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Brian Doherty's Favorite Obscure Libertarian: Thomas Szasz
So I would like to make a plea to my fellow citizens: please buy, carry, and even stockpile weapons. Carry them with you always. Keep them in your homes and cars. It’s especially important to do this in public places, where freak murderers like that guy in Aurora, Colorado, lurk. The weapons should be loaded and dangerous, capable of killing with one shot.
I especially desire this because I don’t want to buy or own a gun .. I’m a pacifist in spirit.
The only way I can really hope to get away with indulging my wimpy temperament here is if others are willing to pick up the slack that my unarmed self has created. I want burglars, kidnappers, and thieves of all sorts to believe that every home in my neighborhood is heavily armed and populated by fearless gun owners.
I want every robber around every corner to hold the expectation that anyone he mugs is carrying a deadly weapon. I would like to sit in theaters, airplanes, and restaurants where the trolls and scum among us believe that they could pay the ultimate price for misbehavior.
The thing is that I do not want to personally contribute to this cause in any way. I’m not up to it.
The preservation of freedom requires that we be willing to stand up for the rights of others to own and do things we do not like but which harm no one, or, in the case of guns, actually save lives.
For this reason, I have far more respect for the teetotaler who favors a free market in liquor than I do for the heavy drinker who favors them same. Non-smokers should stand up for the right to smoke. And so too should people who do not own guns and have desire to own guns stand up for the right to possess and carry.
.. in regard to the so-called social contract, I have often had occasion to protest that I haven't even seen the contract, much less been asked to consent to it. A valid contract requires voluntary offer, acceptance, and consideration. I've never received an offer from my rulers, so I certainly have not accepted one; and rather than consideration, I have received nothing but contempt from the rulers, who, notwithstanding the absence of any agreement, have indubitably threatened me with grave harm in the event that I fail to comply with their edicts.
Moreover, when we flesh out the idea of "consent of the governed" in realistic detail, the whole notion quickly becomes utterly preposterous. Just consider how it would work. A would-be ruler approaches you and offers a contract for your approval. Here, says he, is the deal.
I, the party of the first part ("the ruler"), promise:
(1) To stipulate how much of your money you will hand over to me, as well as how, when, and where the transfer will be made. You will have no effective say in the matter, aside from pleading for my mercy, and if you should fail to comply, my agents will punish you with fines, imprisonment, and (in the event of your persistent resistance) death.In exchange for the foregoing government "benefits," you, the party of the second part ("the subject"), promise:
(5) To shut up, make no waves, obey all orders issued by the ruler and his agents, kowtow to them as if they were important, honorable people, and when they say "jump," ask only "how high?"
For the record, I can state in complete candor that I do not approve of the manner in which I am being treated by the liars, thieves, and murderers who style themselves the government of the United States of America or by those who constitute the tyrannical pyramid of state, local, and hybrid governments with which this country is massively infested. My sincere wish is that all of these individuals would, for once in their despicable lives, do the honorable thing. In this regard, I suggest that they give serious consideration to seppuku. Whether they employ a sharp sword or a dull one, I care not, so long as they carry the act to a successful completion.
People would not so readily align themselves with the ideology of socialism if it didn't have the word "social" in it. Social is a good thing. I love people. It's nice to be nice. Yet the kind of society this political ideology envisions is of the most shockingly antisocial kind possible, where everybody basically attempts to feed off everyone else ..
I would suggest that the word "Povertarian" may be the best way to describe the opposite of "Libertarian". Some like to use "Authoritarian", but authority isn't always a bad thing- you might say a professor is an "authority" on his or her subject, or the leader of a business has "authority" ..
Poverty, on the other hand, is a universal negative. It implies imprisonment, hopelessness, malnourishment. Povertarianism is any mindset, belief, or political philosophy which focuses on the lowest common denominator at the expense of the general or long term good. Those who advocate the kind of command and control society are often well meaning. Yet a knowledge of economics will tell you that a consistent application of this idea will only lead to more poverty- which makes it ultimately self-defeating.
Those who operate within the political system often do so out of good intentions. Libertarians and Povertarians are both equally enraged at the existence of suffering in society. But the difference is, Libertarians embrace the only kind of ethical code- trade, capitalism, individual liberty- which is in any way capable of eradicating it.
.. New Zealand's farm reforms of the 1980s dramatically illustrate the point. Faced with a budget crisis, New Zealand's government decided to eliminate nearly all farm subsidies. That was a dramatic reform because New Zealand farmers had enjoyed high levels of aid and the country's economy is more dependent on agriculture than is the U.S. economy.
The vast majority of New Zealand farmers proved to be skilled entrepreneurs — they restructured their operations, explored new markets, and returned to profitability. Today, New Zealand's farming sector is more dynamic than ever, and the nation's farmers are proud to be prospering without government hand-outs.Despite initial protests, farm subsidies were repealed in 1984. Almost 30 different production subsidies and export incentives were ended. Did that cause a mass exodus from agriculture and an end to family farms? Not at all. It did create a tough transition period for some farmers, but large numbers of them did not walk off their land as had been predicted. Just one percent of the country's farmers could not adjust and were forced out.
Official data supports on-the-ground evidence that New Zealand greatly improved its farming efficiency after the reforms. Measured agricultural productivity had been stagnant in the years prior to the reforms, but since the reforms productivity has grown substantially faster in agriculture than in the New Zealand economy as a whole.
The removal of farm subsidies in New Zealand gave birth to a vibrant, diversified, and growing rural economy, and it debunked the myth that farming cannot prosper without subsidies. Thus rather than passing another big government farm bill that taxpayers can't afford, the U.S. Congress should step back and explore the proven alternative of free market farming.
There are two kinds of market manipulation. There are those where players try to manipulate markets for their individual advantage outside the rules, as with LIBOR, and those where the authorities try to manipulate the whole financial universe to meet some well-intentioned goal. The former is occasional and may have gigantic repercussions. The second has long been systematic policy: we now see it could have catastrophic consequences for our social system.
Central banks held down interest rates to stimulate economies with new credit, to push impending corrections out of sight. Those artificially low interest rates discouraged saving and encouraged borrowing but banks can extend credit into existence to cover the gap. With moral hazard endemic, banks loaned recklessly, using derivatives to book unrealised cash flows as profit up front. Some individuals went home unjustly rich and politicians won elections as the system over-extended itself.
The really important question today is not whether the Bank of England encouraged manipulation of credit markets by self-interested rogues but why we tolerate systematic credit market manipulation by the central banks as a matter of policy: nowhere else in the economic system would we accept explicit planning of the price and quantity of a vital commodity. If it worked, we’d all be communists.
The LIBOR scandal shows that everyone knows prices should be set by markets. It’s time to look again at the central banks, for those particular emperors have no clothes ..
People tell me that I get overly worked up about small government regulations. But small matters. The building of civilization is revealed in small steps, tiny, bit-by-bit improvements in the things we have and do. In the same way, seemingly small government regulations can cause a reversal of the magnificent world that enterprise has built. Under the right conditions, these can create human catastrophes.
You look around and realize something ghastly. In a matter of hours and without much warning, the whole of your life has collapsed. There is no way out. You are completely dependent on city workers coming around to fix things.
Small things, right? They all add up to a giant thing. They set out to make an environmental utopia for us, a world of perfect safety that leaves no human footprint, and instead they created a hell of dependency in which we have no choice but to join the rest of the drones who sit and wait for the bureaucrats to bail us out of our troubles. And the bureaucrats take their own sweet time, unless you own a gun, in which case they will be right over to take it from you.
We look for someone to blame. The politicians who passed the laws are all out of office, while their legacy lives on in the concrete palaces inhabited by lifetime bureaucrats, who are never subject to any election and who make more money living off your income than you do by actually producing things that people want. The predatory class is destroying the host, yet no one has a clue about what to do to make it stop.
But there are things you can do. You can become aware. You can stop trusting them and stop deferring to them. If enough people do, history can turn on a dime. We can all decide that man-made catastrophe need not be our fate.
A Câmara de Lisboa vai passar a exigir um levantamento fotográfico do interior das lojas históricas da cidade, mobiliário incluído, antes de autorizar obras nestes estabelecimentos, anunciou ontem o vice-presidente da Câmara de Lisboa, Manuel Salgado.Ainda estou estupefacto com o fascismo da máfia do "planeamento urbano" que domina a CML - como tantas outras autarquias por esse país fora. Não só a volumetria e tipologia dos edifícios é "propriedade" do Estado, como a sua utilização económica, como o seu aspecto (fachada), como — agora — o interior. Sempre que o burocrata assim o entender, do alto da sua estalinista mediocridade. "Casa roubada"? Dificilmente. Casa a ser roubada.
La burbuja financiera –la enorme expansión crediticia que llevaron a cabo los bancos gracias a la manipulación de los tipos de interés que efectuó ese monopolio público llamado Banco Central Europeo– engendró la burbuja inmobiliaria y, a su vez, la burbuja inmobiliaria, en tanto en cuanto dio lugar a un hinchazón de la actividad que disparó los ingresos tributarios, dio lugar a la burbuja estatal.
Puede que por burbuja financiera e inmobiliaria todos entiendan perfectamente a qué nos referimos. Pero, ¿qué es la burbuja estatal? La burbuja estatal consiste en haber creado una estructura del sector público mucho más inflada y sobredimensionada de la que la economía privada puede sufragar ..
.. lo que necesitamos es pinchar la última de las burbujas que ni siquiera hemos comenzado a pinchar: la estatal ..
Sucede, pues, que si Rajoy no opta por pinchar de manera controlada pero veloz la burbuja estatal –por recortar muchos más gastos con más intensidad– esta terminará explotando de manera caótica y se nos llevará a todos por delante. El tiempo corre en nuestra contra y de momento el Gobierno sólo ha sabido subir sangrantemente los impuestos y rebajar tímidamente algunos gastos .. Es la última oportunidad que tendremos.
.. large numbers of today's successful capitalists are people of the political left who may think their own work is legitimate but feel no allegiance to capitalism as a system or kinship with capitalists on the other side of the political fence ..
Another factor is the segregation of capitalism from virtue. Historically, the merits of free enterprise and the obligations of success were intertwined in the national catechismm .. books on which generations of American children were raised, have plenty of stories treating initiative, hard work and entrepreneurialism as virtues, but just as many stories praising the virtues of self-restraint, personal integrity and concern for those who depend on you. The freedom to act and a stern moral obligation to act in certain ways were seen as two sides of the same American coin. Little of that has survived.
To accept the concept of virtue requires that you believe some ways of behaving are right and others are wrong always and everywhere. That openly judgmental stand is no longer acceptable in America's schools nor in many American homes. Correspondingly, we have watched the deterioration of the sense of stewardship .. Capitalists who behave honorably and with restraint no longer have either the platform or the vocabulary to preach their own standards and to condemn capitalists who behave dishonorably and recklessly.
And so capitalism's reputation has fallen on hard times and the principled case for capitalism must be made anew. That case has been made brilliantly and often in the past, with Milton Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom" being my own favorite. But in today's political climate, updating the case for capitalism requires a restatement of old truths in ways that Americans from across the political spectrum can accept ..
.. the consequences of an anarchist who votes are far worse than mere inconsistency. An atheist who sinks to his knees is engaging in a personal act that has no necessary impact on the right of others to remain standing. By contrast, the anarchist who votes is legitimizing a political process that he knows will be used by the State to violate the rights of others. After all the anarchist’s definition of the state is as “institutionalized violence.” ..
.. the State will aggress against everyone who voted for it, against it, or who abstained from casting a ballot. All will said to have consented to the State’s authority, which is merely one indication of how profoundly the electoral game is rigged against the possibility of escape. All who vote are said to render their consent to ‘the system’ by voluntarily participating in it. Even if their candidate was unsuccessful, they rendered a tacit consent to abide by the rules of the game and accept its outcome. Non-voters are also considered bound by electoral results; the common refrain is “you cannot complain if you didn’t participate.”
The preceding process makes a farce of consent by rendering it impossible for anyone to say ‘no’. The farce serves the purpose of the state, not the voters; namely, the State legitimizes itself by being established through the “will of the people.” Whether the electoral anarchist voted ‘for’ or ‘against’ does not diminish his role in sanctioning the result. It is non-voting that weakens the State.
.. Non-voting should be an act of self-respect. Henry David Thoreau wrote in “On Civil Disobedience,” “How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. … What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”
Few claims are more obvious than "Being poor is a reason to save money, work hard, and control your impulses." The right lesson to draw, rather, is that social scientists need to search for factors that cause both poverty and irresponsible behavior. Such as? Low IQ, low conscientiousness, low patience, and plain irrationality.
Isn't this just "blaming the victim"? No, it's something more radical: disputing the poor's presumptive status as "victims."
When firefighter Eric Morris shows up at wildfires across the West, locals battling the flames sometimes look at him and wonder who sent him.
The answer isn't a public agency. It's an insurance company.
Morris is among a group of private firefighters hired in recent years to protect homes with high-end insurance policies. In a wildfire season that is one of the busiest and most destructive ever to hit the region, authorities and residents say their help is welcome.
For insurers, hiring them is worth the cost. They spend thousands on well-equipped, federally rated firefighters, potentially saving hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to replace a home and its contents.
The private crews work closely with — and report to — incident commanders at the scene. Their presence means other firefighters can focus on other structures ..
In your own life, do you consider yourself wealthier if you go out and spend all the money you have saved? Of course not! You are no more or less wealthy than you were before you spent your money ..
A better measure of “growth” would be counting up the total number of things a society produces, rather than the value of purchases ..
.. real growth is an increase in the production of goods and services within an economy. It has absolutely nothing to do with how much spending is taking place. In fact, under our present debt based system of money creation, one could argue that more “growth” is actually a measure of more poverty! For in order for spending to increase over time, more money must necessarily be conjured into existence! And in order for more money to be conjured into existence, people must be put further and further into debt!
Yet there is even more to this story. If we consider that the real growth is the production of new things that have value to the market, then what happens when things are produced that have no market value? GDP (the measure of spending economists use to calculate “growth”) includes government spending! Should a society be considered richer because the state built a new prison or aircraft carrier? Of course not! The human condition is not improved ..
So, how did I become a libertarian? How does anyone? Libertarianism is what happens to you if you are willing to question assumptions and undertake a truly open-minded quest for the truth. But one should embark on such a quest aware of the potential consequences. It is immensely satisfying to discover a political philosophy that both integrates one’s experience into an intellectually consistent conceptual whole and provides an accurate account of how the world actually works. But such knowledge does not come without cost. With it comes the scorn and derision of those who chose not to undertake the quest; those who do not wish to see that the emperor has no clothes. So tread the path with care, for the price of knowledge can be loneliness.
Many believe that the housing boom and Great Recession were the result of human greed and the supposed deregulation of financial markets, both of which thereby demonstrate the failure of free market capitalism. However, the real causes of the boom and bust are to be found not in free markets, but in the misguided policies of politicians and central bankers. We should not compound the errors of the boom by thinking more government intervention is the cure. The economy can only be fixed by the decentralised reallocation of resources by millions of entrepreneurs in genuinely free markets, and not by the politicians who broke it in the first place.
Boosting aggregate measures of consumption and investment through government stimulus will not help, as the problem lies not in macroeconomic aggregates but in the microeconomic allocation of resources. Only those located in the context of the market have the knowledge and the feedback processes provided by prices and profits to make the decisions that will reallocate resources as quickly and effectively as possible. The decentralised decision-making and learning processes of the free market, and not more of the government intervention that caused the problems, can accomplish the millions of corrections are needed to get resources where they belong and return to a sustainable pattern of high employment and growth.
Democracy is just a wealth-distribution (and ultimately wealth-destruction) scheme that pits the taxpayers vs. the tax eaters. In the case of Europe, Germany and the Netherlands produce and save, while Greece, Spain, Portugal and the rest consume. Eventually, a bankruptcy will bring to light the truth about democracy ..
Democracy, simply, in Hoppe’s view, decivilizes society. Civilized people save and plan so as to take care of themselves and their families in the present and future. Fiscal conservatism and prudence is valued in a nondemocratic society, as are sound ethics. Democracy undoes the tendency for people to act cooperatively and responsibly.
So many people mistakenly tie democracy and capitalism together, when in fact democracy keeps capitalism from making all producers prosperous. Laissez-faire is not a matter of electing the right person; it means simply “leave it alone,” something politicians cannot seem to do.
Para que Portugal possa crescer e ter algum futuro com esperança ou faz reformas profundíssimas, sem precedentes na história recente, ou sai da zona euro. Infelizmente o meio termo não é uma solução viável, mas antes um compasso de espera para mais pobreza.
Mas as elites portuguesas insistem no meio termo. Basta ler as recente entrevistas de Rui Vilar, António Borges, do ministro da Economia, do presidente do Tribunal Constitucional ou mesmo do Presidente da República para perceber que todos gostam muito de ficção. À direita, uma mão cheia de nada supostamente já resolveu tudo (de um governo que não tocou nem nas PPP nem nas rendas na energia e noutros sectores, não reformou nem a administração local, nem a justiça, nem as universidades, nem o Estado, não fez nenhuma reforma fiscal). Falam mesmo já de um caso de sucesso. Mau sinal pois sempre que Portugal foi um caso de sucesso, de Cavaco a Sócrates, sabemos agora, era uma mentira pegada. À esquerda, com medo de assumir o inevitável, espera-se por mudanças na zona euro. Ora isso é simplesmente irresponsável porque não vão acontecer nem à velocidade nem com a profundidade que Portugal precisaria (ao contrário do que diz o ex-presidente Soares, mandar a senhora Merkel de volta para a Alemanha de Leste não resolve nada; mostra apenas uma ignorância absoluta e confrangedora sobre a realidade política alemã).
Quando um país está condenado ao fracasso económico e as suas elites bem como a sua opinião pública recusam entender onde estão metidas, o problema é fundamentalmente cultural e muito pouco económico. Podem até proteger os interesses instalados bem como os direitos adquiridos dos lóbis, dos sindicatos, de todos aqueles que conseguem condicionar e influenciar as políticas públicas. Podem continuar a governar os pensionistas das políticas que, sendo os principais responsáveis do desastre (como mínimo, por uma profunda falta de visão), acham que mudando o acessório, conseguem manter o fundamental. Mas o empobrecimento não espera.
.. regardless of their ostensible mission, hierarchical institutions tend to be headed by people whose primary skills are careerist climbing and bureaucratic in-fighting .. you simply cannot become a President of the United States, or a Fortune 500 CEO, unless there’s something fundamentally wrong with you. The same is true of the intellectual capacity of those who manage to advance upward within hierarchies. Being a team player, engaging in groupthink, demonstrating an ability to shut off critical thinking when evaluating the communications of a superior — these are qualities that authoritarian institutions select for.
But in addition to selecting for stupidity and meanness, such institutions impress those traits even on those who didn’t previously possess them. Hierarchies are systematically stupid. No matter how intelligent the people running them are as individuals, the internal dymanics of the hierarchy make them functionally stupid. That’s because power distorts communications, rendering them incapable of conveying accurate information ..
A similar process, based on the distorted incentive structure when one possesses unaccountable authority over others and can externalize unpleasantness on subordinates while appropriating rewards for oneself, takes place in the ethical realm as well ..
.. People in authority, in their organizational roles, tend to experience the functional equivalent of a psychotic break with reality, and to act like sociopaths toward their subordinates.
Power over others, by its very nature, degrades those who wield it, turns them into monsters, and poisons their every relationship with their fellow human beings. There’s no “reform” that can change that, short of abolishing authority itself. And that’s what we anarchists want to do.
This is another reason to Go Galt: to reclaim an unfiltered life and carpe the heck out of every diem. One of the ways to do so is deceptively simple. For want of a better word, it is “frugality,” by which I mean something quite different than most people.
Many people turn to frugality in response to economic bad times. That is, they view it as a necessary, but bitter pill they are forced to swallow, but would rather spit out. Viewing frugality as a form of poverty, they are driven to it through desperation, rather than a desire to increase control over their lives. To them, frugality must be a dreary thing, but in my life, the contrary is true.
.. Material goods cost money; money is acquired in exchange for my time; my time is literally my life .. I ceased viewing possessions in terms of money and saw them in terms of time. And my time is a scarce good .. There are only so many hours left for me to live.
When I look in my closet, many possessions now represent wasted time .. Instead, I could have been reading or writing, laughing with friends or watching movies with my husband.
And then there are the purchases I will never regret ..
My choice is to earn and spend less in order to control my own time and to avoid fueling the State through more taxes. I have called this choice “frugality,” but some people are more comfortable with the term “voluntary simplicity.” The point of such simplicity is not to save every possible penny. It is to ensure that your time and money are expended on your goals. Voluntary simplicity can be viewed as a “business plan” for getting the most out of life. Ask yourself what your goals are and what is necessary to get there. Of equal importance, ask what is not necessary.
That is, after all, the purpose of freedom.
What would happen if one day an a plane flew over his island and parachuted him a fishing robot? The robot could fish for him, procuring fish 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Does anyone think Mr. Caruso would be upset by this? Wouldn’t the robot free him to focus on all the other tasks that are necessary for his survival?
Because robots are not capable of coming up with novel solutions to human problems, and because human problems are virtually limitless, humans will always have something productive they could be doing. Robots will never be able to replace the creativity of the human mind, which requires a consciousness not present in any machine.
Just as in our Robinson Caruso example, technological automation of tedious, dangerous and repetitive tasks frees up labor resources to be put to use doing more productive and creative tasks. There will always be some ongoing displacement of labor through technological obsolescence, but this is not something to be feared.
The causes of long-term chronic unemployment have nothing to do with technological automation. In fact, the industrial revolution created a massive demand for labor! ..
In short, there are a myriad of causes to our present long-term unemployment problem, but not one of them is related to technological advancement or the automation of worker processes. If robots could do everything for us, no one would need to engage in labor ever again. The world would be a Utopia, filled with abundant products and services, all provided to us by robots without us having to lift a finger. We truly would have a Star Trek type of world, where everyone could take whatever they needed without having to pay for anything because there would be a total super abundance of every good and service imaginable.
Cooperation is not part of the market -- it is the market. The market is billions of individuals freely associating, trading, and contracting. In his classic essay "I, Pencil," Leonard Read argues that, "no single person on the face of this earth knows how to make [a pencil]." It is a collaborative effort of millions of people -- loggers, miners, truckers, restaurant owners, even coffee producers. "There isn't a single person in all these millions," Read explains, "including the president of the pencil company, who contributes more than a tiny, infinitesimal bit of know-how."
Market cooperation deserves credit even for those activities which the president believes government made happen. Government produces nothing. It is entirely dependent on the private success of its citizens. Without these successes, no taxation would be available for roads, bridges, teachers, or fire stations. Rather than citing those examples to take more from American businesses, the president should thank businesses for their success, which ultimately funds his agenda.
.. Prosperity depends not just on individual initiative, but on cooperation and exchange. Conservatives and libertarians should not concede their values to a president who has led the charge to increase government controls on private collaboration. President Obama is right. Cooperation matters -- maybe he should stop standing in the way.
Aguardamos todos com expectativa o Relatório do Tribunal de Contas e da Comissão Independente nomeada pelo Governo, levantamentos que finalmente nos darão o apuramento do custo por aluno na escola estatal. São relatórios complexos pela dispersão e pelo grande número de centros de custos (Ministério da Educação, Municípios, Fundos Comunitários, empresas públicas como a ‘Parque Escolar', fundos, Segurança Social, entre outros) e pela dificuldade de imputação de custos do Ministério da Educação que se destinam a programas exclusivos para a escola estatal ou com os departamentos e recursos a estas alocados pela gestão de escolas.
Informar os cidadãos sobre o custo real do ensino estatal é um alicerce da democracia e a sua falta é um sintoma de défice democrático. O apuramento do custo por aluno da escola estatal, redobrando a consciência crítica dos cidadãos, permitirá deslocar o debate da educação para os temas mais importantes da qualidade, da equidade e da eficiência educativa.
- Porque não possibilitar aos pais a escolha da escola para os seus filhos, introduzindo o esquema em que o financiamento segue o aluno e promovendo a neutralidade do Estado como garante de todo o sistema educativo?
Será uma nova abordagem em que o Estado passará a ter de prestar contas aos cidadãos, assumindo metas e compromissos com as suas decisões politicas. A torneira dos fundos públicos deixará de abrir e fechar ao sabor de medidas pontuais e esparsas mas passará a depender do cumprimento de uma visão sistémica e de estratégia educativa Nacional de longo prazo. Passaremos a exigir o estabelecimento de metas em termos de qualidade e equidade e a avaliar o seu impacto de forma regular e actual pelos programas de monitorização e publicação de dados educativos.
As anarchists, we find ourselves in an environment run by statists who attempt to get away with all manner of illegitimate actions and policies. For us, those acts and policies are not illegitimate because they are inconsistent with the state’s own internal rules. We believe there are no rules that can justify the state or its coercive actions.
Think of anarchist constitutional scholarship as counter-intelligence and strategic analysis. For example, the CIA was intensely interested in the internal disputes and intrigues of the Soviet Kremlin. This wasn’t because they were rooting for one side over the other as a matter of justice or morality. It had more to do with trying to predict future policies and acts of that government ..
I suggest anarchists think about constitutional law in a similar way. There may be broad, abstract principles of justice and reason embedded in the constitution. But they have little to nothing to do with how the state realizes its own power. We consider the exercise of that power to be a problem regardless of its adherance to an over two hundred year old document. So we should try to predict the political zeitgeist and foresee threats to ourselves and our communities, analyzing these matters in cold, calculating terms rather than in an outraged, indignant matter ..
To flip von Clausewitz’s aphorism, politics is the continuation of war by other means. Anarchists should regard constitutional politics as nothing less.
To see that the market does not ration one need only see that “the market” doesn’t do anything. To talk as if it does things is to reify the market—worse, it is to anthropomorphize the market, ascribing to it attributes — purposes, plans, and actions—that only human beings possess. We may also see this as another instance of literalizing a metaphor, which, as Thomas Szasz has so often warned, is fraught with peril.
I’m not saying that economists don’t realize this diction is a metaphor. Of course they do, and there’s no harm in using this shorthand among those who understand it as such. The problem, as I see it, is that the general public doesn’t fully grasp the metaphorical nature of these statements. For the sake of public understanding, free-market advocates should not welcome a debate in which they begin by saying, “Our method of rationing is better than your method of rationing.”
Better to respond to the interventionists this way: The market does not ration or allocate. The market does not do anything. It has no purposes or objectives. It is simply a legal framework in which people do things with their justly acquired property and their time in order to pursue their own purposes.
Even without any formal organization, markets tend to develop precisely because they are such powerful tools for improving everyone’s welfare.
Today we are everywhere enjoined to respect the delicate ecological balance of nature, in which each creature is so miraculously designed to fill its special niche, and in which each part interacts in glorious intricacy with the whole. Let us save some respect too for the equally delicate structure of the marketplace, which routinely accomplishes feats that even nature dares not attempt.
According to The Black Book of Communism (1999), at least 94 million people were slaughtered by communist regimes during the twentieth century. This is a truly colossal figure, yet that’s the lowest estimate. Professor R. J. Rummel, in his landmark study, Death by Government (1996), puts the death toll from communism at over 105 million—and his detailed calculations do not include the human cost of communism in most of Eastern Europe or in Third World countries like Cuba and Mozambique. Even so, his figure is double the total number of casualties (military and civilian) killed on all sides during World War II.
The full horror of this totalitarian socialist holocaust cannot, of course, be adequately conveyed by these grim statistics. Behind them lies a desolate landscape of economic collapse, mass poverty, physical and mental torture, and broken lives and communities
What provoked this vast tide of human despair? What was it that made life intolerable for most of the inhabitants of these socialist countries? The greatest Russian writer of the last century has given us the answer. To quote Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “Socialism begins by making all men equal in material matters. . . . However the logical progression towards so-called ‘ideal’ equality inevitably implies the use of force. Furthermore it means that the basic element of personality—those elements which display too much variety in terms of education, ability, thought and feeling—must themselves be leveled out. . . . Let me remind you that ‘forced labour’ is part of the programme of all prophets of Socialism, including the Communist Manifesto . There is no need to think of the Gulag Archipelago as an Asiatic distortion of a noble ideal. It is an irrevocable law” (Warning to the Western World).
Rwanda is a small landlocked country located in east-central Africa with a population of about 11 million inhabitants. Its two major ethnic groups—the minority Tutsi and the majority Hutu—had been clashing with each other since before the Belgians took control of the country after World War I. (The country became independent from Belgium in 1962.) The constant social and ethnic tensions ended in a genocide that took the lives of some 800,000 people—mainly Tutsi.
.. the recovery was quite fast and solid, with GDP growing at 35 percent in 1995. It has managed to sustain high growth rates ever since, not even losing steam in the last decade. The economy grew an average 6.6 percent per year from 1994 to 2010, substantially higher than the sub-Saharan African average. In 2001 Rwandan inhabitants lived on an average of 50 cents a day; today this figure has risen to $1.50 a day. Recent poverty and welfare indicators—taken from the Third Household Living Conditions Survey—are also encouraging ..
.. Rwanda had been able to achieve three key goals: rapid growth, sharp poverty reduction, and reduced inequality.
The economic growth in Rwanda has been primarily driven by liberalization in the agricultural sector—mainly coffee and tea, the country’s main exports. These reforms allowed producers to greatly benefit from an export boom, increasing incomes and boosting productivity through capital investments. Dynamic tourism and industrial sectors—mining and construction—have also contributed to the recent economic success.
The country still has severe problems, some of which are common to other low-income economies. These mainly consist of high rates of malaria and AIDS, lack of access to safe drinking water and electricity, and a strong dependence on subsistence agriculture, a sector that employs about 70 percent of the labor force.
Furthermore, the Rwandan economy suffers from a number of vulnerabilities that may hinder its growth. First, the country depends excessively on foreign aid ..
.. economist Paul Romer .. concluded that if they want to be rich, poor countries need to somehow undo their invidious systems (corruption, oppression of minorities, bureaucracy) and create an environment more conducive to business. Or they could just start from scratch.
.. In 2009, Romer developed the idea of charter cities — economic zones founded on the land of poor countries but governed with the legal and political system of, often, rich ones ..
The United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Singapore were able to build well-designed cities that housed and employed millions, in part by persuading foreigners to invest heavily ..
Each has had well-known flaws, but Romer said the core idea can be replicated without them. The new Honduran charter city can work, he said, if its foreign leadership can similarly assure investors that they’ve created a secure place to do business — somewhere that money is safe from corrupt political cronyism or the occasional coup. If a multinational company commits to building new factories, real estate developers will follow and build apartments, which then provide the capital for electricity, sewers, telecom and a police force.
President Obama blasted American entrepreneurs last weekend, boldly claiming the self-made man is an illusion to an audience ..[I]f you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.There is no way to read any of this and not be acutely aware of what the president is trying to do. Whenever anyone on the left tells you that you didn’t earn your own success, that you had help from others—you know what’s coming next. . . . If you didn’t earn what you have, you don’t deserve it! And if you don’t deserve what you have, it follows that . . .
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
Ah, but I’m being too logical. The left believes that all they have to do is undermine peoples’ entitlement to whatever they have. If successful people don’t deserve their success and unsuccessful people don’t deserve their lack of success, the left believes they are justified in massive redistribution.
There is logic to how the economic system functions. Incomes are not distributed randomly. For the most part, they are not the result of misfortune or luck. They are very much affected by the attributes the president derides: smart thinking and hard work.
If President Obama really wanted to help those at the bottom of the income ladder he would be calling for massive deregulation, for liberating the entrepreneurial spirit and allowing the dynamics of the marketplace to meet the needs of the poor, the way they meet the needs of everyone else.
Regressando ao campo da discussão de ideias, convém não esquecer o importante destas declarações do Michael Seufert: a ideia de permitir aos jovens fazer o opt-out da segurança social. Não será por acaso que a esquerda reagiu com ataques pessoais a essas declarações: o horror à liberdade de escolha sempre foi umas das suas imagem de marca. É assim na educação, na saúde e também agora na segurança social. E têm toda a razão para ficar aterrorizados, porque quando dada a opção, a maioria dos portugueses escolhe o caminho que menos se encaixa nos seus preconceitos ideológicos: preferem ser educados em escolas privadas e tratados em clínicas privadas. Não será por isso difícil de prever que, se lhes for dada a opção, escolham ter os seus planos de poupança privados, em vez de entregarem esse dinheiro ao estado para o gerir em seu nome (note-se a ironia aqui de um estado que mal sabe gerir as suas contas a querer substituir-se aos cidadãos na gestão das suas).
.. by definition, strangers don’t have much information or knowledge of my needs, desires, and dreams. They can’t. They’re strangers. It’s hard enough for my friends and family to know me well. But strangers can’t know me well. So even with the best of motives, they may not be able to help me. In fact, they may end up hurting me despite their motives. We know that we sometimes hurt our friends and family even with the best of motives because of our imperfect knowledge of who they are.
This suggests a humility for intervening in the lives of strangers. Those on the other side of the spectrum of government intervention often lack this humility. They claim to know what is best for others–what they should eat, how they should behave in the bedroom, whether they purchase health insurance, and what is the best use of other people’s money. When these plans go awry, when they cause harm to those they would help, they fall back on their motives–after all, they meant well.
But when dealing with strangers, with people outside our circle of friends and family, results trump motives ..
So don’t lose any sleep over your motives. And don’t let others who are no better than you are, convince you that there is something wrong with you because you don’t want to use the power of the state to try to improve the lives of others. Their strategy has a very mixed track record. They are always saying this time will be different. But it is unlikely to be different because of the knowledge problem and because the other side centralizes power. And centralized power doesn’t attract nice people. Just the opposite.PS - o título é de Milton Friedman
El Estado ha ido colonizando actividades que son propias de la sociedad civil, de los individuos que la conforman, y entre ellas, la caridad. Durante décadas, este término se ha ido reconvirtiendo en solidaridad, un sinónimo de justicia social que, a su vez, apunta al viejo clásico de la redistribución de la riqueza. Al Estado le cuesta permitir que haya otras instituciones que compitan con él, y poco a poco ha ido socavando la actividad de estas asociaciones tan necesarias, que se han reducido o se han reconvertido en organizaciones que, definiéndose a sí mismas como no gubernamentales, dependen del presupuesto público. Incluso las ideologías más progresistas han ridiculizado y atacado las simples relaciones familiares, quizá porque muchas veces han considerado a la Iglesia, el mayor defensor de la familia, como su principal enemigo. Paradójicamente, han favorecido la alienación de las personas que, reclamando justicia social y esperando que el Estado lo haga por ellos, no actúan si no es a su sombra.
Si la solidaridad ha sustituido a la caridad, si el Estado ha sustituido a la sociedad civil y el primero depende de los impuestos que obtiene de la segunda, no es de extrañar que, ahora que la crisis del Estado de Bienestar está en su apogeo, cuando los excesos de los políticos no tienen suficiente con lo que coactivamente nos arrebatan, las labores que algunos consideran más esenciales y, por tanto, deben tener un carácter estatal, se vean abocadas a recortes, incluso antes de la reducción del enorme aparato estatal y la corrupción que arrastra. Pero ésta no es la peor parte; lo peor es que el Estado ha atenuado el espíritu cooperativo de la gente, que sólo sabe ejercerlo bajo los parámetros de la moral pública.
Should the people of the world be disappointed by the “failure” of the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development? No. First of all, sustainable development as a concept is a Rorschach blot. The canonical version reads: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This has no specific meaning and can be used by anyone to mean anything that they would like. So it is not at all surprising that the representatives from 190 rich and poor nations meeting in Rio de Janeiro could not agree on anything substantive with regard to sustainable development.
At the Rio +20 Earth Summit, environmentalists and the leaders of poor countries were hoping to shake down the rich countries for hundreds of billions in official development assistance annually. However, most of the actual development achieved over the past two decades was not the result of official development assistance (a.k.a. taxpayer dollars) from rich countries being sent to poor countries. In fact, .. development aid often actually retards economic growth and “has an insignificant or minute negative significant impact on per-capita income.” Why? Largely because the aid is stolen by the kleptocrats who run many poor countries and the rest is “invested” in projects that are not profitable. So what has produced so much improvement in the lot of poor people in developing countries since the first Earth Summit 20 years ago?
Well, you know very well. Because while continuing to provide assistance, the private sector investments, using targeted resources and smart policies, have catalyzed more balanced, inclusive, sustainable growth.” Summary: The way to development is trade, not aid.
Looking back the failure of environmentalism as an ideology looks inevitable since has misconstrued the causes of many of the problems to which it claims to have a solution. At the close of the Rio +20 Earth Summit last Friday, environmentalism reached its highwater mark and is now ebbing as a political force internationally. It will be interesting to see in which direction those cherishing a permanent animus against democratic capitalism will go.
Imagine a world in which you do not report your income; there are no government forms or census data; registration of everything from birth to marriage is optional; no permission is needed to open a business or travel abroad. Imagine a world in which personal data is private.
How could the tax man collect money without knowing your income or address? How could the military draft your children into war without knowing where to find them at home or at school? How could the censor punish your reading habits when no record exists of which books you buy? The machinery of the state is paralyzed without information about who you are.
It is no coincidence that statist governments are renowned for wiretapping, surveillance, identification papers, informants, secret police and censorship. The control of information throughout society is akin to the control of blood flow through a body; it is vital to functioning.
If a neighbor reads takes it upon himself to read letters in your mailbox or copies down the details of deposits in a bankbook he has ‘encountered’ in your desk drawer, you would feel violated and enraged by the invasion. What is wrong for your neighbor to do is also wrong for a government agent to do because there is only one standard of morality. Theft is theft, invasion is invasion. You have the right to slam the door on the face of anyone who says differently. A peaceful human being owes no debt to any other person.
Hold the state up to the same standard as your neighbors…because there are no double standards of right and wrong. Privacy is a right, not an admission of guilt. Your identity properly belongs to you…not to the state.
But the real worry with climate research is that it is on the very edge of what is called postmodern science. This is a counterpart of the relativist world of postmodern art and design. It is a much more dangerous beast, whose results are valid only in the context of society’s beliefs and where the very existence of scientific truth can be denied. Postmodern science envisages a sort of political nirvana in which scientific theory and results can be consciously and legitimately manipulated to suit either the dictates of political correctness or the policies of the government of the day.
.. climate science is an example of what Canadian educator Sue McGregor calls “post-normal science”, in which “the facts are uncertain, values are in dispute, stakes are high and decisions are urgent”. In such circumstances it is virtually impossible to avoid subconscious cherry-picking of data to suit the popular theory of the time.
.. It is mildly encouraging now, perhaps as a result of the Climategate scandal, that we are beginning to see a new generation of climate scientists look again with a properly jaundiced eye at the question of uncertainty and how it might be assessed.
It is not surprising that society’s opinion on what to do about climate change is highly polarised. There are passionate and vocal supporters on both sides of the argument as to whether global warming will be disastrous.
"He didn’t invent iron ore and blast furnaces, did he?”
“Rearden. He didn’t invent smelting and chemistry and air compression. He couldn’t have invented his Metal but for thousands and thousands of other people. His Metal! Why does he think it’s his? Why does he think it’s his invention? Everybody uses the work of everybody else. Nobody ever invents anything.”
She said, puzzled, “But the iron ore and all those other things were there all the time. Why didn’t anybody else make that Metal, but Mr. Rearden did?”
Here’s the deal. The state’s distinguishing characteristic is its presumption of control and its use of force to exercise that control. But this is not the whole of the problem with statism. This characteristic gives rise to many other features that are part of what we might call a statist way of thinking. It really amounts to a pattern of being that comes with power, which is to say, that comes with the absence of any check or corrective consequences.
The market and the voluntary order have within them structures that keep human vice and relentless stupidity from completely taking over the system. That’s not true with the government. The government builds protective walls around itself that prohibi inputs that would otherwise keep faulty thinking at bay.
1. Presume that all things worth knowing are already known .. The state is so certain of the end point of the social order that it never has to explain or justify its perception.
It knows the right allocation of income between classes, the right size and number of businesses in each sector, the right allocation between security and risk, what is just and what is unjust. It knows when the economy is growing too much or too little. It knows what industries should die or last forever. It knows what is and is not good for you.
O truque, aliás habitual, chega tipicamente disfarçado de “combate à evasão fiscal”. Desde tempos imemoriais, ou há cerca de uma década, que os governos da pátria combatem essa entidade maligna, sob o argumento de que se os contribuintes em falta pagarem o que devem, os contribuintes ordeiros pagarão menos. Você paga menos? Eu, que mantenho as minhas relações com o fisco num rigor próximo do masoquismo, não pago menos. Pelo contrário. Muito pelo contrário.
Em artigo no “Jornal de Negócios”, Camilo Lourenço lembra o óbvio: quanto mais o Estado arrecada, mais gasta. Por diferentes palavras, a “justiça fiscal” não passa de propaganda, por definição destinada a enfeitar o abuso que constitui o modus operandi das quadrilhas, perdão, dos senhores que nos tutelam. É por isso que embora em teoria ofenda ver os representantes da hotelaria e restauração prometerem revoltar-se contra a anunciada obrigatoriedade da “facturinha”, na prática a atitude consola.
No contexto actual, não existe nenhuma razão que legitime a transferência, até ao último cêntimo possível, do dinheiro ganho pelo proprietário de um café para um Estado calão e trapaceiro. Mesmo que o primeiro esbanje irresponsavelmente o que lhe pertence, o segundo arranjará sempre maneira de esbanjar pior o que retira aos outros.
The relationship between higher prices and money creation is not difficult to understand. Murray Rothbard liked to use the analogy of a tooth fairy who tried to help the world by doubling the money stock and putting the new money under everyone’s pillow. It seems like a wonderful idea, until you realize that every existing unit of money would become worth half of what it used to be. The people would be no better off than they were before.
Analogies like this are useful. Think of a children’s party in which there is only enough lemonade for 10 kids. Thirty kids show up, so the host waters down the juice. Have you really made more lemonade? No, you have just divided the lemonade among more people, giving each kid more water and less flavor.
It’s not rocket science. So why does the Fed do it? Because the money enters into the economy through a circuitous route, starting with the government’s favored bond dealers and then through the banking system. The main beneficiaries are the government’s friends, while the rest of the population pays the price.
And rising prices are not the only consequence of bad monetary policy. There are other effects, such as booms and busts, massive government debt, the leviathan out of control and the enslavement of the working class to debt and economic cycles.
The truth is exactly the reverse of the common assumptions. Far from adding cozily to the private sector, the public sector can only feed off the private sector; it necessarily lives parasitically upon the private economy. But this means that the productive resources of society — far from satisfying the wants of consumers — are now directed, by compulsion, away from these wants and needs. The consumers are deliberately thwarted, and the resources of the economy diverted from them to those activities desired by the parasitic bureaucracy and politicians. In many cases, the private consumers obtain nothing at all, except perhaps propaganda beamed to them at their own expense. In other cases, the consumers receive something far down on their list of priorities — like the buggies of our example. In either case, it becomes evident that the "public sector" is actually antiproductive: that it subtracts from, rather than adds to, the private sector of the economy. For the public sector lives by continuous attack on the very criterion that is used to gauge productivity: the voluntary purchases of consumers.
If only hypothetically, it is worth asking whether civilisation could survive climate change at the rate assumed by the consensus of scientists who comprise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)–that is, that the earth will warm during this century by around 3° C…
In measuring health, note that globally the number of excess deaths during cold weather continues to exceed the number of excess deaths during heat waves by a large margin–by about five to one in most of Europe .. Besides, once again, people will adapt, as they do today. People move happily from London to Hong Kong or Boston to Miami and do not die from heat, so why should they die if their home city gradually warms by a few degrees? (It already has, because of the urban heat island effect.)
What about malaria? Even distinguished scientists have been heard to claim that malaria will spread northwards and uphill in a warming world. But malaria was rampant in Europe, North America and even arctic Russia in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, when the world was nearly a degree cooler than now. It disappeared, while the world was warming .. Today malaria is not limited by climate: there are lots of areas where it could rampage but does not…
.. this is before taking into account the capacity of human societies to adapt to a changing climate
The Four Horsemen of the human apocalypse, which cause the most premature and avoidable death in poor countries, are and will be for many years the same: hunger, dirty water, indoor smoke and malaria, which kill respectively about seven, three, three, and two people per minute. If you want to do your fellow human beings good, spend your effort on combating those so that people can prosper, ready to meet climate challenges as they arrive.
O que esta sucessão de governos «recuperadores» do défice e da economia nacional demonstra é que não será do governo que virá qualquer salvação dos portugueses e de um modo de vida que tem os seus dias mais do que contados. À esquerda ou à direita, as políticas macroeconómicas dos governos comprovaram a sua incapacidade para restabelecer a única economia que verdadeiramente interessa, que é a das pessoas, das suas famílias e das suas empresas ..
De resto, se o estado português declarar bancarrota, isto é, se reconhecer perante todos – os de cá e os de fora – que não tem condições de honrar os seus compromissos, a dor que todos sentiremos será forte e imediata, é certo, mas permitirá que comecemos a viver, e o próprio estado também, com o que de facto temos, sem ilusões de que podemos viver com mais, ou à conta da «ajuda» do governo e do seu crédito internacional.
.. seremos obrigados a enfrentar a nossa realidade e a recomeçar com aquilo que somos e de que formos capazes. E deixaremos este caminho de progressivo e inexorável empobrecimento, em nome de uma ilusão – a de que os governos recuperam a economia -, que nos conduzirá ao mesmo destino, provavelmente muito mais pobres e ainda mais irrecuperáveis do que já estamos, quando fatalmente lá chegarmos.
The answer is that government intervention is destructive. Taxation and regulation are the tools by which government disrupts the primary social function of humans exchanging their labour for mutual benefit.
Government is no substitute: its desire, consciously or unconsciously, is to control people’s lives for its own social objectives. This is the motivation behind the destruction of savings and their replacement by an accumulation of debt; and for the government itself, there are mounting future liabilities.
Reversing an accumulation of past interventions, which is necessary if a country’s fortunes are to be improved sufficiently to escape complete bankruptcy, goes counter to every reason a modern politician enters his trade.
This ongoing debate has many legal and policy elements, but it seems to come down to an old philosophical divide involving differing conceptions of liberty. In his famous lecture, analytic philosopher Isaiah Berlin described the two concepts of liberty as negative and positive. To simplify, negative liberty is freedom from external inteference. Positive liberty, on the other hand, is freedom to do something, which includes having the power and resources necessary to do that something.
Proponents of net neutrality promote a positive conception of liberty. Opponents of net neutrality promote a negative conception. As a result, the two sides talk past each other. Proponents argue that end-users should have the ability to access anything on the internet by using the networks provided by ISPs. This is a freedom to surf the internet. Opponents argue that the ISPs have a right to manage their networks, just as one would have the right to manage one’s own property according to the terms and conditions one chooses. This is a freedom from external interference with one’s network management.
With few exceptions, our Constitutional rights embody the negative conception of liberty. This includes the right of free speech protected by the First Amendment. Unless there is state action involved, one would not be able to bring a successful First Amendment challenge against another person for stopping them from speaking. For instance, I have the right to kick you out of my home for something as menial as saying the word broccoli, and this would not violate your right to free speech under the Constitution’s negative conception of liberty. My right to property trumps your right to speech, which is really your right to use your property (your voice, tongue, etc.) to say what you want insofar as it does not invade my property right.
Lomborg discusses his views about how any debate on improving lives of the poor around the world requires us to understand that resources are scarce, and that being obsessed by "sexy", attention-grabbing issues means we ignore the less glamorous, but often far more severe issues. Of course, the media and political world tends to push attention towards the "eye-catching initiatives" (to use Tony Blair's formulation). But that doesn't mean we have to settle for this. Lomborg is terrific. No wonder he drives deep Greens nuts.
A country that feels the need to socialize has, in my view, already failed culturally. It is an open admission by the public that they are unwilling or unable to take responsibility for their own prosperity .. A truly healthy society supported by strong and self sustainable individuals would not beg to be parented by government. If a country is so unbalanced as to stoop to socialism, then its ailments already extend far beyond anything government (even good government) could ever hope to cure.
It should be painfully clear to anyone considering socialism as a viable option for America that this kind of system requires fiscal discipline and a vast amount of SAVINGS .. Savings is an actual concrete storage of real capital, an ongoing surplus of manufacturing and production capability resulting in the stockpiling of working credit and ample employment. Most of the countries of the EU do not have such savings, and never did. In fact, most European countries have operated for decades on a loss. They have never been able to live with the direct and indirect investments of outside players. Because of this, EU countries are utterly unable to keep up with the grand concepts of socialism, and have buried themselves under the crushing debts generated by entitlement programs.
There has been a pervasive delusion amongst pro-socialism movements in the United States that we are the “richest country in the world”. They claim it is “absurd” that the establishment system does not pay for our healthcare with such riches at its disposal .. To put it plainly, all those people who believe America is the “richest country in the world” are living in mushroom land. We-are-broke. Bust. In the red. In the hole. Insolvent. Our pockets have become lint traps .. We-have-no-money. Therefore, the debate over universal socialized medicine is pointless. It is mathematically and economically impossible to implement ..
They will say that people must be forced to do what is right for the group. I say, such hubris has always led to catastrophe. Usually, it is the select beneficiaries of tyrannical cultures that call for the might of the central government to be wrought upon the rest of the citizenry. Not to do right by conscience, but to satiate their desire for control. Men love government as long as it is imposing their particular world view, and as long as the tables never turn.
“Don’t you want to help the poor”, they say .. Certainly. I want to help them by saving them from the disaster that socialism will inevitably lead to.
.. College costs have strongly outpaced the inflation rate, and the debt students are racking up is crippling. So what is driving this process and what consequences does it have for students? ..
.. One factor fueling the rising cost of higher ed–and it’s not the only one–is government provision of student loans at artificially low interest rates; this encourages borrowing, especially for the long term. As a result, too many people spend too much time in college, and more people attend college than should. One can think of this as malinvestment in human capital caused by distorted interest-rate signals.
Another way to look at this is that the low rates lead people to invest in the general human capital (knowledge and skills) associated with higher education rather than the more specific human capital that comes from workforce experience and on-the-job training. No matter how much of a “knowledge economy” we have, we still need cars repaired, septic systems fixed, and meals cooked at restaurants.
The real way out of the higher education bubble is twofold. First, stop subsidizing the demand side through artificially low rates of interest on government loans .. Second, we need to unleash real competition on the supply side by ending the government mandates and opening up higher education to new institutions, curricula, and pedagogies .. Getting government out is the only sure way to stop the boom before the coming bust gets any worse.