quarta-feira, janeiro 28, 2015
Moving Money Around Won’t Make Us Richer:
One of the great debates today between left and right is whether government stimulus is worth it. The left says “yes, early and often.” And the right says “only in the right circumstances.” Unsurprisingly, both left and right are completely off — stimulus is the quickest way to impoverish an economy.
Stimulus isn’t some magical leprechaun dropping ice cream and puppies from heaven — it’s merely redistribution of resources. Stimulus is taking from those who have and giving to the government’s pals.
So the question “does stimulus work?” is completely missing the point. Putting aside the injustice of redistributive theft, the productivity question is whether the guys who got the bidding tickets did more market-led investment than the guys whose tickets were devalued.
There is no economic reason to think mere redistribution would make us richer. In fact, there are excellent reasons that show redistribution hurts the economy. “Stimulus” itself is nothing more than widespread impoverishment so a clutch of politicians can buy friends.
Everything You Love You Owe to Capitalism:
... sitting on the other side of the table are well-educated people who imagine that the way to end the world's woes is through socialism. Now, people's definitions of socialism differ, and these persons would probably be quick to say that they do not mean the Soviet Union or anything like that. That was socialism in name only, I would be told. And yet, if socialism does mean anything at all today, it imagines that there can be some social improvement resulting from the political movement to take capital out of private hands and put it into the hands of the state. Other tendencies of socialism include the desire to see labor organized along class lines and given some sort of coercive power over how their employers' property is used. It might be as simple as the desire to put a cap on the salaries of CEOs, or it could be as extreme as the desire to abolish all private property, money, and even marriage.
Whatever the specifics of the case in question, socialism always means overriding the free decisions of individuals and replacing that capacity for decision making with an overarching plan by the state. Taken far enough, this mode of thought won't just spell an end to opulent lunches. It will mean the end of what we all know as civilization itself.
In short, the wish for socialism is a wish for unparalleled human evil. If we really understood this, no one would express casual support for it in polite company. It would be like saying, you know, there is really something to be said for malaria and typhoid and dropping atom bombs on millions of innocents.
Je suis Page 3:
I’m perplexed when otherwise intelligent women assert that there’s a causal connection between things like Page 3 and actual physical harm done to women, because there’s almost no research to back up such claims. On the contrary, the regions of the world in which women are most at risk of physical harm — places like northern Iraq, where Yazidi women are raped, tortured and sold into sexual slavery, or parts of rural India, where suttee is still practised — are those places where pornography is strictly forbidden. As a general rule, the more sexually repressed a society is, the more likely women are to be abused. That suggests Orwell was on to something when he argued that seaside postcards and the like were an integral part of a civilised society, not a threat.
They are the direct descendants of the bluestocking temperance campaigners who took a similarly dim view of gin and beer -— the sandal-wearing scolds who tried to stamp out all traces of vulgarity from the public square. Orwell thought they’d never succeed because the common people would always greet their efforts to improve them with a chorus of raspberries. But they have succeeded, and our society is a duller — and more dangerous — place as a result.
quinta-feira, janeiro 15, 2015
Take Back the Word “Liberal”
The other advantage to using the word liberalism properly is that it provides an opportunity to bring up names like Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, Frédéric Bastiat, Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker, Albert Jay Nock, Rose Wilder Lane, plus the more modern tradition with Rand, Mises, Rothbard, and Hayek, plus the tens of thousands of people who long for liberty today in academia, business, punditry, and public life generally. Just using the old term in its proper way provides an opportunity for enlightenment.
It’s true that liberalism of the old school had its problems. I have my own issues with the positions of the old liberals, and they include a general naïveté over democracy, too great a tolerance for the mythical “night-watchman state,” and some latent affection for colonialism.
The more important point is that genuine liberalism has continued to learn and grow and now finds a more consistent embodiment in what is often but awkwardly called libertarianism or market anarchism, both of which are rightly considered an extension of the old liberal intellectual project.
I've decided to become a maxarchist. I want the maximum amount of authoritarian control possible. Of course, we have to allow SOME freedom, or no wealth will be produced and we will all starve. But I want to push that limit, having as much extortion and state violence as possible, allowing only the minimal amount of freedom that will keep the human race alive. You might ask, how does that differ from the Republican and Democratic parties? Well, apparently they want to get there slowly, and I want to get all the way there right now! No point doing it piecemeal! If we're going to do it, let's be quick about it! If elected, I promise to tax and regulate everyone and everything as much as possible, as soon as possible! Who's with me?! VOTE MAXARCHIST!!
Other than just being silly, there is almost a point here. The term "minarchist" doesn't actually mean anything. EVERY statist can claim to be a minarchist, as long as he says that what HE wants "government" to do is "necessary." He might think the "necessary" minimum is 90% of the way to totalitarianism, and you might think it's 1% of the way there. But if you advocate a ruling class at all, there is no actual PRINCIPLE separating you. In short, those who wear the label "minarchist" do so because they want THEIR advocacy of authoritarian domination to look nicer than that of other statists. But if you're not an anarchist, then by definition, you are a statist. The fact that you want a more permissive slavemaster to own and control me does NOT mean you advocate freedom. And it does not mean you are "on my side."
Há um conceito que infeliz, infalível, e obviamente muita esquerdalha supostamente economicamente literada não capicha - oportunidade. Uma empresa pública dar "lucro" (esquecedo toda a contabilidade criativa, e previlégios regulatórios, etc etc) não é de todo argumento para não se privatizar. Nem é razão privatizar-se só porque dão prejuízo. Para além de todos os argumentos paralelos (incluindo morais), a gestão de qualquer empresa com maior ou menor presença do Estado é sempre envenenada pelos incentivos perversos causados pelo Estado. Uma empresa "pública" que dê "lucro" não deixa de estar a destruir valor - dito de outra forma, em mãos capazes produziria _mais_.
quarta-feira, janeiro 14, 2015
On the futility of climate models: ‘simplistic nonsense’:
.. If a system is not dominated by a few major feedback factors, it ain’t stable. And if it has a regions of stability then perturbing it outside those regions will result in gross instability, and the system will be short lived.
Climate has been in real terms amazingly stable. For millions of years. It has maintained an average of about 282 degrees absolute +- about 5 degrees since forever.
So called ‘Climate science’ relies on net positive feedback to create alarmist views – and that positive feedback is nothing to do with CO2 allegedly: on the contrary it is a temperature change amplifier pure and simple.
If such a feedback existed, any driver of temperature, from a minor change in the suns output, to a volcanic eruption must inevitably trigger massive temperature changes. But it simply never has. Or we wouldn’t be here to spout such nonsense.
The miracle of AGW is that all this has been simply tossed aside, or considered some kind of constant, or a multiplier of the only driver in town, CO2.
When all you know is linear systems analysis everything looks like a linear system perturbed by an external driver.
The point finally is this: To an engineer, climate science as the IPCC have it is simplistic nonsense. There are far far better models available, to explain climate change based on the complexity of water interactions with temperature. Unfortunately they are far too complex even for the biggest of computers to be much use in simulating climate. And have no political value anyway, since they will essentially say ‘Climate changes irrespective of human activity, over 100 thousand year major cycles, and within that its simply unpredictable noise due to many factors none of which we have any control over’
The Pope’s Mistaken Moral Calculus On Global Warming:
None of the disasters asserted by climate alarmists to result from global warming has come to pass. Hurricane numbers are down, deaths from natural disasters have declined, sea ice is on the rise, and crop production is increasing. Climate models have yet to be validated, missing the lull in temperature rise for the past 18 years and the declining rates of sea-level rise for the past decade. Instead, the gap between temperatures projected by climate models and temperature observed in reality grows yearly.
The pope would do well to question the sources of his information and to recognize his efforts should be focused on alleviating the poverty and suffering of billions of people in the world today. The best policy to accomplish that goal would be alleviating energy poverty worldwide.
I plan to ignore the Pope and its science panel, as many are likely to do given their track record on getting science wrong in almost every case where science and religion have collided through history.The Great Pause lengthens again:
Since October 1996 there has been no global warming at all .. This month’s RSS .. temperature plot pushes up the period without any global warming from 18 years 2 months to 18 years 3 months.
Rejecting Collectivist Narratives about Terrorism:
Government is by nature collectivist. By abstracting from individuals and their choices and actions, it sidesteps the very valid moral criticisms that would be made against what it does, if it were viewed at an individual level. An individual person cannot use force to fund his social, economic, or moral goals, but “The Government” can. An individual cannot destroy a perceived yet unproven threat, but “The Government” does so, calling it preemptive war. Individuals are expected to make accusations public and provide an argument before retaliating against alleged criminals, but for “The Government”, the mere accusation of wrongdoing is enough to justify violent action in the minds of the public.
This kind of fuzzy thinking prevents people from understanding the historical causes for problems like modern terrorism .. Thus, the picture of the world painted in the popular mind is that of The West versus Terrorism, or versus Radical Islam. And that picture exists when viewed from the other side. It is tempting to attribute France’s commitment to free speech, including speech that may be offensive to religious persons, to the Charlie Hebdo attack, but it is the collectivist identification of The West as “the Great Satan” by Islamic extremists that has drawn their violent intent to Western people.
It would be naïve to believe that rejecting collectivism in the way we think about the East vs. West struggle will bring that struggle to a quick and neat end. But it is a necessary first step. So let us be committed to cutting that kind of language out of our discussions of events such as the recent tragedy. Are there systemic or cultural issues at work within Islamic communities that drive such violence? Certainly. And are there systemic or cultural issues that permit Western thought to excuse the constant meddling of Western governments in the Middle East? Absolutely. But we must remember that such issues are the accumulation of individual decisions and actions.
.. We must be more sophisticated, more precise, and ultimately, more realistic than that. Individual people chose to accept the collectivist narrative that excused the violence that was committed. That goes for the Charlie Hebdo attack, for every terrorist attack preceding it, and for the actions of Western politicians that gave birth to modern terrorism. We must be dedicated to the rejection and refutation of that narrative.
quinta-feira, janeiro 01, 2015
'Tis the Season for Politics to Make Us Worse:
But it’s not “their” fault; it’s politics’ fault—specifically, the politicization of more and more important and irreconcilable values. America is a deeply divided nation of clashing values partially because politics has made us this way. No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, it’s time to stop hating the players and start hating the game.
This is your brain on politics, and these are the people that an overly politicized world creates. And it’s inevitable if politics continues to take over more of our deepest, most divergent values.Why political arguments ruin family holiday parties:
Classical liberal and libertarian principles are about providing an operating system for free and diverse people to thrive cooperatively rather than combatively, creating a Minecraft for human ingenuity and flourishing rather than a Call of Duty fight to the death. Limiting the scope of political decision-making creates a type of mutual disarmament—“I won’t try to control your education or health care if you don’t try to control mine.”
Minimal government has virtues beyond lower debt, less crowded prisons, and less militarized police. It might even save your family.
I would add that the structure of political decision-making also gives most people strong incentives to be ignorant about political issues, and illogical and biased in their evaluation of the information they do know. Because the chance that your vote will make a difference to the outcome of an election is so small, there is little motivation to either acquire knowledge about competing policy options, or to give fair consideration to viewpoints opposed to your own.
The unpleasant and unedifying political arguments at many holiday parties are just one small manifestation of a decision-making system where a combination of zero-sum conflicts and incentives for ignorance and irrational thinking lead most voters to do a poor job of evaluating opposing views on the issues before them.
That does not by itself prove that we should radically diminish the role of government in society. But it does strengthen the case for limiting and decentralizing government government power relative to what we might support in a world where voters do a better job of reasoning about political issues.