Americans everywhere expect their government to do something about the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. But what exactly should its role be?

In a world of paper money, ATM machines, debit cards, and cryptocurrencies, it is difficult to imagine a time when all money was based on a precious metal, either gold or silver. But only a few generations ago, all paper money was fully backed by gold or silver — meaning that paper notes could be redeemed on demand for gold or silver — and both gold and silver coins were in daily circulation.

Just as price controls lead to scarcities of goods, so wage controls lead to scarcity of labor, or in other words, unemployment.

Enemies of the free market claim that  “too much” capitalism lead inevitably to the monopolistic concentration of wealth in the hands of a few oligarch. Are they correct? Throughout the 19th century, many wealthy “robber barons” did indeed establish monopolies in their respective markets — but always by procuring favors from politicians.

Because charitable giving is so universally acclaimed, it is natural to inquire whether the most powerful of man-made institutions, governments, should engage in it.

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