INTERMEDIATE

Ratchet Effect

A term coined by economist Robert Higgs that describes the problem in governance that arises when government intervention increases during crises such as wars, natural disasters, or economic depressions.  After the crisis government meets resistance in reversing the intervention, creating a situation where government intervention rarely returns to pre-crisis levels, which lead to a constant ratcheting up effect in growth of government intervention over time.

 

Robert Higgs - Liberty and the Long Run Growth of Government

Related Publications

ARCHIVE

Then Truth Will Out

AUGUST 03, 2009 by LEONARD E. READ

Related Freeman Articles

ARTICLE

The Great Depression and World War II

MAY 21, 2009 by ART CARDEN

What about World War II? Did it end the Great Depression? More generally, is war good for the economy? I answer both in the negative and borrow here from Ludwig von Mises: "War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings." As Higgs points out, because of the array of interventions in the wartime economy, war materiel was valued incorrectly and therefore the GDP data overstate economic conditions. Moreover, conscription and arms production gave a misleading employment picture

ARTICLE

Frank Chodorov: Champion of Liberty

Chodorov Was a Formidable and Prescient Critic of Statism

DECEMBER 01, 1996 by AARON STEELMAN

ONLINE EVENTS

FEE offers live online events for people new to the economic, ethical, and legal principles of a free society.

CURRENT ISSUE

November 2014

It's been 40 years since F. A. Hayek received his Nobel Prize. His insights, particularly on the distribution of knowledge and the impossibility of economic planning, remain hugely important today. In this issue, we look back on the influence of his work. Max Borders and Craig Biddle debate whether liberty must be defended from one absolute foundation, further reflections on Scottish secession, and how technology is already changing our world for the better--including how robots, despite the unease they cause, will only accelerate this process.
Download Free PDF

PAST ISSUES

SUBSCRIBE

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION

img E-mail Subscription

VIEW PRIVACY POLICY