by Benjamin Marks, author of “An Open Letter to Dick Smith,”
and Capitalism.HK and editor

In Sydney, on September 7, 1991, famous Australian entrepreneur and environmentalist Dick Smith launched Reconciling Economics and the Environment, edited by Jeff Bennett and Walter Block, for the IPA.1 Now, over 21 years later, Professor Walter Block himself is travelling to Australia, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the late Neville Kennard, a lifelong friend of Dick Smith and long-time big-time supporter of think-tanks. Block will be in Sydney for the 2nd Australian Mises Seminar (Dec. 1 and 2, 2012), the website for which is

The IPA edition does not include the two most free-market essays from the original version: Rothbard’s “Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution,” and Block’s “Environmental Problems, Private Property Rights Solutions.” Obviously, Australia has better writers than Rothbard. In any case, what the IPA edition does include, which the original version does not, is a foreword by Dick Smith.

The key passage in Smith’s foreword reads:

This book is about the application of economics to environmental issues. Not, that is, the high-level, unreliable macroeconomics […]: rather, the authors use the more modest and much better understood tools of microeconomics to show how market forces can be harnessed to encourage the wise use of resources and to achieve many other environmental goals.2

I wonder if Dick Smith knows that only the Walter Block school of economics has macroeconomics that is totally congruent with its microeconomics? To try to compensate Australia for the IPA’s deletion of Rothbard 21 years ago, here is Block’s teacher, Murray Rothbard, albeit in a different essay to the one that was deleted, on the macro-micro “duality”:

Chicagoites prefer the income tax because, in their economic theory, they follow the disastrous tradition of orthodox Anglo-American economics in sharply separating the “microeconomic” from the “macroeconomic” spheres.

The idea is that there are two sharply separated and independent worlds of economics. On the one hand, there is the “micro” sphere, the world of individual prices determined by the forces of supply and demand. Here, the Chicagoans concede, the economy is best left to the unhampered play of the free market. But, they assert, there is also a separate and distinct sphere of “macro” economics, of economic aggregates of government budget and monetary policy, where there is no possibility or even desirability of a free market.

In common with their Keynesian colleagues, the Friedmanites wish to give to the central government absolute control over these macro areas, in order to manipulate the economy for social ends, while maintaining that the micro world can still remain free. In short, Friedmanites as well as Keynesians concede the vital macro sphere to statism as the supposedly necessary framework for the micro-freedom of the free market.

In reality, the macro and micro spheres are integrated and intertwined, as the Austrians have shown. It is impossible to concede the macro sphere to the State while attempting to retain freedom on the micro level. Any sort of tax, and the income tax not least of all, injects systematic robbery and confiscation into the micro sphere of the individual, and has unfortunate and distortive effects on the entire economic system. It is deplorable that the Friedmanites, along with the rest of Anglo-American economics, have never paid attention to the achievement of Ludwig von Mises, founder of the modern Austrian School, in integrating the micro and macro spheres in economic theory as far back as 1912 in his classic The Theory of Money and Credit.

The 2nd Australian Mises Seminar is a great way to investigate it further! Maybe Block has the solution to Dick Smith’s population puzzle too!

Professor Block is the star attraction at the 2nd Australian Mises Seminar. Please get your tickets quick at!

  1. New Approaches to the Environment,” IPA Review, vol. 44, no. 4, 1991, p. 63.
  2. Dick Smith, “Foreword,” in Reconciling Economics and the Environment, ed. Jeff Bennett and Walter Block (West Perth, WA: The Australian Institute for Public Policy, a division of The Institute of Public Affairs, 1991), p. xiii.
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  22. Government is Criminal: Part 1
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  24. Response to Senator Cory Bernardi and the IPA
  25. Earn $$$$$ by Justifying Government Against Anarchocapitalism: Survey
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  29. Ronald Kitching Obituary
  30. The Minarchist Case for Anarchism
  31. Libertarianism in a 300-word rant
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  34. The Banking Bubble Blow-by-Blow
  35. WARNING: Libertarianism Is NOT ...
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  37. An Open Letter to Dick Smith
  38. at 42
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  50. Exclusive Oliver Marc Hartwich Interview on Hans-Hermann Hoppe
  51. A Critique of the Opening Two Sentences of the "About CIS" Page on The Centre for Independent Studies' Website,
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  59. Hoppe's Inarticulate Australian Critics: The Hon Dr Peter Phelps, Dr Steven Kates and James Paterson
  60. Vice Magazine Westralian Secession Interview
  61. Sideshow to Dr Steven Kates' criticism of the Mises Seminar: Davidson vs Hoppe on Adam Smith
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  64. The exciting new Australian Taxpayers' Alliance
  65. Neville Kennard Obituary
  66. Contrarian Conformism
  67. An invitation for Dick Smith, the IPA and other Walter Block fans to the 2nd Australian Mises Seminar
  68. Westralian mining legend Ron Manners of Mannkal belongs in The Property and Freedom Society
  69. What would Bert Kelly think of the Mises Seminar and Walter Block?
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  71. Gina Rinehart Fan Club gives big to Australian political education
  72. Sam Kennard wins North Sydney by-election by unanimous consent
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