Professor of economics, Loyola University and Senior Fellow, Ludwig von Mises Institute
Walter Block

Walter Edward Block (born 21 August 1941) is an American Austrian School economist and anarcho-capitalist theorist. He currently holds the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at the J. A. Butt School of Business at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. He is best known for his 1976 book Defending the Undefendable, which takes contrarian positions in defending acts which are illegal or disreputable but Block argues are actually victimless crimes or benefit the public.


Walter Block | College of Business | Loyola University New Orleans
"Walter Block is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at Loyola University. He is also an Adjunct Scholar at the Mises Institute and the Hoover Institute. He has previously taught at the University of Central Arkansas, Holy Cross College, Baruch (C.U.N.Y.) and Rutgers Universities. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from Brooklyn College (C.U.N.Y.) in 1964 and a Ph.D. degree in economics from Columbia University in 1972."
Walter Block - The Advocates
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21 Aug 1941, in Brooklyn, New York City


Walter Block
The Mises Institute
"Walter Block earned his PhD in Economics at Columbia University. He is an author, editor, and co-editor of many books which include Defending the Undefendable; Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective, Lexicon of Economic Thought, Economic Freedom of the World 1975-1995; Rent Control: Myths and Realities; Discrimination, Affirmative Action, and Equal Opportunity; Theology, Third Word Development and Economic Justice; Man, Economy, and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard; Religion, Econonomics, and Social Thought; and Economic Freedom: Toward a Theory of Measurement."


Advocates for Self-Government, Board of Advisors
Loyola University, Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Chair in Economics and Professor of Economics
Mises Institute, Senior Fellow
Eris Society
Radical Libertarian Alliance, Treasurer

Web Pages

Walter Block - The Advocates
Biography, picture and quotes
"It was 1963, and college student Walter Block was, by his own admission, 'a dumb pinko.' Ayn Rand came to visit Brooklyn College, and Block decided to attend her lecture -- just so he could boo and hiss! After her speech, he decided that he had not booed or hissed enough, so he decided to attend the free luncheon being held in her honor. Of course, Block, not being a member of the Objectivist Study Group, was seated a long way from the guest of honor. So, being young and aggressive, he decided to march right up to the head table, stick his head between Rand and Nathaniel Branden, and tell them that there was a socialist who wanted to debate them."


UpdLibertarianism Rightly Conceived, by Sheldon Richman, 2 May 2014
Responds to criticisms made by Walter Block and Lew Rockwell about Richman's "What Social Animals Owe to Each Other"
"In a recent lecture, libertarian economist Walter Block rebutted the case for thick libertarianism, ... by insisting that libertarianism is only about nonaggression combined with property rights acquired through homesteading. But insistence is not argument. He went on to rebut my proposition that libertarianism is intimately associated with individualism. ... Where Block goes wrong is in conflating ethical/political individualism, which is based on the idea of the human being as a social animal, with what we might call lifestyle, or atomistic, individualism, which I never claimed was the essence of libertarianism."
Related Topics: Libertarianism, Lew Rockwell
Putting Opponents on the Hot Seat, by Lew Rockwell, 3 May 2006
Foreword to Building Blocks For Liberty: Critical Essays, a collection of essays by Walter Block
"Murray Rothbard, in his life, was known as Mr. Libertarian. We can make a solid case that the title now belongs to Walter Block ... Whether he is writing on economic theory, ethics, political secession, drugs, roads, education, monetary policy, social theory, unions, political language, or anything else, his prose burns with a passion for this single idea: if human problems are to be solved, the solution is to be found by permitting greater liberty."


Block Attacks Rockwell for 'Extremism', 28 Jul 2006
A tongue-in-cheek commentary by Prof. Block on Lew's article about blackouts
"He has no sense of proportion, nor balance. Instead, he marks out the most extreme positions on any given subject, and tries to make them sound, horrors!, reasonable. The latest example of this extremist nonsense ... is a horrendous little piece in which he has the temerity to call for the complete privatization of, would you believe it, electrical utilities."
Related Topic: Lew Rockwell
Drug Legalization: How to Radically Lower the Number of Murders in New Orleans, 27 Jan 2007
Considers six objections to legalizing addictive drugs and discusses potential effects on the city of New Orleans
"The Harrison Narcotics Act of 1917 was implemented for a good purpose: to save ourselves from the scourge of drugs. Has it succeeded? To ask this question is to answer it. People can purchase addictive substances in any major city in the country. No, this 'war' has failed, like so many other such initiatives undertaken by government."
Milton Friedman RIP, Mises Daily, 16 Nov 2006
In memoriam, including several personal recollections
"I was amazed and delighted at his pugnaciousness in defense of liberty. He would engage seemingly everyone in debate on libertarian issues: waitresses, cameramen, the person placing the microphone on his lapel. He was tireless, humorous, enthusiastic. ... Once, at a Mont Pelerin Meeting, there was a panel discussion ... I remember coming away from that event with the thought that 'Milton Friedman is an intellectual tiger,' so overwhelming was he in that discussion."
On Autobiography, 4 Dec 2002
Autobiographical, recounts how Prof. Block met Ayn Rand and later Murray Rothbard and how he progressed from libertarian minarchism to anarcho-capitalism
"... I invite all those who have been heavily influenced by Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, either personally or through their writings, to write up a bit of their autobiography, focusing on how they first were introduced to this philosophy. If we can no longer have this autobiographical information from Murray, perhaps we can from the rest of us, and this can in some small way make up for that lack."
Related Topic: Murray Rothbard
Open Letter to Barack Obama, 16 May 2008
Explains why in wartime foreign policy is more important than economics or civil liberties and offers some advice for Senator Obama
"Foreign policy in my view is more important than either economics or civil liberties. ... And, in this area, you stand head and shoulders above the other two major candidates. ... You are different. I discern ... that beneath your ultra-liberal (socialist) voting record, and mindless demagogic sloganeering ... there is a real concern for people, particularly the poor."
Related Topic: Barack Obama
Rent Control, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Defines rent control, its general effects, its effects on tenants and offers some solutions
"As in the case of other price ceilings, rent control causes shortages, diminution in the quality of the product, and queues. ... Economists have shown that rent control diverts new investment, which would otherwise have gone to rental housing, toward greener pastures—greener in terms of consumer need. They have demonstrated that it leads to housing deterioration, fewer repairs, and less maintenance."
Related Topic: Prices
Why Be An Economist? To Be Happy, That's Why, Mises Daily, 21 Dec 2006
Contrasts Block's career recommendations to students interested in economics vs. advice from another professor
"My advice to my very best students ... is to major in economics, ... and then go off and get a Ph.D. in economics. ... Why do I give this advice? The better to promote liberty, of course. I am motivated by the fact that Austro-libertarianism is a rare and precious flower, yet is crucially important to the prosperity and even survival of the entire human race."
Related Topic: Economists


Defending the Undefendable: Walter Block, Twenty Years Later, by Walter Block, Alberto Mingardi, Laissez Faire City Times, 7 Dec 1998
In addition to discussing Defending the Undefendable, covers issues such as entertainment, Ayn Rand, Hazlitt, the Libertarian Party and Murray Rothbard
"My book Defending is modeled in Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. You might almost say that Defending might have been called Libertarianism in One Lesson. Each book starts with a lesson (in my book: the libertarian non aggression axiom; in Hazlitt, the seen and the unseen) and give a few dozen examples."
Faculty Spotlight Interview: Walter Block, 18 Jan 2010
Asks Block about his hobbies, greatest inspiration, the impact of his work and more
"What drew you to the Austrian School and to the Ludwig von Mises Institute? Murray Rothbard is the guilty party here. When I first met him, I was a minarchist. It took Murray about 10 minutes to convert me to anarcho capitalism, but my acceptance of Austrianism was far more gradual, and took several years."
Related Topic: Murray Rothbard
Radical Economics: An Interview with Walter Block, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1999
Discusses topics such as the effect of Rothbard's death, Block's own intellectual development, and barriers to Austrians in academia
"In the fifties and sixties, I was just another commie living in Brooklyn. ... In 1962, I remember hissing and booing Ayn Rand when she came to speak to my college. Later, though, I entered into a debate with Nathaniel Branden, who was her partner. He recommended Henry Hazlitt and Rand for me to read, and these books brought me around to a free enterprise position."
Walter Block Interview, by Walter Block, Scott Horton, The Weekend Interview Show with Scott Horton, 30 Jul 2005
"Walter Block discusses how Austrian economics compares to the other schools on the questions of regulation, monopoly, gold, roads, and a land without a state."


Road Socialism, The Lew Rockwell Show, 20 Aug 2008
Lew talks with Block about the privatization of roads and streets, subject of an upcoming book
Related Topic: Private Roads
The Non-Aggression Axiom, The Lew Rockwell Show, 4 Aug 2008
Lew asks Block to explain the non-agression axiom and he goes on to talk about property rights, how Rothbard convinced him that even limited government violates the axiom, and why government cannot be viewed as a club that you join
Related Topic: Non-aggression Principle
Walter Block Is an Anarchist, The Lew Rockwell Show, 28 Jul 2009
Lew asks Block whether he is an anarchist and they discuss various books and articles that cover the topic
Related Topic: Anarcho-Capitalism

Books Authored

Defending the Undefendable: The Pimp, Prostitute, Scab, Slumlord, Libeler, Moneylender, and Other Scapegoats in the Rogue's Gallery of American Society, 1976
Related Topic: Moral Liberty


Dr. Demento, Walter Block and Robert Anton Wilson: Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll, by Walter Block, Dr. Demento, Robert Anton Wilson, 5 Sep 1987
Panel discussion at the 1987 Libertarian National Convention
Related Topic: Libertarianism

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Walter Block" as of 26 Apr 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.