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Steven Horwitz

Distinguished Fellow

Member of: FEE Faculty Network FEE Staff

Steven Horwitz is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University and the author of Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions. He is spending the 2016-17 academic year as a Visiting Scholar at the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at Ball State University.

He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

Steven Horwitz's Articles

Remembering the Man Who Turned Numbers Into Hope

Hans Rosling’s intellectual fearlessness and the substance of his work have great importance for those who care about human freedom and progress. We are richer for the work he did. We are poorer for his loss.

Why Sessions Is Sailing and DeVos Is Struggling

The Attorney General has the power to enact fundamental changes to freedom, and there's no doubt Trump would support Sessions in this endeavor. On the other hand, DeVos could only do limited, temporary damage as Secretary of Education. So why has DeVos faced much more opposition than has Sessions? Maybe people just don't care very much about human liberty in general. But a better answer comes from the theory of interest group politics.

- February 02, 2017

Trade Restrictions Imperil Our Standard of Living

Under one roof in the Cincinnati suburbs is a microcosm of the global economy: people with a variety of different wants and desires finding ways to mutually satisfy them through exchange. Jungle Jim’s is a model of peaceful, tolerant interaction among diverse humans.

- January 27, 2017

4 Questions to Ask When Debating Inequality

The debate about income inequality is contentious partially because people conflate several different but related ideas. These four questions should be at the center of discussion of inequality to keep everyone on the same page.

- January 24, 2017

Countries Are Not Companies

From the perspective of a CEO, markets are very much about winning. If the goal is to win by profiting, it will not matter where the profit comes from. Unfortunately, the perspective of the businessperson is not helpful for understanding economies as a whole.

- January 05, 2017

Taxing Global Trade Is Not Deregulation

for all of the talk of regulatory relief, there is at least one area in which Trump has made it clear he intends to dramatically increase government regulation – the buying of goods and services across national boundaries. Trump has promised (or threatened) to impose an across the board tariff on imports, and he has promised subsidies or other benefits for firms who keep their production in the US. During the campaign, he indicated he would limit immigration and that he would punish firms who relocated to other countries.


- January 04, 2017

Israel Kirzner Presents the Foundations of Austrian Economics

Those of us lucky to have known and interacted with Professor Kirzner will recognize in these essays two defining features of his work as a scholar: an analytical precision unmatched by his contemporaries and a passion for conveying sound economics. That passion was most obvious in hearing him lecture, but it shines through on these pages as he walks us through topics from the basics of microeconomics, to the role of the economist as policy advisor, to the history of Austrian economics.

- December 13, 2016

Are We Really Worse Off than our Parents?

Ask yourself this: even if you make less than your parents, would you go back in time to the world they lived in at your current age even with their higher real money income? My guess is no, and that’s the most powerful evidence that whatever your income, you perceive yourself as better off today than they were then.

- December 12, 2016

A Rising Stock Market Does Not Signal Economic Health

Firms can still be highly profitable in a world of cronyism, but those profits reflect their ability to curry favor with those in power, not their ability to create value for consumers.

- December 08, 2016

Economic Localism Is No Better than Economic Nationalism

Certainly most of the progressive proponents of shopping local do not imagine themselves to be guilty of the same prejudices as Steve Bannon and other partisans of Trump’s economic nationalism, but the underlying logic is the same. The best path toward enriching everyone is allowing everyone to trade with everyone else.


- November 27, 2016

The Double Thank You of the Market

If we want the market order to survive, we will have to continue to treat it both in theory and practice as a realm of moral and virtuous behavior. Reserving the Double Thank You for the market is one way to do so.

- November 10, 2016

It’s Not Just Keynesians vs. Austrians

They Keynes-Hayek rap videos are fantastic! But they are just a starting point, and come nowhere near capturing the complexity of the modern debates and its many perspectives on economics and policy. 

- October 24, 2016

Allergic to “Capitalism”? Call It “Trade-Tested Permissionless Innovation”

Surveys show that millennials don't like the term capitalism. So if we don’t call it capitalism, what do we call it? The results are not elegant but let's try to be accurate. 

- October 22, 2016

There is No Such Thing as Trickle-Down Economics

No market advocate ever used this phrase. That's for a reason. It's not what we favor. 

- September 24, 2016

Dying Celebrities are a Sign of Thriving Economies

Famous people are dying at an ever greater rate. This is because there are more famous people than ever. And why is that?

- September 21, 2016

We Didn't Humanize Markets, Markets Humanized Us

The real credit for the long-run decline in child labor and hours worked belongs to competitive capitalism, which enabled the growth of capital that increased labor productivity and enriched both capitalists and workers.

- September 08, 2016

Why Isn't There Chaos When Traffic Lights Malfunction?

People adapt to the new situation, staying safe while caring for the safety of others. It's order without top-down authority. 

- August 29, 2016

Progress Does Not Depend on Geniuses

Larger populations create progress not because they have more Einsteins and Fords, but because they have more John Smiths and Jane Does of every race or nationality or skill level or set of experiences imaginable.

- August 22, 2016

Make Babies, and Don’t Let the Greens Guilt Trip You about It

The best way to save the planet is not to have fewer kids, but to have as many as you can afford.

- August 20, 2016

The Humble Case for Freedom

The case for freedom is what we learn from each other, not what each of us knows.


- August 08, 2016

The Human Achievement that is Las Vegas

That Las Vegas exists is tribute to two human achievements: the wealth that market capitalism has made possible and the toleration that is at the core of the liberal values that underlie markets.

- July 20, 2016

Yes, We Still Make Stuff, and It Wouldn’t Matter if We Didn’t

One of the perennial complaints about the US economy is that we don’t “make stuff” anymore. No so. 

- July 01, 2016

Skype Has Improved Your Life Beyond Measure

Thanks to communication technology, the poorest of the developed world live longer, healthier lives in more comfort than did most kings of old.

- June 19, 2016

Was the Fed Created by a Conspiracy?

The problem with the Fed is not that it was the product of conspiracy, but that it was the product of politics.

- June 14, 2016

Uber Is Progress, So Why Aren’t Progressives On Board?

Patronizing Uber supports entrepreneurial individuals rather than cab companies

- June 13, 2016

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