New Ron Paul Ad - BIG DOG
Sexta-feira, Dezembro 30, 2011
Em A propósito do Natal e Depende, escreve a Helena Matos:
Não existem barrigas de aluguer. Existem corpos que se compram e vendem. Como na prostituição. Sobre esta última desde que praticada entre adultos, livres e auto-determinados acho que é uma questão pessoal e tenho muitas reservas à sua criminalização.
E o facto de a proposta do BE .. não me leva a concordar de modo algum com a legalização das barrigas de aluguer/ maternidade de substituição.Algumas notas
- A compra de uma criança via "barriga de aluguer" é um assunto que só diz respeito aos pais biológicos, à dita "barriga de aluguer" e à criança nascida. A mais ninguém. kMais ninguém tem legitimidade para ter voto sobre a matéria. É um assunto privado. No qual o Estado não deve interferir.
- O Estado não deve certamente "proibir". Nem "regular". Por que carga de água? Argumentar com questões "éticas" é inválido. Trata-se de uma adopção contratualizada em circuito fechado.
- Quanto muito, o Estado pode definir como arbitrará disputas, e como tratará de assuntos administrativos relativos ao registo da criança, de forma a dar seguimento às funções legítimas que açambarcou da sociedade. Impedir que uma criança querida nasça por contrato — uma adopção pré-estabelecida! —, e punir intervenientes com a força da lei (polícia, tribunais, assistentes sociais, etc) certamente não é uma função legítima numa sociedade respeitante dos valores liberais.
No seguimento de Mosquitos first (6), Another alarming climate myth bites the dust – mosquito borne malaria does NOT increase with temperature:
A common assumption is that rising global temperatures will increase the spread of malaria — the deadly mosquito-borne disease that affects millions of people worldwide. But a study out today in Biology Letters finds that warmer temperatures seem to slow transmission of malaria-causing parasites, by reducing their infectiousness.
Studies predicting that warmer climates will increase malaria infections commonly assume that the disease-causing parasites will develop faster and that the ability of the mosquito to acquire, maintain and transmit the pathogen will remain constant. They conclude that as temperature rises, mosquitoes become infectious quicker and therefore malaria transmission increases.
But the latest study shows that temperature has a more complex effect. As temperature rises, parasites do develop faster, but fewer of them become infectious.
.. “And if you don’t factor this in I think you come to the wrong conclusions.”
Quinta-feira, Dezembro 29, 2011
Via Dan Mitchell, Repo Men por Kevin D. Williamson:
Wall Street can do math, and the math looks like this: Wall Street + Washington = Wild Profitability. Free enterprise? Entrepreneurship? Starting a business making and selling stuff behind some grimy little storefront? You’d have to be a fool. Better to invest in political favors. ...hedge-fund titans, i-bankers, congressional nabobs, committee chairmen, senators, swindlers, run-of-the-mill politicos, and a few outright thieves (these categories are not necessarily exclusive) all feeding at the same trough, and most of them betting that Mitt Romney won’t do anything more to stop it than Barack Obama did. ...Free-market, limited-government conservatives should be none too eager to welcome them back, nor should we let our natural sympathy with the profit motive blind us to the fact that a great many of them do not belong in the conservative movement, and that more than a few of them belong in prison.
Via O Insurgente, Portugal’s Plight: The Role of Social Democracy:
Portugal’s fiscal crisis is the culmination of unsustainable social-welfare policies the country has pursued since its 1974 revolution. Portugal is in worse condition than other social democracies because it expanded its welfare state relatively quickly despite having little capital accumulation from which to fund it.
In science, you insist most loudly on a fact based on how much it has withstood independent peer review. In politics, it’s closer to the opposite—the more debatable a point is, the more it becomes necessary to insist (often in the face of contrary evidence) that the conclusion is backed by scientific consensus.
President Barack Obama is a serial peddler of phony consensi. To sell his 2009 stimulus package, the president claimed, falsely, that “there is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jump-start the economy.” (The libertarian Cato Institute quickly assembled a list of 200 prominent economists who signed a statement begging to differ.)
.. an often-infuriating world in which elites agree on facts we know or suspect to be untrue, and then bathe themselves in sanctimony for being above the fray of ideologues who let politics poison science.
No seguimento de a Internet está segura com o Estado (5), (Washington Post):
The bill [Stop Online Piracy Act] is meant to decrease piracy online, but critics worry it would curb free expression online. It’s making its way quickly through Congress and it pits two familiar foes: the entertainment industry vs. Internet companies.
As Jennifer Martinez at Politico puts it, it’s a veritable “shootout at the digital corral.” Her piece explores who will be the likely winners in the fight: lobbying firms [AA: e políticos e burocratas pois claro].
No seguimento de a Internet está segura com o Estado (4), Why Hayek Would Hate SOPA:
In many ways, the Internet is a perfect embodiment of Hayek’s concept of an evolved “spontaneous order.” Its enormous complexity is the product of relatively simple rules that allow individuals to deploy their local knowledge productively without having to understand the total system.
Watching the House Judiciary Committee’s markup session on the latest version of the Stop Online Piracy Act, I’m struck by how the bill exemplifies what F.A. Hayek called the “Fatal Conceit” of government planners and regulators. As Rep. Jason Chaffetz noted with incredulity, a bill that would perform major surgery on the Internet is moving forward, at breakneck speed, without any doctors in the room. Legislators who think it’s cute to make jokes about how little they understand network technology are endorsing regulation of that technology, in statutory language has only just been introduced in its current form, without so much as a hearing from the actual engineers who are loudly warning of its grave defects. But the “fatal conceit” is inherent in the attempt to issue this kind of top-down mandate on the Internet, even with the best expert advice.
Una buena decisión para empezar el año:
En este último mensaje del año voy a proponeros uno: ser optimistas y mantener una actitud positiva durante este nuevo año. Se dice que la actual crisis económica es una crisis de confianza. Los bancos no prestan porque no confían en que los prestamistas le devuelvan el dinero. Las empresas no invierten porque no confían el futuro. Por la misma razón la gente se muestra cauta antes de lanzarse a hacer algo. Esta falta de perspectivas futuras nos hace ver con más intensidad los aspectos negativos de las cosas.
Si estando tristes y viendo el lado negativo de las cosas consiguiéramos solucionar los problemas, el consejo sería claro: manifiesta tu tristeza y regodéate en tus desgracias. Pero esto no soluciona nada. Tengamos una actitud más optimista. Hablemos de los aspectos positivos de las cosas. Sonriamos. Veamos la botella medio llena. No olvides que muchas veces lo que la gente necesita es tener una cara alegre a su lado.
Todo lo anterior no tiene nada que ver con con una irresponsable negación de los problemas, lo cual sería una insensatez. Tiene que ver con abordar los problemas con optimismo y alegría. Así se resuelven mejor. Si además esta actitud hace que tengamos una mayor confianza en nuestro futuro, quizá incluso acabemos este 2012 con la crisis. Propósito en dos palabras: optimismo y alegría. Feliz 2012
Keynesianism Doesn’t Mean Bigger Government?:
.. First, Keynes’s argument for why his view of fiscal policy need not mean a larger government ignores the incentives facing the politicians who must implement it. Those incentives would lead to a larger government. Second, Keynes called for the socialization of investment as part of a broader vision of how to prevent the crises that necessitate stimulus spending in the first place. The result of both arguments is larger government ..
.. regardless of what Keynes believed government should do, what it in fact will do is another matter .. by removing the preexisting moral and institutional constraints on deficit spending as a way to balance the economy, Keynes and the Keynesians unleashed the perverse incentives of the political process into policymaking. The problem with Keynes’s analysis is that he paid no attention to the real incentives facing politicians, who now had the green light to deficit-spend in the name of economic stability.
.. politicians continue to deficit-spend even during periods of economic growth because none wish to raise taxes or cut the flow of government benefits to their prospective voters. The result is exactly .. large and increasing deficits and debt, and a growing danger of higher levels of inflation to pay it off.
.. Keynes’s fiscal policy analysis .. requires that government play a more prominent role in allocating money for investment to avoid future recessions. This element of fiscal policy clearly calls for a bigger government.
The claim that Keynesianism doesn’t necessarily imply bigger government and greater debt is shown to be mistaken when we consider the implications of Keynes’s argument for countercyclical fiscal policy, the record of Keynesian policy in the last 50 years, and the broader context of his views on fiscal policy in The General Theory.
Terça-feira, Dezembro 27, 2011
Don’t Put a State Ceiling on Rents; Abolish the State Floor Under Them:
Think about it: The state’s collusion with landlord is probably the oldest system of class exploitation in the world. The first states were controlled by the people who owned the land, in order to extract rents from the slaves, serfs and tenants who worked it. This was true from the Patricians of the Roman Republic right down to the Whig landed oligarchy in the British parliament of the 19th century.
Today, real estate developers are the most powerful influence on just about every local government in the United States. Most local governments are showcase properties of the real estate industry. Government not only enforces artificial title to vacant and unimproved land held out of use for speculative purposes, but actively colludes with developers to promote a sprawl-based, monoculture model of development. The result is to drive up rents in older, centrally located neighborhoods and gentrify poor residents out of there.
So what the state does with its left hand, through rent control, is a feeble effort to partially offset what it already did with its strong right hand. It’s another example of the state breaking your legs and giving you crutches.
.. A stateless society with fully internalized security costs would have, in many ways, nearly the same effect on the cost of holding land out of use as a tax on land value. The divorce of ownership from occupancy and use is something that carries an economic cost — and that cost is currently borne by the taxpayers rather than by those who profit on divorcing ownership from occupancy.
Instead of minimal efforts to correct the side-effects of state-enforced privilege, we need to strike at the root of the problem and break the unholy alliance between state and landlord.
Communism Is Not a Good Idea, Not Even on Paper:
When one hears someone say “communism is a great concept, a wonderful idea on paper, etc,” you know right away one is dealing with a political novice. For someone to make such a ludicrous statement in light of insurmountable evidence is either ignorant or is willing to suspend reality to entertain their own thinking, which is in essence, [socialism].
Communism runs counter to everything we know about human nature. Humans cannot reach their fulfillment while existing under arbitrary restraints. Communism is indeed a concept; a concept of shared misery. Liberals only fluff up the language and call it shared sacrifice. Either way, it brings man down to a lowly state of existence by force of a badly flawed human idea and, if removed, humans will do what comes naturally. That is produce, trade, think freely, and continuously challenge their environment where innovation and abundance comes naturally.
To say communism is a great idea on paper is like an engineer who designed a bridge except once the bridge was constructed it collapsed under its own weight. The engineer would certainly not say his design was right on paper. He would have to concede that his idea was flawed from the start, both on paper and in application.
Communism was a failure the moment it was hatched. It became a great misery for those forced under its sphere the moment it was put into practice.
Margaret Thatcher on Business as Mission:
Business as Mission is a relatively new term. But the concept is not .. The momentum is growing, especially in the non-Western world.
Please read the following few paragraphs which give helpful insights regarding work, wealth creation and serving others. It is from a speech held in 1988, i.e. 23 years ago. Some may be surprised when they realize that these are words from the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
“The Old Testament lays down in Exodus the Ten Commandments as given to Moses, the injunction in Leviticus to love our neighbor as ourselves and generally the importance of observing a strict code of law. The New Testament is a record of the Incarnation, the teachings of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Again we have the emphasis on loving our neighbor as ourselves and to “Do-as-you-would-be-done-by”.
I believe that by taking together these key elements from the Old and New Testaments, we gain: a view of the universe, a proper attitude to work, and principles to shape economic and social life.
We are told we must work and use our talents to create wealth. “If a man will not work he shall not eat” wrote St. Paul to the Thessalonians. Indeed, abundance rather than poverty has a legitimacy which derives from the very nature of Creation.
Nevertheless, the Tenth Commandment—Thou shalt not covet—recognizes that making money and owning things could become selfish activities. But it is not the creation of wealth that is wrong but love of money for its own sake. The spiritual dimension comes in deciding what one does with the wealth. How could we respond to the many calls for help, or invest for the future, or support the wonderful artists and craftsmen whose work also glorifies God, unless we had first worked hard and used our talents to create the necessary wealth?”
What Does Democracy Look Like, Actually?:
.. how “democracy” is implemented in the United States.
Together the two “major” parties share a corner on political power, enforced by inertia, debate structuring and law, including restrictions which make it difficult for other parties to even get on the ballot. Gerrymandered districts help keep incumbents in office. Lobbyists have greater access to legislators than constituents do, and a revolving door remains in constant motion between government agencies and the companies they regulate or purchase from. Politicians listen more closely to those who can give them what they want — financial support to stay in office and influence policy-making — than to those who dispose of a mere single vote. Thus are laws and regulations made by the powerful are forced onto people without their consent.
If you only like the term democracy because you want to enforce your will on others fewer in number or just less empowered, you’ll continually find yourself cutting deals with entrenched powers over whose numbers matter. If you want real democracy — power vested in the people — you should be interested in anarchism.
No seguimento de a Internet está segura com o Estado (3), (Scribd):
SOPA explicitly states that companies will be liable for everything their users post. Sites like Facebook,YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, Wikipedia, or any sites that allow user generated content CANNOT existunder these laws. Immediately after this bill is passed, you will see the media mafia (MPIAA, RIAA, etc)replacing websites like Wikipedia with commercialized encyclopedia software. Mainstream media outletswill not cover this bill because they are the ones lobbying for it.
Via O Insurgente, Workers Party Platform:
The aim of this Party is simple. It is to implement one fundamental moral principle fully and consistently. This fundamental principle is that of non-interference. It can be stated thus: “No man or group of men has the right to initiate the use of force, fraud or coercion against another man or group of men”.
The implications and applications of this principle make up the remainder of our platform.
Segunda-feira, Dezembro 26, 2011
The Age of the Busybody:
Rules and regulations, orders and directives, all kinds and kindred of commands direct almost every avenue of our daily lives. Virtually all these directives emanate from busybodies and almost all of them are, or may be, enforced by the power of law; that is, the noncomplying person suffers a penalty, usually loss of liberty or property, occasionally the loss of his life. Our lives today are ruled by force writ large, a force that usually commands far less efficacious outcomes than would result from the free actions flowing from purposive and creative individual conduct.
.. people are inclined to be busybodies. No one should overlook or deny the infinite variety in human behavior; nonetheless permit some generalizations to illustrate my greater point. We humans tend to egotism, an ingrained belief that we can perceive a condition and prescribe a proper conclusion, and do so much more accurately and appropriately than any other person. In addition we tend to judge ourselves much less harshly than we do others, meaning we are more forgiving of our own mistakes than of the errors of our fellow man.
.. the age of the busybody contains a moral component and induces a moral decline of the individual. One grows by choosing, by selecting between alternatives, and by enduring the burdens of his poor choices as well as enjoying the benefits of his better selections. The busybody foreordains decisions by rule of law and in so doing diminishes the choice-making opportunities and growth available to his fellow members of society. In this fashion the busybody stunts individual growth and deprives the larger society of the benefits of unfettered productive and constructive human action.
Sex, Equality and No Property: The Good Ol’ Upper Paleolithic Era:
Men and women in these hunter-gatherer tribes were the most equal they have ever been. Rich and poor were pretty equal too. With no property, there was no question of feeling hard done by when you failed to keep up with the Paleolithic Joneses…. people frittered away their time on three pleasures that the modern age does not encourage: chatting, playing with children and having sex with more than one person…. Hunter-gatherers were taller and healthier than the farmers who followed them. They had more varied diets and so weren’t at risk of famine. They also had great teeth.
Our author, if anything, is too modest. Equality back then extended well beyond sex and class. Everyone was equally likely to die by the age of 30. All women were equally likely to die, along with their infants, during childbirth. And men and women were equally likely to have their skulls fractured by marauding groups of simians. As Hobbes might have said, all lives were equally “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
Domingo, Dezembro 25, 2011
Many years ago, the distinguished economist, William H. Hutt, wrote a pamphlet called “Politically Impossible?” He argued that economists should not seek political relevance by proposing only those policies that they perceive as politically possible, practical or feasible. They should speak truth to power, so to say, and advocate those policies that they perceive to be in the “public interest.”
One of the implications of this general perspective is that economists should not seek to be the darlings of the political pundits, the political establishment, the TV shout-programs, or the purveyors of conventional wisdom. They should seek to challenge. The increase of knowledge is disruptive. It is not fundamentally a conservative force. It annoys people and makes them uncomfortable.
It is “liberal” in the truest sense of the word.
The Market for Literary Products:
Our age could still some day be called an age of the flowering of literature if only one out of a thousand books published would prove to be equal to the great books of the past.
Many critics take pleasure in blaming capitalism for what they call the decay of literature. Perhaps they should rather inculpate their own inability to sift the chaff from the wheat. Are they keener than their predecessors were about a hundred years ago? Today, for instance, all critics are full of praise for Stendhal. But when Stendhal died in 1842, he was obscure and misunderstood.
Capitalism could render the masses so prosperous that they buy books and magazines. But it could not imbue them with the discernment of Maecenas or Can Grande della Scala. It is not the fault of capitalism that the common man does not appreciate uncommon books.
Segunda-feira, Dezembro 19, 2011
Libertarianism Is Crony Capitalism’s Nightmare:
With the rise of Ron Paul in the Presidential Primary polls; America may be ready to crush crony capitalists by embracing “libertarianism.” As the founding philosophy that once unified our nation; today libertarianism represents the true existential threat to the crony capitalism that has flourished for decades in both established political parties. But with both political parties in decay and independents positioned to determine the outcome of next year’s Presidential and Congressional elections; voters seem ready to embrace a political philosophy that puts strict limits on all government activity in order to maximize individual liberty and economic freedom.
Libertarianism is defined as “any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals.” To the political party establishments who fund their existence on the ability to attain this power and rent it back to their crony capitalist fellow travelers; libertarianism was dismissed as a “popular, dogmatic political cult in the vein of Marxism-Leninism.” The political elites have been comforted that “libertarians would never get hold of true power – for unlike their Marxist-Leninist brethren, they are a political cult without a broad base of support; they have no proletariat and no peasantry!” But in the age of social networking’s viral formation of voluntary associations at virtually no cost; libertarianism has found its broad base of support that can competes favorably versus paid advertising that drives the “peasant” support of the established parties.
American Exceptionalism is associated with our libertarian tradition based on personal freedom, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire. Of course these values clash directly with goals of crony capitalists to extract massive wealth from U.S. government contracts, permits, grants, special tax breaks, and so forth. But the low-cost economics of libertarian social networking is driving a determined to challenge crony capitalist’s tight-fisted grip on elections.
Rent Control Violates Property Rights and Due Process por Ilya Shapiro:
Rent control is literally a textbook example of bad economic policy. Economics textbooks often use it as an example of how price ceilings create shortages, poor quality goods, and under-the-table dealings. A 1992 survey revealed that 93 percent of economists believe that rent control laws reduce both the quality and quantity of housing.
We thus clarify the relationship between property rights and due process, arguing that a law which advances no legitimate governmental purpose can be challenged under the Due Process Clause. To hold otherwise would be to deny property owners any meaningful avenue for defending their property from onerous and irrational regulations.
Ron Paul Proposes Interesting Salary For Himself As President:
How does he do it? .. Perhaps it is not so complicated: He applies the lessons learned in a life that stretches back to the Depression.
Paul's grandfather, Casper, fled the economic wreckage of post-World War I Germany and went to work in the Pittsburgh steel mills at age 14. Ron Paul grew up on stories about rampant inflation and the dangers of paper currency.
"I remember my grandmother wanting to hang onto some property my dad thought she should sell," he says. "And she said, `No. The money might go bad.'"
Years ago, Paul says, a congressional colleague slipped a laminated piece of paper into his hand. It was a passage from Elie Wiesel's 1970 book, "One Generation After."
In it, a child asks the one "Just Man" why he walks the streets of Sodom railing against wickedness, when he knows it is hopeless. The man replies: "if I continue my protest, at least I will prevent others from changing me."
Paul can't recall who gave him the quote. But he still has it, tucked away with his House voting card.
Ted Heath was right - the EU single market is not a free market:
Maybe we should try a fourth way and, effectively, go back to how we used to do things, though this would effectively mean the end of the Single Market project. Any EU country that wishes to allow branches of companies domiciled in other countries to offer their services in the domestic market should be free to do so .. The European Court should rule on whether the [national] regulation impedes cross-border trade .. But, as long as .. companies are treated in the same way, that should be that.
Countries within the EU might agree to unify their regulatory approaches bilaterally or multilaterally in order to make it easier for cross-border business to take place. Indeed, we might make agreements with non-EU countries such as Canada to unify regulation. Small countries will have an incentive to do that.
There is no question that, in some respects, this approach will raise the costs of doing business. It was to avoid these costs that the Single Market was created. It will raise the transactions costs of trade. But, trade will not be greatly distorted and greater freedom will be possible for liberal countries. If the UK is best at producing insurance, then all the meaningful economic activity can take place in Britain. Decentralising regulation would surely bring enormous benefits again. Not least because some countries could blaze a trail, like Britain did in the nineteenth century, by creating unregulated insurance markets that were the most secure in the world.
This is a complex issue and, for some good reasons, we have trodden the wrong path. It is time to turn around and go the other way. The main role of the EU should be to ensure that any national regulations that exist do not impede trade significantly. .. Soon, there will be one incoherent and intrusive regulatory system only, across all 27 countries. It seems to me that this is not a great leap forward for free trade.
No seguimento de Give Thanks...For Property Rights!,
Occupy Thanksgiving: A Message of Hope, Redemption, and Dada
Occupy Thanksgiving: A Message of Hope, Redemption, and Dada
Malinvestment in Human Capital por Jerry O’Driscoll:
The Weekend Wall Street Journal has a front-page article on labor mismatch: “Help Wanted: In Unexpected Twist, Some Skilled Jobs Go Begging.” ..
It is a widespread problem: the article reports survey results showing that 83 percent of manufacturers reported a moderate or severe shortage of skilled production workers. The shortages include such categories as machinists. Wages for skilled labor are rising, in some cases at double-digit rates.
Unskilled labor is complementary to skilled labor. If skilled labor cannot be hired, there is no demand for unskilled labor. Some firms report that the inability to hire needed workers is their greatest impediment to growing their business.
Malinvestment in labor markets is the counterpart to malinvestment in capital goods. Higher education is a bubble, and colleges churn out graduates with degrees that have no application in the workplace. Student borrowing to acquire such degrees is malinvestment in the same way that constructions loans to build homes in Las Vegas was malinvestment.
There is no mechanism by which lowering interest rates (“monetary stimulus”) or spending money on public workers (“fiscal stimulus”) is going to cure the problem. Labor mismatch is a manifestation of a coordination failure, just as malinvestment in capital goods is a manifestation of a coordination failure. It is a microeconomic problem.
Is the global warming scare the greatest delusion in history?:
All this madness ultimately rests on a blind faith in the threat of man-made global warming, which no one has done more to promote than the scientists whose private emails were again last week leaked onto the internet.
It is still not generally appreciated that the significance of these Climategate emails is that their authors, such as Michael Mann, are no ordinary scientists: they are a little group of fanatical insiders who have, for years, done more than anyone else to drive the warming scare, through their influence at the heart of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And what is most striking about the picture that emerges from these emails is just how questionable the work of these men appears.
We see how they torture the evidence to support their theory – even to the point where some of them seem to lose faith in the story they are trying to tell. And we also see how rattled they were as soon as their work was challenged by expert outsiders such as Steve McIntyre, the mathematician who exposed the methods used to create Mann’s “hockey stick” temperature graph, which the IPCC had made Exhibit A for their theory.
This is no longer science worthy of the name. As I wrote when the first Climategate emails appeared in 2009, the global warming scare is far and away the greatest scientific scandal of our generation. When we then contemplate the insanity of the measures the politicians have imposed on us in consequence, we know we are looking at a collective flight from reality which has no precedent in the history of the world.
Should the Rich Be Condemned?:
Class warfare thrives on ignorance about the sources of income. Listening to some of the talk about income differences, one would think that there's a pile of money meant to be shared equally among Americans. Rich people got to the pile first and greedily took an unfair share. Justice requires that they "give back." .. Economic justice requires a re-dealing of the dollars, income redistribution or spreading the wealth, where the ill-gotten gains of the few are returned to their rightful owners.
In a free society, for the most part, people with high incomes have demonstrated extraordinary ability to produce valuable services for -- and therefore please -- their fellow man. People voluntarily took money out of their pockets to purchase the products of Gates, Pfizer or IBM. High incomes reflect the democracy of the marketplace. The reason Gates is very wealthy is millions upon millions of people voluntarily reached into their pockets and handed over $300 or $400 for a Microsoft product. Those who think he has too much money are really registering disagreement with decisions made by millions of their fellow men.
In a free society, in a significant way income inequality reflects differences in productive capacity, namely one's ability to please his fellow man ..
Stubborn ignorance sees capitalism as benefiting only the rich, but the evidence refutes that .. At one time, only the rich could afford automobiles, telephones and computers. Now all but a small percentage of Americans enjoy these goods.
Capitalism: The Unpopular Class Mate:
It’s a familiar tale, the unpopular class mate. You know the one. The weirdly dressed individual with spectacles, acne and a funny high pitched voice that sounds something like the classic comedy character Steve Urkell.
It seems fortuitous then that our esteemed colleagues at Menzies House would release a free download entitled ‘The Morality of Capitalism’. I was initially intrigued by the title because it immediately evokes the thought of Socratic debate about the ‘morality of capitalism’ at the beginning of the Industrial age, as compared to the postindustrial age that we are currently in.
The booklet itself is broken into several excellent essays ..
Domingo, Dezembro 18, 2011
Shock Statistic: Americans Freely Spend Twice The Amount On Private Security vs. Police:
In choosing to pay for private security assistance, Americans freely spend more than twice the amount stolen from us each year to pay for the government’s armed enforcement caste. This is because the government that takes our money fails to provide the promised social good – protection of life and property.
Who is responsible for protecting you at most major shopping centers? Ever see a private mall cop? I bet you have. How about casinos? Almost all casinos have private armed security. What about at the dance club? Ever see a bouncer throw out a belligerent drunk? What about at the university? You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between a public safety officer and a cop. Many universities have private police forces. How about warehouses, ports and apartment complexes? It is not uncommon to have private security guards protecting all of those. My apartment complex has its own security. Airports used to be entirely protected by private security .. Banks? - Almost all bank cash transfers are dealt with by way of private armored car, and many banks have private armed security as well.
Personally .. I’m a former public safety officer .. The beautiful thing .. was that I NEVER had to assault someone for a victimless crime. Drunk in public? I didn’t care as long as you weren’t bothering others. Smoking a doobie out back? Big deal. As long as whatever you were doing wasn’t harming the business in some way, I WANTED you to have a good time. I WANTED the business that was paying me to make more money. I WANTED to make sure everyone was safe around me. The last thing I wanted to do was piss off a customer. I could be fired instantly if I provoked or caused a disturbance with someone who clearly didn’t deserve it, and my bosses would investigate any physical altercations thoroughly.
The police don’t give a flying rip about you, your family or your friends. They hate you and look at you as the enemy .. they are not obligated under the law to offer you any protection what-so-ever. They are only obligated to protect the State, which obviously does not include protecting you from anything.
The police could be fully privatized and you wouldn’t be any less safe for it.
Things to Be Thankful For por David Boaz:
Not long ago a journalist asked me what freedoms we take for granted in America. Now, I spend most of my time sounding the alarm about the freedoms we’re losing. But this was a good opportunity to step back and consider how America is different from much of world history — and why immigrants still flock here .. If we ask how life in the United States is different from life in most of the history of the world — and still different from much of the world — a few key elements come to mind.
- Rule of law.
- Equality for women
- Freedom of speech.
- Freedom of religion.
- Property and contract.
Sexta-feira, Dezembro 16, 2011
The Bipartisan War on Liberty:
To outward appearances, it might seem as though the left and right have never been more at odds. And for the average man in the street, drawn to the Tea Party on one side or the Occupy movement on the other, this might be true. But it is not so true for elite opinion. The nation's high and mighty may be divided about many things, but on one point they often agree: Americans are still too darn free.
.. "Telling Americans to Vote, or Else." .. Force every U.S. resident to carry a biometric ID card .. forcing everyone to [paying federal tax], even if they don't have any income to pay taxes on .. forcing every American into national service .. force boys as well as girls to receive the HPV vaccine .. force everyone to buy health insurance .. "coerce people out of their cars." .. force insurers to pay for birth control and abortifacients, and to force consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.
.. The New York Times' Thomas Friedman. In 2009, Friedman penned a column about how China's one-party autocracy was better than America's two-party system: "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks," he wrote, "but when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people . . . it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies to move a society forward." He went on to list some of China's critically important policies, which were—surprise!—policies of which he personally approved.
This is what power fetishists always do: assume the power will be used in ways they like. (And since the ends are noble, they surely must justify the means, right?) Sometimes it is. But power changes hands, and the inheritors may be a rather different sort. The people pushing for more government power never seem to think of that—until it's too late.
No seguimento de Whole Health (2), To Increase Jobs, Increase Economic Freedom:
The success of economic freedom in increasing human prosperity, extending our life spans and improving the quality of our lives in countless ways is the most extraordinary global story of the past 200 years .. If current long-term trend lines of economic growth continue, we will see abject poverty almost completely eradicated in the 21st century. Business is not a zero-sum game struggling over a fixed pie. Instead it grows and makes the total pie larger, creating value for all of its major stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, investors and communities.
.. While we are certainly going through difficult times our decline is not inevitable—it can and must be reversed. The U.S. is still an extraordinary country by almost any measure. If we once again embrace the principles of individual and economic freedom that made us both prosperous and exceptional, we can help lead the world towards a better future for all.
Bureaucracy First: Rachel Maddow’s Progressivism:
Progressives today say people should come before profits. Now in a privilege-ridden corporate state, that’s a worthy goal, though Progressives have no clue how to achieve it. How nice it would be if they were equally committed to putting people before bureaucracy. Here they fall down rather badly because their signature ideas would subordinate regular people to the dictates of the power structure.
Despite their many differences, Maddow and friends want one thing that Mussolini wanted: national glory and prosperity through State-chosen and State-coordinated grand projects. Bureaucracy first. Individual freedom is to be tolerated only so long as private preferences don’t interfere.
Bureaucratic dominance does not merely lower material living standards or reduce profit opportunities. It crushes lives and dreams. Government’s grand projects – the interstate highway system and urban renewal, for instance – steal homes, shops, and communities through eminent domain and other interventions, while well-connected corporate interests reap benefits. They also harm people by damaging the environment and fostering big “private” firms over those of human-scale.
Maddow might say that in her vision, bureaucracy would be different. It would not. Exploitation by a ruling elite is inherent in its nature.
Terça-feira, Dezembro 13, 2011
Re: Real Free Market Capitalists Demand that Financial Fraud Be Prosecuted:
Consider that if there were no Fed to issue unlimited reserve dollars, all the major banks would have collapsed looooooooooooong ago due to insolvency. So how can the author claim that the market is incapable of refereeing when we have a centrally planned economy that completely prevents any real market refereeing? The State prevents those financial giants from ever going under no matter how insane or criminal their behavior may be. The author wants the same bureaucrats who handed trillions of dollars to Wall Street fat cats to suddenly change their ways and do nothing but “referee” the market? This is like asking the mafia to stop its racketeering operations and do nothing but “protect” its clients from bad guys. What are the chances of that ever happening?
Free markets BANKRUPT banks who lend out more than their reserves. Free markets BANKRUPT banks who squander their depositors’ money in speculative lending. Free markets BANKRUPT banks who pyramid ponzi debt. To claim what we have today is a failure of the “free market” to regulate is totally and utterly preposterous.
El fracaso de la arrogancia intelectual:
La última ciencia omnisciente en caer es la económica. La infalibilidad de las ciencias físico- naturales y su aparente resistencia a la incertidumbre o a otras contingencias desapareció con la trinidad de la metodología Popper, Lakatos y Khun. Las ciencias sociales del mainstream, no obstante, hicieron oídos sordos a las inconsistencias del método científico y continuaron con su doble pretensión de dotarla de una expresión lógico-matemática y de la arrogancia predictiva.
Lo dicho anteriormente nos lleva a vincular expresamente dos errores: la arrogancia fatal y la coacción. La posibilidad de obligar a otros individuos para llevar a cabo los propios planes constituye un incentivo determinante para la arrogancia. Y es que, al igual que la inflación crediticia induce a concebir irreales planes de negocio, el recurso a la coacción institucional aporta medios fáciles a políticos y funcionarios que les llevan directamente al error y a la persistencia del mismo.
Segunda-feira, Dezembro 12, 2011
Obama’s Math Works Only in BizzaroEcon World por Don Boudreaux:
Obama’s math works only in a bizzaro economic world – a world where changes in prices have no, or never more than a de minimis, effect on people’s behavior.
In that bizzaro world producers would never lower prices. (Why do so if lowering prices won’t result in a larger sales volume and higher revenues?) In that bizzaro world McDonald’s would charge $1,000 for each Big Mac. (Why not, if prices don’t affect people’s consumption choices?) In that bizzaro world no one would propose taxing cigarettes to discourage smoking. (Why do so if higher prices don’t affect behavior?) And in that bizzaro world no one would ever call for higher tariffs to protect domestic producers from foreign competition. (Why do so if raising tariffs does not reduce the number of imports that people buy?)
La desigualdad social no es mala:
Los índices de desigualdad son nada más que meros artilugios estadísticos. No significan nada. Solo sirven para llenar con demagogia los discursos de políticos, académicos, activistas, etc. Queda bien siempre una frase como “…pero tenemos pendiente un gran desafío en materia de desigualdad”.
Pero la respuesta es simple: la desigualdad no es mala en sí misma, e incluso a veces es un indicio de prosperidad general. Una vez que las cabezas de tus interlocutores hayan dejado de dar vueltas de 360° sobre su propio eje, prosigue: esos índices y ranking de desigualdad solo miden el nivel de repartición de la riqueza, pero no te dicen nada de cuánta riqueza le toca a cada uno y sobre los niveles de vida de la población. Por ejemplo, según el índice Gini, en términos desigualdad mejor ubicados están Pakistán y Bangladesh que Canadá y Suiza. Y según ese mismo ese mismo coeficiente, Ruanda y Senegal son menos desiguales que Chile. Creo que no hace falta un segundo análisis para ver que hay algo de raro en esto.
Sexta-feira, Dezembro 09, 2011
How Smart Fiscal Rules Keep Sweden’s Budget in Balance:
Instead of these “dumb” fiscal policy rules, we need to be looking at what can be learned from countries that have faced the same problems and introduced smarter rules to overcome them. Last week’s post examined how intelligent budget rules have helped Chile prosper. Today we look at the smart fiscal rules that have put Sweden’s budget on a sustainable path and made that country’s economy one of the strongest in Europe.
American conservatives still sometimes mock Sweden as failed experiment in socialism, but the reality, especially under that country’s current center-right government, is quite different ..
Sweden has not always kept its fiscal house in order, however. In the early 1990s, it faced a severe budget crisis. Since that time, as the following chart shows, it has made a remarkable turnaround. The principles of fiscal policy that have underpinned Sweden’s fiscal consolidation have four main elements. Together, they represent a successful balance between discipline and flexibility.
- The first element is a rule requiring a budget surplus equal to 1 percent of GDP on average over the business cycle ..
- The second element of Swedish fiscal policy is a system of annual expenditure limits ..
- The third element of the Swedish system is a budget margin to prevent the spending cap from being too rigidly binding ..
- The fourth element of the system, which was added in 2007, is a Fiscal Policy Council, six of whose eight members are academic economists. The FPC has several functions. The most important is to assess whether the government’s policies are in fact consistent with the fiscal policy targets, including the cyclical surplus requirement and the annual spending caps. In addition, the FPC has a role in evaluating the government’s models and forecasting methods, in promoting transparency in the whole budget process, and in reviewing policies and targets in the light of long-run goals of growth and stability ..
Quinta-feira, Dezembro 08, 2011
Robert Higgs’s Tocqueville Award Acceptance Speech por Robert Higgs:
Therefore, for those of us engaged in research, teaching, and public dissemination of our knowledge with regard to the operation of just, peaceful, and prosperous societies, much work remains to be done. Indeed, even after a great number of people seem to have achieved an understanding of freedom’s importance, the gains may be largely swept away in the panic of a national emergency, when political leaders invariably come forth promising relief and protection, if only we will sacrifice more of our liberties to accommodate their exercise of new powers. Crisis and Leviathan, the title of a book of mine published in 1987, encapsulates a recurrent type of reversal in what might otherwise be a society’s steady march toward greater and greater freedom. Frightened people clamor for a savior, a leader who will relieve them of responsibility for their personal security and economic well-being.
As we carry on our resistance to every idea and action that threatens individual liberty, we recognize a fact that Somerset Maugham expressed 70 years ago when he wrote: “If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.” I would only add that if it values security more than freedom, it will lose that, too, because a nation that values security more than freedom almost certainly will be neither free nor secure. Indeed, in the end, it will lose every decent and humane thing that human beings hold dear, reducing itself to little more than a mass of cowardly protoplasm.
Memo to the Occupy protesters: here are ten things we evil capitalists really think por Daniel Hannan:
- Free-marketeers resent the bank bailouts.
- What has happened since 2008 is not capitalism.
- If you want the rich to pay more, create a flatter and simpler tax system.
- Those of us who believe in small government are not motivated by the desire to make the rich richer.
- We are not against equality.
- Nor, by the way, does state intervention seem to be an effective way to promote equality.
- Let’s tackle the idea that being on the Left means being on the side of ordinary people, while being on the Right means defending privileged elites.
- Capitalism, with all its imperfections, is the fairest scheme yet tried.
- Talking of fairness, let’s remember that the word doesn’t belong to any faction.
- Let’s not forget ethics, either.
Your body and Keynesianism por Russ Roberts:
This week’s EconTalk is Gary Taubes talking about how much was decreed by “experts” about our bodies based on very little evidence.
His discussion of the complex system known as the human body reminded me of macroeconomics–a complex system where correlation is often mistaken for causation, where omitted variables play a crucial role, where aggregates (such as total cholesterol) often mask more than they illuminate, and where policy recommendations often fail to achieve their purported goals without having anyone challenge the received dogma.
The creepiest part is that the early champion of the view that fat is bad for your heart was a man named Keys. Keys relentlessly pushed the idea that eating fat was bad for you despite a remarkable lack of evidence. For this Hayekian, Keys reads a little too much like Keynes, which probably tells you as much about me, alas, as it does about Keys and Keynes. But the parallels between your body and the macroeconomy and the alleged “scientific” understanding of both are very interesting.
The Welfare State Neutralizes Opponents by Making Them Dependent on Government por Robert Higgs:
From time immemorial—from Etienne de la Boitie to David Hume to Ludwig von Mises—political analysts have noted that because the number of those in the ruling elite amounts to only a small fraction of the number in the ruled masses, every regime lives or dies in accordance with “public opinion.” Unless the mass of the people, no matter how objectively abused and plundered they may appear to be, believe that the existing rulers are legitimate, the masses will not tolerate the regime’s continuation in power ..
Certain long-established trends in the welfare state, however, have progressively weakened the force of this analysis .. The Heritage index uses information on almost three dozen important federal programs on which Americans depend for cash income and other support .. The Heritage researchers found that .. more than a third of the entire population. Thus, the parasites verge ever closer to outnumbering their hosts.
.. Fear of losing their government benefits effectively neutralizes them in regard to opposing the regime on whose seeming beneficence they rely .. Hence, they help to produce seeming legitimacy for those at the top of the ruling hierarchy—a token of their appreciation for the crumbs their political masters drop on them.
As the ranks of those dependent on the welfare state continue to grow, the need for the rulers to pay attention to the ruled population diminishes .. In these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the only changes that occur in the makeup of the ruling elite resemble a shuffling of the occupants in the first-class cabins of a luxury liner. Never mind that this liner is the economic and moral equivalent of the Titanic ..
The European Fiscal Crisis and Lessons for America
I particularly like the five lessons she identifies.:
- Higher taxes lead to higher spending, not lower deficits ..
- 2. A value-added tax would be a disaster.
- 3. A welfare state cripples the human spirit.
- 4. Nations reach a point of no return when the number of people mooching off government exceeds the number of people producing.
- 5. Bailouts don’t work.
Circular Reasoning in the Law por Stephan Kinsella:
Ever since I was in law school I’ve been irritated at various circular arguments used to justify various laws, policies, or legal rulings. A good example is the notion of “detrimental reliance,” which is sometimes used to justify enforcing a contract. The question arises: why should a promise be enforceable? The answer? Because the promisee reasonably relied on it .. circularity ..
In law school and grad school I used to make notes in the margins of cases and books when I encountered these, but unfortunately have lost them. I had a dozen or two. I remember .. e.g., regarding the 4th amendment right against search and seizure, if I recall, the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence, in order to determine whether someone’s “privacy” is breached, asks whether someone had a “legitimate expectation” of privacy. Circular! ..
It’s unrealistic to expect mainstream legal statist-positivists to adopt libertarian reasoning, but I would prefer if they would simply honestly say it’s just an arbitrary decree or decision, rather than pretend they have a real justification for the policy or decision.
Ron Paul Should Be The Next President Of The United States:
All of this could have been averted if we had taken heed of Dr. Ron Paul’s warnings years ago. This man has been fighting with absolute integrity and honesty for the values that this country was founded on for the last 30 years – sound money, balanced budgets, free markets, non-interventionist foreign policy and civil liberties. Most every other GOP Presidential candidate is an Establishment panderer who is beholden to entrenched special interests. Why should we trust another Establishment politician after being subjected to the lies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, not to mention nearly every other politician in Washington D.C.?
Into this void has stepped a man whose reputation for integrity, honesty, and principles is unimpeachable. He has ideas which address nearly every single problem that this country faces. He wants to follow the Constitution, restore civil liberties, end the foreign occupations, downsize government, restore sound money and reform the Entitlement State. If we elected Dr. Ron Paul would all of these things happen overnight? Of course not. Many of his solutions would take years to successfully implement, but the ideas are powerful and very important. Ron Paul represents the idea of a radical reformation of our country – based on the principles enunciated by the founding fathers.
These ideas were profoundly powerful when they were written down in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If Ron Paul can sufficiently stir the American populace, his ideas will take root even if he does not subsequently win the GOP nomination. If this happens, U.S. policy and the entire course of our country could shift much faster than most people realize. Nothing is more powerful than an idea, and few ideas are as powerful as the concept of liberty. It is time that we finally tried something different. Ron Paul represents real change.
Terça-feira, Dezembro 06, 2011
Does Socialism Work? A Classroom Experiment:
There are five morals to this story:
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
Recomendado: Gato por liebre:
Al tarifazo lo llaman proceso de redireccionamiento. Al corralito cambiario lo denominan luchan contra la evasión. Al vaciamiento del Central, Fondo de Desendeudamiento. El gobierno vive vendiendo gato por liebre.
Realmente hay que reconocer que el gobierno tiene una fenomenal capacidad para dar vueltas las cosas y decir que lo que es blanco es negro o lo que es cuadrado es redondo. No tengo idea si su dialéctica tiene efectos de credibilidad en la gente, pero lo cierto es que vive, como dice el dicho popular, vendiendo gato por liebre. Veamos algunos ejemplos.
Cuando en el 2008 decidió confiscar los ahorros .. el gobierno lo presentó como una medida estratégica que apuntaba a establecer un sistema de reparto y solidario. En otras palabras, nos quitaron la plata que habíamos ahorrado, se apropiaron de nuestro flujo de ingresos que destinábamos a nuestra futura jubilación y lo “vendieron” como una acto de solidaridad y de justicia social .. Es como si un ladrón nos robara y argumentara que lo hace en beneficio nuestro.
.. la presidente Cristina Fernández afirmó que el modelo no tiene como meta la inflación sino de crecimiento, como si un país pudiera crecer con las tasas de inflación que tenemos. En otras palabras, ante la evidencia que la inflación se les va cada vez más de las manos, ahora nos quieren vender que la inflación no es un problema, hasta sería buena para crecer. De nuevo nos venden gato por liebre.
Todo lo anterior muestra a un gobierno que ha demostrado una fenomenal incapacidad para administrar la economía del país limitándose a hacer caja para acumular poder político. Ahora que la caja no alcanza tendrá que ver cómo sostiene ese poder político. El punto es que cada parche que le ponen al modelo por el lío que hicieron el día anterior, lo presentan como la gran genialidad económica, la inclusión social, la solidaridad y cosas por el estilo.
Domingo, Dezembro 04, 2011
The EU dream and Kyoto will expire together
When the EU’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, last week said that there were “only 10 days” left to save the euro, and even the EU itself, from disintegration, a distinct historical echo came to mind. In October 2009, just before the UN’s climate conference in Copenhagen, Gordon Brown was reported as saying that there were “fewer than 50 days” left to save the planet from global warming.
As we know, the planet was not saved at Copenhagen ..
Hopes of saving the euro seem similarly slim ..
What these two stories have in common is that ultimately they were so predictable. The reasons why a European single currency could not work without a massive transfer of resources from richer countries to poorer ones were clearly laid out more than 30 years ago .. And the reasons why the Copenhagen treaty was never going to happen were obvious even before Kyoto in 1997 – when China, India and other developing countries made it clear that there could be no treaty on global warming unless its economic burden was carried by the developed nations of the West ..
At least one lesson we can learn from all this is that when those who rule over us talk desperately of there being only so many days or weeks left to save civilisation, they do so only because the game is already up. Thus the two supreme political fantasies of our time predictably crumble into dust. The only thing that remains unpredictable is the cost of the devastation they will leave behind.
No seguimento de A moda e a propriedade intelectual (2),
Johanna Blakely: Lessons from fashion's free culture
Johanna Blakely: Lessons from fashion's free culture
Road to Nowhere — We cannot dig, build, or pave our way out of economic malaise por Veronique de Rugy:
“There is no more persistent and influential faith in the world today than the faith in government spending,” wrote economist Henry Hazlitt in his classic book Economics in One Lesson. Our economy is doing poorly; the government can fix it. Our roads are crumbling; the government can fix them. Better still, according to the faithful, pouring money into roads, bridges, rails, buildings, and high-speed Internet lines will fix our economic problems and create jobs.
There is no such thing as temporary government spending .. Infrastructure spending in particular is likely to cost the American people money for a very long time .. What are we getting for all that money? Waste, for one thing.
The biggest mistake made by infrastructure spending enthusiasts is to assume that it is the role of the federal government to pay for road and highway expansions in the first place .. with very few exceptions, roads, bridges, and even highways are inherently local projects (or state projects at most). The federal government shouldn’t have anything to do with them.
Taxpayers and consumers would be better off if these activities were privatized .. privatization leads to more construction, innovation, and reduced congestion.
.. federal spending on roads, rails, and bridges as a means of providing employment or creating economic growth is an expensive fantasy.
'Debt crisis like fat people blaming bakers' por Gene Simmons:
THE first thing I would do if I was the benevolent dictator of planet Earth would be to fire all politicians — who are basically university lecturers in positions of power.
Capitalism is the best thing that ever happened to human beings. The welfare state sounds wonderful but it doesn't work. Governments hand out more money than they have to support welfare and they land in debt. Then they have to borrow money — and then there's interest on top of that. That's bad business.
It's so simple. If you spend more than you tax, you're out of business. MPs don't know what they're talking about.
Banks shouldn't have to tell you not to borrow so much. They're banks — they're supposed to lend you money. If you can't afford to take out £100,000, don't take out a £400,000 mortgage. It's your responsibility to be a grown-up and take care of yourself.
People say things like: "Oh, you make so much money. What do you need any more for?" Well, actually, b*tch, I never asked for your opinion. I'll let you know when I have enough money.
Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State (PDF) por Joe Jackson:
I believe smoking bans are doing great damage, and not only economic damage. They promote intolerance, social tension and a ‘stool pigeon’ culture. They ostracise a large and law-abiding segment of the population. They set a worrying precedent for all kinds of other social engineering. And they bring Nanny into Nightlife: the last place she belongs.
But I am frankly tired of seeing libertarian arguments against smoking bans scornfully rejected by the ETS fear-mongers. The real issue is that, no matter what the Surgeon General says, the only plausible rationale for such bans is false. If it isn’t, and ‘secondhand smoke’ really is a major public health hazard, then tobacco should be made completely illegal, to stop us murdering our families, pets and house plants too. If ETS is really that bad, then tobacco is worse than heroin or cocaine. I’ve never heard of anyone dying from ‘passive injecting’ or ‘passive sniffing’. If the feeble evidence on ETS justifies banning smoking in a bar, we should also be banning music (since it might get too loud and damage someone’s hearing) and the cooking of food (since cooking, especially grilling or frying, produces carcinogens).
The worst damage caused by smoking bans is the damage to the truth. According to Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, President of the American Council on Science and Health and no friend of tobacco:The role of ETS in the development of chronic diseases is without scientific basis. There is no evidence that any New Yorker - patron or employee - has ever died as a result of exposure to smoke. The link between secondhand smoke and premature death ... is a real stretch.
Sábado, Dezembro 03, 2011
Choking on Obamacare por George F. Will:
In an economic climate of increasing uncertainties .. one certainty is that many businesses now marginally profitable will disappear when Obamacare causes that margin to disappear. A second certainty is that “employers everywhere will be looking to reduce labor content in their business models as Obamacare makes employees unambiguously more expensive.”
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, by 2008 the cost of federal regulations had reached $1.75 trillion. That was 14 percent of national income unavailable for job-creating investments. And that was more than 11,000 regulations ago.
Time was, American businesses could surmount such regulatory officiousness. But government’s metabolic urge to boss people around has grown exponentially and today CKE’s California restaurants are governed by 57 categories of regulations. One compels employees and even managers to take breaks during the busiest hours, lest one of California’s 200,000 lawyers comes trolling for business at the expense of business.
Barack Obama has written that during his very brief sojourn in the private sector he felt like “a spy behind enemy lines.” Puzder knows what it feels like when gargantuan government is composed of multitudes of regulators who regard business as the enemy. And 22.9 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed or too discouraged to look for employment know what it feels like to be collateral damage in the regulatory state’s war on business.
Euroland: an Austrian view:
Keynesian and monetarists believed that the problems surfacing in the PIIGS would be resolved by economic growth, which would follow so long as governments maintained their deficit spending. As events are now proving, this analysis was flawed .. They should open their minds and absorb Austrian economic theory to gain a proper understanding of human actions and how people are affected by money and credit.
The first thing they will learn is that the economic benefits of credit expansion are a myth. All it does, by a process of capital redistribution – from savers to those who are first in line to receive the new money – is distort the economy and restrict its long-term potential. By lowering interest rates and diverting private sector resources from genuine production to government spending, the economy becomes less efficient and malinvestments occur. The mistake has been to only consider the visible benefits, such as short-term job creation, while ignoring the destructive effects of deficit financing.
The distortions created by easy money and deficit spending will naturally try to reverse themselves .. The recession that follows the temporary boom is the way an economy cures itself from unsound money and government intervention. This is hard for interventionist governments to accept because it strikes at the heart of their existence. And while printing money and credit is always popular with an electorate that does not understand what is happening to their money, reversing the process is readily noticed and immensely unpopular.
.. The creation of the euro twelve years ago allowed banks to expand credit massively in the mistaken belief that sovereign risk had been eliminated. The result was that spendthrift governments availed themselves of cheap credit .. squandered huge sums to prevent the unwinding of malinvestments and other economic distortions, preferring to perpetuate existing malinvestments. The only solution is for them to let the unwinding happen, which is what the financial markets (for which read reality) are now forcing them to do.
What we are seeing, the markets unwinding economic distortions from the past, is a necessary process and therefore beneficial .. Unfortunately, the gut reaction of the political class and its advisors is to continue as before at all costs, deferring this necessary adjustment and increasing its eventual severity.
The Stupidity of "Buy American "— The case against economic protectionism por John Stossel - com dedicação:
One sign of economic ignorance is the faith that "Buy American" is the path to prosperity .. "Buy American" is a dumb idea. It would not only not create prosperity, it would cost jobs and make us all poorer .." .. We should buy things where they're cheapest. That frees up more of our resources to buy other things, and other Americans get jobs producing those things."
This is what people always forget. Anytime we can use fewer resources and less labor to produce one thing, that leaves more for other things we can't afford. If we save money buying abroad, we can make and buy other products.
"If it's good to Buy American, .. why isn't it good to have Buy Alabaman? And if it's good to have Buy Alabaman, why isn't it good to have Buy Montgomery, Ala.? And if it's good to have Buy Montgomery, Ala. ..."
You get the idea. You wouldn't get very good stuff if everything you bought came Montgomery, Ala.
"A huge part of the history of mankind is an increase in the division of labor. And that division of labor goes across national boundaries." Which creates wealth—and jobs ..
Interfering with peaceful exchange is never a good idea. The great 19th-century liberal Richard Cobden was right when he praised free trade for "drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonism of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace."
No seguimento de Somalia (7), The Law According To The Somalis:
Somalia is not stateless by accident .. The Somali people consciously rejected democracy and central government, and with good reason. Prior to the colonial period almost all African nations were polycentric tribal anarchies, which practiced a system of customary law.
.. there is a huge pool of free money for whichever warlord can convincingly claim to be the central government of Somalia, but the people persistently resist all such claims. So warlords must use brute force .. Were it not for this there would be little incentive for civil war.
.. Natural law is the voluntary primordial order of all human societies .. A natural right is one that can be universalized to all human beings and exercised without permission and without infringing on the rights of others — namely, these are the rights to life, liberty, and property. Put simply, don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.
The Somali people strongly reject statutory systems like democracy because they render everyone subservient to political officials .. Further, the idea that rulers could write new laws would strike the Somali people as obscene, because in their view the law is preexistent.
Traditional Somali society is decentralized, similar to the Internet. There is no executive or legislature. There is only a set of familiar protocols shared by a network of independent individuals organized into clans.
The legal apparatus only comes into effect when there has been a violation of rights, as in personal injury or damage to property. All justice is restorative, not punitive. So if there is no victim there is no crime. Somali law requires only that victims be compensated for violations of their life, liberty, and property.
The Somalis .. have demonstrated that life, liberty, and property are inscribed upon the hearts of mankind, like fingerprints in the clay of Adam.
Corruption as Political Economy:
On its face, it may seem counterintuitive that the halls of government are the source of the great part of society’s disorder, poverty and violence. We are taught that the state, representing the interests of the people and the general welfare, is a great parapet against which indigence and crime crash and dissolve.
Never is it considered .. that elites might have an interest in perpetuating widespread want and destitution ..
We still cling to the myth that the state virtuously declines to exert its monopoly on coercion .. however, the state does .. serve the oligarchs orbiting around its center of gravity, around the headspring of privilege created by authority.
.. In short, widespread corruption and widespread insolvency are natural companions.
The fundamental, structural problem with the state, the thing that makes it unworkable in principle, is that it is simply coercive exaction, blackmail and nepotism — i.e., corruption — on a large, organized and legitimized scale ..
Sexta-feira, Dezembro 02, 2011
The Best Bet Is Freedom:
The goal of politicians is to create the appearance of providing free goodies to the public. Lack of knowledge about the true costs of these goodies may be one explanation for mass participation in a system of gross exploitation. While the gambler’s winnings and losses are visible, it is more difficult to identify the true costs of the political game. Even under the most transparent federal budget, the costs of political programs are dispersed across the population in amounts indiscernible to any single person. It is virtually impossible to calculate net political profit or loss for any individual or group in the tangled web of taxes, subsidies, patents, regulations, transfer payments, services, and prohibitions.
Moreover, when resources are consumed by any government program, there is the unseen cost of what never comes to be. For example, when lobbyists persuade politicians to spend millions every year to maintain a vacant desalinization plant in Yuma, Arizona, that money is no longer available to be invested in the creation of products consumers want and jobs people need. When resources are diverted into subsidizing jobs in a failing industry, new jobs in a sustainable industry are never created. This is the unseen cost of politics.
Some people may argue that shared sacrifice is simply part of an implicit social contract. I find it less than convincing that a mad grab for the property of others is fundamental to civilization. Humans come together in society because of the benefits reaped from the cooperative actions of knowledge sharing and the division of labor. The degree to which societies have prospered is directly related to the degree to which individual property rights are respected.
.. whenever the force of government is used to obtain special privilege, it is done at the expense of our neighbors, friends, and family .. The system of voluntary exchange offered by the free market does not claim to offer utopia or immediate gratification of all of society’s wants, but it is the only sure bet for incremental progress toward human flourishing.