Some More Questions, and my Responses

From: P
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2019 2:22 PM
To: Block Walter <>

Dear Walter,

Just now I was reading some of Rothbard’s views vis-a-vis Hoppe’s and I got curious about your thoughts when I ran across “A RIGHT-WING POPULIST PROGRAM” in which he seems to advocate these as a strategy:

Question 1. Take Back the Streets: Crush Criminals. And by this I mean, of course, not “white collar criminals” or “inside traders” but violent street criminals – robbers, muggers, rapists, murderers. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error.

I agree with Murray on “blue collar” criminals. Crush ‘em. But, also, law and order ought to be visited, harshly, on ALL real criminals, that is, those with victims. Victimless “crimes” should be legalized, such as drugs, sex, gambling, etc. Inside trading should not be considered a crime at all. But, surely, fraud should be.

On insider trading see below:

Question 2. Take Back the Streets: Get Rid of the Bums. Again: unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? Hopefully, they will disappear, that is, move from the ranks of the petted and cosseted bum class to the ranks of the productive members of society.”

I was quite surprised because I cannot see myself, or Rothbard for that matter, advocating that that we “Take back the Streets” or that “Cops must be unleashed,” even as part of a political strategy for moving towards a more libertarian society.  I would think that the libertarian approach to street crime and vagrancy would be to privatize the streets, not turn them over to state officials: “The Cops.”  And I don’t see how these as interim measures would help.

I’m pro bum, but only on public streets. I oppose the latter. The former is an attack on the latter, so, logically, I have to support the former. This is the classic question: “Should the bum be allowed into the public library. Here, Murray and I diverge. Murray wants to keep the bums out of the public library. I welcome the bums, since they would make public libraries impossible to operate, and private ones would be given a relatie boost.

I favor street privatization. If the private owners welcome bums, fine. But, presumably, most would not.

Thank you, P

Here are some readings on these issues; not all of these are exactly on point, but most at least come close; all of them are interesting.:

Anderson, 2002; Barry, 1998; Bishop, 2018; Block, 1992, 2004, 2005, 2007A, 2007B; Block and McGee, 1992; Doarnberger, 2016 ; Herrera-Gonzalez, 2014; Machan, 2005; Manne, 1966A, 1966B, 2005, 2011; Markus, 2007; McGee and Block, 1989, 1992, 2004, 2007A, 2007B; Mercer, 2010; Murphy, 2011; Ostrowski, 2002; Padilla, 2000, 2002, 2005A, 2005B, 2008, 2010, 2013; Padilla and Gardiner, 2009; Smith and Block. 2015.

Anderson, William L. 2002. “The Attack on Martha.” June 21;

Barry, Norman. 1998. Business Ethics (London: Routledge), ch. 5

Bishop, Tho. 2018. “Republican Congressman Charged with Insider Trading, Which Shouldn’t Be a Crime.” August 8

Block, Walter E. 1992. “Insider Trading,” in Robert W. McGee (ed.), Business Ethics and Common Sense, Quorum Books, 1992, 219-29.   With Walter Block. Book chapter.

Block, Walter E. 2004. An Ethical and Economic Look at Insider Trading, in Aschwin de Wolf, editor, Ordered Anarchy: Essays in Honor of Anthony de Jasay, Arlington, VA: Singularity Press.

Block, Walter E. 2005. “Liberdade de Experssao, Discurso, Libelo, Difamacao, Chantagem, Incitamento.” Cultura Do Trabalho, vol. 9; ed., Lars Knorr. Porto Alegre, Brasil: Instituto de Estudos Empresariais

Block, Walter E. 2007A. An Ethical Look at Insider Trading, in Insider Trading: Regulatory Perspectives, C.Vidya, editor, Hyderabad: The ICFAI University Press, pp. 49-74. Robert W. McGee and Walter Block.

Block, Walter E. 2007B. An Ethical Look at Insider Trading, in Insider Trading: Perspectives and Cases, Jayshree Bose, editor, Hyderabad: Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India, pp. 10-35.

Block, Walter and Robert W. McGee. 1992. “Insider Trading,” Business Ethics and Common Sense, Robert W. McGee, ed., New York: Quorum Books, pp. 219-229.

Doarnberger, Matthew. 2016. “Insider Trading and Taxes: The State Wants to Read Your Mind.” August 3;

Herrera-Gonzalez, Fernando. 2014. “A Free Market Approach to Insider Trading.” Janury 14;

Machan, Tibor R. 2005. “What is Morally Right With Insider Trading?” July 20;

Manne, Henry A. 1966A. “In Defense of Insider Trading,” Harvard Business Review, 113, Nov/Dec.

Manne, Henry A. 1966B. Insider Trading and the Stock Market, New York: The Free Press.

Manne, Henry A. 2005. “Insider Trading: Hayek, Virtual Markets, and the Dog that Did Not Bark,” Journal of Corporation Law, Vol. 31, p.167 (University of Iowa Law School).

Manne, Henry A. 2011. “Entrepreneurship, Compensation, and the Corporation” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics ,Vol 14, No. 1, pp. 3-24;

Markus, B.K. 2007. “‘Insider Trading’ is Back” April 7.

McGee, Robert W. and Walter E. Block. 1989. “Information, Privilege, Opportunity and Insider Trading,” Northern Illinois University Law Review, December, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 1-35;;

McGee, Robert W. and Walter E. Block. 2004. “An Ethical and Economic Look at Insider Trading.” Ordered Anarchy: Festschrift Essays in Honor of Anthony de Jasay. Aschwin de Wolf, ed. Arlington, VA: Singularity Press.

McGee, Robert W. and Walter E. Block. 2007A. “An Ethical Look at Insider Trading” Insider Trading: Regulatory Perspectives. C. Vidya, ed. Hyderabad, India: The ICFAI University Press.

McGee, Robert W. and Walter E. Block. 2007B. “An Ethical Look at Insider Trading” Insider Trading: Perspectives and Cases. Jayshree Bose, ed. Hyderabad, India: The ICFAI University Press.

Mercer, Ilana. 2010. “Insider trading laws = information socialism.” November 26;

Murphy, Robert P. 2011. “Is Insider Trading Really a Crime?” May 16.

Ostrowski, James. 2002. “Wanted for Outsider Trading.” August 23;

Padilla, Alexandre. 2000. “Insider Trading, Agency Problems, and the Separation of Property and Control,”

Padilla, Alexandre. 2002. “Can Agency Theory Justify the Regulation of Insider Trading?” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 3-38;

Padilla, Alexandre. 2005A. “The Regulation of Insider Trading as an Agency Problem.” Florida State University Business Review, Volume 5 (2005-2006): 63-79.

Padilla, Alexandre. 2005B. “Can Regulation Eliminate the Agency Problems Posed by Insider Trading?” Commentaries on Law & Economics, Volume 2: 47-81.

Padilla, Alexandre. 2008. “How Do We Think About Insider Trading? An

Economist’s Perspective on How the Insider Trading Debate Has

Influenced the Way We Think About Insider Trading.” Journal of Law,

Economics, and Policy, Vol. 4, No. 2: 249-271.

Padilla, Alexandre. 2010. “Should The Government Regulate Insider

Trading?” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 22: 359-378.

Padilla, Alexandre. 2013. “Insider Trading: What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen?” In Stephen M. Bainbridge (Ed), Research Handbook on Insider Trading, Cheltenham, UK/Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 251-265.

Padilla, Alexandre and Brian Gardiner. 2009. “Insider Trading: Is

There an Economist in the Room?” Journal of Private Enterprise, Vol.

24, No. 2 (Spring): 113-136.

Smith, Taylor and Walter E. Block. 2015. “The Economics of Insider Trading and Labor: A Free Market Perspective” Journal of Business Ethics; March, 139 (1), 47-53;; DOI: 10.1007/s10551-015-2621-5;


3:15 am on January 5, 2020