Walter Edward Block (born 21 August 1941) is an Austrian School economist and prominent anarcho-capitalist. He is currently Professor of Economics at Loyola University New Orleans and Senior Fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
He earned his undergraduate degree in Philosophy summa cum laude from Brooklyn College, where he was a member of the varsity swimming team.
Block earned his Ph.D. degree in economics from Columbia University and wrote his dissertation on rent control.
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 is the author of Defending the Undefendable (1976) – which has been translated into ten foreign languages. He has recently authored or co-authored The Privatization of Roads and Highways (2006) and Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective: Employing the Unemployable (2008), as well as 5 other books since 1976. His forthcoming books include Legalize Blackmail; Philosophy of Law; Austrian Economics; Private Property Rights; Free Market Environmentalism; Judaism, Economics and Politics; Building Blocks of Liberty, and The Economics of Discrimination. Block has also edited or co-edited over a dozen academic books. His forthcoming edited books include The Problem With Social Costs: Coase, Pigou and the Austrian School; and Libertarian Autobiographies.
Block has contributed over 300 articles and reviews to scholarly refereed journals such as the Journal of Libertarian Studies; the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics; the Review of Austrian Economics; the American Journal of Economics and Sociology; the Journal of Labor Economics; and Public Choice and has written over one thousand op ed articles, newspaper columns, chapters in books, etc. He also gives numerous speeches to civic and educational institutions and appears regularly on television and radio. Block has encouraged the publication of his students, many in refereed journals, and has co-authored many articles with them that started out as term papers for his courses.
Block's intellectual and academic career has prepared him exceptionally to hold The Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics, where his understanding of the business world and the important role of the private sector in economic development enables him and Loyola to play a major role in significantly improving the research about and the education of students in the practice of free enterprise economics.
Has Jewish background, self-identifies as a "devout atheist"
Block's early thinking life was characterized by egalitarian thought. While he was an undergraduate student, he changed to Libertarianism. Thereafter he converted to the anarcho-capitalist position and has been committed to it all his life.
On February 17, 2006, Block publicly expressed his support for the Free State Project (FSP).
Block, along with Robert Nozick, is one of the leading libertarian defenders of voluntary slave contracts, arguing that a slave contract is "a bona fide contract where consideration crosses hands; when it is abrogated, theft occurs". He critiques other libertarians who oppose voluntary slavery as being inconsistent with their shared principles. Block seeks to make "a tiny adjustment" which "strengthens libertarianism by making it more internally consistent." He argues that his position shows "that contract, predicated on private property [can] reach to the furthest realms of human interaction, even to voluntary slave contracts."