Thomas Sowell: The Poverty Empire
domingo, dezembro 29, 2013
The Moral Case for Freedom Is the Practical Case for Freedom:
So I, for one, don’t accept the division of the case for freedom into “the moral” and “the practical.” It’s a mistake, not to mention harmful to the cause. But does this mean I am a consequentialist, or utilitarian? Heavens no! The consequentialist case for freedom is too insecure. How would you feel if someone said, “I will respect your rights to life, liberty, and property so long as I calculate that doing so will produce the greatest good”? The classic monkey wrench in the utilitarian machine is the question whether one person may morally be killed so that his harvested organs may save the lives of five others?
.. utilitarianism is fatally flawed. Rejecting it, however, does not obligate one to embrace deontology, or “rules fetishism.” ..
.. both sides of the artificial moral-practical divide need each other if the strongest case for freedom is to be proffered.
Effectively Irrational por Max Borders:
Most libertarians find they’re arguing in social media these days. So they’re not only finding new people on whom to test their ideas, they’re finding new fallacies in response. And sometimes these fallacies work, despite being fallacious, which is probably why they’re so commonplace. This is especially true on social media, where one can quickly learn that the real point of these exchanges is to play to the audience, to provide them with an excuse to withdraw into whatever biases they already hold. Still, maybe it’s possible to raise the costs of employing these fallacies—at least a little.Leitura recomendada.
We’ve decided to offer you a fun list of them, which you can use as a handy guide in the process of engaging in well-mannered, reasoned discourse online.
Reclassifying a Classic por Daniel Oliver:
Nowhere in the story does Dickens endorse welfare. Rather, he suggests that charity and hard work in the business world are how best to combat poverty. Early in the story, two gentlemen visit Scrooge’s office and ask him to contribute to a fund to buy food and clothing for the poor. Scrooge inquires whether “the Union workhouses” are still in operation. These composed the welfare system of the day, consisting of bleak facilities where the sick, aged, and poor sometimes went to break rocks or fashion rope in exchange for food and shelter. One gentleman replies, “I wish I could say they were not,” adding that “many would rather die” than go there, since they cannot “furnish Christian cheer of mind or body.” The two gentlemen clearly disparage these government institutions ..
South Africa’s Dubious Liberation por Theodore Dalrymple:
This is not to say that Mandela was without importance or that he merited no praise. His greatest achievement by far, and an important one, was the avoidance of the interracial violence that had long been predicted as “inevitable” in South Africa and the only way things would ever change there.
But we should not exaggerate, either. The event that saved his historical reputation was not under his control. It was the downfall of the Soviet Union..
.. the Soviet Union had always supported the freedom struggle in South Africa ..
By then, of course, there was no possibility of South Africa following the Soviet path; by then Russia had neither the means nor the will to support or prop up yet another catastrophically failed state in Africa, this time on a scale far exceeding its previous efforts. Prominent leaders of the ANC whom I met had by then dropped all ideological pretensions of a Soviet hue and had gone over to sharp mohair suits and lizard-skin shoes.
The point about Nelson Mandela is that he was equally willing to go along with both the Stalinist and the lizard-skin-shoe school of economic thought. When Stalinism was the fashion, he was not opposed to it. Nor did he appear to mind much when the lizard-skin-shoe brigade became predominant. He was fortunate that, due to historical circumstances, the second prevailed and prevented him from passing into history as a failed socialist despot. He would have become the latter only after the conclusion of a hideous racial war, but having been head of a guerrilla organization, he had no very settled objection to political violence or to those who employed it.
In Trusting Politics and Politicians, It Is the Pope Who is Naïve por Gary Galles:
The fact that the Pope picked “trickle-down” economic theories to attack was revealing, because no economist ever promoted such a thing. It was a term, like “tax cuts for the rich,” invented by big government opponents of market freedom to deliberately misrepresent it.
The reality is that when people, however rich or poor, advance their interests through voluntary arrangements, they benefit those they deal with. This is done by providing opportunities others find better than their alternatives, and those improved opportunities increase others’ real wealth..
.. as Arthur Seldon put it, “capitalism is the instrument which people in all societies … use to escape from want and enrich one another by exchange.”
When the rich get richer by rigging the political process, that is objectionable, but it is not a market failure. It is a government failure ..
It is true that the crony capitalism we see all around us, which is far closer to fascism than capitalism, is unjust. Pope Francis is right to criticize such injustice. But private property, the basis of capitalism, prevents rather than enables the “dog eat dog” “survival of the fittest” competition that capitalism’s attackers accuse it of.
Pope Francis is clearly compassionate ... As a Catholic, I sincerely applaud his efforts. He is right to object to much that he sees in the world around him. But what he objects to is not, in fact, caused by capitalism. It is caused by its crony capitalist caricature, which is a form of government control, not the individual self-determination enabled by capitalism. The confusion in Evangelii Gaudium is highly problematic. Spurred by this document, politicians may, in trying to “fix” capitalism, which is a massive economic blessing rather than the problem, turn to the transfer of even more individual choice to government diktat, resulting in even more crony capitalism. It would eviscerate the widespread benefits of capitalism, and in turn, harm the very people Francis wishes to protect.A acrescentar que o Papa não está só a confundir o mercado-livre com fascismo económico (tal como visto do lado dos "privados"); está a defender fascismo económico (mais poder aos "públicos"). Vergonha.
Are you finally ready to admit that a constitution can’t control a state? por David McElroy:
I’ve argued before that the Constitution is a dead document with no specific meaning anymore .. I don’t see how anyone can continue to pretend it has the power to protect our rights — when the power to interpret it and carry it out rests with the men and women who want to take our rights and money away from us.
There is no social contract. No one else can bind me (or you) to obey something we haven’t agreed to. But even if there were such an obligation, it’s impossible to get the people on the other side to live up to their end of the agreement.
If you’re one of those who’s counting on the Constitution to protect your rights, isn’t it time to admit that reality shows that no document can stop politicians from doing whatever they want? Isn’t it time to look to another strategy for protecting any rights you believe you have?
Decisões por André Azevedo Alves:
.. ficou bem marcada a clivagem entre quem defende maior exigência e qualidade nos serviços públicos e os que preferem a defesa do status quo, em alguns casos recorrendo de forma criminosa ao vandalismo e à violência. Mas, embora louváveis, esses passos são insuficientes. Por muito rigor e exigência que se coloque na gestão, nenhum sistema assente no planeamento centralizado ao estilo soviético pode funcionar de forma satisfatória. Daí que o estreito caminho que é preciso trilhar para a sustentabilidade passe também necessariamente pela alteração do modelo de Estado que temos. Será esse o principal desafio de 2014.
Citação dedicada ao "Vendedor de Ideias em Segunda-mão / Pessoa do Ano" da Time Magazine:
In the light of recent history it is somewhat curious that this decisive power of the professional secondhand dealers in ideas should not yet be more generally recognized. The political development of the Western World during the last hundred years furnishes the clearest demonstration. Socialism has never and nowhere been at first a working-class movement. It is by no means an obvious remedy for the obvious evil which the interests of that class will necessarily demand. It is a construction of theorists, deriving from certain tendencies of abstract thought with which for a long time only the intellectuals were familiar; and it required long efforts by the intellectuals before the working classes could be persuaded to adopt it as their program.
F.A. Hayek, Intellectuals and Socialism
quinta-feira, dezembro 26, 2013
Fora do contexto non sequitur... à direita, naturalmente:
Ora, os valores do liberalismo clássico e do capitalismo não podem continuar sem tecto, como se devessem envergonhar os seus defensores. No fim de contas, foi graças a eles que «a grande massa dos nossos contemporâneos pode gozar de um padrão de vida bem acima do que, há poucas gerações, era possível somente aos ricos e aos detentores de privilégios especiais», como lembrou Ludwig von Mises no começo do século passado. Esse padrão de vida só foi possível naqueles países que acataram, em certo momento da sua história, com maior ou menor fidelidade, o espírito do capitalismo. Não são universais e não são acolhidos ideologicamente com o mesmo entusiasmo à esquerda e à direita, mas trouxeram bem-estar e felicidade onde foram e são aplicados. São valores dos quais nos devemos orgulhar e que merecem ser defendidos, até porque têm regredido em diversos países, como em Portugal, com prejuízos consideráveis e evidenciáveis ..
eu chamar-lhe-ia socialismo por Rui A:
O Professor Adriano Moreira, um homem frequentemente ponderado e sensato em questões de política internacional, parece não ter perdido os antigos traumas e fantasmas de António de Oliveira Salazar a respeito do liberalismo. Salazar não estimava o liberalismo jacobino republicano português por razões de proximidade histórica e antagonismo evidentes, nem a tradição liberal democrática inglesa por isso mesmo, por ser democrática. Já o Professor Adriano Moreira não aprecia esta “Europa liberal”, em que ele afiança que vivemos, e que terá sido, segundo ele, causadora de “desemprego, espoliação fiscal, quebra de serviços públicos e da credibilidade dos agentes”. O Professor Adriano Moreira acha que todas estas desgraças foram culpa do “liberalismo, sem ética, sem regras”, ou seja, do mercado, da propriedade privada, da liberdade individual, em suma, da falta de governos europeus fortes, interventores e politicamente dirigistas. Ou o Professor Adriano Moreira não viveu nos últimos cinquenta anos na Europa, ou precisa urgentemente de rever alguns conceitos elementares.
Global warming is ‘no longer a planetary emergency’:
It’s official. The scare is over. The World Federation of Scientists, at its annual seminars on planetary emergencies, has been advised by its own climate monitoring panel that global warming is no longer a planetary emergency.
The Earth’s climate .. is a dynamic and continually-changing system. “Human societies have lived and thriven under every conceivable climate, and modern technology makes adaptation to changing weather conditions entirely routine.”
The increasing fraction of CO2 in the air could be expected to result in some warming, but it had been accepted that “the benefits of food production and the relief of starvation overwhelm concerns about the potential climate changes induced by land-surface modification.” .. essential to ask whether similar reasoning applied to global fossil-energy production.
.. “Our greatest concern at present is that the intellectual climate for scientific investigation of these matters has become so hostile and politicized that the necessary research and debate cannot freely take place.
.. the panel found persuasive indications that climate models systematically understated natural climate variability and significantly exaggerated the impact of CO2 emissions. Accordingly, past, present and proposed policy measures could be shown not to provide net benefits to society regardless of the rate at which the planet might warm. Limited resources would be better devoted to more pressing issues.
Jefferson Weeping por Andrew P. Napolitano:
The government the Framers gave us was not one that had the power and ability to decide how much freedom each of us should have, but rather one in which we individually and then collectively decided how much power the government should have. That, of course, is also recognized in the Declaration, wherein Jefferson wrote that the government derives its powers from the consent of the governed.
To what governmental powers may the governed morally consent in a free society? We can consent to the powers necessary to protect us from force and fraud, and to the means of revenue to pay for a government to exercise those powers. But no one can consent to the diminution of anyone else’s natural rights, because, as Jefferson wrote and the Congress enacted, they are inalienable.
Just as I cannot morally consent to give the government the power to take your freedom of speech or travel or privacy, you cannot consent to give the government the power to take mine. This is the principle of the natural law: We all have areas of human behavior in which each of us is sovereign and for the exercise of which we do not need the government’s permission. Those areas are immune from government interference.
Regrettably, today we have the opposite of what the Framers gave us. Today we have a government that alone decides how much wealth we can retain, how much free expression we can exercise, how much privacy we can enjoy. And since the Fourth of July 2012, freedom has been diminished.
The litany of the loss of freedom is sad and unconstitutional and irreversible. The government does whatever it can to retain its power, and it continues so long as it can get away with it. It can listen to your phone calls, read your emails, seize your DNA and challenge your silence, all in violation of the Constitution. Bitterly and ironically, the government Jefferson wrought is proving the accuracy of Jefferson’s prediction that in the long march of history, government grows and liberty shrinks. Somewhere Jefferson is weeping.
Monckton: Of meteorology and morality por Christopher Monckton of Brenchley:
“The Science Is Settled! There’s A Consensus! A 97.1% Consensus! Doubters Are As Bad As Holocaust Deniers! Global Temperature Is Rising Dangerously! It Is Warmer Now Than For 1400 Years! Well, 400 Years, Anyway! Tree-Rings Reliably Tell Us So! The Rate Of Global Warming Is Getting Ever Faster! Global Warming Caused Superstorm Sandy! And Typhoon Haiyan! And 1000 Other Disasters! Arctic Sea Ice Will All Be Gone By 2013! OK, By 2015! Or Maybe 2030! Santa Claus Will Have Nowhere To Live! Cuddly Polar Bears Are Facing Extinction! Starving Polar Bears Will Start Eating Penguins! Himalayan Glaciers Will All Melt By 2035! Er, Make That 2350! Millions Of Species Will Become Extinct! Well, Dozens, Anyway! Sea Level Is Rising Dangerously! It Will Rise 3 Feet! No, 20 Feet! No, 246 Feet! There Will Be 50 Million Climate Refugees From Rising Seas By 2010! OK, Make That 2020! The Oceans Will Acidify! Corals Will Die! Global Warming Kills! There Is A One In Ten Chance Global Warming Will End The World By 2100! We Know What We’re Talking About! We Know Best! We Are The Experts! You Can Trust Us! Our Computer Models Are Correct! The Science Is Settled! There’s A Consensus!”
And so, round and round, ad nauseam, ad ignorantiam, ad infinitum.
quarta-feira, dezembro 25, 2013
The Pope dabbles in Economics por Sheldon Richman:
When I say the pope gets some things right, just not in the way he intends, here’s what I mean: In an important sense, we do have “an economy of exclusion and inequality.” But it is not the free market; rather, it’s interventionism, corporatism, crony capitalism, or just plain capitalism — that is, the abrogation of the free market on behalf of special, mostly business, interests. The reigning system is riddled with exclusion and inequality, the victims of which are society’s most vulnerable people. It’s easy to overlook this because the system produces a great volume and variety of consumer goods that even low-income people can afford ..
In other words, the pope is wrong when he says, “Today everything comes under the laws of competition.” It is precisely this legislated suppression and prohibition of competition that cause “masses of people [to] find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”
There’s not too much competition, but too little, because suppressing competition is how those with access to political power keep potential rivals at bay. As noted, these restrictions make low-income people (and others) dependent on wage employment: government regulations largely destroy self-employment and cooperative ventures as alternatives to a job, which diminishes workers’ bargaining power and leaves them more vulnerable to the caprice of politically protected oversized and hierarchical firms, not to mention to dips in the economy and resulting structural unemployment brought on by governments’ central banks and bubble-inflating favoritism.
So when the pope writes that our social problems are “the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace,” he’s got it exactly wrong. The autonomy of the marketplace was compromised from the beginning by those who used the state to secure privileges that could not be obtained in a freed market.
The pope’s concern with the poor and excluded is well-placed. We should not tolerate their condition or its causes. But what the poor and excluded need are freedom and freed markets — really free markets, not “the prevailing economic system” — so they may be liberated from the oppression that holds them back.
When the pope laments that the prevailing ideologies “reject the right of states [i.e., governments], charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control,” one must suppress the urge to laugh. When have states ever looked out for the common good? It is states and their elite patrons that preserve the exclusion and inequality that the pope abhors by squelching the social cooperation inherent in freed markets and the bottom-up — not trickle-down — progress they make possible. It is states that embody the worse sense of the “survival of the fittest” principle by defining “fit” in terms of prowess in navigating the halls of power. We know whom that includes and excludes.
Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished:
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”
“If I defected at all,” Snowden said, “I defected from the government to the public.”BÓNUS: 'Mission Accomplished': Snowden opened secret world to public
Milton Friedman on the Legalization of Drugs: A Study in Deception and Compromise por Gary North:
Milton Friedman was known as a libertarian. But in three major areas, he refused to defend free market principles: central banking, tax-funded education, and the legalization of drugs. His compromises on monetary policy and education (vouchers) are well known in Austrian economics circles. His stand on drugs is not. He waffled. He deceived. He compromised.
How the Paper Money Experiment Will End por Philipp Bagus:
A paper currency system contains the seeds of its own destruction. The temptation for the monopolist money producer to increase the money supply is almost irresistible. In such a system with a constantly increasing money supply and, as a consequence, constantly increasing prices, it does not make much sense to save in cash to purchase assets later. A better strategy, given this senario, is to go into debt to purchase assets and pay back the debts later with a devalued currency. Moreover, it makes sense to purchase assets that can later be pledged as collateral to obtain further bank loans. A paper money system leads to excessive debt.
Carta Aberta De Edward Snowden A Pedir Asilo Ao Brasil:
My act of conscience began with a statement: “I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. That’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to build, and it’s not something I’m willing to live under.”
Days later, I was told my government had made me stateless and wanted to imprison me. The price for my speech was my passport, but I would pay it again: I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort. I would rather be without a state than without a voice.
Sobre o neoliberalismo:
João Miguel Tavares começa a tornar-se leitura obrigatória, não fosse ele um “perigoso neoliberal“.Por que é que esta mini-história do neoliberalismo interessa? Interessa para que se perceba que o termo “neoliberal”, tal como é usado actualmente, nada mais é do que uma arma de arremesso, um MacGuffin hitchcockiano que dá jeito para animar a acção, mas desprovido de qualquer conteúdo ideológico minimamente perceptível. Não só não faz sentido acusar o actual Governo de ser um fanático do Estado mínimo quando aquilo que conseguiu até hoje foi aumentar o peso do Estado nas nossas vidas através dos impostos e do descontrolo da dívida; como os arremessos de neoliberal procuram apenas empurrar para territórios extremistas pessoas que se limitam a defender a sustentabilidade das finanças públicas e um Estado mais eficiente, que ajude quem realmente precisa e deixe de ser pasto abundante para toda a espécie de lobbies e corporações.
Chega a ser desesperante. A incapacidade de perceber os mecanismo fiscais e a diferença entre pessoas e empresas, IRS e IRC é de bradar aos céus.
.. o IRC é pago maioritariamente pelos trabalhadores, pelas pessoas que produzem, as de carne e osso, que têm filhos e hipotecas e férias e desejos e aspirações.
Ok. Mas podeis ainda dizer-me: está bem mas se o accionista tiver sede no Luxemburgo não paga cá o imposto do dividendo e se empresa distribuir mais lucro após um IRC mais baixo é o gajo que ganha mais. É verdade. Só que o problema é que 10% de mil é mais que 30% de 100. Se eu, enquanto accionista tiver que investir, entre duas empresas com lucros iguais que distribuam a mesma percentagem do lucro vou escolher, naturalmente, aquela que me der maior retorno. Entre investir numa irlandesa ou portuguesa não tenho dúvidas. Portugal tem um problema dramático de falta de capital que, em si mesmo, tem é mais responsável pela emigração de quadros que qualquer outra questão política ou económica. Com esta perseguição que lhe é feita, é certinho direitinho que o capital procura melhores paragens. Isto é um país de doidos varridos que só interessa a gente cujos fundos têm proveniência duvidosa. Aqueles que prezam o capital não investem cá a não ser que também sejam malucos
Igreja e Estado:
A impressão com que se fica desta Exortação .. é que a Igreja nunca entendeu a natureza do Estado e não parece ter aprendido nada dos excessos estatais do século passado, que continuam no século XXI ...
Um dualismo que é consequência da concepção moderna da Igreja e do Estado como sociedades perfeitas. Doutrina que ajuda a explicar quer a rápida aceitação do Estado quer o assumir-se como providência, e até como o destino da humanidade.
.. dando azo a todo o tipo de abusos, fraudes e corrupções. Uma confusão que está bem patente .. ao lamentar, num país com peso do Estado superior a 50%, as consequências da economia liberal e do neoliberalismo. Entrevista que, admito, seja só representativa de uma parte da Igreja incapaz de ver que o combate à pobreza é a indústria que mais dinheiro dá aos governantes: daí o esforço para que não acabe. Será que a Igreja se sente bem como serventuária das mesas misericordiosas desta indústria?
.. uma parte importante da Igreja continue incapaz de distinguir - tanto no mercado económico como político - entre as regras de jogo e os jogadores ..
Pope Francis's Erroneous Economic Pontifications:
In a follow-up interview the Pope maintained that theories that claimed free market driven economic growth would benefit the poor are wrong. "The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor."
Yet the cup of economic growth has been overflowing benefits to the world's poor at unprecedented rates. Consider just China alone. China has improved its economic freedom score by more than any other Asian country since 1980. The pro-market reforms ushered in economic growth that has averaged nearly 10 percent annually. That growth "overflowed" and lifted more than 500 million people out of what the World Bank classifies as extreme poverty. All around the world, countries that have focused on freeing up entrepreneurial investment have been very successful in "trickling down" economic benefits.
Mother Teresa may have had more noble intentions towards the poor than most entrepreneurs do but intentions do not equal results. The invisible hand of the market lifts more people out of poverty than Mother Teresa, the Pope, or any saint ever has, but then lifting people permanently out of poverty has never been the purview of the Church.
Pope Francis doesn't have any divine knowledge of how a market economy operates. This Christmas season he and other theologians should stick to what they know best - the Holy Scripture and moral exhortation. They should leave the economics to the economists. We'll do the inverse in return.
segunda-feira, dezembro 23, 2013
Anarchism is not an ideological movement. It is an ideological statement. It says that all people have the capacity for liberty. It says that all anarchists want liberty. And then it is silent. After the pause of that silence, anarchists then mount the stages of their own communities and history and proclaim their, not anarchism’s ideologies - they say how they, how they as anarchists, will make arrangements, describe events, celebrate life and work.
Anarchism is the hammer-idea, smashing the chains. Liberty is what results and, in liberty, everything else is up to the people and their ideologies. It is not up to THE ideology. Anarchism says, in effect, there is no such upper case, dominating ideology.
sábado, dezembro 14, 2013
To be on the side of free speech was considered an act of treason. So it is today in the great home of freedom.
We’re All Edward Snowden Now por Jeffrey Tucker:
The United States won the Cold War, but its government gradually came to adopt the very practices that we demonized at that time. Who conquered whom here? Freedom was supposed to have been the victor, but today, Edward Snowden had to be given sanctuary in Russia, of all places, just for having revealed uncomfortable truths about what the U.S. government is doing to its own citizens.
They say it’s all about stopping terrorism. Well, oddly, security is precisely how censorship was justified in the old Soviet days too. The government had to be given access to all communication in order to protect the people from miscreants and enemies within the body politic or else everyone would suffer some terrible fate. To be on the side of free speech was considered an act of treason. So it is today in the great home of freedom.
.. All governments in all times and places have aspired to control the communication of their citizens. In the United States, the government did in fact maintain its control for the greater part of American history. The radio waves were nationalized and controlled. Mail was a government service. The government enforced a strict monopoly over television for decades. Even the telephone system was a government monopoly — handsets and telephone cords were issued and owned by an agent of the state.
In the course of only a few decades, everything unraveled. The telephone monopoly was busted. Cable television was born. Censorship over the radio began to loosen. Then technology took over and there were cellphones, email, private delivery services, chat, hundreds of millions of websites anyone could start, Voice over Internet Protocol, and more forms of communication than government could possibly keep up with. The monopoly over communication that the government once maintained had been completely smashed.
This situation has persisted for about 15 years — a near-anarchist paradise of human sharing and interaction through technological innovation. What’s going on today is really the reaction and response by the elites. They want their power and control back. They are trying to get it through the oldest form of government control surveillance and the blackmail that comes with it. It’s the tactic guards used to control prisoners. It’s the tactic government is using to fight its way back toward having control over our lives.
The Liefare-Warfare State por Thomas DiLorenzo:
In his famous essay, “War is the Health of the State,” Randolph Bourne made an important distinction between country and state. One’s country is “an inescapable group into which we re born.” As such, “there is no more feeling of rivalry with other peoples than there is in our feeling four our family.” Country is “a concept of peace, of tolerance, of living and letting live,” wrote Bourne.
The state, on the other hand, “is essentially a concept of power, of competition.” Conflating the two concepts – country and state – sends one into a hopeless and very dangerous confusion.
For the history of the American country is one of “conquest of the land, of the growth of wealth, of the enterprise of education, and the carrying out of spiritual ideals.”
The history of the American state, by contrast, is one of “making war, obstructing international trade, preventing itself from being split to pieces, punishing those citizens whom society agrees are offensive, and collecting money to pay for it all.
.. The average citizen of a militaristic empire is nothing more than a taxpayer/supplier of cannon fodder in the eyes of the state ..
Most people are “rationally ignorant” of almost all of what government does, and they are the most ignorant about foreign policy. This allows politicians to lie nations into war with impunity ..
.. once a war is started most Americans become slavishly obedient to the warfare state and tend to believe all of is lies, no matter how spectacular they may be ..
It may seem trite, but it is nevertheless true that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat its mistakes. Americans are about to repeat the same mistake of squandering their blood and treasure on another military adventure (in Syria) that has nothing whatsoever to do with defending American freedom – or anyone else’s.
Richman’s Law por Lawrance M. Vance:
We all know (or should know) Rockwell’s Law:
“Always believe the opposite of what state officials tell you, and the corollary, always do the opposite of what they advise you.”
But here is another profound truth. This one is Richman’s Law, from Sheldon Richman, the editor of The Freeman. In his article in the March 2009 issue of Freedom Daily (not online yet) titled “The Madoff Scandal Exposes Government Failure,” Richman says:
“No matter how much the government controls the economic system, any problem will be blamed on whatever small zone of freedom that remains.”
A gaiola dourada por João César das Neves:
E Portugal achou que já não seria preciso ser pacato e trabalhador, poupado e prudente. A nova geração iria viver como os parceiros franceses e alemães porque, graças ao euro, pedia dinheiro emprestado nos mesmos bancos e aos mesmos preços. Casaria até a filha com o filho deles. Era um país desenvolvido, capitalista, globalizado. E Portugal gastou. Construiu auto-estradas, fez parques industriais, exigiu computadores para todos os alunos e novas carreiras médicas.
Só que a euforia da liberdade financeira criou um problema de endividamento. Dez anos depois de entrar no euro, Portugal estava falido, com a troika à porta, exigindo pagamento. O choque foi grande. Portugal compreendeu que, afinal, não era como os países ricos. Estava tão desgraçado como irlandeses, gregos, argentinos e outros países da dívida. O buraco era enorme. Não havia solução.
A Referendum for Catalonia por Artur Mas:
Diada: El 52% de los catalanes está a favor de la independencia:
On Sept. 11, 2012, Catalonia’s national day, about 1.5 million people marched through Barcelona carrying banners saying “Catalonia, Europe’s Next State.” The march was a peaceful expression of hope. Today, with the same purpose, hundreds of thousands of people will form a human chain across Catalonia.
We do not seek to isolate ourselves. Catalans are deeply pro-European and we do not imagine a future outside the European Union. Catalonia would have the eighth largest economy in the union and would be a net contributor to its budgets. We would be a solid European Union partner for strengthened political unity, security strength and economic growth.
We also seek no harm to Spain. We are bound together by geography, history and our people, as more than 40 percent of Catalonia’s population came from other parts of Spain or has close family ties. We want to be Spain’s brother, as equal partners. It goes beyond money or cultural differences. We seek the right to have more control over our economy, our politics, our social services.
El dato más contundente, sin embargo, es el de los catalanes partidarios de permitir un referéndum. Ocho de cada diez catalanes se muestran partidarios de que Catalunya, o cualquier comunidad, pueda celebrar una consulta para manifestarse sobre si quiere continuar formando parte de España o no.
Seven Cheers for Murray Rothbard por Matt Zwolisnki:
.. an important part of the moral justification of free markets and private property is the way those institutions work to benefit the poor and the vulnerable. That idea is largely implicit and not fully developed in libertarian thought, but it’s there .. even in those strands of the libertarian tradition where you’d least expect to find it – Herbert Spencer, Murray Rothbard, and yes, even Ayn Rand.
O papa Francisco, a desigualdade de renda, a pobreza e o capitalismo:
As críticas ao livre mercado feitas pelo papa Francisco em sua Exortação Apostólica Evangelii Gaudium ("A Alegria do Evangelho") geraram fortes reações ao redor do mundo. Uma atenção especial foi dedicada a uma passagem na qual o documento faz uma crítica "às teorias do 'gotejamento', as quais supõem que o crescimento econômico, estimulado por um livre mercado, irá inevitavelmente produzir maior igualdade e inclusão social no mundo. Esta opinião, que nunca foi confirmada pelos fatos, exprime uma confiança vaga e ingênua na bondade daqueles que detêm o poder econômico e nos mecanismos sacralizados do sistema econômico reinante."
.. defensores do livre mercado não afirmam que tal sistema econômico é perfeito. Mas promover intervenções no mercado utilizando a desculpa de que o mercado não é perfeito é uma medida que não ajuda em nada na criação de riqueza e na redução da pobreza. De fato, o livre mercado não é perfeito; no entanto, é insensato fazer desta imperfeição a desculpa para se promover arranjos institucionais menos eficientes.
O podre do "capitalismo" que a esquerda não quer discutir por Henrique Raposo:
Na Europa, passa-se uma coisa parecida na relação entre Estado e capitalismo. Os políticos - de esquerda e de direita - criticam os mercados de capitais, mas depois só sabem governar através desses mercados. De manhã, xingam o "capitalismo"; à tarde, pedem dinheiro emprestado a esse "capitalismo" para continuarem a alimentar estados enormes e ficções de "direitos adquiridos", gerando dívida sobre dívida, pagando dívida com dívida, numa espiral que parece não ter fim.
quinta-feira, dezembro 12, 2013
The “Trickle Down” Economics Straw Man por Thomas Sowell:
Those who imagine that profits first benefit business owners — and that benefits only belatedly trickle down to workers — have the sequence completely backward. When an investment is made, whether to build a railroad or to open a new restaurant, the first money is spent hiring people to do the work. Without that, nothing happens.
Money goes out first to pay expenses first and then comes back as profits later — if at all. The high rate of failure of new businesses makes painfully clear that there is nothing inevitable about the money coming back.
Even with successful businesses, years can elapse between the initial investment and the return of earnings. From the time when an oil company begins spending money to explore for petroleum to the time when the first gasoline resulting from that exploration comes out of a pump at a filling station, a decade may have passed. In the meantime, all sorts of employees have been paid — geologists, engineers, refinery workers, truck drivers.
It is not faith but empirical evidence that is overwhelming on the actual track record of tax cuts and free markets. By the 1980s, this mounting evidence convinced even left-wing governments in various parts of the world to cut back government operations and sell government-owned enterprises to private industry. Faith had nothing to do with it.
In India, in the decade since the 1991 economic reforms which were condemned as “blind faith,” the country’s economic growth rate has soared. It has been estimated that the real blind faith — in government planning — had cost the average Indian hundreds of dollars a year in income during the decades when socialist dogma ruled. In a poor country like India, this was income they could not afford to miss. Even in a prosperous country like the United States, there is no need to forego economic benefits for the sake of a political phrase.
Today’s Wealth Destruction Is Hidden by Government Debt por Philipp Bagus:
The welfare-warfare state is the biggest malinvestment today. It does not satisfy the preferences of freely interacting individuals and would be liquidated immediately if it were not continuously propped up by taxpayer money collected under the threat of violence.
.. Many people believe they own real wealth that does not exist. Their capital has been squandered by government malinvestments directly and indirectly. Governments have spent resources in welfare programs and have issued promises for public pension schemes; they have bailed out companies by creating artificial markets, through subsidies or capital injections. Government debt has exploded.
Many people believe the paper wealth they own in the form of government bonds, investment funds, insurance policies, bank deposits, and entitlements will provide them with nice sunset years. However, at retirement they will only be able to consume what is produced by the real economy. But the economy’s real production capacity has been severely distorted and reduced by government intervention. The paper wealth is backed to a great extent by hot air. The ongoing transfer of bad debts onto the balance sheets of governments and central banks cannot undo the destruction of wealth. Savers and pensioners will at some point find out that the real value of their wealth is much less than they expected. In which way, exactly, the illusion will be destroyed remains to be seen.
O Vítor Gaspar de Loures:
Para muita gente à esquerda, a austeridade é uma opção ideológica, sem outra explicação. A ação política não tem limites. Por isso, só há cortes, porque há "neoliberais", ansiosos por liquidar o Estado social.
Se não houvesse "neoliberais", nunca faltaria dinheiro. Vamos admitir que o mundo é assim, feito apenas de vontade e de representação.
Acontece que existem muitas vontades, e cada vontade tem um limite nas vontades contrárias. É essa a razão de não haver dinheiro em Loures. Porque em Loures há provavelmente dinheiro — não na Câmara, mas nos bolsos e nas contas bancárias dos seus residentes. Bernardino, sensatamente, pressupõe que a vontade dos munícipes não é entregar-lhe rendimentos e poupanças. Na Coreia do Norte, poderia expropriá-los, através de nacionalizações ou de inflação, e "reeducar" os recalcitrantes. No Portugal do euro, não pode. E mesmo no reino dos Kim, nunca conseguiria ir além do que os seus súbditos produzissem. É isso a "realidade": aquilo que resiste à nossa vontade e à nossa ideologia.
Durante anos, na Assembleia da República, Bernardino teve apenas de verter soundbites. A "realidade" nunca o incomodou. Foi preciso ir a Loures. Àqueles que fantasiam "alternativas", é necessário lembrar: em Portugal, durante muitos anos, governar será sempre ir a Loures.
.. for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies.' Adams also had harsh words for those who would oppose assisted suicide, 'I don't want anyone to misconstrue this post as satire or exaggeration. So I'll reiterate. If you have acted, or plan to act, in a way that keeps doctor-assisted suicide illegal, I see you as an accomplice in torturing my father, and perhaps me as well someday. I want you to die a painful death, and soon.
What makes the warmist-skeptic fight go on and on? por Anthony Watts:
From what I see, there are four different types of (Un)Certainty involved in the CAGW narrative: 1) Computational, 2) Emotional and 3) Representational and 4) Ideological. (There may be more, or more subtle versions of these, but these 4 are probably close to the general breakdown.)
The IPCC 95% type is Computational Certainty, that is the outcome as proposed by models is consistent with input data and mathematical relationships between identified factors. McKibben’s certainty is based in Computational Certainty, as in “Do The Math”. It could also be labelled “Intellectual” Certainty, as it is based on the idea that nature is deterministic enough..
The second type, the Emotional Certainty, is what roots Gore, the IPCC Summary and the 97% Consensus concept. With Emotional Certainty, the statements say that we are personally comfortable with the work done and where it ended – with the understanding that not everything could be done, but we believe to be the most important parts were covered ..
Ideological Certainty is what drives the eco-green. Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Maurice Strong, David Suzuki, Friends of the Earth, the Waterkeepers, opponents of the XL Keystone pipeline: the arguments for CAGW are mere backups for other, anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist, pro-nature beliefs .. With Ideological Certainty, the certainty is that continuing the path we are on, the status quo, will cause socio- and environmental damage that is unacceptable (and may be catastrophic) ..
The fourth type of Certainty is Representational, in which what is projected is compared to what, at an initial state, is observed. This is where the skeptical position focuses ..
What makes the CAGW fight persist, IMHO, is that we argue about “Certainty” as if we are dealing with the same thing and each side is either foolish, perverse, or a paid shill not to recognize what each side holds ..
How Pope Francis Misunderstands the World:
The dystopian world that Francis describes, without citing a single statistic, is at odds with reality. In appealing to our fears and pessimism, the pope fails to acknowledge the scope and rapidity of human accomplishment—whether measured through declining global inequality and violence, or growing prosperity and life expectancy.
Pope Francis has a big heart, but his credibility as a voice of justice and morality would be immeasurably improved if he based his statements on facts.
Why I Am an Anarcho-Capitalist por Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.:
Unlike minarchism, anarcho-capitalism makes no unreasonable expectations of the public. The minarchist has to figure out how to persuade the public that even though the state has the raw power to redistribute wealth and fund cute projects everyone likes, it really shouldn’t. The minarchist has to explain, one at a time, the problems with each and every conceivable state intervention, while in the meantime the intellectual class, the universities, the media, and the political class combine against him to convey the very opposite message.
Instead of requiring the fruitless task of teaching everyone what’s wrong with farm subsidies, what’s wrong with Federal Reserve bailouts, what’s wrong with the military-industrial complex, what’s wrong with price controls – in other words, instead of trying to teach all Americans the equivalent of three graduate courses in economics, history, and political philosophy – the anarcho-capitalist society demands of the public only that it acknowledge the basic moral ideas common to just about everyone: do not harm innocent people, and do not steal. Everything we believe follows from these simple principles.
João Ribeiro e Castro:
Os nossos invasores são os que nos endividaram para além do tolerável: o Estado, o sistema financeiro, outros ainda. Não é boa política gritar contra estrangeiros, quando o mal está cá dentro, e temos de o superar e resolver pela reforma do Estado e reorientação da economia, Não é sensato culparmos estrangeiros em vez dos nossos maus governos, por cuja eleição só nós somos responsáveis.
quarta-feira, dezembro 11, 2013
Minimum Wage Cruelty por Walter Williams:
During South Africa's apartheid era, its racist unions were the major supporters of minimum wages for blacks. South Africa's Wage Board said, "The method would be to fix a minimum rate for an occupation or craft so high that no Native would likely be employed." In the U.S., in the aftermath of a strike by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, when the arbitration board decreed that blacks and whites were to be paid equal wages, the white unionists expressed their delight saying, "If this course of action is followed by the company and the incentive for employing the Negro thus removed, the strike will not have been in vain."
Tragically, minimum wages have the unquestioned support of good-hearted, well-meaning people with little understanding who become the useful idiots of charlatans, quacks and racists.
NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks:
What is the worst problem in the world today? Might it be war, starvation, genocide, sectarian violence, murder, slaughter of babies in the womb? Any of these would be a rational answer. But when Pope Francis was asked this question recently, he replied, “Youth unemployment.”
His encyclical is about economics, and it reveals a disturbing ignorance ..
Thank God, so to speak, that his teaching authority is limited to faith and morals, because in matters of economics, he is wide of the mark.
His encyclical, titled “Joy of the Gospel,” attacks free-market capitalism because it takes too long for the poor to get rich. “They are still waiting,” the pope wrote. Without capitalism, which rewards hard work and sacrifice, they will wait forever. No economic system in history has alleviated more poverty, generated more opportunity and helped more formerly poor people become rich than capitalism. The essence of capitalism goes to the core of Catholic teaching: the personal freedom of every person. Capitalism is freedom to risk, freedom to work, freedom to save, freedom to retain the fruits of one’s labors, freedom to own property and freedom to give to charity.
The problem with modern capitalism — a problem that escaped the scrutiny of His Holiness — is not too much freedom, but too little. The regulation of free markets by governments, the control of the private means of production by government bureaucrats, and the unholy alliances between governments, banks and industry have raised production costs, stifled competition, established barriers to entry into markets, raised taxes, devalued savings and priced many poor out of the labor force. The pope would do well to pray for those who have used government to steal freedom so as to satisfy their lust for power, and for those who have bowed to government so as to become rich from governmental benefits and not by the fruits of their own labors.
The pope seems to prefer common ownership of the means of production, which is Marxist, or private ownership and government control, which is fascist, or government ownership and government control, which is socialist. All of those failed systems lead to ashes, not wealth. Pope Francis must know this. He must also know that when Europe was in turmoil in 1931, his predecessor Pius XI wrote in one of his encyclicals: “[N]o one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true Socialist.”
The Church does not teach just for today, but for the life of man on Earth. That’s why the essence of the Papacy is not contemporary problem solving, but preservation of truth and continuity of tradition. For this reason, Popes do not lightly contradict their predecessors. If it was sacred then, it is sacred now.
What shall we do about the Pope and economics? We should pray for his faith and understanding and for a return to orthodoxy. That means Holy Mother Church under the Vicar of Christ — saving souls, not pocketbooks.
Minimum Wages and Unemployment: Case Closed por Dom Armentano:
The only relevant issue in the debate about a government mandated minimum wage is: Does it reduce employment opportunities? The debate is not whether some workers will be better off after legal minimums are increased; some workers will. The debate is not whether “consumption” may increase when some workers are paid higher wages; it may, although unemployed workers will consume less. And the debate is not whether “rich” employers can afford to pay higher wages; some surely can, but whether they should be forced to do so by law is another matter entirely.
.. Raising the price of anything, while holding other variables constant, always reduces consumption somewhat. With income fixed and substitutes available, private employers use marginally fewer workers when their wages are increased by law. Simply exaggerating the wage increase will make the point obvious: If we double the minimum wage and leave productivity unchanged, is there anyone on the planet who believes that employment would not dramatically decline?
Everyone at some point needs an entry-level job and a chance to climb an employment ladder to higher pay. There is no moral or economic reason why government should discriminate against such jobs or eliminate the first few steps of that ladder.
segunda-feira, dezembro 09, 2013
Provide inadequate obedience. If the state requires you to perform a service, then do so in a manner that does not rise to the state’s standards.
Render only supervised obedience. When an authority figure is present, obey. When he is absent, then you do as you peacefully please.
Display false obedience. This occurs when a person pretends to obey but acts in a manner that constitutes thinly veiled disobedience.
The Pope's Rhetoric por Greg Mankiw:
First, throughout history, free-market capitalism has been a great driver of economic growth ..
Second, "trickle-down" is not a theory but a pejorative used by those on the left to describe a viewpoint they oppose. It is equivalent to those on the right referring to the "soak-the-rich" theories of the left. It is sad to see the pope using a pejorative, rather than encouraging an open-minded discussion of opposing perspectives.
Third, as far as I know, the pope did not address the tax-exempt status of the church ..
El libre mercado y la crítica del papa Francisco:
Afirmaciones categóricas en un documento de esta trascendencia deberían estar mejor respaldadas en su articulación. Para ser un documento de tanta trascendencia, deja ver un cierto desinterés o impericia en la forma de tratar problemas económicos. Imagínese la opinión en un texto económico crítico de la Iglesia con un claro uso superficial del lenguaje propio de la disciplina criticada acompañado de calificativos como “confianza burda e ingenua”. Utilizar definiciones imprecisas puede llevar a observar problemas donde no los hay.
La pregunta es, si usted sabe que va a ser pobre, ¿en qué tipo de país preferiría vivir, en unos de los libres o en uno de los no libres? El sector “pobre” en Estados Unidos, por ejemplo, posee ingresos por encima del 60% de la población mundial.
.. estos comentarios buscan desmitificar críticas al libre mercado que son opinión generalizada y trascienden al documento del Vaticano. Estos comentarios tampoco buscan cuestionar la autoridad espiritual y religiosa de las máximas autoridades de la Iglesia, pero sí evitar confundir autoridad espiritual o religiosa con autoridad económica.
Wealth, Inequality, and Pope Francis por David Applegate:
Once one properly understands wealth, it makes absolutely no sense for governments, churches, or other institutions to think they can make the world or the country better off by confiscating wealth from some people and giving it to others – especially after taking pieces of it for themselves. They are simply redistributing wealth, at both direct and indirect cost.
A decent society will always take care of its least fortunate, but mission-oriented civic organizations and individuals generally do a better and more cost-effective job of that than hierarchical organizations spending other people’s money.
So whether it’s the president or the Pope, be wary when anyone starts decrying the “inequality” of wealth in the world.
Chances are, they’re coming after yours.
Economics will not be mocked por Mario Rizzo:
Let us move on to ethics and the social gospel. I agree with Frank H. Knight and with Ludwig von Mises that the social gospel (in the sense of teachings about the social welfare policies of the state) is an expedient invention to keep the Church “relevant”. It has nothing to do with the gospels, the teaching of Christ or the ideas of the early Christians. Note that Jesus himself kept the question of the role or domain of the state open: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
If we move beyond Jesus’ exhortations to individuals about their moral behavior to papal exhortations about government policies to achieve the goal of eliminating or reducing avoidable human suffering, a scientific dimension is added. Policies have consequences, often unintended. The social interaction of people is more than the acts of people taken individually. There are complexities in these cases subject to scientific analysis.
The point is that policies are means to ends. They are not decrees about how the world should be. They can succeed or fail to achieve the desired moral ends. They can have consequences more undesirable than the problems they purport to solve. It is hard to see what the Church can authoritatively add to these discussions. Issues like income redistribution, globalization and financial speculation, however, are either above or below the papal pay grade. As Jeremy Bentham said about the state, the job is basically to “be quiet.”
But where social policy is concerned, fundamentally scientific issues are crucially involved and the Church has no greater teaching authority than the rest of us. To confuse matters by combining superficial scientific analysis with strictly moral teaching does neither the Church nor the world much good.
The Pope's Self-Defeating Anti-Capitalistic Rant:
Pope Francis doesn’t have to thank capitalism, a system that has done far more to alleviate poverty, his pet crusade, than the institution he leads. But he should at least stop demonizing it—not least because it enables the very activity that he cherishes most: charity.
Poverty is the default condition of humanity. It is the given. What needs explaining is wealth. And the greatest engine of wealth creation is the market. By raising productivity and lowering the price of goods, markets certainly help the rich, but they help the poor more. Capitalism’s most impressive achievement, Joseph Schumpeter noted, was not providing more silk stockings for the Queen, “but in bringing them within reach of factory girls.”
Indeed, far from promoting Social Darwinism that thrives on “the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless,” as the Pope claimed, capitalism does the opposite: It fosters economic competition among producers so that consumers don't have to compete for scarce goods. In 1900, it took an average worker in the West about an hour to earn a half a gallon of milk. In 1930, half an hour. And today? Scarcely a few minutes.
It is no exaggeration to say that charity is a balm for poverty but capitalism is the cure—or in Bono’s evocative mixed metaphor capitalism’s “job creators and innovators are the key, and aid is just a bridge."
The church itself is a big beneficiary of this capitalist largesse with its U.S. wing alone contributing 60 percent to its overall global wealth. Some of this money comes from donations, but a big chunk comes, actually, from directly partaking in capitalism: The church is reportedly the largest landowner in Manhattan, the financial center of the global capitalism system, whose income puts undisclosed sums into its coffers.
So the new Pope needs to be careful not to bite the hand that feeds his institution and its work. Otherwise, neither he nor the poor in whose name he is speaking will have much to be thankful for.
Ahistoric, Unscientific Papal Prejudice Is Okay When It’s About Capitalism, Anyway! por Matt Welch:
More people have escaped poverty the past 25 years than were alive on the planet in 1800. Their "means of escape" was largely the introduction of at least some "laws of competition" in endeavors that had long been the exclusive domain of authoritarian, monopolistic governments.
To look upon the miracles of this world and lament the lack of "means of escape" is to advertise your own ignorance. To call it a "tyranny" is to do violence to any meaningful sense of that important word .. And to make such absolutist statements as "everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest" is to admit up front that you are not primarily interested in spreading truth, but rather in exciting popular passions. Which I suppose makes sense.
It's a free world; .. But prejudice against global capitalism isn't some kind of twee affect coming from the mouth of one of the globe's largest religious institutions. It's an out-and-out attempt to rewrite measurable history to fit theological imperatives ..
Por qué se equivoca el Papa por Manuel Llamas:
Su posicionamiento ideológico en esta materia no es de extrañar si se observa, mínimamente, su larga carrera eclesiástica como obispo y, posteriormente, cardenal en Argentina. En este sentido, cabe señalar que Jorge Bergoglio siempre se ha caracterizado por comulgar con la denominada justicia social, doctrina socioeconómica de la que bebe, en mayor o menor medida, el justicialismo argentino, otrora conocido como peronismo. De ahí, precisamente, que su discurso económico se aproxime tanto a los postulados peronistas, llegando incluso a coincidir en ciertos aspectos con la Teología de la Liberación que tanto gusta a los socialistas, sean o no católicos.
.. cristianismo y capitalismo no sólo no son incompatibles sino perfectamente complementarios, tal y como sostienen diversos think tanks liberales, como es el caso del Instituto Acton de Argentina o el Centro Diego de Covarrubias de España. No por casualidad, el Instituto Juan de Mariana, referente liberal en España, adopta el nombre de un jesuita, el más prominente pensador de la Escuela de Salamanca.
En segundo lugar, porque, muy al contrario de lo que afirma el Papa, el capitalismo, cuyo eje es la libertad económica, ha posibilitado la etapa de mayor crecimiento, prosperidad y bienestar de la historia.