Pierre Lemieux (economist)

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Pierre Lemieux is an economist and author born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada in 1947. He holds graduate degrees in economics from the University of Toronto (Canada), and in Philosophy from Université de Sherbrooke (Canada). His research interests and fields of publication straddle economic and political theory, public choice, public finance, and public policy. He lives in the U.S.


After having lectured in several universities, he is currently affiliated (as a “professeur associé”) to the Department of Management Sciences at the University of Québec in Outaouais. He is also currently a Senior Fellow at the Montreal Economic Institute. During the winter of 2009-2010, he was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Economics at San Jose State University, San Jose CA.

He has been a columnist for the Western Standard (both paper and on-line) and has published pieces in several financial newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the National Post, and the Figaro-Économie. Most of them are reproduced on his website.

He was the founder and, for a few years, the co-director of the “Iconoclastes” book series at Les Belles Lettres in Paris.

He has also been a consultant for many international corporations.


His first books, published in Paris in the 1980s, were on the economics and political philosophy of anarcho-capitalism and classical liberalism: Du libéralisme à l’anarcho capitalisme (From Liberalism to Anarcho-Capitalism), La souveraineté de l’individu (The Sovereignty of the Individual), and L’anarcho-capitalisme (Anarcho-Capitalism). He was among the very first ones to bring libertarian and anarcho-capitalist ideas to French readers, rediscovering at the same time a forgotten French classical liberal tradition. In these works, he defended the idea that anarcho-capitalism is the ideal, of which classical liberalism is an implementation. "The public domain," he wrote in Du libéralisme à l'anarcho-capitalisme, "is only justifiable to the extent that it supports private liberty; the role of the state is to protect anarchy." In the 2006 preface to the electronic edition of L’anarcho-capitalisme (published in the Classiques des sciences sociales), he stresses more the classical liberal or minimal-government alternative. "At the dawn of the 21st century," he asks, "isn't it more important to understands how Leviathan advances and how to chain him, than to theorize on the ideal of total liberty?"

Some of the books that immediately followed were essays or advocacy books more concerned with public policy problems. Published in the early 1990s in Paris were Apologie des sorcières modernes (Apology of Modern Witches), in defense of insider trading, and Le droit de porter des armes (The Right to Keep and Bear Arms), in defense of this right. In the late 1990, he published, in Montréal, a little book, in both an English and French version, in favor of the liberty to smoke: Smoking and Liberty: Government as a Public Health Problem.

In the early 2000s, he published, in Montréal, a more literary book relating his personal fight with the Canadian firearm-controls bureaucracy, Confessions d’un coureur des bois hors-la-loi (Confessions of an Outlaw Coureur des Bois). More recently he authored and published in Paris Comprendre l’économie. Ou comment les économistes pensent (Understanding Economics: Or How Economists Think), an introduction to economics for the layman.

In late 2010, in a book published at Les Belles Lettres (Paris), Une crise peut en cacher une autre, he argued that the 2007-2009 economic crisis, far from being an effect of laissez-faire, was a consequence of mounting state intervention. He presented the same ideas in Somebody in Charge: A Solution to Recessions (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). In an endorsement for this last book, Charles Calomiris, professor of Financial Institutions at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, wrote: "Lemieux argues that the government's clumsy and ill-considered attempts to control market outcomes have often been at the heart of economic instability, and that the recent subprime crisis is a telling example of the costs of risky interventionism into the financial system. People who find that argument surprising may be even more surprised by how much their horizons will be broadened by reading this book."

His latest book is The Public Debt Problem: A Comprehensive Guide (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), where he analyzes the public debt problem, especially with reference to the United States but with many European comparisons. He argues that the problem is serious and that only default or dramatic reductions in public expenditures are acceptable solutions.

Published books[edit]

  • Du libéralisme à l’anarcho-capitalisme (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1983). Japanese translation: Tokyo, Shunju Sha, 1990.
  • La souveraineté de l'individu (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1987). Spanish translation: Madrid, Union Editorial, 1992.
  • L'anarcho-capitalisme (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France [collection “Que sais-je?”], 1988). Turkish translation: Istanbul, Iletisim Yayincilik AS, 1994.
  • Apologie des sorcières modernes (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1991).
  • Le droit de porter des armes (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1993).
  • Smoking and Liberty: Government as a Public Health Problem (Montréal: Varia Press, 1997). French version: *Tabac et liberté. L’État comme problème de santé publique (Montréal: Varia, 1997).
  • Confessions d'un coureur des bois hors-la-loi (Montréal: Varia, 2001).
  • Comprendre l’économie. Ou comment les économistes pensent (Paris: Belles Lettres, 2008).
  • Une crise peut en cacher une autre (Paris: Belles Lettres, 2010).
  • Somebody in Charge: A Solution to Recessions? (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
  • The Public Debt Problem: A Comprehensive Guide (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

Some of his out-of-print books have been reproduced in electronic format in the Classiques des sciences sociales (Classics of the Social Sciences).

Other publications[edit]

Pierre Lemieux has published a number of academic articles and several op-eds. His recent op-eds are generally reproduced on his website. His academic articles include:

  • “Public Health Insurance under a Nonbenevolent State”, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 33-5 (2008), pp. 416–426.
  • The Underground Economy (Montréal: Montréal Economic Institute, 2007).
  • Social Welfare, State Intervention, and Value Judgments”, The Independent Review 11-1 (Summer 2006), pp. 19–36.
  • The Public Choice Revolution”, Regulation 27-3 (Fall 2004), pp. 22–29.
  • Following the Herd”, Regulation 26-4 (Winter 2003-04), pp. 16–21.
  • “Les droits de propriété”, with Ejan Mackaay, Dictionnaire des Sciences Économiques (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2001).
  • The World Bank’s Tobacco Economics”, Regulation 24-3 (Fall 1981), pp. 16–19.
  • “L’avenir du tabac”, Futuribles 261 (February 2001).
  • Heil Health,” The Independent Review 4-2 (Fall 1999).
  • “Chaos et Anarchie,” in Alain Albert (Ed.), Chaos and Society (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 1995).

He was also co-translator of two books:

  • James M. Buchanan, Les limites de la liberté (The Limits of Liberty) (Paris : Litec, 1993).
  • Murray N. Rothbard, L’éthique de la liberté (The Ethics of Liberty) (Paris : Belles Lettres, 1991).


External links[edit]