Creative Destruction: Failure and Job Loss in a Healthy Economy

"Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 195,000 in June." So states a Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report.

This number represents the net gain in jobs. What's hidden is the massive amount of jobs destroyed and created in the process. An average business quarter will see seven to nine million jobs disappear, replaced by the same amount plus more.

Why the drastic change? It's all part of creative destruction, the necessary evil of destroying the old in the process of creating the new and better.

Economist Joseph Schumpeter is responsible for the term "creative destruction." In his 1942 work, entitled Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, he explained how innovation and entrepreneurs were key driving forces in an evolving economy. Society progressed as entrepreneurs developed new ideas, products, and processes that replaced, and thus destroyed, the old ones. "This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism," wrote Schumpeter. "It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in." Side effects of this constant change are job loss and failed business. The positive result is a higher standard of living.

Creative Destruction has been at a peek for the last two centuries. The industrial revolution set in motion the age of machines, which replaced manual labor with factory work. The digital revolution followed later in the 1900s, with high-tech jobs replacing production work.

These changes meant more could be accomplished with fewer workers, which translated into more wealth for society as a whole. For example, in 1900, 40 percent of laborers worked on the farm. Today, only 2 percent of Americans work in farming, yet the amount of food produced has multiplied. At the beginning of the 20th century, conveniences like running water, electricity, telephone, and cars were considered luxuries. In America today, they are practically necessities. Even the average time spent working has decreased from sixty to forty hours per week, while each minute worked earns a greater return in terms of buying power.

Though creative destruction can be beneficial in the long run, accounting for over half of long-term productivity growth, it is painful for those who face job loss or business failure in the process. One response is to protect the old way of doing things. This is symbolized by the Luddites of the 1800s, who destroyed knitting machines that were replacing their craftsmanship. Though they claimed to only be protesting poor quality, their action has come to represent those who oppose advances in technology.

Today, special interests pose a similar threat. Social-theorist Mancur Olson pointed out that as society matured, interest groups could use their size and political power to stall innovation and growth. This is seen even in the federal subsidies and tariffs that industries seek to artificially protect themselves from failure.

One response to job loss and business failure would be government intervention. The government should create new jobs and bail out businesses considered "too big to fail." However, creating jobs does not necessarily create economic growth, and government intervention may actually stall the process of creative destruction. Government intervention can temper the short-time side effects but also drag out the recession in the long run.

A more cooperative reaction to creative destruction is job retraining. This is needed because many of the new jobs replacing the old ones require new skills. For example, a worker losing a job in a basic assembly-line factory may not be able to automatically transfer to a job in a more advanced factory of high-tech machines.

Government has launched programs over the years to deal with job loss. In 1982, Ronald Reagan signed the Job Training Partnership Act, specifically to train workers. He hoped to help the unemployed on "Main Street" develop skill sets that would get them new jobs. More recently, the shift toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics sector (STEM) jobs has led to the creation of the National STEM Consortium program, which offers targeted training through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Despite programs like these, retraining is not always successful. Individuals differ in abilities and personal bents, and older workers may find it particularly hard to learn new skills in comparison with technically savvy youngsters. Some researchers suggest parents prepare children for an evolving job market by providing a non-traditional type of education that makes them more resilient.

While the new discoveries and capabilities that result from creative destruction may be exciting and helpful, they also raise functional, legal, and ethical concerns. The boom of technology in the classroom introduces speed and efficiency to the possible detriment of important mental skills. Internet and smartphones offer many information-sharing conveniences, but the same ease of use poses a threat to personal privacy. New inventions like the precise and versatile 3D printer can make everything from musical instruments to bionic ears, promising improved production capabilities and medical advances. They also exude an eerie sense of the superhuman, raising the question of where to draw the line on innovation.

Creative destruction can dramatically change society. Jobs are lost and created. Individual lives are worsened and improved. This topic examines both the positive and negative effects of the process of creative destruction as it works out in an economy.

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"Engineers in the US have created a bionic ear that can be manufactured using a 3D printer. The device is the first to use 3D printing to interweave electronics and biological tissue, the researchers claim, and will pave the way for other bionic implants. Although bionic organs, and cybernetics in general, have become a hot research topic in recent years, devices are still primitive. Scientists can implant electronics into or on top of tissue to help patients restore some loss of function, but entire synthetic organs are difficult to manufacture. One method is to seed cells onto a gel scaffold, and culture them until they form a tissue in the scaffold's shape. But such tissues are rarely as structurally complex as the real thing."

"It is no secret that advances in technology can greatly impact the value of workers' skills. Older workers often find the updating of complex technology uneconomic, while younger workers acquire and readily employ skills tailored to the newest technology. The result: the latter group's productivity rises, diminishing the value of output produced by their older counterparts. A recently published study by Glenn MacDonald, Washington University's John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and Strategy, is the first to model and explain the nature and severity of this effect."

"Capitalism works by 'creative destruction." They’re happy with the creative part. But they can’t bear the destruction. Ireland’s biggest banks go broke? No way! America’s leading housing lender in Chapter 7? We can’t let that happen!'"

"Joseph Schumpeter (1883–1950) coined the seemingly paradoxical term 'creative destruction,' and generations of economists have adopted it as a shorthand description of the free market's messy way of delivering progress." The authors of this piece provide a basic description of this concept and practical examples of how it works in the real world. Though the immediate consequence of creative destruction can be painful, they find it is beneficial in the long run.

The idea that globalization will produce a bland McWorld is a myth. By spreading products, ideas and art forms around the planet, international capitalism serves as a powerful engine of cultural diversity.

"All of the back-and-forth about Mitt Romney's role at Bain Capital — along with the moral denunciation about creative destruction — recalls an experience I had which makes this issue much more concrete and understandable."

"I was talking to a peer the other day who had recently left a job, moved across the country, and started a new career. Well-acquainted with Austrian economists, she used the phrase 'creative destruction' in the course of our conversation about her massive transition."

"Anyone driving the twists of Highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles recently may have glimpsed a Toyota Prius with a curious funnel-like cylinder on the roof. Harder to notice was that the person at the wheel was not actually driving. The car is a project of Google, which has been working in secret but in plain view on vehicles that can drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver."

"The New Deal is widely perceived to have ended the Great Depression, and this has led many to support a 'new' New Deal to address the current crisis. But the facts do not support the perception that FDR's policies shortened the Depression, or that similar policies will pull our nation out of its current economic downturn. The goal of the New Deal was to get Americans back to work. But the New Deal didn't restore employment. In fact, there was even less work on average during the New Deal than before FDR took office. Total hours worked per adult, including government employees, were 18% below their 1929 level between 1930-32, but were 23% lower on average during the New Deal (1933-39). Private hours worked were even lower after FDR took office, averaging 27% below their 1929 level, compared to 18% lower between in 1930-32."

"Between 1760 and 1860, technological progress, education, and an increasing capital stock transformed England into the workshop of the world. The industrial revolution, as the transformation came to be known, caused a sustained rise in real income per person in England and, as its effects spread, in the rest of the Western world. Historians agree that the industrial revolution was one of the most important events in history, marking the rapid transition to the modern age, but they disagree vehemently about many aspects of the event. Of all the disagreements, the oldest one is over how the industrial revolution affected ordinary people, often called the working classes. One group, the pessimists, argues that the living standards of ordinary people fell, while another group, the optimists, believes that living standards rose."

Sandefur gives a brief overview of what innovation is and its important role in creative destruction. He gives some examples of why innovation is often opposed, what is needed to allow innovation to run its course, and concludes with the following: "Yet, while the possibility of temporary monopoly may attract innovation, a permanent monopoly can stifle it. 'A company which already dominates the market it supplies has little to gain by speeding up the introduction of product improvements,' writes Scherer. Hence patents are granted only for a limited time. This ensures that firms must continue to satisfy the consumer if they are to maintain their market dominance: 'If their market position is threatened by the introduction of the smaller innovator, they have a great deal to lose by running a poor second: the larger share they would otherwise enjoy.'... Besides IBM and Apple, the history of innovation is replete with examples. Henry Ford's failure to introduce the electric starter gave the Dodge Brothers an opportunity to compete against the Model T. When the management of Ben Franklin thrift stores rejected the marketing ideas of employee Sam Walton in the 1960s, he went on to found Wal-Mart on his own."

"'Can capitalism survive? No. I do not think it can.' Thus opens Schumpeter's prologue to a section of his 1942 book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. One might think, on the basis of the quote, that Schumpeter was a Marxist. But the analysis that led Schumpeter to his conclusion differed totally from Karl Marx's. Marx believed that capitalism would be destroyed by its enemies (the proletariat), whom capitalism had purportedly exploited, and he relished the prospect. Schumpeter believed that capitalism would be destroyed by its successes, that it would spawn a large intellectual class that made its living by attacking the very bourgeois system of private property and freedom so necessary for the intellectual class's existence. And unlike Marx, Schumpeter did not relish the destruction of capitalism. 'If a doctor predicts that his patient will die presently,' he wrote, 'this does not mean that he desires it.'"

"To all intents and purposes it is the end of the 'Kodak moment'. More than 130 years after a 'not especially gifted' high school dropout, George Eastman, founded the camera company that dominated photography for most of the 20th century, Kodak Eastman filed for bankruptcy protection in the US on Thursday."

"Two men named Bob. Both are over fifty. Both had been working consistently for nearly three decades before losing their jobs in 2009. Both were out of work for more than 99 weeks. Now there is one glaring difference. Bob Greeney is employed. Bob Sullivan is still fighting to get back into the workforce. Friendly and candid, the 61-year-old Mr. Sullivan worked in the travel hospitality industry until his former company closed its Boston branch. After taking a brief pause to care for his mother, he said he went through job agencies, attended job fairs and applied to scores of jobs online."

"A faltering economy explains much of the job shortage in America, but advancing technology has sharply magnified the effect, more so than is generally understood, according to two researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The automation of more and more work once done by humans is the central theme of 'Race Against the Machine,' an e-book to be published on Monday. 'Many workers, in short, are losing the race against the machine,' the authors write."

"That column caught the notice of some folks at FoxBusiness.com, who invited me on one of their shows. To my surprise the questions quickly turned to the current unemployment rate and what we should be doing to bring it down. Toward the end of the interview I began to realize the source of the confusion: The host was thinking that the 'creative destruction' of jobs I had described is the same thing as 'unemployment.' This week, I’d like to try to untangle those ideas."

Author and economics professor Sandy Ikeda points out the need to allow for mistakes in the process of innovation and economic growth: "[A] smart, creative, ambitious, and committed person is likely to make mistakes. And so a culture that lauds spectacular success also needs to at least tolerate spectacular failure. You can't have trial without error or profit without loss."

A waggish article that helps explain not all destruction is creative. While many see creative destruction in the dot-com and telecom industry collapse, the collapse resulted not from implementing new technologies, but resulted simply from bad business decisions.

"From body parts to musical instruments and much more, three-dimensional printing is likely to change the things we make and how we make and sell them."

"The widespread belief is that government intervention is the key to getting the country out of a serious economic downturn. The example often cited is President Franklin D. Roosevelt's intervention, after the stock market crash of 1929 was followed by the Great Depression of the 1930s, with its massive and long-lasting unemployment. This is more than just a question about history. Right here and right now there is a widespread belief that the unregulated market is what got us into our present economic predicament, and that the government must 'do something' to get the economy moving again. FDR's intervention in the 1930s has often been cited by those who think this way. What is on that one page in 'Out of Work' that could change people's minds? Just a simple table, giving unemployment rates for every month during the entire decade of the 1930s."

"If capitalism was the most influential single economic and social force of the 20th century (and continuing today), there is no better guide to understanding its power and complexity than famed economist Joseph Schumpeter, says Harvard Business School's Thomas K. McCraw. 'I think Schumpeter is the most penetrating analyst of capitalism who ever lived. He saw things other people didn't see...

One of the most pernicious fallacies in popular economic discussions is that we should adopt policies designed to save jobs.

"But it wasn't so long ago that Keynes was out of favor. Back in 1983, the hundredth anniversary of Keynes's birth, Forbes magazine declared that it was not Keynes who knew the way, but another economist who shared the same birth year as Keynes — Joseph Schumpeter. Instead of the government intervention that Keynesians demand to prop up the economy and failed businesses of all types, Schumpeter believed that capitalism is driven by entrepreneurs whose innovations replace old worn-out business models in a process he called 'creative destruction.'"

"We are now living, it is said, in the Age of Schumpeter. The Age of Who? That's economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950). A half century ago, he published his classic 'Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy': a book admired by economists, sometimes assigned in college and otherwise unknown. But Schumpeter was a powerful prophet, and he now offers dazzling insights into everything from the rise of...

Job creation and job destruction are intertwined. They are both key elements in the process through which a society raises its living standards. Societies that deny the churn by trying to freeze employment actually retard the formation of new jobs and new sources of income.

"Adam Smith, make room: Joseph Schumpeter has come to Washington. Capital policy wonks may not yet be wearing Schumpeter ties, but the Harvard economist's ideas are cited by everyone from Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan to the warring parties in the Microsoft antitrust case.

Schumpeter argued that capitalism exists in the state of ferment he dubbed 'creative destruction,' with...

"Were the Luddites simply a band of destructive men who seriously thought that by smashing the new machines in the factories of the early 1800s they could 'uninvent' the technology that threatened to take away their jobs and their social status as elite craftsmen? That is how they are often seen today, and the word 'Luddite' is used for anybody who is reluctant to use a computer or a mobile phone!"

"Since the late 1960s, the steel industry has sought protection in the form of tariffs or subsidies from the federal government. Now the steel industry wants the US government to protect the market even further by applying tariff rates as high as 40 percent on steel imports. Furthermore, the industry is seeking a federal subsidy of $10 to $13 billion to fund its legacy costs, the pension and health care benefits of retired steel workers. The two most frequently cited reasons for this increased government intervention in the steel industry are for national security reasons and to counter 'unfair' foreign competition. But the justifications the steel industry offers for this increased government intervention amount to nothing more than myths and have no basis in reality."

"The economy’s not going to have a double dip. What we need is the creative side of the creative destruction."

The author addresses the issue of special interests that become intrenched in a stable, mature society. This hinders the new developments that can come through creative destruction. She suggests that occurrences such as natural disaster can help shake up the stagnant status quo, though she does not encourage a "policy of destruction" be followed to serve that purpose.

"Technology is doing to math education what industrial agriculture did to food: making it efficient, monotonous, and low-quality."

Chart or Graph

In 1900, less than half of American families owned their own home. Only 24 percent had running water, 15 percent had a flush toilet, and 3 percent had electricity. Later in the century, 66 percent owned their own homes, and 99 percent had running water, a flush toilet, and electricity.

"Cox and Alm in the 2003 Dallas Fed Annual Report (p. 20), and in the (May 13, 2004) Op-Ed pages of the New York Times have presented highly suggestive tabular evidence that the cognitive characteristics of the new jobs are almost always at a higher and more satisfying level, than those of the old jobs."

Graph presents employment numbers before and after worker retraining in Janesville.

"The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number of gross job losses yielded a net employment gain of 199,000 jobs in the private sector during the third quarter of 2012. (See table 1.)"

This chart compares new technologies with the old products they have replaced. This means one type of labor has also been replaced with another type of labor. Whereas blacksmiths and canalmen were once in demand for carriages and boats, now assemblers, truck drivers, and petrochemists are needed in the use of the automobile.

"[T]he average family spends just 15 percent of its income on food today, compared to 44 percent in 1900."

Table shows how the types of jobs have changed over the years through creative destruction.

Graph shows the decline in production work and increase in professional and other work.

"The American standard of living has risen dramatically during the twentieth century. Today, the average full-time employee works about 40 hours per week rather than 60...."

"According to the numbers, the pervasiveness of long-term unemployment cuts through all walks of life, with gender, race and education all having a relatively similar percentage among the long-term unemployed."

The amount of work time needed to earn food, clothing, and electricity has dropped significantly from the beginning of the 1900s to the end of the century.

Analysis Report White Paper

This Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) publication finds that firm entry and exit play a significant role in productivity growth and advises policies should be implemented that remove restrictions that unduly reduce the process of "creative destruction."

"Over the long run, the process of creative destruction accounts for over 50 per cent of productivity growth."

"There is increasing empirical evidence that creative destruction, driven by experimentation and the adoption of new products and processes when investment is sunk, is a core mechanism of development. Obstacles to this process are likely to be obstacles to the progress in standards of living."

"We examine the effects of establishment and industry-level labor market turnover on employees' job satisfaction and perceived job insecurity."

Innovations that stimulate general economic growth simultaneously destroy specific jobs as emerging technologies replace older technologies.

The Internet is redistributing the news audience in a way that is pressuring some traditional news organizations.

The intellectual and political assaults on the welfare states of affluent societies are one half of a process of what Joseph Schumpeter calls “'creative destruction'.” The other half is the social construction of the idea and reality of the global information society.

Nakamura studies the question of how to understand the changing economy of the new millenium. Should it be understood in the pattern of Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" or in the practice of fast-paced development and disposal coming with creative destruction?

"This paper will attempt to reconsider the role of the entrepreneur in the theory of the developing market economy. Schumpeter's approach, for all its brilliant and valuable insights, will be criticized at a fundamental theoretical level, both to the notion of entrepreneurship itself and to capitalusing production."

"In the quarter century since the publication of Mancur Olson's Rise and Decline of Nations, a large literature has evolved testing the central hypothesis regarding Olson's thesis on institutional sclerosis."

The discomfort that innovation generates has led many people to condemn it outright or to try to regulate it.

"The idea of teaching new skills to laid-off workers is a rare economic policy on which the two major political parties agree, eager as they are to offer a salve for unemployment.... But does retraining actually work?"

In this technical economics paper, the authors provide an analysis of the process of creative destruction over a ten-year period in a select group of industrialized and developing countries and attempt to understand the sources of variations across countries. The analysis found creative destruction important for promoting productivity growth.

An analysis of the process of creative destruction across 24 countries and 2-digit industries over the past decade.

"The innovative new products from creative destruction benefit the consumer, but the benefits to the consumer must be weighed against the costs to labor in terms of technological unemployment."

"In the study, the researchers argue that while experience may offer the older worker a certain amount of income protection, technology advances 'always turn them into has-beens to some degree.' Unless older workers have a special advantage in updating their skills, emerging technologies will tend to depreciate those skills."

Video/Podcast/Media

Many objects are now being made by 3-D printer. A researcher at MIT tested the process to make a playable flute. Though the results were not perfect, the musician testing the flute noted its good acoustics.

"Many people have been talking about job creation lately, especially politicians. But is government the best creator of jobs? And is job creation the best thing for the economy? Professor Steve Horwitz explains that there is a difference between creating jobs and creating wealth. Creating jobs is relatively easy, but the most economic progress is made when jobs are eliminated because they become unnecessary. This does lead to some unemployment, but the alternatives are worse. To prevent transitional unemployment would also halt innovation, growth, and the reduction of poverty. So what is the best way to create valuable, meaningful jobs? Professor Horwitz says, 'The best job-creation program in human history is the free market and the entrepreneurship it generates.'"

John Holmes marks the 200th anniversary of the Luddite uprisings. The Framework knitting machine was made by a minister in an attempt to woo his beloved who was always knitting. The machine gained widespread use, but when the country fell on hard economic times, the Luddites took out frustration on the knitting machines. Holmes remarks that the Luddites claimed not to be against technology; they were concerned about an inferior product and losing business to France. Instead, they are remembered as symbols of opposition to technology.

This video gives a brief overview of the life of Joseph Schumpeter and his contributions to economic theory. Schumpeter put forth the idea that entrepreneurs are a key force driving the economy to innovation and growth. He also saw business failure as a natural occurrence in economic development. New ideas would replace the old in the process of moving forward, and the market would be in constant disequilibrium if it were improving.

"Even as unemployment remains stubbornly high, millions of jobs remain unfilled because many workers do not have the necessary training to fill them. This week we look at The National STEM Consortium -- a program designed to target this type of structural unemployment by improving the scientific, technical and mathematical know-how of American workers."

"As governments around the world are seeking innovation-led growth to kick start the recovery, BBC Radio 4 looked into Schumpeter's famous notion of 'Creative Destruction'--periods in which radical innovation upset the status quo of markets and entire economies. Professor Mazzucato provided insights on the myth of the 'entrepreneur', by citing how all the technologies that make the iPhone so smart are state funded (internet, gps, touchscreen display, and the SIRI voice activated assistant). She also claimed that it is not true that recessions help 'trim the fat' off companies making only the most 'fit' survive: the collaborative EC FP7 funded FINNOV project she directed ... found that the most innovative companies are those that are penalised the most by the 'credit crunch' because innovation is inherently risky---and banks (and venture capital) fear risk even more during downturns."

Entire speech available here.

"News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch discusses how rapidly changing technologies have impacted news and entertainment media, and have made audiences more diverse and difficult-to-reach than ever before.

-----

Media mogul...

News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch discusses how rapidly changing technologies have impacted news and entertainment media, and have made audiences more diverse and difficult-to-reach than ever before.

Russell Roberts describes how creative destruction works in America's economy and how it has benefited us.

"Steven Horwitz, economics professor at St. Lawrence University, discusses why he thinks the idea of saving jobs isn't going to help the economy recover..."

Primary Document

Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the 2009 FTC News Media Workshop, discusses the important role of journalism and the changing industry coming about because of the internet, as a result of creative destruction.

"From June 2012 to September 2012 gross job gains from opening and expanding private sector establishments were 6.8 million, a decrease of 191,000 jobs from the previous quarter, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over this period, gross job losses from closing and contracting private sector establishments were 6.6 million, an increase of 192,000 jobs from the previous quarter."

"1949 letter from a leading scientist to the head of the American auto workers union warning him about new technology and the negative impact it would have on manufacturing workers."

"This paper presents an analysis of the dynamics of total factor productivity measures for large plants in SICs 35, 36, and 38. Several TFP measures, derived from production functions and Solow type residuals, are computed and their behavior over time is compared, using various non-parametric tools. Aggregate TFP, which has grown substantially over the time period, is compared with average plant level TFP, which has declined or remained flat. Using transition matrices, the persistence of plant productivity is examined, and it is shown how the transition probabilities vary by industry, plant age, and other characteristics."

"The sensitivity of our economy to foreign competition does appear to have intensified recently as technological obsolescence has continued to foreshorten the expected profitable life of the nation's capital stock. The more rapid turnover of our equipment and plant, as one might expect, is mirrored in an increased turnover of jobs. A million workers leave their jobs every week, two-fifths involuntarily, often in association with facilities that have been displaced or abandoned. A million, more or less, are also newly hired or returned from layoffs every week, in part as new facilities come on stream."

"Well, hello and welcome to all of you. It's wonderful to have you here and to see you joining in this important step forward for America. Twenty-one months ago this country was in the grip of not one, but five severe problems: runaway government spending, double-digit inflation, record high interest rates—they'd just hit 21 1/2 percent—the worst tax burden in peacetime history, and high unemployment. With support from the American people we put in place a program that was designed to cure this raging economic disease which had been ignored for too many years. Little more than a year's passed since our program went on the books, but already we've made solid progress against four of the five problems that we inherited."

"This chartbook documents these and other changes by comparing graphical snapshots of the economy in 1900 to the economy today. The snapshots are arranged into six sections focusing on: America's place in the world, regional changes within the United States, our rising standard of living, the growth in government, changes in the workforce, and the growth in international trade."

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How often do you hear conservatives being called a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals? Here's the reality: Conservatism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism have a rich, intellectual heritage reaching back many millennia. Our ideas are not just some historical relics from bygone eras; they are the very foundation of Western Civilization in general, amd the United States in particular....
Sadly (or happily for some), life goes on after college. So does the fight for freedom. Building friendships, networking, and growing the movement is critical after college. If our ideas are to be preserved and promoted, you need to stay involved. Plus, in a time when the individual seems to be ever more isolated and adrift, these groups can help plug you into social networks you can use....
Okay, so we don't expect you to drive a wooden stake into your flat screen. Plus, we're total hypocrites since we watch some TV. But here's the point: People waste a ton of time watching TV. If you're cool with government taking over your future, than keep watching Dancing with the Stars. If you consider yourself to be a free man or woman and want to live in a free society, then watch what you...
A great way to make a difference on your campus by spreading the ideas of individual rights, limited government, and free markets is to tutor. Plus, you can occasionally make a little bit of money. Depending on the subject matter, you will be discussing a variety of ideas, key thinkers, and theories. As anyone who has tutored knows, there are almost always opportunities to expand upon a topic....

On Campus

We've built Intellectual Takeout to provide you with quick, easy access to information. In time, we hope to become your one-stop-shop for the ideas of freedom. If your professor allows you to bring your laptop to class (if not, you can use an iPhone), we recommend keeping a tab open to Intellectual Takeout. As we continue to generate new content on the site, you will be able to fact check the...
When it comes to campus life injustices, student fees rank high on any list. On most campuses across the country a mandatory student fee is assessed to each student at the beginning of the year. A portion of this fee, which may be several hundred dollars, will go toward funding various political, religious, and interest groups.  A college requiring you to support groups espousing ideas which...
If you're not happy with the direction of the country and you want to take back your future, at some point you will have to do something. It's not enough to just know that we're going in the wrong direction. You actually have to step out and get involved. Most college campuses have conservative and libertarian student groups. Find one of them to join. Below is a list of some of the larger non-...
Now that you're at college and the initial excitement has worn off, maybe you're thinking that the course selection is a bit biased and you'd like some options. So how do you (the consumer) get the college (the business) to change up its offerings? It certainly won't be easy. Nevertheless it's something that should be done--particularly since you're footing the bill. A good, education in a free...
Whatever activism you choose to do on campus, you need to get your story out. A popular tactic used by the Left is to isolate and intimidate freedom-loving students. You're not alone and there are a lot of people in your city, state, and country that can probably support your efforts. They just need to know what is happening. Whenever you can, record in-class bias, discrimination against...
The reality is that most students (and people for that matter) won't speak out. It's called human nature and it was recognized in the Declaration of Independence: "...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." While you might feel alone when debating a teacher,...
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, speech codes are a particularly odious example of politically correct repression on many a college campus. In some ways, college campuses are the least free places for thinking and speech in America. Your best friend for fighting your school's repressive speech codes is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here's a short clip...
Running for office isn't easy, even in college. Not everyone is cut out for it, either. For those of you who are, this completely non-partisan section is for you. If you are inclined to pursue student government, we're not going to spend time on telling you how to get elected. A good place to go for ideas and training is CampusReform.org. Rather, we want to help you in office, as a believer in...