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Ep. 283 Oren Cass Warns Conservatives to Rethink Economic Libertarianism

Oren Cass is the founder of American Compass, which has a new handbook advising conservatives on how to rebuild American capitalism. Bob provides a skeptical but friendly forum for Oren to explain his dissatisfaction with the standard libertarian position on free trade and labor unions.

Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. John Billing on 07/31/2023 at 2:38 PM

    It is interesting how aware Cass is of the “assumptions” that go into so many wrong-headed leftist policy prescriptions, while being so blind to all his own about international trade, industrial production abroad, and labor markets abroad. Bob does a great job of letting Cass reveal many of these holes himself without inserting his own comments (which must have been hard).

  2. Dennis Nezic on 07/31/2023 at 2:45 PM

    Has he not heard of Walter Block’s (or Tom Woods’?) thought experiment about aliens visiting us and offering free tv’s or services or anything, and how that would obviously be a positive thing, as a way to expose the absurdity of the anti-free-trade position?

    Has he not heard of the basic logical statement that free trade makes both parties better off – increases both their well-beings? The way he shrugs this off as “superficial” (24:40) is awkward (dishonest).

    Has he not heard of Kinsella, that “intellectual property” has been thoroughly debunked, morally AND practically? Yet, predictably, he continues to parrot the nasty evil false propaganda of the thugs who butter his toast, “stealing IP” (31:20).

    At 42:25 he awkwardly states that “WE have a value” for domestic production. Everything about that is wrong and cringe. “WE” is an abstraction – some people have that value, others don’t. Moreover, actions speak louder than words – don’t eConoMisTs learn about “demonstrated preferences”, via actions? This guy is a clown. (A nasty clown for his dishonest promotion of evil, of brutal bloody tyrannical violence.) Lots of people seek “made in USA” labels. Lots of others don’t.

    At 1:04:30 he mentions unproductive markets, but predictably has a blind spot (tactical ignorance!) about how such markets are able to persist. Answer: evil statism (money printing, corruption, statist mandates), the very beast that he supports, that he grifts from. He’s so incoherent and (tactically) un-self-aware that he doesn’t realize that HE is that unproductive market that he bemoans – that unproductive financial sector, that rent-seeker (a euphemism for violent evil thug – well, he’s the weasel accomplice getaway driver for the real brutes, he looks the part too).

    This weasel is an emotionless soulless sociopath, who’s desperately trying to grift on statism (evil theft/slavery), to hide behind euphemisms to justify his evil source of income. It’s interesting how his career shows the blurriness between “economics” and politics (27:40) – mainstream economics is just nerds feeding at the evil trough and writing papers justifying that evil trough. (“Austrian economics” is just the subversive attempt to expose this sociopathic fraud.)

  3. John Billing on 07/31/2023 at 5:00 PM

    At least Oren would allow us to engage in trade with our vassals without the state getting too much in our business. Gee, thanks.

  4. Haryommeldo Quineopele on 08/01/2023 at 2:44 PM

    Free markets and government control is a false dichotomy. Governments are made of people and their actions and are part of the market. The only problem is that governments steal and unjustly coerce people. In order for this to end, a government only needs to allow secession or otherwise become more like a voluntary association which people can partly or fully opt-out from. Other than that, no ideology can definitively say what the best government policy is.

  5. Vince Daliessio on 08/02/2023 at 9:12 PM

    “Financialization” is only half of the monetary problem, the reason everything is financialized is that government spending starves the market of real capital, “necessitating” more money creation and yield-chasing abroad.

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