terça-feira, agosto 27, 2013

Ethics vs. Economics

George H. Smith Debates David D. Friedman: Ethics vs. Economics (1981)

Macroeconomics is not Economics

Is Macroeconomics Really Economics? por Robert Higgs:
The world probably would have been much better off had macroeconomics never been devised ..
One of monetarism’s aspects that bothered me long before I became an Austrian (of sorts) is its oversimplification of aggregate economic activity ..
.. not only does the theory leave out critical variables, but it is too simple, being expressed in huge, all-encompassing aggregates that conceal the real economic action taking place within the economic order.

The Limits to Panic

The Limits to Panic:
e often hear how the world as we know it will end, usually through ecological collapse. Indeed, more than 40 years after the Club of Rome released the mother of all apocalyptic forecasts, The Limits to Growth, its basic ideas are still with us. But time has not been kind.

.. since then, there have been no real shortages or productive breakdowns. Instead, the resources generated by human ingenuity remain far ahead of human consumption.
.. we have inherited a tendency to obsess over misguided remedies for largely trivial problems, while often ignoring big problems and sensible remedies.
The Limits of Growth got it so wrong because its authors overlooked the greatest resource of all: our own resourcefulness. Population growth has been slowing since the late 1960’s. Food supply has not collapsed (1.5 billion hectares of arable land are being used, but another 2.7 billion hectares are in reserve). Malnourishment has dropped by more than half, from 35% of the world’s population to under 16%.
..Nonetheless, the mindset nurtured by The Limits to Growth continues to shape popular and elite thinking.

.. fears of over-population framed self-destructive policies, such as China’s one-child policy and forced sterilization in India. And, while pesticides and other pollutants were seen to kill off perhaps half of humanity, well-regulated pesticides cause about 20 deaths each year in the US, whereas they have significant upsides in creating cheaper and more plentiful food.

Grassroots revolution

Grassroots Revolution - A Speech by Ron Paul

Private Property Is the Essence of Liberty

Private Property Is the Essence of Liberty por Ron Paul:
Privacy is the essence of liberty. Without it, individual rights cannot exist. Privacy and property are interlocked. If both were protected, little would need to be said about other civil liberties. If one’s home, church or business is one’s castle, and the privacy of one’s person, papers and effects are rigidly protected, all rights desired in a free society will be guaranteed. Diligently protecting the right to privacy and property guarantees religious, journalistic and political experience, as well as a free market economy and sound money. Once a careless attitude emerges with respect to privacy, all other rights are jeopardized.

Defending the Market Economy

Defending the Market Economy

Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism

Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism por Thomas J. DiLorenzo:
This standard narrative, in which the United States is the perennial instrument of liberty, is a lie. We must ask ourselves how the world’s biggest opponent of imperialism (supposedly) has become the biggest imperialistic empire the world has ever known. How does an “anti-imperialistic” government end up with hundreds of military bases spanning the entire globe, with “military command centers” on every continent, even including an “African Command” operated out of Germany?

On the public intest

James Buchanan - On the public intest

o perú socialista

O perú por Carlos Guimaraes Pinto:
A sociedade portuguesa moldou-se ao longo de décadas a um modelo estatista de economia e organização social. Os mecanismos comunitários de solidariedade foram substituídos por políticas centralistas, desfazendo o tecido social local. Os empresários aprenderam _que o seu esforço seria mais bem aplicado a tentar obter subsídios do Estado do que a investir e inovar. Pessoas capazes e competentes trocaram os seus empregos no sector privado pela estabilidade e horários fixos de um emprego na Função Pública. A economia afastou-se progressivamente do seu potencial de crescimento, dedicando mais recursos à repartição e actividades pouco produtivas do que à produção. A subsidiodependência tornou-se no grande pilar oco da economia: do beneficiário do RSI ao construtor civil, todos se habituaram a ver no Estado o principal garante da sua sobrevivência.

Milton Friedman at College

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006

No Moral Compromise

Compromising Our Liberty por Glenn Jacobs:
Despite what the political class would have us believe, compromise is not a virtue. When it comes to our interpersonal relationships, we would never accept a little theft or a small beating. Why is it that we don’t hold the state to this same moral standard? I guess a little bit of deadly poison is okay in some cases.

When it comes to your freedom, compromise does not benefit you. It only benefits the politicians. As Harry Browne once said, ‘whenever politicians talk about “compromise” it always means compromising away our liberties and property.’

Middle of the Road Leads to Socialism

Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk 8/26/13: Middle of the Road in Healthcare Leads to Socialism

Shale gas is Rearden Metal

Shale gas is Rearden Metal por James Delingpole:
For my summer holidays I have been mostly reading Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand has her faults but, boy, was she prescient.

One of the things she foresaw was the current nonsensical, dishonest, canting campaign against shale gas. In Atlas Shrugged it takes the form of Rearden Metal, the miracle technology which is going to transform the US economy if only the progressives will let it. But of course, Rand’s fictional progressives don’t want Reardon Metal to succeed any more than their modern, real-life equivalents want shale gas to succeed.Why not? For the same rag-bag of made-up, disingenuous reasons which progressives have used to justify their war on progress since time immemorial: it’s unfair, it uses up scarce resources, it might be dangerous. Rand doesn’t actually use the phrase “the precautionary principle.” But this is exactly what she is describing in the book when various vested interests – the corporatists in bed with big government, the politicised junk-scientists at the Institute of Science (aka, in our world, the National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society), the unions – try to close down the nascent technology using the flimsiest of excuses.

Pinochet And Chile (2)

No seguimento de Pinochet And Chile,

Milton Friedman and Chile - The Power of Choice

our ultimate goal is to be rid of (drug) socialism

Gupta Mea Culpa por Mark Thornton:
His reversal is a good reminder that our ultimate goal is to be rid of an entire health care system by which we are ruled by health care technocrats, bureaucrats, and politicians.

The mainstream perspective is that experts and technocrats should establish what the best medical practices are and then bureaucrats should enforce those practices on everyone. Practices deemed suboptimal, unproven, or potentially dangerous should be prohibited by politicians and the prohibition enforced by bureaucrats. This is a one-size-fits-all system with the state determining what fits and what does not.

Never shy about intervention, the government has provided monopoly privileges for doctors through licensing, for drug companies through patents and trade restrictions, and for hospitals, who can prevent competitors from entering their market through “certificate of need” requirements. The combination of monopoly suppliers and subsidized consumers is the primary reason for this era of rising medical costs and falling health care outcomes.
With the prevailing attitudes and policies toward marijuana, it should not be surprising to learn that almost all of the research funded by government has been to determine if marijuana causes medical problems and not of the medical benefits of its use. Almost all the negative health results found in older studies have since been found to be false or irrelevant to the real world. In contrast, positive medical benefits continue to be found without producing any significant side effects.

vs Rent Control Fascism

Airbnb and Its Enemies: Who's Afraid of a $10-a-Night Sofa?

Q&A with Ron Paul

Top 10 Questions Ron Paul Answered During an Online Q&A:
Question .. : “Dr. Paul, what is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?”

To tell you the truth, I’ve never thought about it. I’ve never thought of me doing a whole lot that I would categorize as brave. Other people have said that what I do standing up to the establishment and speaking my piece of mind and not backing down as being something brave, but I don’t think of it in that manner. So I don’t have a good answer for that, but I appreciate it when people compliment me on sticking to my principles.

segunda-feira, agosto 26, 2013

Defending a Free Nation

Defending a Free Nation (by Roderick Long) 1/2: How and Why | 2/2: The Three Economies

The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone: The Implicit Marginal Tax Rate:
To say that antipoverty programs in the United States are perverted may be an understatement. When you take into account the loss of means-tested benefits (e.g., cash assistance, food stamps, housing subsidies, and health insurance), and the taxes that people pay on earned income, the return to working is essentially zero for those in the lower two quintiles of the income distribution.

For many of the working poor, the implicit marginal tax rate is greater than 100 percent. The long-run consequence of undermining the positive incentive to work is, of course, the creation of an underclass acclimated to not working; the supplement of cash and noncash benefits with income from crime and the underground economy; and the government resorting to negative incentives such as mandatory work programs.

Force-feeding "Freedom"

Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) force fed under standard Guantánamo Bay procedure

16 Years in Solitary Confinement Is Like a "Living Tomb":
“Unless you have lived it, you cannot imagine what it feels like to be by yourself, between four cold walls, with little concept of time...It is a living tomb...I have not been allowed physical contact with any of my loved ones since 1995...I feel helpless and hopeless. In short, I am being psychologically tortured.”

That’s why over 30,000 prisoners in California began a hunger strike – the biggest the state has ever seen. They’re refusing food to protest prisoners being held for decades in solitary and to push for other changes to improve their basic conditions.
BÓNUS - Josie Harris Reads Letter from Guantanamo Bay

What is Money?

What Is Money?

a fraude grisalha

O “cisma grisalho” e o bem comum:
A primeira questão diz respeito à insustentabilidade do actual modelo de Segurança Social. Contrariamente à percepção de muitos, o sistema vigente não é de capitalização, mas sim de repartição. Isso significa que as pensões pagas são financiadas pelos trabalhadores de hoje e não pelos descontos de ontem. Aliás, em muitos casos os descontos efectuados não permitiriam financiar as pensões actualmente recebidas.
O que remete para a segunda questão de fundo – menos presente no debate público, mas nem por isso menos importante – associada ao “cisma grisalho”: mantendo-se a tendência actual, os filhos e netos que suportarão essas enormes dívidas no futuro serão cada vez menos. Com uma das mais baixas taxas de fertilidade do mundo – muito abaixo do nível de reposição – os problemas de sustentabilidade que se colocam à sociedade portuguesa são ainda mais graves.

os impostos e a despesa

A galinha, o ovo, os impostos e a despesa:
O primeiro grande motivo pelo qual o argumento é fraco é o facto de a grande distorção na economia portuguesa não ser entre os diferentes sectores privados, mas entre estes e o sector público. Qualquer descida sectorial do IVA distorcerá a economia privada, mas ajudará a combater a monstruosa distorção entre economia privada e sector público. O segundo motivo pelo qual o argumento é fraco é o facto de não ser apenas o IVA a provocar este tipo de distorção. A economia privada sofre vários custos indirectos causados pelo estado, nomeadamente através de regulamentos e burocracias. Por exemplo, a ASAE é uma fonte de distorção da economia privada por impôr mais custos ao funcionamento de restaurantes do que de livrarias. Será complicado quantificar, mas até pode ser que, inadvertidamente, a taxa reduzida do IVA na restauração corrija a distorção causada pela regulamentação. Não sei se será assim, mas dificilmente alguém poderá provar que não seja. Finalmente, mesmo se o argumento fosse forte, a posição liberal, e por definição inteligente, aqui seria a de nivelar pelo nível mais baixo de imposto, ou então por um nível intermédio.

A Conversation On Equality

Milton Friedman - A Conversation On Equality

O consumo moralista

O consumo moralista:
Com menos dinheiro para distribuir entre o eleitorado, a moral socialista diz ser preciso aumentar os impostos sobre os ricos. A ideia de que são os ricos os prejudicados com o aperto fiscal peca por falsa, mas é suficiente para acalmar os espíritos de quem a pratica. Ademais, o ódio à riqueza, tantas vezes dissimulado numa aversão à poupança, é a cereja em cima de um raciocínio culpabilizador de quem poupa e pretende usar o dinheiro sem prestar contas a quem quer que seja.

Convém ter em conta que o Estado social tal como o conhecemos não se limita a ajudar os pobres: visa colocar o Estado no centro da actividade económica. Esta concepção estatal, vislumbrada por Keynes nos anos 20/30 do século xx, implica que as pessoas gastem. Melhor: foi pensada para fazer do consumismo a base do crescimento económico. Keynes não pretendia ajudar os pobres, que já recebiam apoios do Estado, nomeadamente os desempregados. Queria que a economia, numa época de depressão, crescesse à força do consumismo.

Esta ideia keynesiana é a base do socialismo de hoje. Atente–se agora no paradoxo: o socialismo, que se moraliza por defender os pobres, pressupõe que se gaste. A virtude não está em poupar e investir, em criar postos de trabalho com bases sólidas. É preciso consumir desenfreadamente, nem que isso implique uma dívida desmesurada. É preciso que os estados e as praças financeiras especulem e criem dinheiro para gastar. O socialismo é a união de vários males num só.

Ron Paul / Glenn Greenwald Interview

Ron Paul / Glenn Greenwald Interview


Artigo suavezinho - A responsabilidade dos sindicatos:Quando os sindicatos se opõem à menor sanção disciplinar estão a pôr--se do lado da minúscula minoria de maus trabalhadores. Quando se opõem à meritocracia e a uma verdadeira avaliação, estão a promover um clima de bandalheira, que cria incentivos perversos, que geram comportamentos deploráveis, que desprestigiam a generalidade da função pública.

A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

A Four-Step Healthcare Solution (by Hans-Hermann Hoppe)

Cortar Na Despesa

Cortar Na Despesa Ou Aumentar Impostos?:
Qualquer discussão séria terá que assumir que o trajecto das contas públicas e da dívida pública é insustentável. Ninguém consegue imaginar uma família com gastos acima dos seus rendimentos ou uma empresa com prejuízos sistemáticos e que aumente o seu endividamento todos os anos. O mesmo se passa com o estado. Os nossos credores não são nossos benfeitores nem nossos mecenas e a “solidariedade europeia” tem os seus limites.

The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure (2)

No seguimento de The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure,

Ayn Rand Lecture: The Causes of the Financial Crisis

Why Libertarianism Will Crush Conservatism

Why Libertarianism Will Crush Conservatism:
.. Having never been a coherent philosophy of government, conservatism exists as an amalgam of reactionary concepts loosely tied together by historical accident. The only apparent unifying theme among ideas as unrelated as opposition to gay marriage and aggressive foreign interventionism is a fear of the unfamiliar. This reactionary nature is leading conservatives down a path to irrelevance in an age of improved communication, access to information, and cultural understanding.

Murray Rothbard pointed out that conservatism, lacking a coherent ideology, offers only a practical defense of the existing status quo, reacting to progressivism in defense of "tradition." But when progressive reforms endure and become part of that tradition, conservatives lose their intellectual ammunition and end up accepting the change, for better or worse.

Through the decades, conservatives have been overwhelmingly impotent at preserving their ever-shifting vision of tradition. They have over the last century lost their battles against Wilsonian progressivism, the New Deal, the Great Society, racial integration, abortion, drug abuse, and secularization, and they are now losing their fights against gay rights and so-called illegal immigration. The fact that they have lost so reliably, despite their persistent numerical superiority, is a testament to the holes in their philosophy. Along the way, they've adopted virtually every bureaucratic idea pioneered by progressives, increasing government spending while wasting energy and billions of dollars fighting losing cultural battles.
.. Libertarians are skeptical of power in an age of skepticism, embrace science in an era of rapid scientific improvement, reject banal expressions of nationalism in an increasingly-globalized world, and remain dedicated to individualism, not for tradition's sake, but to advance mankind's virtually limitless potential.
Libertarianism is the true yin to progressivism's yang: a platform consistently emphasizing individual rights and self-determination can more effectively combat the global march toward collectivism and consolidation without conservatism's archaic cultural baggage.

Ayn Rand, the suicide of the businessman

Ayn Rand entrevistada por Louis Rukeyser (1981)

"sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society"

Via O Insurgente, Bradley Manning’s Post-Sentencing Statement:
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”

Thomas Sowell - A Personal Odyssey

Thomas Sowell - A Personal Odyssey

Rothbard and the Libertarian Populists

Rothbard and the Libertarian Populists por David S. D'Amato:
The pivot point of libertarian populism is its hostility toward the cronyism that presently characterizes the political economy of the United States. Relationships between powerful elites in government and industry have, libertarian populists argue, cemented into an immovable and perennial force that creates privilege for the few at the expense of the many — hence, libertarian populism. This populism addresses itself to everything from lobbyists to bailouts and to the Federal Reserve System. In point of fact, the “End the Fed” movement, the germ of which was Ron Paul’s stout emphasis on the issue, was arguably among the prime movers and mainsprings of the particular moment of libertarian populism that we’re witnessing right now. Those influenced by the Austrian School and Rothbardian libertarians, contrary to the empty jeremiads of our critics, have always called attention to the often-incestuous relationships between all things big, irrespective of whether they are found in the “public” or the “private” sector. We have been on the forefront of demonstrating the causal link that connects misallocation to corporate welfare in all of its myriad embodiments that show why government intervention in the economic sphere is profoundly harmful, particularly for ordinary working people. The seeming fixation on the Federal Reserve then, is not a randomly chosen fetish of libertarians, but a recognition of the sweeping, harmful implications of Fed policy. Were more Americans to understand the Fed’s role in, for instance, American wars and economic instability, they might see that real libertarian populism is anything but a calculated political rebranding. Rather, libertarian populism simply is genuine, radical libertarianism, the kind that takes the state for what it is — a small criminal class that has successfully institutionalized economic spoliation.

Indeed the principled radical defense of liberty, property, and free markets has always been populist as a matter of course.