equal freedoms, a society without masters and slaves. Supply and demand, not dictators, would rule. To him, this was a dismal prospect, a world without “greatness.”

The economists were the leading champions of human liberation from such “greatness.” They understood, through the study of market forces and the close examination of the on-the-ground reality of factories and production structures, that wealth was made by the small actions of men and women acting in their own self interest. Therefore, concluded the economists, people should be free of despotism. They should be free to accumulate wealth. They should pursue their own interests in their own way. They should be let alone.

Carlyle found the whole capitalist worldview disgusting. His loathing foreshadowed the fascism of the 20th century: particularly its opposition to liberal capitalism, universal rights, and progress.

Fascism’s Prophet

Once you get a sense of what capitalism meant to humanity – universal liberation and the turning of social resources toward the service of the common person – it is not at all surprising to find reactionary intellectuals opposing it tooth and nail. There were generally two schools of thought that stood in opposition to what it meant to the world: the socialists and the champions of raw power that later came to be known as fascists. In today’s parlance, here is the left and the right, both standing in opposition to simple freedom.

Carlyle came along at just the right time to represent that reactionary brand of power for its own sake. His opposition to emancipation and writings on race would emerge only a few decades later into a complete ideology of eugenics that would later come to heavily inform 20th-century fascist experiments. There is a direct line, traversing only a few decades, between Carlyle’s vehement anti-capitalism and the ghettos and gas chambers of the German total state.

Do today’s neo-fascists understand and appreciate their 19th century progenitor? Not likely. The continuum from Carlyle to Mussolini to Franco to Donald Trump is lost on people who do not see beyond the latest political crisis. Not one in ten thousand activists among the European and American “alt-right” who are rallying around would-be strong men who seek power today have a clue about their intellectual heritage.

Hitler turned to Goebbels, his trusted assistant, and asked for a final reading. It was Carlyle.And it should not be necessary that they do. After all, we have a more recent history of the rise of fascism in the 20th-century from which to learn (and it is to their everlasting disgrace that they have refused to learn).

But no one should underestimate the persistence of an idea and its capacity to travel time, leading to results that no one intended directly but are still baked into the fabric of the ideological structure. If you celebrate power for its own sake, herald immorality as a civic ideal, and believe that history rightly consists of nothing more than the brutality of great men with power, you end up with unconscionable results that may not have been overtly intended but which were nonetheless given license by the absence of conscience opposition.

As time went on, left and right mutated, merged, diverged, and established a revolving door between the camps, disagreeing on the ends they sought but agreeing on the essentials. They would have opposed 19th-century liberalism and its conviction that society should be left alone. Whether they were called socialist or fascists, the theme was the same. Society must be planned from the top down. A great man — brilliant, powerful, with massive resources at his disposal — must lead. At some point in the middle of the 20th century, it became difficult to tell the difference but for their cultural style and owned constituencies. Even so, left and right maintained distinctive forms. If Marx was the founding father of the socialist left, Carlyle was his foil on the fascist right.

Hitler and Carlyle

In his waning days, defeated and surrounded only by loyalists in his bunker, Hitler sought consolation from the literature he admired the most. According to many biographers, the following scene took place. Hitler turned to Goebbels, his trusted assistant, and asked for a final reading. The words he chose to hear before his death were from Thomas Carlyle’s biography of Frederick the Great. Thus did Carlyle himself provide a fitting epitaph to one of the “great” men he so celebrated during his life: alone, disgraced, and dead.

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Digital Development at FEE, CLO of the startup Liberty.me, and editor at Laissez Faire Books. Author of five books, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.  Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook. 

This article was published by The Foundation for Economic Education and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution United States License, which requires that credit be given to the author.

This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

Imagine a Political Party That Really Supports Equal Rights – Real Heroes: William Leggett – Article by Lawrence W. Reed

Imagine a Political Party That Really Supports Equal Rights – Real Heroes: William Leggett – Article by Lawrence W. Reed

The New Renaissance Hat
Lawrence W. Reed
July 10, 2015
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Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.


Death from yellow fever complications claimed journalist William Leggett at the tender age of 38, days before he would have assumed his first political office. President Martin Van Buren had just named Leggett US ambassador to Guatemala. In the early 19th century, as temptations were rising to divert Americans’ constitutional framework toward bigger government, Leggett (to borrow a phrase from 20th-century journalist William F. Buckley) stood athwart history yelling, “Stop!”

Leggett’s fame is inextricably intertwined with the term Locofoco. Here’s the story.

Imagine a political movement that says it’s committed to “equal rights” — and means it. Not just equality in a few cherry-picked rights but all human rights, including the most maligned: property rights. Imagine a movement whose raison d’être is to oppose any and all special privileges from government for anybody.

When it comes to political parties, most of them in recent American history like to say they’re for equal rights. But surely the first lesson of politics is this: what the major parties say and do are two different things.

In American history, no such group has ever been as colorful and as thorough in its understanding of equal rights as one that flashed briefly across the political skies in the 1830s and ‘40s. They were called “Locofocos.” If I had been around back then, I would have proudly joined their illustrious ranks.

The Locofocos were a faction of the Democratic Party of President Andrew Jackson, concentrated mostly in the Northeast and New York in particular, but with notoriety and influence well beyond the region. Formally called the Equal Rights Party, they derived their better-known sobriquet from a peculiar event on October 29, 1835.

Democrats in New York City were scrapping over how far to extend Jackson’s war against the federally chartered national bank at a convention controlled by the city’s dominant political machine, Tammany Hall. (Jackson had killed the bank in 1832 by vetoing its renewal.) When the more conservative officialdom of the convention expelled the radical William Leggett, editor of the Evening Post, they faced a full-scale revolt by a sizable and boisterous rump. The conservatives walked out, plunging the meeting room into darkness as they left by turning off the gas lights. The radicals continued to meet by the light of candles they lit with matches called loco focos — Spanish for “crazy lights.”

With the Tammany conservatives gone and the room once again illuminated, the Locofocos passed a plethora of resolutions. They condemned the national bank as an unconstitutional tool of special interests and an engine of paper-money inflation. They assailed all monopolies, by which they meant firms that received some sort of privilege or immunity granted by state or federal governments. They endorsed a “strict construction” of the Constitution and demanded an end to all laws that “directly or indirectly infringe the free exercise of equal rights.” They saw themselves as the true heirs of Jefferson, unabashed advocates of laissez-faire and of minimal government confined to securing equal rights for all and dispensing special privileges for none.

Three months later, in January 1836, the Locofocos held a convention to devise a platform and to endorse candidates to run against the Tammany machine for city office in April. They still considered themselves Democrats: rather than bolt and form a distinct opposition party, they hoped to steer the party of Jefferson and Jackson to a radical reaffirmation of its principled roots.

“We utterly disclaim any intention or design of instituting any new party, but declare ourselves the original Democratic party,” they announced.

The “Declaration of Principles” the Locofocos passed at that January gathering is a stirring appeal to the bedrock concept of rights, as evidenced by these excerpts:

  • “The true foundation of Republican Government is the equal rights of every citizen, in his person and property, and in their management.”
  • “The rightful power of all legislation is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us.”
  • “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all the law should enforce on him.”
  • “The idea is quite unfounded that on entering into society, we give up any natural right.”

The convention pronounced “hostility to any and all monopolies by legislation,” “unqualified and uncompromising hostility to paper money as a circulating medium, because gold and silver are the only safe and constitutional currency,” and “hostility to the dangerous and unconstitutional creation of vested rights by legislation.”

From affirmative action to business subsidies, today’s Congress and state legislatures routinely bestow advantages on this or that group at the expense of others. The Locofoco condemnation of such special privilege couldn’t be clearer:

We ask that our legislators will legislate for the whole people and not for favored portions of our fellow-citizens, thereby creating distinct aristocratic little communities within the great community. It is by such partial and unjust legislation that the productive classes of society are … not equally protected and respected as the other classes of mankind.

William Leggett, whose expulsion from the October gathering by the Tammany Democrats sparked the Locofocos into being, was the intellectual linchpin of the whole movement. After a short stint editing a literary magazine called the Critic, he was hired as assistant to famed poet and editor William Cullen Bryant at the New York Evening Post in 1829. Declaring “no taste” for politics at first, he quickly became enamored of Bryant’s philosophy of liberty.

He emerged as an eloquent agitator in the pages of the Post, especially in 1834 when he took full charge of its editorial pages while Bryant vacationed in Europe. Leggett struck a chord with the politically unconnected and with many working men and women hit hard by the inflation of the national bank.

In the state of New York at the time, profit-making businesses could not incorporate without special dispensation from the legislature. This meant, as historian Richard Hofstadter explained in a 1943 article, that “men whose capital or influence was too small to win charters from the lawmakers were barred from such profitable lines of corporate enterprise as bridges, railroads, turnpikes and ferries, as well as banks.”

Leggett railed against such privilege: “The bargaining and trucking away of chartered privileges is the whole business of our lawmakers.” His remedy was “a fair field and no favor,” free-market competition unfettered by favor-granting politicians. He and his Locofoco followers were not anti-wealth or anti-bank, but they were vociferously opposed to any unequal application of the law. To Leggett and the Locofocos, the goddess of justice really was blindfolded. His relentless rebukes of what we would call today “crony capitalism” are well represented in this excerpt from an 1834 editorial:

Governments have no right to interfere with the pursuits of individuals, as guaranteed by those general laws, by offering encouragements and granting privileges to any particular class of industry, or any select bodies of men, inasmuch as all classes of industry and all men are equally important to the general welfare, and equally entitled to protection.

The Locofocos won some local elections in the late 1830s and exerted enough influence to see many of their ideas embraced by no less than Martin Van Buren when he ran successfully for president in 1836. By the middle of Van Buren’s single term, the Locofoco notions of equal rights and an evenhanded policy of a small federal government were reestablished as core principles of the Democratic Party. There they would persist for more than half a century after Leggett’s death, through the last great Democratic president, Grover Cleveland, in the 1880s and 1890s. Sadly, those essentially libertarian roots have long since been abandoned by the party of Jefferson and Jackson.

Upon Leggett’s untimely death in 1839, poet William Cullen Bryant penned an eloquent obituary in which he wrote, in part, the following tribute:

As a political writer, Mr. Leggett attained, within a brief period, a high rank and an extensive and enviable reputation. He wrote with great fluency and extraordinary vigor; he saw the strong points of a question at a glance, and had the skill to place them before his readers with a force, clearness and amplitude of statement rarely to be found in the writings of any journalist that ever lived. When he became warmed with his subject, which was not unfrequently the case, his discussions had all the stirring power of extemporaneous eloquence.

His fine endowments he wielded for worthy purposes. He espoused the cause of the largest liberty and the most comprehensive equality of rights among the human race, and warred against those principles which inculcate distrust of the people, and those schemes of legislation which tend to create an artificial inequality in the conditions of men. He was wholly free — and, in this respect his example ought to be held up to journalists as a model to contemplate and copy — he was wholly free from the besetting sin of their profession, a mercenary and time-serving disposition. He was a sincere lover and follower of truth, and never allowed any of those specious reasons for inconsistency, which disguise themselves under the name of expediency, to seduce him for a moment from the support of the opinions which he deemed right, and the measures which he was convinced were just. What he would not yield to the dictates of interest he was still less disposed to yield to the suggestions of fear.

We sorrow that such a man, so clear-sighted, strong minded and magnanimous has passed away, and that his aid is no more to be given in the conflict which truth and liberty maintain with their numerous and powerful enemies.

If you’re unhappy that today’s political parties give lip service to equal rights as they busy themselves carving up what’s yours and passing out the pieces, don’t blame me. I’m a Locofoco and a fan of William Leggett.

For further information, see:

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in 2008. Prior to that, he was a founder and president for twenty years of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught Economics full-time and chaired the Department of Economics at Northwood University in Michigan from 1977 to 1984.

He holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Grove City College (1975) and an M.A. degree in History from Slippery Rock State University (1978), both in Pennsylvania. He holds two honorary doctorates, one from Central Michigan University (Public Administration—1993) and Northwood University (Laws—2008).

This article was originally published by The Foundation for Economic Education and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which requires that credit be given to the author.
Michel Chevalier’s Case Against the Patent System – Article by Louis Rouanet

Michel Chevalier’s Case Against the Patent System – Article by Louis Rouanet

The New Renaissance Hat
Louis Rouanet
April 17, 2015
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Michel Chevalier (1806–1879) was a very influential French economist during the second half of the nineteenth century. He is still widely known in France for being the architect of the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty of 1860 which was the free-trade agreement between France and Great Britain. Michel Chevalier is, however, less known for his major contribution to the intellectual property debate. [1] Contrary to Jean Baptiste Say, Gustave de Molinari, and many other French economists, Chevalier fiercely opposed the patent system. As Fritz Machlup remarked: “Among French economists, Michel Chevalier was probably the most emphatic in the joint antagonism to tariffs and patents, declaring that both ‘stem from the same doctrine and result in the same abuses.’”

Taking a fresh look at Michel Chevalier’s major work, Les Brevets d’invention (1878), we find it to be not only a well-written and powerful book, but also has remained impressively relevant. The arguments advanced by Chevalier anticipate the current arguments of the present opponents of intellectual property.

Patents as Contrary to Freedom and Economic Progress

Michel Chevalier argues that patents cannot be justified if they are contrary to freedom, even if beneficial to technological change. For him “From the moment we can make effective the patent only through inquisitorial expedients, violence, and subversion of liberty of labor, it is proof that we must renounce patents.” Chevalier rejects utilitarianism as a sufficient method to justify or refute the patent system. Chevalier’s opposition to patents, however, is not just based on moral arguments but shows the disastrous effects of this system for both foreign trade and the economy in general.

According to Chevalier, patents are of the same nature as privileges and monopolies which were prevalent during the Ancien Régime. They are also comparable in their effects to protectionist policies:

In absolute terms, patents diminish the productive power of nations that recognize them: evident proposition for those who believe that freedom, free competition, is the great lever of industrial progress.

Chevalier goes on to note the conservative and anti-innovation nature of monopolies and gives many examples of monopolies during the Ancien Régime. According to him, the innovators during the Ancien Régime weren’t rewarded, not because of the absence of patents, but because of the corporation guild system which was destroying competition and freedom to entry into markets. Thus, the innovators were constantly sued by guilds and consumers rarely benefited from their inventions. This argument is still relevant today. Indeed, companies protected from competition and government-owned corporations are often less innovative and more subject to conservative measures. Sectors typically run by government such as schools experience very little technological progress. On the other hand, the competitive process of the market gives incentives for the actors to differentiate from the other producers. As Pascal Salin stated, the company which makes the highest profits on a free market is the company which is the best positioned to “invent the future.” The essential virtue of competition is that it encourages producers to innovate in order to better serve the needs of consumers.

As one of his more striking examples, Chevalier examines the case of aniline — a dye and major innovation in the chemical industry — and shows how monopoly, resulting from patents, leads to hampered innovation. His interpretation of the problems caused by patents in the chemical industry at the time is consistent with more recent studies done by Boldrin and Levine in Against Intellectual Monopoly, now the seminal work on the topic.

Innovation as a Process

Chevalier understood that innovation is, above all, a process and that giving privileges to the innovator will destroy this process, leading to less and not more inventions. He wrote:

Every industrial discovery is the product of the general ferment of ideas, the result of an internal work which was accomplished with the support of a large number of successive or simultaneous collaborators in society, often for centuries.

This argument regarding the cumulative nature of innovation is still the most powerful argument against intellectual monopoly today and has also been the theme of several recent studies.2 Similar to Chevalier, Hayek saw innovation as a process and stated that “it is not obvious that such forced scarcity [intellectual property] is the most effective way to stimulate the human creative process.”

In an 1862 debate in the Académe des Sciences Morales et Politiques, Chevalier gave the example of Louis Daguerre, one of the inventors of photography, who didn’t seek a patent for his system of photography. According to Chevalier, the absence of a patent led to necessary improvements of the daguerreotype and fostered its widespread use. His conclusion is the following:

The spirit of man proceeds only by successive trials and repeated attempts. Discoveries do not arrive with a single bound to the degree of perfection or completion, which is reserved for them; there must be renewed, persevering efforts, cut by breaks that allow, so to speak, to breath. … If it is true that the invention must pass through the hands of twenty people before reaching its final state, it follows that the exclusive privilege granted to the first patented, and to each of his followers, prevents this practical result rather than facilitate it.

The Increasing Number of Patents and Negative Consequences

Already during the nineteenth century, legal instability and uncertainty challenged the actual efficiency of the patent system and the economists were very much aware of this problem. Chevalier warned that the patent system would lead to legal uncertainty for the companies and would lead the industry back to a guild system where no entrepreneur would dare to enter a market for fear of being sued by patent holders. Chevalier was ahead of his time by denouncing what can be considered the ancestors of today’s patent trolls.

Chevalier concluded his 1862 article by stating: “I think I have said enough to show that the patent legislation has been an eccentricity of the legislator.” He went further in 1863 and added that “[a]ll friends of industrial and social progress must work together to rescue the industry of obstacles, obsolete remains of the past. Patents must disappear first.” [3]

1. Fritz Machlup and Edith Penrose briefly discussed Michel Chevalier in “The Patent Controversy in the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Economic History, 1950.

2. See Alberto Galasso et Mark Schankerman, “Patents and Cumulative Innovation: Causal Evidence from the Courts”, NBER working paper, 21 June 2014 ; and also, Alessandro Nuvolari, “Collective Invention during the British Industrial Revolution: The Case of the Cornish Pumping Engine,” Cambridge Journal of Economics 28, No. 3 (2004).

3. Quoted in Eugène Pouillet, “Traité théorique et pratique des brevets d’invention et de la contrefaçon,” 1909, pp. x–xi.

Louis Rouanet is a student at Sciences Po Paris (Institute of Political Studies) where he studies economics and political science.

This article was originally published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided full credit is given.

March #5 (Belle Époque March), Op. 31 (2004) – Musical Composition and Video by G. Stolyarov II

March #5 (Belle Époque March), Op. 31 (2004) – Musical Composition and Video by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
November 1, 2014
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This 2004 piano march by Mr. Stolyarov celebrates the “beautiful epoch” of Western Civilization during the late 19th century, characterized by widespread peace, technological progress, economic freedom, artistic flourishing, and rising living standards that, for the first time, brought prosperity to large numbers of people.

This work was remastered using the SynthFont2 software, with the Evanescence 2 and GMR Basico 1.1 instrument packs.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The artwork is “View of the Place de la Bourse, Paris” painted by Carlo Bossoli circa 1884 and accessible as a public-domain image here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

March #10, Op. 59 (2009) – Musical Composition and Video by G. Stolyarov II

March #10, Op. 59 (2009) – Musical Composition and Video by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
September 21, 2014
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This march was composed by Mr. Stolyarov in 2009 using harmonies that late-19th-century European composers would have associated with the Middle East.

This work has been remastered using the Finale 2011 software. It is arranged for harpsichord, piano, harp, clarinet, organ, and timpani.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Tesselated Pyramid, available for download here and here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

Liberation, Op. 20 (2003) – Musical Composition and Video by G. Stolyarov II

Liberation, Op. 20 (2003) – Musical Composition and Video by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
August 17, 2014
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This 2003 composition by Mr. Stolyarov, written in a mid-19th-century style, reveals the true nature of liberty as experienced by the creative mind, not free from all order, but free to create and relish an order of one’s own.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Abstract Orderism Fractal XVI, available for download here and here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.