China's Ghost Cities
sábado, Março 26, 2011
.. I have to draw attention to a remark of Glenn Reynolds, which seems to me to express an important and little-noticed point:The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.I dub this Reynolds’ Law: “Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.” It’s easy to see why. If people don’t need to defer gratification, work hard, etc., in order to achieve the status they desire, they’ll be less inclined to do those things. The greater the government subsidy, the greater the effect, and the more net harm produced.
sexta-feira, Março 25, 2011
It’s mostly anti-racists keeping racism alive:
.. where race equality is concerned, the kids are doing it for themselves. The obsession of older generations with sealing everyone into ethnic or religious boxes (an obsession shared by anti-racists and racists alike), and the endless hand-wringing over what is or might be racist or culturally offensive, is increasingly regarded as archaic (or just plain annoying) by younger people ..
.. Diversity itself is washing away the racial boundaries long ago established by imperial powers who found racism a highly effective political ideology. In recent decades, racism has ceased to be a virulent social force readily promoted by politicians, magistrates and the police .. it’s the rarity of racist violence and bigotry that makes it so shocking to us. Race is still a problem today but it’s more often anti-racism keeping it alive and kicking. Our belief in the existence of a pervasive, invariably hidden, social disease of racism requires no proof; effect is deemed sufficient evidence of cause. Armed with this article of faith, it is not surprising that anti-racists regard every shocking example as ‘the tip of the iceberg’.
.. An impressive superdiversity is forming right under the noses of anti-racists stuck in yesterday’s world. Maybe some of those shrill voices, warning that criticism is no more than ‘an attack on multiculturalism’, just need to be quiet.
Conscience on the Battlefield por Leonard E. Read:
Most persons believe some form of government to be necessary as a means of achieving maximum liberty. But unless they succeed in properly limiting government, they will surrender some – or even all – of their personal rights and responsibilities to it. Unless they understand the nature of coercion – its power only to suppress, restrain, destroy – they will yield to it and lose their ability to act creatively. Government has the necessary and logical function of protecting the property and life of all citizens equally. But if people fail to understand the nature of coercion they will attempt to use this force of government even for creative purposes; they will vainly attempt to use a negating physical force – government – as a means of accomplishing a positive good. Unless they comprehend coercion, many of them will rob in the name of charity, plunder in the name of prosperity, and kill in the name of God.
A partidocracia de Marques Mendes:
..quando há eleições autárquicas, os partidos escolhem cuidadosamente os seus candidatos a presidentes de câmara, recorrendo até a independentes. Porquê? Porque sabem que nas eleições locais a pessoa conta mais do que o partido. Se o candidato não tem prestígio, dificilmente o partido ganha uma eleição local. Mas quando se trata de eleições legislativas, onde o grau de exigência devia ser maior, passa-se tudo ao contrário. Como as pessoas votam em partidos e nem conhecem os deputados em jogo, os directórios partidários já não se preocupam com o prestígio e o mérito dos candidatos. Só querem saber da sua fidelidade partidária e, não raro, impera a mediocridade. Por isso, de eleição para eleição, baixa a qualidade do Parlamento e cresce o divórcio dos eleitos com os eleitores.
The Crisis in Portugal?? (ZeroHedge):
Everyone knew that Portugal would have to roll over and accept a bailout at some point. It was inevitable that this has happened. The lines crossed some time ago. Portugal has too much short-term debt. The cost of rolling it over (if possible at all) would be too high. Debt service at free market rates would kill the country. So there is no sense in keeping up the charade any longer. It was Portugal’s dependence on ST debt that did them in. This chart shows how the maturity schedule of existing debt simply overwhelmed their capacity to refinance.
What would you call this? ‘Mismanagement’ comes to mind. The Portuguese Treasury put the country at risk ..
End the Drug War, Save Black America:
.. if the War on Drugs were terminated, the main factor keeping race-based resentment a core element in the American social fabric would no longer exist. America would be a better place for all."
McWhorter sees prohibition as the saboteur of black families. "It has become a norm for black children to grow up in single-parent homes, their fathers away in prison for long spells and barely knowing them. In poor and working-class black America, a man and a woman raising their children together is, of all things, an unusual sight. The War on Drugs plays a large part in this."
One poisonous byproduct of prohibition and the black market, McWhorter says, is that going to prison is a now "badge of honor." "To black men involved in the drug trade, enduring prison time, regarded as an unjust punishment for merely selling people something they want (with some justification), is seen as a badge of strength: The ex-con is a hero rather than someone who went the wrong way." This attitude did not exist before drug prohibition.
8 notas sobre a rejeição do PEC IV de Adolfo Mesquita Nunes:
2. O PEC IV tornou-se necessário, e por isso foi exigido por Bruxelas, porque o Governo não conseguiu executar com sucesso nem o PEC I, nem o PEC II e nem o PEC III.
3. Os mercados e as instituições europeias olham para o PEC IV da mesma forma que olharam para os anteriores: com expectativa. Ao fim de três PECs falhados é natural que a expectativa quanto ao efectivo cumprimento deste PEC seja muito reduzida.
4. O PEC IV não foi rejeitado por ser um mau PEC, caso em que os três anteriores teriam tido o mesmo destino. Nem mesmo por conter cenários macro económicos fantasiosos, caso em que os três anteriores teriam tido o mesmo destino. Foi rejeitado porque se cristalizou a convicção de que este Governo, enredado em fantasias, não só já não consegue inspirar qualquer confiança no cumprimento das metas a que se propôs, como tal ausência de confiança é absolutamente fundada.
Why Koch Industries Is Speaking Out:
Government spending on business only aggravates the problem. Too many businesses have successfully lobbied for special favors and treatment by seeking mandates for their products, subsidies (in the form of cash payments from the government), and regulations or tariffs to keep more efficient competitors at bay.
Crony capitalism is much easier than competing in an open market. But it erodes our overall standard of living and stifles entrepreneurs by rewarding the politically favored rather than those who provide what consumers want.
The purpose of business is to efficiently convert resources into products and services that make people's lives better. Businesses that fail to do so should be allowed to go bankrupt rather than be bailed out.
quarta-feira, Março 23, 2011
Muitos foram os que tentaram relacionar o tsunami com a acção destrutiva do Homem, e outras patranhadas tais. Ora, não há qualquer teoria científica que diga que o Homem provoca tremores de terra, ou tsunamis. Pelo contrário, foi o incrível desenvolvimento económico do Japão que permitiu que um terramoto dois graus acima do acontecido no Haiti (ou seja, que libertou 900 vezes mais energia) com danos relativamente moderados. Quanto ao tsunami, a crer nos gurus do aquecimento global se a Humanidade não existe o nível médio das águas do mar seria uns dez centímetros menos. Certametne teria ajudado contra um tsunami de dez metros de altura.
Via Café Hayek:
Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity.
Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”
The Fed Is Wrecking the Dollar por Joseph T. Salerno:
.. As technology advances and saving increases in a progressing economy, entrepreneurs and business firms .. drive the unit production costs and price of the good ever downward ..
This is not merely abstract theoretical speculation; it is precisely the process that occurred in the past four decades with respect to the products of the consumer electronics and high-tech industries ..
Contrary to our contemporary deflation-phobes, the secular fall in prices under the classical gold standard did not impede economic growth in the U.S. In fact, deflation coincided with the spectacular transformation of the United States from an agrarian economy in 1800 to the greatest industrial power on earth by the eve of World War One.
Now, no one – not even a Keynesian economist – would claim that the spectacular price deflation in these industries has been a bad thing for the U.S. economy .. The answer given by theory and history is that a falling price level is the natural outcome of a dynamic market economy operating with a sound money like gold.
Baseado neste post de Don Boudreaux:
|domestic economic problems||foreign problems|
|Most modern “liberals”||caused chiefly by unsavory characters – “business people” – who impose their destructive rule on masses of innocent workers and consumers yearning for more prosperity, and that the best solution to these problems is government force deployed using armies of regulators to subdue these bad guys and to keep close watch over them and their successors. Failure to intervene is immoral.||typically the result of complex forces that can be understood only poorly by American-government officials; it is naïve to suppose that even well-intentioned foreign intervention by Uncle Sam will not have regrettable unintended consequences.|
|Most modern conservatives||typically the result of complex forces that can be understood only poorly by government officials; it is naïve to suppose that even well-intentioned economic intervention by Uncle Sam will not have regrettable unintended consequences.||caused chiefly by unsavory characters – “dictators” or “tyrants” – who impose their destructive rule on masses of innocent people yearning for more democracy, and that the best solution to these problems is government force deployed with armies of soldiers to subdue these bad guys and to keep close watch over them and their successors. Failure to intervene is immoral.|
O modelo europeu? de Henrique Raposo:
De um lado do mundo há economias pujantes, gente a sair da miséria, gente que trabalha o dobro, ganha metade e sonha mil vezes mais do que nós. Do lado de cá, há umas semanas houve uma manifestação de desiludidos da vida onde, que eu visse, nem por uma vez se pediu liberdade, oportunidades, espaço para criar. Como de costume, pede-se Estado, apoios, garantias, promessas, direitos.Fez-me lembrar um professor meu, um alemão craque de Operações, que nos dizia "enquanto vocês andam aqui a choramingar por mais direitos sociais, lá fora estão a trabalhar 24/horas por dia para vos ultrapassar. E sabem uma coisa? Daqui a duas décadas vai chegar a vossa vez".
Por muito que nos custe, ou paramos o relógio e fazemos de conta que não há milhões a sair da pobreza pelo mundo fora (graças ao capitalismo, esse monstro), ou reagimos. Reagir quer dizer assumir a responsabilidade do nosso destino. Nunca ninguém disse que a vida era fácil. Nunca, salvo seja. Nas últimas décadas fizeram-nos crer que sim. É um equívoco. Não é. E pelo mundo fora há quem esteja a fazer pela vida, enquanto nós, velhos e cansados (muitas vezes antecipadamente velhos e cansados), esperamos que nos dêem aquilo a que cremos ter direito. Pois bem, até é possível que tenhamos direito, mas não vamos receber nada de graça.
Private Education Provision and Public Finance — The Netherlands (PDF):
One of the key features of the Dutch education system is freedom of education – freedom to establish schools, determine the principles on which the school is based, and organize classroom teaching. In fact, the Netherlands has one of the oldest national systems based on school choice in the world. Although all schools in the Netherlands are government funded, most are administered by private school boards. As a result, most children in the Netherlands attend private schools, a trend that has been increasing over the past 150 years. Parents can choose among several schools, and school choice is often promoted by the government as a way to increase competition in the school system. Efficiency increases as public and private schools try to improve their outcomes to develop a good reputation and thus attract more students.Sistema de Educação na Holanda:
Ou seja: a Holanda é mais um dos exemplos em que as escolas públicas não estatais estimulam a melhoria da qualidade de ensino, desenvolvem padrões de integração social mais exigentes, ao mesmo tempo que obrigam os custos por aluno a baixar. Simultaneamente, obrigam o Estado a ser imparcial, rigoroso e transparente, actuando de acordo com o interesse público de todos os cidadãos.
segunda-feira, Março 21, 2011
State Employees Should Not Pay Taxes:
Making State employees “pay taxes” helps the State hide the fact that State employees are a net drain on the productive sector of the economy. It also makes State employees feel like their jobs are legitimate, when in fact they are not.
When I say “State employees should not pay taxes,” I want to be clear that I mean ALL taxes and not just income taxes. Income taxes are obviously the most ridiculous form of taxes that State employees pay, but since their positions are fully funded by the private sector, it makes no sense for them to pay any taxes at all.
This would make it clear to everyone in society that the bureaucrat is entirely funded through the “charity” of the State and his very existence is a net drag on the economy, rather than being an actual member of society that meaningfully contributes to it.
In whatever tax system the public choses to construct, be it our current system or a flat tax system, it would be wise for the public to construct the tax system in such a way as to make it the most obvious to everyone involved that the State produces nothing and provides nothing, it can only take from those who produce and give to those who do not.
“That’s your problem. You’re an entrepreneur, so you don’t work. You don’t know what work is until you get into an educational area. … You’re uneducated, unethical, immoral, and you don’t know what life is. That’s your problem. Why don’t you go behind that fence where you belong? Why don’t you go back with your own kind?”
Yep, some day I will have to stop loafing around and take on a brutal assistant principal job somewhere. All I have to worry about is that every dollar I own (and more) is invested in my business and could disappear at any time if I make a mistake.
The average number of working hours per week of a successful starting entrepreneur is seventy ..
... from the nation’s largest teacher union’s own data – .. the average teacher .. was in the classroom for fewer than 3.9 hours out of the 7.3 hours at school each day.
domingo, Março 20, 2011
May a Libertarian Take Money From the Government? por Walter Block:
4. If you take statist money .. suppose someone else asks you for it, on the ground that the government stole his money, and you should return to him what you took from them .. the person requesting money from you must come with clean hands himself. He cannot be anything but a libertarian; if he is not, he is a supporter of this theft in the first place .. if he is a libertarian, he will fully realize that you are the first homesteader of this wealth, and thus its proper owner. If he wants some, too, as is his right, he should go to the same place as you did, and seize it from the same bad guys.
9. To conclude .. I urge you to apply for all of the grants you possibly can. Murray Rothbard said that a man’s contribution to society is proportional to the profits he earns. I say in similar vein, other things equal, the more money you take from the coffers of the state the better libertarian you are.
The alternative to unions:
You want negotiating power? Get educated. Get a skill. What keeps wages up in a world of 7% unionization in the private sector is that I have alternatives. So stay in school and study something serious that has value alongside whatever else you’re interested in. Or study something interesting that has little market value. But if you do that, don’t complain about your low salary and lack of a union.
Stop whining about inequality, per se. If it bothers you, get to work, get a skill, start a business and tell your representatives to stop bailing out losers in the financial sector.
No seguimento de Wisconsin (5), Lessons of the Wisconsin Riots:
.. the real issue, in my opinion, is not that the unions are corrupt and being assisted by a renegade President who cares more about political payback than about the taxpayer. The real issue is what the teachers in Wisconsin are teaching the children.
The first lesson they are teaching is .. that politics is a matter of which group appears to have the most protesters in the street .. the principle of political expediency ..
The second lesson that teachers are passing to children is the idea that it is proper for government to re-distribute wealth from the productive to the non-productive ..
The third lesson is that it is acceptable that children ignore the consequences of their actions ..
The fourth lesson is .. that claiming to be “doing good” is a perfect way to get your opponent to freeze morally ..
.. the real travesty is what they are not teaching our children. They are not teaching them that freedom matters .. For this crime, they should be fired from their jobs.
No seguimento de Capitalist rules,
Honduras's Experiment With Free-Market Cities:
Honduras's Experiment With Free-Market Cities:
The idea is simple: A sizable piece of unpopulated government land is designated for use as a model city. A charter that will govern the city is drafted and the Congress approves it. A development authority is appointed by the national government. The authority signs contracts with the investors who will develop the infrastructure. The city opens for business under rules that act as a magnet for investment.Charter cities:
The idea of charter cities, originally promoted by Stanford economist Paul Romer, sparked a lively academic debate in the field of economic development. The idea of charter city rests on the premise of creating special reform zones within countries. The reform zone would not be governed by the prevailing system of formal and informal rules within countries. The concept of charter city would serve as an intellectual laboratory of ideas in which governments would be let to quickly adopt innovative system of rules.
¿Por qué las mujeres ganan menos que los hombres?:
- "Un mayor porcentaje de mujeres tiende a trabajar en jornada reducida"
- "Un mayor porcentaje de mujeres interrumpe su carrera para cuidar a sus hijos o a sus mayores"
- "Las mujeres, especialmente las madres, tienden a valorar lugares de trabajo que les permitan conciliar su vida familiar"
- "Las mujeres valoran más otro tipo de compensaciones no salariales (seguros de salud y similares)".
- El estudio concluye que "las diferencias en la compensación de hombres y mujeres son el resultado de una multitud de factores y que la mera diferencia salarial no debería ser usada para justificar una acción correctiva [políticas de discriminación positiva]. De hecho, podría no haber nada que corregir. Las diferencias salariales podrían ser completamente explicadas como resultado de las elecciones individuales hechas tanto por hombres como por mujeres".
La vida es siempre una cuestión de elección entre alternativas. Sería fantástico poder estar en todas las reuniones clave, hacer cientos de viajes de empresa para visitar a los clientes más importantes y ayudar a los hijos en los deberes y bañarles cada tarde. Pero el día sólo tiene 24 horas. Eso lo saben todos los matrimonios que cada día eligen la mejor manera de distribuir sus funciones.
The Injustice of Social Justice por Ben O'Neill:
..the attitude towards rights that pervades modern political discussions, particularly among the advocates of "social justice." For such people, the notion of "rights" is a mere term of entitlement, indicative of a claim for any possible desirable good, no matter how important or trivial, abstract or tangible, recent or ancient. It is merely an assertion of desire, and a declaration of intention to use the language of rights to acquire said desire.
In fact, since the program of social justice inevitably involves claims for government provision of goods, paid for through the efforts of others, the term actually refers to an intention to use force to acquire one's desires ..
Genuine rights exist as eternal truths of moral philosophy. They are principles that hold true regardless of time or place and regardless of the state of present inventions. Hence, there can be no such thing as a right to shoes, ice cream, or rock-and-roll, things that were once absent entirely from human invention. To hold the contrary view is to reduce rights to a shopping list of the latest gadgets and knickknacks.
If a government falls and practically nobody hears it, does it make a sound?
Unable — or unwilling — to work together, bickering politicians have left unassuming Belgium without a fully functioning government for eight months, the longest for any nation in Europe since World War II.
Through most of that time, few Belgians, let alone the outside world, even seemed to notice. Trains continue to run, waffles are still being grilled on street corners, and people window-shop along centuries-old arcades. Tourists still sample mussels, go for overpriced canal rides in Bruges and snap up Tintin souvenirs, blissfully unaware of a political crisis.
sábado, Março 19, 2011
Taxation as slavery (Wikipedia):
Taxation as slavery is the belief that taxation results in an unfree society in which individuals are forced to work to enrich the government and the recipients of largesse, rather than for their own benefit.
.. Sam Slime mugs a person for £50. In the second, Sam Slime votes for a politician who taxes a person in order to redistribute £50 to the "disadvantaged" Slime. Both examples involve the use of force. However, the second scenario is arguably worse, since through the state, Slime is now empowered to repeatedly take others' money, thus putting them in a condition of slavery.
Humanity Didn't Fail to Live Up to the High Ideals of Communism; Communism as a Doctrine Fails to Live Up to the Demands of Humanity:
.. it is hard for the students to understand the full extent of both the economic depravation and the political tyranny of communism in practice.
Most have been taught that communism is a wonderful ideal, that unfortunately imperfect men were unable to live up to. The reality is that this is the wrong way to look at it ..
This morning I was alerted to this video available on You Tube about The Bloody History of Communism. I tell all my students to spend an hour reading through Bryan Caplan's Museum of Communism. And I also think the PBS series The Commanding Heights is worth watching.
Essay of the Week: Nozick on Slavery:
Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.
- There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.
- The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.
- The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.
- The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.
- The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.
The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?
- The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.
- 7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.
- In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)
- They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.
Enterprise, Not Greed, Creates A Better World:
Greed implies a negative sum game.
By contrast, enterprise implies a positive sum game. Those who achieve their goals through enterprise contribute to the wealth and opportunities, incomes and living standards of others.
We can test the distinction between greed and enterprise by substituting the word “enterprise” for “greed” in the fictional character Gordon Gecko’s famous speech from the 1987 movie Wall Street:
“Enterprise, for lack of a better word, is good. Enterprise is right. Enterprise works. Enterprise clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Enterprise, in all of its forms; enterprise for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and enterprise, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A.”
Austro-Libertarianism as a Starfish | Helio Beltrão
Austrolibertarianism as a Starfish (texto):
There is a species of starfish, the Linckia, that if one were to cut all five arms off of, it would grow five separate organisms. Each arm generates an autonomous creature. There is no central organ, and each arm has its own organs, stomach, muscles, and way of feeding itself; except for a nerve ring that connects the arms. That's a decentralized organization.
When you look at the world today, more and more starfish organizations are sprouting, and in our Austrolibertarian intellectual movement, I would argue that we are starting to behave like an adaptable, hard to combat, starfish; with each institute or organized initiative behaving as an arm of the starfish, and the nerve ring being the Austrolibertarian doctrine.
Hayek’s Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts in a Recession:
- Recessions are bound to happen
- A stimulus will only stimulate the deficit
- Pure laissez-faire doesn’t work either
- Central planning and excessive regulation sure as hell don’t work
- The economy is too complex for precise forecasting
- Remember the rule of unintended consequences
- You won’t believe how much you’ll learn in Econ 101
- Leave social justice out of it
- Nothing beats the free market
- As a rule of thumb, government cures are not only worse than the disease, but lead to further disease
The State Is A Paper Tiger
If the Egyptian protests can teach us anything it is that even the most tyrannical governments rely heavily on a veneer of overwhelming popular consent. When just a small minority of individuals withdraw their financial and moral support, the jig is up. This is because the state neither has the legitimacy, nor the resources, to capture and cage large swaths of the general public. Instead, it relies upon two major tactics to maintain hegemony: instill fear and attack weakness ..
It is essential for the state to convince us to obey. When we do not, others become less afraid to disobey. Two perfect examples of legislation that have been effectively nullified by individuals are bans on downloading music and playing online poker. The state simply cannot prosecute millions of more people. It knows this and we know this. The result is that the state turns a blind eye to these activities. If the state were to attempt to enforce its prohibition it would fail miserably and lose its ability to instill fear in the populace. Instead, the state wisely attacks our weak spots.
The state, therefore, is defeated each time an individual has the courage to confront their fears and disobey .. The state is extremely vulnerable and hanging on to the productive class for its life. If you want to attack its weak spot, you merely have to let it go.
Não sei se as pessoas que não têm Facebook têm acesso ao seguinte, mas vale muito a pena ler — Congresso: se o socialismo é tão bom, porque é que esta geração está à rasca? Leia o texto luminoso de Adolfo Mesquita Nunes post de Paulo Portas sobre um texto épico do nosso AMN:
Como é que possível que um modelo de Estado tão bom e generoso tenha perdido toda a sua capacidade competitiva, tenha sido ultrapassado em todos ou quase todos os rankings relevantes da União Europeia e tenha permitido que o clientelismo tentacular se entretivesse a gastar o nosso dinheiro onde não devia?ADENDA: Aqui o PDF oficial.
sexta-feira, Março 18, 2011
Want An Apple in 100 Years? On Catholics and Interest por Tom Woods:
“Why, then, if we may place a different value on things just because they are located in different places, may we not likewise place a different value on things as a result of where they are located in time? Unless you expect people to value an apple one hundred years from now and an apple today equally, you can expect a premium to be placed on the more serviceable good. This is a phenomenon observable all throughout human existence, and one you yourself would find harmless if the difference between the good involved physical location rather than temporal location.
No seguimento de Libertopia:
Reason.tv: Creating a Free State - Filmmaker Christina Heller on Building a Libertopia in New Hampshire
Reason.tv: Creating a Free State - Filmmaker Christina Heller on Building a Libertopia in New Hampshire
Why the £250bn wind power industry could be the greatest scam of our age - and here are the three 'lies' that prove it:
Here in a nutshell are some of the reasons why people are beginning to wake up to the horrific downside of the wind business. And since I began writing about wind turbines nine years ago, I have come to see how the case for them rests on three great lies.
The first is the pretence that turbines are anything other than ludicrously inefficient.
The second great lie about wind power is the pretence that it is not a preposterously expensive way to produce electricity. No one would dream of building wind turbines unless they were guaranteed a huge government subsidy.
The third great lie of the wind propagandists is that this industry is somehow making a vital contribution to 'saving the planet' by cutting our emissions of CO2.
Na continuação de Who is John Galt?
Reason.tv: Adapting the Epic - The Making of the Atlas Shrugged Movie
Reason.tv: Adapting the Epic - The Making of the Atlas Shrugged Movie
Los enemigos de las mujeres:
Uno de los mayores errores que hemos cometido nunca las mujeres es aceptar la idea de que para combatir la discriminación hay que discriminar. Es como si se propusiese, para combatir la esclavitud, el esclavizar a los amos. Este error, que se ve más claramente cuando se cambia el contexto, es defendido especialmente en un día como hoy, señalado en el calendario como Día Internacional de la Mujer.
No hay mujeres en puestos directivos. ¿Y qué? ¿Hay una confabulación de hombres para que no asciendan las mujeres? ¿Y la solución es crear leyes que obliguen a los hombres a ceder puestos directivos? Los datos dicen que es al revés, las cuotas aseguran que las minorías sigan siéndolo. Los estudiantes afro-americanos que estudiaron en grandes universidades americanas por "cuota" salieron peor preparados porque se era condescendiente con ellos, y engrosaban las filas del paro.
¿Por qué no hay más mujeres empresarias? Porque hay que arriesgar. Pues a lo mejor el problema (si es que es un problema) es que la mujer es más conservadora, dedica su tiempo a cosas diferentes que el hombre y tiene otra escala de valores. ¿Ser jefe es lo más importante? Pues que la que quiera, que arriesgue y monte su empresa. La solución de dar ayudas a mujeres empresarias por el mero hecho de ser mujer perpetúa la diferencia, la cristaliza y deja a la mujer a expensas de que el gobernante (hombre o mujer) le dé la ayuda o no.
No seguimento de The American Dream,
End the Fed: Filmmaker Tad Lumpkin Animates the Financial Crisis
End the Fed: Filmmaker Tad Lumpkin Animates the Financial Crisis
domingo, Março 06, 2011
Benito Mussolini On American Corporatism:
The State, as conceived and realized by American Corporatism, is a spiritual and ethical entity for securing the political, juridical, and economic organization of the nation, an organization which in its origin and growth is a manifestation of the spirit. The State guarantees the internal and external safety of the country .. Transcending the individual’s brief spell of life, the State stands for the immanent conscience of the nation .. it leads men up from primitive tribal life to that highest manifestation of human power, imperial rule .. Whenever respect for the State declines and the disintegrating and centrifugal tendencies of individuals and groups prevail, nations are headed for decay.
The Violence Of Socialist Security:
In order for socialist security to be imposed on the public, the government must use threats of violent force against employers and payroll companies. Private citizens do not have the option of not paying into the Ponzi scheme. Any employer who does not confiscate their employees pay for socialist security faces heavy fines and possible imprisonment. Any private citizen who privately contracts for employment and does not pay into socialist security faces heavy fines and imprisonment.
The socialist security system is also bankrupt .. The socialist security system could not close out its accounts and pay everyone that paid into the system. Any attempt by the young to get out of the Ponzi scheme will be met with totalitarian violence from the government.
Catholic teaching’s pro-union bias por Rev. Robert A. Sirico:
There is a long-standing bias in Catholic social teaching toward unions, and this dates from the long history of labor struggles for fair wages and safe working conditions. There is a romance associated with this history, and it is bound up with strong moral concerns. And it is not just historical. The Catholic Church played a heroic role in the fall of Communism in Poland through its influence on labor unions that were striking against oppression, which is to say state coercion.
Here’s the question Catholics need to ask themselves: Are the unions I support of the same type that are idealized in Catholic social teaching? Or have they changed to the point where they are unions in name only but actually just political machines for coercing workers and extracting money through the political process?
The bias toward unions in Catholic social teaching is rooted in a perception that unions fulfill certain moral conditions. When they fail to do so, the application of moral teaching can change. There is no a priori reason to back every union demand and no reason for Catholics to feel under any doctrinal obligation to do so.
Are All Governments Socialist?:
.. in truth, all governments are socialist. Yes, that’s right…When it comes to governments, it’s only a question of the quantity of their socialist content.
.. unless you’re are dealing with such a non-coercive government that does not redistribute wealth, you are dealing with a socialist government. You may be dealing with a big “S” socialist government that has a complete monopoly over vast territories, spanning multiple time zones, or you may be dealing with a small “s” socialist government in your state, county, city or town. But because almost all governments are based on socialism, Maltsev asserts that they can’t be reformed, “fixed” or ever made to run efficiently the way a business can in the private (voluntary), sector. The closest we’ll ever get to subjecting governments to market discipline, is by containing them, keeping them weak and dividing them up into as many competing jurisdictions as possible.
Can Government Manage the Economy?:
There are two fallacies in the Keynesian view that government can be a “parent” watchfully guarding over the national economy. First, the politicians who run government don’t have superior wisdom and maturity. Government officials are ordinary fallible human beings. They can be careless, inattentive, and shallow. They can be swayed by emotion. And sometimes they can be dishonest and corrupt.
The second fallacy is that the public is not an ignorant child. The economy’s millions of individual businessmen and investors have, collectively, vast wisdom about economic possibilities and trends. These individuals pour their knowledge into their market behavior, thereby setting the prices of assets, goods, and services. Left free to suffer the consequences of their decisions, investors and entrepreneurs will develop systems for managing risk and for evaluating the validity of investments. These systems won’t be perfect, of course: There will be errors, bubbles, and frauds, but from these errors, the community learns to improve decisions in the future.
This system of social learning is short-circuited by government intervention, with its subsidies, bailouts, changing rules, and false promises to protect everyone. In truth, the greatest long-run threat to the health of the economy is the chaotic meddling of eager politicians whose intellectual powers have been so naively overrated by academic economists.
sábado, Março 05, 2011
No seguimento de Wisconsin (4),
Public Sector Unions in Wisconsin por Walter Block:
Public Sector Unions in Wisconsin por Walter Block:
Public sector unions in Wisconsin have been in the news of late. They are reacting against Republican Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is trying to curtail their power and pelf. Virtually all Democrats support the labor organization, and there can be few Republicans who do not favor the Wisconsin governor.The Public vs. Private Sector Civil War:
What is the proper free enterprise or libertarian position? I attempted to answer that question in this blog. My answer in a nutshell was, Both. Let them have at each other, each of them weakening the other.
The inevitable battle between the runaway public sector and the private sector that funds it has begun. What started recently in Wisconsin will continue to spread across the country as the unworkable fiscal mathematics that are so many state budgets finally degenerate into social unrest between the payers and the payees.
What Obama perceives as an assault is actually the victim fighting back in self-defense during a mugging.
When Rev. Jesse Jackson claims that this is a Martin Luther King moment, consider the irony of the oppressor fighting for the right to continue oppressing. It would be comical if it were not so damaging.
Showdown in Milwaukee: PATCO Revisited:
To understand what is at stake, you must first understand the economics of all trade unionism.
- Members assert the moral authority and legal right to use violence against any person who offers to work for less than the union is demanding. Usually, this violence is hidden: the government's threat of fines against employers who hire non-union members, but not always: violence against "scabs."
- Members assert that if they get a majority vote in favor of this legalized violence in one company election, they should continue to exercise it forever.
- The union decides who gets membership. It reserves the right to exclude people. This restricts the labor market, thereby raising wages for members.
- The members assert a legal right to "their" jobs in a strike. After the strike, they must be re-hired by law. All people hired in the interim must be fired.
- The unions claim to represent "labor," but at all times the vast majority of laborers are not members.
- Legislation favoring union members discriminates against the vast majority of Americans, who do not belong to unions.
- The goal of all trade unionism is to raise costs of production.
- The economic effect of higher costs is reduced output.
- The economic effect of reduced output is the reduction of wealth for most customers.
- Excluded workers must seek employment with firms that were their second-choice.
- This subsidizes firms that are not unionized: a larger supply of labor at a reduced price.
Then there is the economics of trade unionism within civil government. All of the previous applications of the law of supply and demand apply. There are some new twists, as in twisted arms.
With this as background, consider the economics of government officials when dealing with trade unions.
- Inside a geographical area, a civil government exercises a monopoly or near-monopoly.
- Citizens cannot seek alternative sources of supply.
- The union exercises clout at election time: a concentrated focus.
- The government comes to voters in the name of necessity.
- The government union works under the umbrella of this government claim of necessity.
- Governments for 70 years have promised higher retirement benefits rather than offering immediate pay raises.
- Elected officials run up the bills for future elected officials.
- Union leaders go along with this, since they can claim easy victories.
- Union members actually believe that they will receive these enormous retirement and health insurance benefits.
- They vote for politicians who make these promises on behalf of future politicians.
- Politicians seek these votes.
- The general public until 2009 has ignored these promises, believing that future taxpayers would pay them.
- The combination of focused beneficiaries (union members) and unfocused victims (present taxpayers who will live long enough to become future taxpayers) has led to enormous state and local public debts – debts that cannot be paid and so will not be paid.
Senior Fed Economist Calls Ron Paul a Pinhead:
There is this old idea in monetary theory called money neutrality. Money neutrality means that larger quantities of money ultimately manifest themselves in the form of higher nominal prices (and wages), and not on real quantities. No serious economist disputes the idea of long-run money neutrality.
Yes, what cost $1 in 1913 now costs $20. But so what? Money neutrality states that if you were earning $1 per hour in 1913, you are now earning $20 per hour (and even more, if labor productivity is higher).
But, please, Mr. Andolfatto explain to me how this works out for someone who has been a careful saver of his money and now sees the purchasing power of that money destroyed? Please explain to me how this works out for a retired person on a fixed income who sees the declining purchasing power of that income? Please explain to me how this works out for the rest of the country when Wall Street bankers are the first to get their hands on newly printed Fed money, so that they can bid up all kinds of prices, including rents on apartments, which makes it difficult for anyone but a Wall Streeter to afford to live in Manhattan?
Why it’s hard to debate statists:
When I used to listen to a lot of debates with prominent sceptics, it always struck me how easy it was for those promoting the supernatural. The people on the irrational side of the debate could simply make stuff up on the fly, where as the sceptics had to really know the science in depth in order to really explain why their opponents are wrong.
So it’s really hard to disseminate this sort of information because people have to be aware that your personal incredulity has no bearing on the truth at all. Where most people seem to operate in the mindset that if they can’t be convinced of X then Y must be true by default.
El caso de Bélgica demuestra que los gobiernos no sirven para nada:
Después de ocho meses sin gobierno, Belgica ha encauzado buena parte de sus problemas, tiene una economía más próspera y sus ciudadanos se sienten más libres y mejor gobernados. Parece imposible, pero la experiencia belga está demostrando que los gobiernos son un gasto superfluo para cualquier país, que son prescindibles y que lo mejor es tener un gobierno provisional y con poderes muy limitados.
Es casi seguro que a paises como España, que han sido destrozados por su mal gobierno en los últimos años, le habría ido mejor sin gobierno o con uno provisional y con atribuciones mínimas que con la demencial locura de un gobierno como el de Zapatero, que ha conducido al país hacia la pobreza, el desempleo, la desconfianza, el desprestigio, el retroceso y la infelicidad.
Civil Discourse For Some:
When [American] liberals form organizations with names like “The National Institute for Civil Discourse” it reminds me of the family abuser who says, “We’re all reasonable people here. What’s the problem?” And then, an hour or a day or a week later, the abuser proceeds to throttle you. Rest assured that the [American] liberals who fund and promote these pretentious parodies, seeming so decent and calm in one context, are more than ready to expropriate your wealth (if you have any), determine your medical treatment, authorize what kind of cars you’re to buy and how much fuel you’re allowed to have to put into them. They attack the private sector with taxes, rules and contradictory regulations and then scream it's the private sector's fault when unemployment rises.
Advocates of [American] liberalism are control freaks, and it’s control over every aspect of your life that they seek. There’s no “discourse” to be had about that!
Don’t mistake the sweet tones of "civil discourse" for the fraudulent, phony rationalization of brute force that they are. Socialism and [American] liberalism are not about reason. They’re about coercion, plain and simple. No words can alter that fact.
365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy:
Attack a liberal icon:
If you see a liberal wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, say: "Yeah, when I was a kid I thought I was cool and outrageous wearing a Charles Manson t-shirt—until my mom and dad told me exactly the sick things he'd done. I guess you never learned that your sicko mass murderer Che killed way more people than my mass murderer did."
Why Do Newspapers Support Westboro Baptist, but Not Citizens United?:
The answer is that the Westboro Baptist Church’s speech, while vile, is also totally inconsequential. Nobody is going to be persuaded by their inarticulate grunts of rage. And it is relatively easy to tolerate speech that you do not believe will persuade anyone. What is considerably harder is to stand up for speech that is persuasive, speech that might actually cause people to adopt beliefs or enact policies that you disagree with.
So the New York Times and the Washington Post have it wrong. The beauty of the First Amendment is not that it leads us to tolerate the insignificant antics of the Fred Phelpses of the world. Rather, it is that the First Amendment permits us—and commits us—to resolve even our most consequential disagreements peacefully, with words, not force.
How I Became *Gasp* An Anarchist.:
Finally, I found Mises.org, and Rothbard, and knew that I had become an anarchist, or as I like to call myself, a voluntaryist. I had come to understand that without freedom, man becomes robot or animal. Freedom is of the essence of man and essential to his fulfillment. A society that maximizes man’s fulfillment is one that maximizes his freedom, nurturing his will to do anything that does not infringe upon the freedom of another. A free society is one in which no one is forced to do anything against his or her will and no one is sanctioned to initiate coercive force against his or her neighbor: All interactions between individuals, economic and social, are free and voluntary. In this environment, man thrives. He freely exchanges goods and services with others, freely associates, freely loves, freely gives, and flourishes. Order arises from these free, undirected, individual choices. Markets, laws, customs—society and civilization, grow as if guided by an invisible hand.
I guess I underwent a true Kuhnian paradigm shift–I saw the world, and myself, differently. No longer was I a slave to the whim of the majority, just as I was no longer a slave to my own animal nature, or to anything else. It all went together like a big package deal. Since then I have been trying to figure out a way to justify the State, but I haven’t been able to do it. I guess for now I will remain part of the “lunatic fringe” of voluntaryists, rejecting what Oppenheimer and Rothbard called, “political means,” slowly trying to extricate myself from the State wherever its tentacles infiltrate my life. Am I crazy? Maybe. But it feels good to live according to reason.