Friday, July 29, 2011

Bastiat on Business – July 29, 2011

When a company or an industry fails to meet its objectives or falls short on its promises to its customers, the result is a localized disruption (or correction) in the economy. For example, if Acme Products of Utah invests more than it should in labor, the fallout for this mal-investment is borne solely on Acme Products of Utah, its customers and some of their employees – the rest of society is spared from Acme Products of Utah’s mistake.

Compare this to a government’s mal-investment. As Bastiat points out, the government has “enormous power” and the policies it puts in place are wide sweeping and inescapable. No other single entity in the modern economy has the power to do so much good…or so much damage. If the US Government mal-invests the citizens’ tax dollars, everyone is harmed. Because the government has enormous power, it can also make enormous mistakes – destroying an enormous amount of wealth.

Bastiat, like most free market economists, strongly believed that, apart from a few true public goods, the market can produce everything a government can – and more efficiently. With this in mind, he questions the value of government regulation, tariffs, and entitlement programs. Because, if the private sector can produce nearly everything, and keep mistakes localized, why then should we allow a government to take on too much responsibility and expose everyone to the associated risks?

In his rebuttal to the social ideas proposed by Mr. de Lamartine (a poet and distinguished statesman), Bastiat asks this very question - what happens when the state gets it wrong? What happens if the state mal-invests the people’s money or regulates an industry poorly – and thus causes underproduction and prevents wealth creation? Instead of mal-investment being limited to a particular industry or company, when the state gets it wrong, the whole of society suffers. In Bastiat’s mind, the cost of getting it wrong far outweighs the benefits of having the government take on something that the private market is perfectly capable of solving itself.

The Enormous Power of Government (excerpt)

Exerpt from "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat
Translated from the French by Dean Russell
Published by: Foundation for Economic Education - Irvington-on-Hudson, New York

As long as [socialist] ideas prevail, it is clear that the responsibility of government is enormous. Good fortune and bad fortune, wealth and destitution, equality and inequality, virtue and vice - all then depend upon political administration. It is burdened with everything, it undertakes everything, it does everything; therefore it is responsible for everything.

In regulating industry, the government has contracted to make it prosper; otherwise it is absurd to deprive industry of its liberty. And if industry now suffers, whose fault is it?

In meddling with the balance of trade by playing with tariffs, the government thereby contracts to make trade prosper; and if this results in destruction instead of prosperity, whose fault is it?

But if the government undertakes to control and to raise wages, and cannot do it; if the government undertakes to care for all who may be in want, and cannot do it; if the government undertakes to support all unemployed workers, and cannot do it; if the government undertakes to lend interest-free money to all borrowers, and cannot do it; if, in these words that we regret to say escaped from the pen of Mr. de Lamartine, “The state considers that its purpose is to enlighten, to develop, to enlarge, to strengthen, to spiritualize, and to sanctify the soul of the people” - and if the government cannot do all of these things, what then? Is it not certain that after every government failure - which, alas! is more than probable - here will be an equally inevitable revolution?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bastiat on Business – July 15, 2011

Bastiat on Business – July 15, 2011

Except for the institution of slavery and prevalence of tariffs, Frederic Bastiat could see very little wrong with the United States. In fact, Bastiat says, “These are the only two issues where, contrary to the general spirit of the republic of the United States, law has assumed the character of a plunderer.” The prophetic outcome of these two issues would be the Civil War. The South resented the Washington, D.C for imposing tariffs on their agricultural goods, and the North exploited the dying and barbaric institution of slavery to justify a war to prevent the South from seceding from the Union.

Bastiat believed deeply that people will not tolerate plunder forever. The institution of slavery was, and rightly so, falling out of favor around the world, and high tariffs and State’s rights were indeed the main motivation for secessionist tendencies. A population oppressed long enough will surely rebel. The South did – and Bastiat predicted it:

Slavery and Tariffs Are Plunder

Exerpt from "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat
Translated from the French by Dean Russell
Published by: Foundation for Economic Education - Irvington-on-Hudson, New York

Slavery is a violation, by law, of liberty. The protective tariff is a violation, by law, of property.

It is a most remarkable fact that this double legal crime—a sorrowful inheritance from the Old World - should be the only issue which can, and perhaps will, lead to the ruin of the Union. It is indeed impossible to imagine, at the very heart of a society, a more astounding fact than this: The law has come to be an
instrument of injustice. And if this fact brings terrible consequences to the United States-where the proper purpose of the law has been perverted only in the instances of slavery and tariffs - what must be the consequences in Europe, where the perversion of the law is a principle; a system?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bastiat on Business - July 8, 2011

The United States' trade deficit is often discussed and often maligned by our politicians. The truth is, a nominal trade deficit is nothing to be afraid of. To put things simply, in exchange for a "deficit" we get cheap stuff and are able to focus our entrepreneurial talents on other things besides making shoes, t-shirts, or automobiles. Instead of fearing China, let's thank them for the inexpensive televisions, footballs, and pens they are supplying us.

The sooner we Americans understand that we live in a post-industrial economy the better, and we can move on to finding our comparative advantage once again. I imagine that Bastiat would agree with me when I suggest, our protectionist attitude toward yesterday's industries is what is holding us back. I say, let us not make the television but design better ones. Let us not make automobiles, but make spacecraft instead. Let us not make the footballs, but have the leisure time to watch football on our inexpensive HDTVs made in China.

Like always, Bastiat gives a clear and entertaining explanation of trade, and the naïveté that our "leaders" show when discussing of trade.

The Balance of Trade

Exerpt from "Select Essays on Political Economy"
Seymour Cain, trans.

Published by: Foundation for Economic Education - Irvington-on-Hudson, New York

The balance of trade is an article of faith.

We know what it consists in: if a country imports more than it exports, it loses the difference. Conversely, if its exports exceed its imports, the excess is to its profit. This is held to be an axiom, and laws are passed in accordance with it.

On this hypothesis, M. Mauguin warned us the day before yesterday, citing statistics, that France carries on a foreign trade in which it has managed to lose, out of good will, without being required to do so, two hundred million francs a year.

"You have lost by your trade, in eleven years, two billion francs. Do you understand what that means?"

Then, applying his infallible rule to the facts, he told us: "In 1847 you sold 605 million francs worth of manufactured products, and you bought only 152 millions' worth. Hence, you gained 450 million.

"You bought 804 millions' worth of raw materials, and you sold only 114 million; hence, you lost 690 million."

This is an example of the dauntless naïveté of following an absurd premise to its logical conclusion. M. Mauguin has discovered the secret of making even Messrs. Darblay and Lebeuf laugh at the expense of the balance of trade. It is a great achievement, of which I cannot help being jealous.

Allow me to assess the validity of the rule according to which M. Mauguin and all the protectionists calculate profits and losses. I shall do so by recounting two business transactions which I have had the occasion to engage in.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Bastiat on Business - July 1, 2011

Economists like to point out the humor in the 'double thank you.' As in, when you buy a pizza, and you say "thank you" while the cashier also says "thank you." The truth is, nearly every transaction that occurs in our $36.5 trillion economy is mutually beneficial. You want the pizza more than your money, and the pizza maker wants your money more than the pizza.

Why then is the marketplace often depicted as a combative arena - employee vs. employer, buyer vs. seller, supply vs demand, etc? As Frederic Bastiat illustrates throughout Economic Harmonies, the free market is the most peaceful way to societal advancement. Think back on all of the transactions you have ever made in your life. Now compare those (and the value of those) to how many times you have been cheated. It is amazing that in, what could be argued to be mankind's most complicated creation, the market works nearly harmoniously.

In this Chapter, Bastiat looks at a main component of a free economy - the roles of both the producer and of the consumer. He illustrates that these are not opposing forces, but combined forces working toward satisfying each others' wants.

The Producer and the Consumer

Exerpt from "Economic Harmonies" by Frederic Bastiat
George B. de Huszar, trans. and W. Hayden Boyers, ed.
Published by: Foundation for Economic Education - Irvington-on-Hudson, New York

In general, we devote ourselves to a trade, a profession, or career from which we do not expect to receive our satisfactions directly. We render and we receive services; we offer and we demand value; we make purchases and sales; we work for others, and others work for us; in a word, we are producers and consumers.

When we go to the market place, we have different, even opposite, points of view, depending on whether we go as consumers or producers. In the case of wheat, for example, the same man does not desire the same thing when he goes as a buyer as when he goes as a seller. As a buyer he hopes for abundance; as a seller, for scarcity. These hopes stem from the same source, self-interest; but as buying or selling, giving or receiving, supplying or demanding, are completely opposite actions, they cannot fail, though they have the same motivation, to give rise to conflicting desires.

Desires that clash cannot both simultaneously coincide with the general welfare. In another work I have tried to show that men's desires as consumers are the ones that are in harmony with the public interest, and it cannot be otherwise. Since satisfaction is the end and purpose of labor, since the amount of labor depends solely upon the obstacles it encounters, it is clear that labor is the evil, and that everything should be done to lessen it, while satisfaction is the boon, and that everything should be done to increase it.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hollowing out the Ivory Tower

"In Does Education Matter?, Wolf illustrates the absurdity of the increase-the-graduates/increase-the-growth logic by reference to the high remuneration of lawyers. That is, given lawyers’ high wages, having more lawyers would surely mean that there are more and more people earning more and more dough, and therefore in total, society is becoming more and more wealthy."

sp!ked review of books | Hollowing out the ivory tower

Diane Ravitch: Teachers' Hero or Education Hypocrite?

"Yet whatever one makes of her overall, the writing of both old and new Diane contain important and useful Hayekian insights that critics and fans (again, both old and new) who care about education would do well to consider."

Diane Ravitch: Teachers' Hero or Education Hypocrite? - Megan McArdle - Business - The Atlantic

Our Untransparent President

"This is a lesson in “trust us.” Those in power are always certain that they themselves will act reasonably, and they resist limits on their own discretion. The problem is, “trust us” is no way to run a self-governing society."

Our Untransparent President -

Capitalist Ideas May be Innate

"Americans have indicated avid opposition to property rights violations throughout the course of U.S. history, whether those violations take the form of taxation, eminent domain, or “open space” laws. According to one psychologist, that sense of being wronged when one’s property rights are violated may be innate, as property ownership may be a natural-born attribute.

Scientific Evidence Proves Capitalist Ideas May be Innate

Saturday, June 25, 2011

State Surplus Store

"Need a knife? A snow globe? A grenade-shaped belt buckle? Someone may have left one for you at a Texas airport."

State Surplus Store Has Your Dangerous Snow Globes, Belts - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bastiat on Business - June 24, 2011

Frederic Bastiat on the redistribution of wealth, or what he describes as legal plunder.

In The Law, Bastiat explains that the redistribution of wealth is theft which has been legalized. He explains that anyone can identify legalized plunder by asking yourself the following:

"See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime."

The Law and Charity

Exerpt from "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat
Translated from the French by Dean Russell
Published by: Foundation for Economic Education - Irvington-on-Hudson, New York

You say: “There are persons who have no money,” and you turn to the law. But the law is not a breast that fills itself with milk. Nor are the lacteal veins of the law supplied with milk from a source outside the society. Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in. If every person draws from the treasury the amount that he has put in it, it is true that the law then plunders nobody. But this procedure does nothing for the persons who have no money. It does not promote equality of income. The law can be an instrument of equalization only as it takes from some persons and gives to other persons. When the law does this, it is an instrument of plunder.

With this in mind, examine the protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits, guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive taxation, free credit, and public works. You will find that they are always based on legal plunder, organized injustice.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Obama Growth Gap

"America is becoming a European-style welfare state and it is unavoidable that we will suffer from European-style economic malaise."

Nobel Prize Winner Analyzes The Obama Growth Gap - Business in The Beltway - Money & Politics - Forbes

Price Gouging Laws Hurt Storm Victims

"Outrage is always cheap, disaster or no disaster, but a storm victim can’t rebuild a house with your anger. That requires labor, and it requires resources–labor and resources that don’t materialize when the price isn’t allowed to rise."

Price Gouging Laws Hurt Storm Victims - Art Carden - The Economic Imagination - Forbes

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Passionate Heart of Commerce - Doug French - Mises Daily

By: Doug French of Mises Daily

There are few movies or miniseries that depict day-to-day business as a central part of the story. Most screenwriters likely find it dull and uninteresting, believing audiences have no interest in watching how other people perform the duties that put food on their table. Moviemakers are loath to tell stories involving small-time entrepreneurs: the struggles, the long hours, the satisfaction of success, and possibly the unraveling. It's not easily done.

However, it turns out that the TV-watching public is interested in watching truck drivers haul mining equipment on Alaska's icy roads, fisherman catching crabs in the icy ocean, roughnecks working drill rigs, chefs cooking all sorts of dishes, and pawnshop dealers valuing esoteric items all the while wondering who they can sell the items to and for how much.

Entire Story HERE

ATMs = Job killers?

From: Forbes
By: Tim Worstall

Yes of course mechanisation of a task destroys the jobs of those who previously did the task. That’s the whole point of mechanising the task. So as to free up that valuable labour so that it can go and do something else. Which makes us all richer.

For now we’ve got the output from that newly mechanised task plus the outout from the new work that is being done by the newly freed labour. If our displaced teller now works in pre-school, changing diapers, then we’ve both a way of getting money from the bank and clean and smiling babies. As a society, we’re richer, for before we faced the choice of either banking services or smiling babies.

Read the entire Forbes Story HERE.

Read the original comment and contradicting employment statistics HERE.

Image Credit: Culver-Union Township website

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bastiat Yesterday, Bastiat Today, Bastiat Forever

"Bastiat was and still is very relevant. There should be no doubt Bastiat’s writings have had an important impact on the world and it is up to us to make sure he still continues to do so."

Bastiat Yesterday, Bastiat Today, Bastiat Forever | Foundation for Economic Education

Retail Innovations in American Economic History

"The retail and wholesale trade sectors were especially important parts of productivity growth in the late 1990s, and by at least one estimate, the effect of modern discount retailers had an effect on the American economy that was similar in magnitude to the effect of railroads on the American economy in the nineteenth century."

Retail Innovations in American Economic History: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

Green Shoots Bustin' Out All Over

"Get all the stimulicious economic news you can handle"

Green Shoots Bustin' Out All Over: How Much More Awesome News Can One Economy Take? - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Chinese Prostitutes and Brazilian Cotton Farmers

"Stimulus dollars went to fund a study on teaching Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly....Every year, Uncle Sam gives about $150 million to Brazilian cotton farmers."

Chinese Prostitutes and Brazilian Cotton Farmers - Stossel's Take Blog -

Yes, It Is a Police State

"Nope, I mean it. An accumulation of events in recent months leads me to no other conclusion than that we are in fact living in a police state in the good old US of A."

Yes, It Is a Police State | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

A Circle of Exchange is Better than a Circle of Protection

"A group of Catholic professors charged that John Boehner (and by implication every Catholic who agrees with his budgetary priorities) dissents from Church doctrine by favoring cuts to welfare programs."

A Circle of Exchange is Better than a Circle of Protection | Acton Institute

Norman Myers' Sinking Ark

"Alarmist projections fall apart as they fail to materialize. Junk theories tend eventually to be junked."

Norman Myers' sinking ark

Saving Capitalism One Fifth Grader At A Time

"Millions of ordinary people deciding what to buy and sell are smarter than even the hundred smartest people in the world.”"

» Saving Capitalism One Fifth Grader At A Time - Big Government

Book Review: Adventures in the Orgasmatron

"Most readers will be more interested in the book's social history of radical American intellectuals since World War II and its demonstration of their startling and even dangerous gullibility."

Book Review: Adventures in the Orgasmatron -

Free or Equal?

"Swedish economist Johan Norberg is the host of the new documentary Free or Equal, which retraces and updates the 1980 classic Free to Choose, featuring Milton and Rose Friedman."

» Free or Equal? – Johan Norberg Updates Milton & Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose - Big Government

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bastiat on Business - June 17, 2011

Bastiat on "rent-seeking" (i.e. going to the government and asking for special concessions for your company or industry or protection from "unfair" competition).

This is becoming more and more popular as the government acquires more and more power. And when the scheme fails to produce wealth (as it so often does) the schemers and bureaucrats blame the free market - and the answer, they claim, is more regulation and consumer protection. A win-win for government, and a lose-lose for everyone else.

In this work, Frediric Bastiat sarcastically petitions the French government to protect all candlemakers and the related industry from unfair competition... from the sun.

The Candlemaker's Petition

We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a foreign rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival, which is none other than the sun, is waging war on us so mercilessly that we suspect he is being stirred up against us by perfidious Albion (excellent diplomacy nowadays!), particularly because he has for that haughty island a respect that he does not show for us.

We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull’s-eyes, deadlights, and blinds—in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.

Be good enough, honorable deputies, to take our request seriously, and do not reject it without at least hearing the reasons that we have to advance in its support.

If France consumes more tallow, there will have to be more cattle and sheep, and, consequently, we shall see an increase in cleared fields, meat, wool, leather, and especially manure, the basis of all agricultural wealth.

Read the entire petition HERE

A real world example of rent-seeking HERE

Thursday, June 16, 2011

States by GDP

"North Dakota wins the bragging rights for growing the most last year, up 7.1% from in 2009."

States by GDP: How North Dakota outpaced the U.S. economy - Jun. 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

America's Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb

"Defusing the ticking bankruptcy bomb that is threatening to explode American prosperity will require first creating another economic boom to restore traditional American prosperity. Only surging economic growth will produce the booming revenue base essential to avoiding national bankruptcy, and reduce dependency sufficiently to enable the necessary slashing of government spending."

The American Spectator : America's Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb

The Petition of the Blogmakers

"You can love the new reality or hate it, but it seems perverse to blame it on Arianna Huffington, who’s been among the few to find a viable model for turning a profit by fusing amateur contributions and paid professional content."

The Petition of the Blogmakers | Cato @ Liberty

Monday, June 13, 2011

The True Cost of 'Climate Change'

"Heavy industry in Europe faces a crippling bill for global warming, says Christopher Booker."

Industry begins to count the true cost of 'climate change' - Telegraph

Beware the Erosion of Competition

"Competition is a fact of life-the driving force of biological evolution and a constant presence in all human interactions."

Articles & Commentary

“Capture” of Regulators

"Political economists describe the process whereby government officials end up being the servants rather than the masters of the firms they are regulating as the “capture” by the industry of their regulators"

“Capture” of Regulators by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-Becker - The Becker-Posner Blog

Warning to America

"You’re behind us on this road, fortunately from your point of view, but government by decree, trampling on state’s rights, appointment of federal czars, shift in power from elected representatives to the unelected functionaries, you’re doing the same thing."

In the Green Room: British MEP Daniel Hannan on His Warning to America | The Foundry

The Failure Tour

"Success always starts with failure."

The Failure Tour Of New York : Planet Money : NPR

Free Trade Agreements

"Free trade is the framework upon which American prosperity rests."

Free Trade Agreements: Heritage Foundation Recommendations | The Heritage Foundation

Government “Waste” Is the Least of Our Problems

Government is destructive. Most of what it does is harmful. Being an agency of violence and the threat of violence, the institution of government runs counter to economic progress as a general principle. Even worse, its coercive grip strangles the freedom out of people as a matter of course, and, far more often than Americans seem accustomed to recognizing, it kills people.

Silent Killer

"One German organic farm has killed twice as many people as the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Gulf Oil spill combined."

The silence of the media and activists is deafening | The Rational Optimist…

Competition, Stress, and the Rat Race

"Todd Buchholz argues that competition and striving for excellence is part of our evolutionary inheritance. He criticizes attempts to remake human beings into gentle creatures who long to return to an Eden-like serenity."

EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Scrutinize the President, not Palin

"When is this journalistic scrutiny going to be applied to politicians who wield actual power?"

Scrutinize the president, not Palin -

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Unleash the Job Creators

The Trojan Horse of 'Happiness Research'

"Now that governments supposedly know with 'scientific certainty' what constitutes 'happiness,' there can be no argument (or so they think) against virtually unlimited government intervention in the name of creating happiness."

The Trojan Horse of 'Happiness Research' by Thomas DiLorenzo

Empty Trash. Buy Milk. Forge History.

"A household list might seem a fairly modest starting point upon which to build a whole theory of economic development."

Empty trash. Buy milk. Forge history. - The Boston Globe

Absurd Energy Policy

"As the great 19th-century French economist Frédéric Bastiat pointed out, if jobs are your yardstick, you might as well go round breaking windows so as to create jobs for glaziers."

Nigel Lawson says the Coalition's absurd energy policy is damaging industry | Mail Online

Other People's Money

"Politicians don't spend your money as carefully as they'd spend their own."

Other People's Money - Stossel's Take Blog -

In Defense of Free Market Fundamentalism

"While the vast majority of business people, who run smaller enterprises, are honest and support a civil society (and generate the majority of jobs), the captains of the largest corporations often take actions antithetical to a democratic society and their shareholders."

Christopher Whalen | Analysis & Opinion |

Right to Work (and to Prosper)

As Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore recently noted in the Wall Street Journal, from 2000 to 2009 right-to-work states “grew faster in nearly every respect than their union-shop counterparts: 54.6% versus 41.1% in gross state product, 53.3% versus 40.6% in personal income, 11.9% versus 6.1% in population, and 4.1% versus -0.6% in payrolls.”

Full article HERE

Friday, June 10, 2011

Affording It All

"We live in a world of scarcity. Individually and collectively we want more than available resources can yield. That will remain true even as the supply of resources expands."

Affording It All | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Bastiat on Business - June 10, 2011


Look for a new "Bastiat on Business" post here every Friday. These posts will consist of Bastiat works, references, and quotes dealing with business, management and entrepreneurship.

We start things off with one of Frederic Bastiat's more famous, and more timeless observations - The Broken Windows fallacy. In this example, Bastiat explains away the idea that government stimulus programs or wars help employment and the economy as a whole. Think "Cash for Clunkers"...

The Broken Window

excerpt from:
Seymour Cain, trans. / George B. de Huszar, ed.
Publisher - Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc. 1848

Have you ever been witness to the fury of that solid citizen, James Goodfellow, when his incorrigible son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at this spectacle, certainly you must also have observed that the onlookers, even if there are as many as thirty of them, seem with one accord to offer the unfortunate owner the selfsame consolation: "It's an ill wind that blows nobody some good. Such accidents keep industry going. Everybody has to make a living. What would become of the glaziers if no one ever broke a window?"

Now, this formula of condolence contains a whole theory that it is a good idea for us to expose, flagrante delicto, in this very simple case, since it is exactly the same as that which, unfortunately, underlies most of our economic institutions.

Suppose that it will cost six francs to repair the damage. If you mean that the accident gives six francs' worth of encouragement to the aforesaid industry, I agree. I do not contest it in any way; your reasoning is correct. The glazier will come, do his job, receive six francs, congratulate himself, and bless in his heart the careless child. That is what is seen.

But if, by way of deduction, you conclude, as happens only too often, that it is good to break windows, that it helps to circulate money, that it results in encouraging industry in general, I am obliged to cry out: That will never do! Your theory stops at what is seen. It does not take account of what is not seen.

It is not seen that, since our citizen has spent six francs for one thing, he will not be able to spend them for another. It is not seen that if he had not had a windowpane to replace, he would have replaced, for example, his worn-out shoes or added another book to his library. In brief, he would have put his six francs to some use or other for which he will not now have them.
Let us next consider industry in general. The window having been broken, the glass industry gets six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is seen.

If the window had not been broken, the shoe industry (or some other) would have received six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is not seen.

And if we were to take into consideration what is not seen, because it is a negative factor, as well as what is seen, because it is a positive factor, we should understand that there is no benefit to industry in general or to national employment as a whole, whether windows are broken or not broken.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Freedom in the 50 States

"This study comprehensively ranks the American states on their public policies that affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres."

Freedom in the 50 States | Mercatus

David Mamet Turns Right

"Mamet reevaluated his own heroes, starting with the playwright Bertolt Brecht, whom he now describes as “a show dog of communism,” who theatrically criticized capitalism even as his royalties allowed him to live comfortably on capital deposited in a Swiss bank account."

FIELDS: David Mamet turns right - Washington Times

Reaffirm Economic Freedom

"According to The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, an annual data-driven economic policy analysis, sub-Saharan African economies, as a group, have gradually moved toward greater economic freedom over the past decade."

African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum: Reaffirm Economic Freedom | The Heritage Foundation

Assault On Private Property

"Your property is guilty until you prove it innocent."

Civil Forfeiture Laws And The Continued Assault On Private Property -

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Firms to Cut Health Plans as Reform Starts

"Once provisions of the Affordable Care Act start to kick in during 2014, at least three of every 10 employers will probably stop offering health coverage, a survey released Monday shows."

Firms to cut health plans as reform starts: survey - MarketWatch

The Untouchable Case for Indian Capitalism

"The plight of the Dalits, those whom the Hindu caste system considers outcastes and hence Untouchables, was a rallying cry of Hindu reformers and Indian leftists for half a century. But today these victims of the caste system are finding that free markets and development bring advancement faster than government programs."

B. Chandrasekaran: The Untouchable Case for Indian Capitalism -

Protectionism: The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

"If the cheaper producers were home-grown, we'd call it competition and judge it a good thing. Is it any different, just because they happen to come from another country?"

Protectionism: the wolf in sheep's clothing

Different Decisions

"Why are teachers so bold when banks are so cautious? The banks pay a price for being wrong. Teachers don't."

Different Decisions - HUMAN EVENTS

Monday, June 6, 2011

Economic Analysis and the Great Society

"In short, the Great Society amounted to social engineering—or worse, to sheer, groping social experimentation—on a grand scale. People ought not to have been surprised when its attainments failed to match its pretensions."

Economic Analysis and the Great Society: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mind Boggling Chart of the Day

"Yes, it really is saying that the bottom 5% in the USA have a higher income, a higher standard of living, than the top 5% of Indians."

Mind boggling chart of the day

Housing Stats Don’t Tell Full Story

"...we think it’s time for the main focus of economic policy to shift from an emphasis on government intervention via stimulus spending, bailouts and artificial incentives to an emphasis on the fundamentals of promoting free markets, free trade and a regulatory and tax system that is friendly to entrepreneurs, innovation and risk-taking."

Housing stats don’t tell full story -

The Vanguard of the Universities Revolution?

"As Ivor Roberts recently explained in a Spectator cover piece, the idea is catching that our best universities should go it alone and sever their connections with the state and its demands."

The vanguard of the universities revolution? | The Spectator

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Goodbye Jobs, Hello QE3?

"It's official: Most economists have been way too optimistic about pace of the economic recovery. Will the latest jobs numbers spur the Fed to act again?"

Goodbye jobs, hello QE3? - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet

The Bourgeois Virtues and Disaster Relief

"Well P&G is at it again, this time in the aftermath of the recent tornadoes."

The Bourgeois Virtues and Disaster Relief, Joplin Version - Coordination Problem

Why Success Always Starts With Failure Video Network | Booked: Why Success Always Starts With Failure

Any Way You Stack It

"If you stack up 14.3 trillion dollar bills, the pile would stretch to the moon and back twice."

Any Way You Stack It, $14.3 Trillion Is A Mind-Bender : NPR

What Is a College Education Really Worth?

"Did Peter Thiel pop the bubble? That was the question on the minds of parents, taxpayers and higher education leaders late last month when the co-founder of PayPalannounced that he was offering $100,000 to young people who would stay out of college for two years and work instead on scientific and technological innovations."

What is a college education really worth? - The Washington Post

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bastiat Quote of the Week

Provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack. When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. And, conversely, when unsuccessful, we would no more think of blaming the state for our misfortune than would the farmers blame the state because of hail or frost.

- Frederic Bastiat, The Law

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance?

See the full video HERE

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beyond Bankruptcy

"This paper assesses the extent to which the U.S. bankruptcy system is effective in providing small businesses a “fresh start” after a bankruptcy filing."

AEI - Papers

Stossel Awards Heritage An “Emmy"

"It’s not every day that a think tank wins an Emmy. But last week on John Stossel’s Fox Business program, The Heritage Foundation brought home the award for its “Saving the American Dream” plan to fix the debt, cut spending and reward prosperity."

Stossel Awards Heritage An “Emmy” for Best Budget Plan | The Foundry

Balkan Free Markets Flower

"Fortunately, these countries have not made the mistake of increasing their debt/gross domestic product ratios to unsustainable levels, unlike the major European countries. The additional good news is that the Balkan countries (i.e., old Yugoslavia plus Bulgaria and Albania) appear to be well on their way to no longer being synonyms for political and economic instability."

RAHN: Free markets flower as war memories fade - Washington Times

The Laziest Generation(s)

"When the economy is bad, older Americans are often quick to blame young people when they can’t find jobs. Somehow when the economy is good, however, young people don’t seem to get nearly the same degree of credit for their professional successes."

The Laziest Generation(s) -

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When Government Picks “Winners"

"The government isn’t very good at picking technologies to invest in."

When Government Picks “Winners,” They Sometimes Turn Out to Be Losers | The Foundry

Oprah, American Girls and Binge Dreamers

"I certainly intend to be the richest black woman in America. I intend to be a mogul."

Postrel: Oprah, American Girls and Binge Dreamers - Bloomberg

Understand Profit

"When trades are voluntary, the profit of one person is the benefit of another. Taking this lesson to heart would be a worthy New Year’s Resolution for the world’s political leaders."

A New Year's Resolution for Politicians: Understand Profit: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

Is Environmentalism Dead?

"Environmentalism might be dead. At least that’s a possibility Steven Hayward is exploring."

Friday Interview: Is Environmentalism Dead?

Why Cities Grow and Corporations Die

"The question is, as a scientist, can we take these ideas and do what we did in biology, at least based on networks and other ideas, and put this into a quantitative, mathematizable, predictive theory, so that we can understand the birth and death of companies, how that stimulates the economy?"

Why Cities Keep Growing, Corporations And People Always Die, And Life Gets Faster | Conversation | Edge

David Mamet's Coming Out Party

"Hear him take on the left's sacred cows. Diversity is a 'commodity.' College is nothing more than 'Socialist Camp.' Liberalism is like roulette addiction. Toyota's Prius, he tells me, is an 'anti-chick magnet' and 'ugly as a dogcatcher's butt.' Hollywood liberals—his former crowd—once embraced Communism 'because they hadn't invented Pilates yet.' Oh, and good radio isn't NPR ('National Palestinian Radio') but Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt."

Bari Weiss: David Mamet's Coming Out Party -

Top Tax Rate of 62%

Economic Nonsense

"If Bernie Lange had taken to the airwaves to promote therapeutic magnetic underwear or report alien anal probes, he rightly would have been laughed off the station. But apparently peddling economic nonsense fits perfectly well with the editorial policies over at Channel 11 News, the local NBC affiliate."

Channel 11 piece peddles economic nonsense |


Christopher Buckley writes of Ronald Reagan's personal notes: "In between is a lot of Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, and a French politician of the 1840s whom I'd never heard of named Claude-Frédéric Bastiat."

Book Review: The Notes: Ronald Reagan's Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom - BusinessWeek

Thursday, May 26, 2011

America's War on Raw Milk?

Forget drugs, terrorism, poverty and illiteracy, apparently we have a new threat to our national security - raw milk! At the request of the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Association, the FDA has begun conducting armed raids in an effort to crack down on radical Amish farmers who insist on producing unpasteurized milk (...yes, I used the words "radical" and "Amish" in the same sentence).

You can find the STORY HERE.
You can view the video of the ARMED RAID BELOW.

Monday, May 23, 2011

State Corporate Income Tax Rates

"Today's Monday Map shows the top marginal state corporate income tax rate in each state."

The Tax Foundation - Monday Map: State Corporate Income Tax Rates

More People, Please

"Go out and campaign against urban sprawl, Hummers, coal power plants, and whaling -- but leave people alone."

More People, Please | Foreign Policy

Both Parties Wrong on Tax Breaks for Big Oil

by: Caroline Baum
for: Bloomberg

Senate Democrats want to eliminate a tax break for the five biggest multinational oil companies. Republicans oppose the idea on the grounds that rescinding a tax break qualifies as a tax increase.

Both parties are missing the boat. By confining their disagreement to select deductions for a few oil producers, lawmakers are squandering an opportunity to examine all forms of tax breaks and make a real dent in the deficit.

The tax deduction in question was enacted in 2004 and applies to all domestic manufacturers, not just oil and gas companies. It was designed to increase competitiveness in the face of the U.S.’s 35 percent corporate tax rate, among the highest in the developed world.

Read the entire story HERE.

Judge, Jury, And Economist

"Both Keynes and Galbraith are thought by their admirers to have offered correctives to capitalism. But it is difficult to separate their ideas about capitalism, which were economic ideas, from their ideas about capitalists, which were largely moral and aesthetic."

Judge, Jury, And Economist - Kevin D. Williamson - National Review Online

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Moralizing Against McDonald's

"Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, we can turn our attention to another remorseless enemy who for years has sown death and destruction among blameless innocents. I refer, of course, to Ronald McDonald."

RealClearPolitics - Moralizing Against McDonald's

It's The End of the World As We Know It

"The green prophets want to run our lives; they'll start with light bulbs and toilets, but it won't end there."

Power Line - It's The End of the World As We Know It

The Opinions of Gene Simmons

Not sure where this fits, but for the generation like mine who first knew Kiss, Gene Simmons is surprisingly well-informed. I'm impressed...and a little shocked.

Battling over Boeing

"The Obama administration has launched a battle in South Carolina that is both a strike at Texas and an attack upon America's free enterprise system."

Battling over Boeing: Jobs in Texas threatened | Viewpoints, Outlook | - Houston Chronicle

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Don't Bully Boeing

"Want to prove you are “pro-business”? Condemn a loony-left complaint against America’s biggest exporter"

The White House and American business: Don't bully Boeing, Barack | The Economist

Economic Freedom and the Constitution

"Imagine a country in which the right to a welfare check is vigorously protected — but where the government can destroy legitimate businesses and professions with impunity."

Economic Freedom and the Constitution - Clint Bolick - National Review Online

Capitalists Never Liked Capitalism

"Consumers like capitalism, not business people."

Capitalists never liked capitalism

College Becoming a Rip-Off

"Amid all the uplifting clichés at their commencement ceremonies, graduating col lege students won't hear a line applicable to some of them -- you got ripped off."

College becoming a rip-off--Rich Lowry -

Gold: The 4,000-Year-Old Bubble

"It's worth something because people have always thought it's worth something. And that's really weird, because what it tells you is gold is in a 4,000-year-old bubble. And if it's lasted 4,000 years, maybe it will last another 4,000 years. Who am I to say?"

Gold: The 4,000-Year-Old Bubble : Planet Money : NPR

Communist Cuba's War on Entrepreneurship

"The criminalization of free enterprise means the criminalization of freedom itself. And only under freedom can life-enhancing wealth be created."

American Thinker Blog: Communist Cuba's War on Entrepreneurship

Is There a Higher Education Bubble?

"Tell us what you think in our poll!"

Is There a Higher Education Bubble? | The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy

Small Businesses Need Less Regulation

"Making it easier for small business owners to thrive and create jobs should be a priority for government today."

Small Businesses Need Less Regulation | The Foundry

Better to Be Potent Than Not

"Is humanity's ascent to global potency is a bad thing? No, especially if the alternative is returning to relative impotence."

Better to Be Potent Than Not - Room for Debate -

Do the TSA Pokey Pokey

"The Transportation Security Administration - with a little help from and international web sensation Remy - have produced an instructional video outlining proper airport screening measures. " Replay: Remy-Do the TSA Pokey Pokey - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Small Business Failure Rates

"When it comes to small business success, California is the not-so-Golden state -- at least that's what a recent report from Dun & Bradstreet suggests."

Small business failure rates: California's is worst - May. 20, 2011

Waiver Corruption

"I will repeat the same question I’ve been asking since the first health care waiver was granted: If Obamacare is such a great law, why does the White House keep exempting its best friends from it?"

WOLF: Obamacare waiver corruption must stop - Washington Times

The Catalan Kings

"What is the right balance between stars and the rest of mankind? Should you buy talent or grow your own? How can you harness the enthusiasm of consumers to promote your brand? And how do you combine the advantages of local roots and global reach?"

Schumpeter: The Catalan kings | The Economist

Drunken Sailors to Sober Up or Walk the Plank

"The black day – with the red ink – arrived this week: America reached the limits of what it can borrow. But the world didn’t end, the economy didn’t grind to a halt, and the dollar didn’t collapse."

Drunken Sailors to Sober Up or Walk the Plank | The Weekly Standard

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oil Subsidies or Tax Breaks?

By: Randall Hoven
For: American Thinker

Everyone wants to end subsidies to oil companies, from President Obama to John Boehner and Paul Ryan. My question was "What subsidies?" Remarkably enough, CNN Money provided the answer.

It turns out that they are all tax "breaks." I even hesitate to call them "breaks" because some of them amount to little more than Congress defining accounting terms such as "capital equipment." And the total amount of earnings not collected in taxes (which liberals define as a "subsidy") is about $4 billion per year. Here is how that breaks down.

Read the entire story here.

A Long Way from Reaching Our Peak

"The most pressing of our problems are not climatological or ecological, certainly not geological, but political and we will find no answers to these by dreaming wet dreams of a multi-billion genocide so the blessed residuum can potter about building composting toilets, permanently at danger of seasonal starvation, death by tooth decay, and high childbirth mortality in a cod Iron Age village (as half the Greens do), or of instituting a globally-monitored, strictly-rationed, top-down, totalitarian tyranny (what the other half get off on)."

A Long Way from Reaching Our Peak » The Cobden Centre

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Misguided Philanthropy

"Nothing grates on me more than hearing that Bill Gates or some other successful person needs to “give back” to society. I would say that building a company that employs tens of thousands and creates products that underpin millions more jobs around the world qualifies as one heck of a contribution to society."

Gates, Buffett, and Misguided Philanthropy - Jim Lacey - National Review Online

"Unlearning" Liberty

"Reviewing the charges of sexual harassment underlying the Title IX complaint by a group of Yale students and alumnae, I can’t find feminism – at least, not if feminism includes independence, liberty and power for women. Instead I find femininity: the assumption that women are incapable of fending for themselves in the marketplace of epithets or ideas, the belief that women are rendered helpless by misogynist speech and the sexist tantrums of their male peers."

How feminists helped students to ‘unlearn’ liberty | Wendy Kaminer | spiked

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stimulus Cost 595,000 Jobs

"New economics research suggests that President Obama's stimulus plan may have destroyed or forestalled employment, including more than 1 million private-sector jobs."

Study: Obama's Stimulus Cost 595,000 Jobs -

Cities With Most Billionaires

"Today Moscow is the city with the most billionaire residents in the world."

Moscow Leads Cities With Most Billionaires -

Habit of the Lip

"As difficult as it is for us to imagine, entrepreneurs and merchants indeed were, until very recently, spoken of in ways much more akin to the way we today speak of porn actors and pimps rather than the way we speak of, say, plumbers and pediatricians."

Habit of the lip - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Cigarette-Tax Crime Wave

"Frederic Bastiat said that all economic policy has two sides, one seen and one unseen. Taxes don't only raise revenue (California's cigarette tax raised $839 million in fiscal year 2009-10); they also change consumers' behavior; for better, and for worse."

Michelle Steel: The unseen cigarette-tax crime wave | tax, taxes, cigarette - Opinion - The Orange County Register

Monday, May 16, 2011

"The Blind Spot: Science and the Crisis of Uncertainty"

"William Byers of Canada's Concordia University and author of The Blind Spot talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of knowledge, science and mathematics. Byers argues that there is an inherent uncertainty about science and our knowledge that is frequently ignored. Byers contrasts a science of wonder with a science of certainty. He suggests that our knowledge of the physical world will always be incomplete because of the imperfection of models and human modes of thought relative to the complexity of the physical world. The conversation also looks at the implications of these ideas for teaching science and social science."

EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Driving Wealth Away

"Today, the behavior that the advocates would tax out of existence is . . . earning six figures and higher while living in New York."

Driving wealth from New York--Nicole Gelinas -

Review: "Why Marx Was Right"

"Marx and Lenin imagined a scientific system oriented toward the common good but created a system in which less knowledge is available to economic decision-makers and the narrow self-interest of the ruling class is elevated to commanding heights. And so, the “scientific system” will always lose."

Why Eagleton Is Wrong « Commentary Magazine

Why Don't We Love Our Intellectuals?

"To the man-in-the-street, who, I'm sorry to say,
Is a keen observer of life,
The word 'Intellectual' suggests right away
A man who's untrue to his wife.'"

Why don't we love our intellectuals? | Books | The Observer

Botox and Beancounting

"COSMETIC surgery is more popular in America than in Europe. Statistics, too, may be making things there look less saggy."

Economics focus: Botox and beancounting | The Economist

Is Inflation Making a Comeback?

"The claim has a surface plausibility. If the money supply is growing and prices are rising, what more evidence do we need? But first impressions, in this case, are badly misleading."

Is Inflation Making a Comeback? - Reason Magazine

The Secrets of Job Creation

"Andy Puzder knows a thing or two about job creation. As the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, he’s at the helm of 3,150 Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants across the country and around the world."

In The Green Room: Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s CEO Shares the Secrets of Job Creation | The Foundry

Let the Housing Bubble Burst

"If governments were removed – most importantly, the planning system that depresses supply and the artificially cheap credit that inflates demand – the supply of houses that people want to live in would rise and house prices would fall. Homeowners should not be able to use government to protect their investments at everybody else’s expense. With a looming housing crisis and house prices at an all-time high, it's time to let the bubble burst."

Time to let the housing bubble burst

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Zimbabwe's 100-Trillion-Dollar Bill

"The notes are a hot commodity among currency collectors and novelty buyers, fetching 15 times what they were officially worth in circulation."

Zimbabwe's 100-Trillion-Dollar Bill Is a Hot Collectible -

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ideological Underpinnings of the "Great Society"

By: Robert Higgs
From: Mises Daily

The surge of federal economic interventions that occurred during Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency — the much-ballyhooed Great Society, whose centerpiece was the War on Poverty — differed from the four preceding surges, each of which had been sparked by war or economic depression. No national emergency prevailed when Johnson took office following John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963. The nation was not engaged in a major shooting war, and the economy was on the mend after the mild recession of 1960-61. For the most part, the Great Society represented simply the culmination of economic, political, and intellectual developments stretching back as far as the 19th century.

Read the entire article HERE.

When Capital Is Nowhere in View

By: Jeffrey A. Tucker
From: Mises Daily

A Travel Channel episode of No Reservations, a cooking-focused show narrated by Anthony Bourdain, took viewers to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I had heard that the show offered unique insight into the country and its troubles. I couldn't imagine how. But it turns out to be true. Through the lens of food, we can gain an insight into culture, and from culture to economy, and from economy to politics and finally to what's wrong in this country and what can be done about it.

Read the entire article HERE.

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids"

"Bryan Caplan of George Mason University and EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in Caplan's new book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. Caplan argues that parents spend too much time trying to influence how their kids will turn out as adults. Using research on twins and adopted children, Caplan argues that nature dominates nurture and that parents have little lasting influence on many aspects of their children's lives. He concludes that parents should spend less time and energy trying to influence their children. If parenting takes less time, then have more kids, says Caplan. The conversation concludes with a discussion of whether a larger population is bad for the planet."

EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

Saturday, May 7, 2011

“No Nation Was Ever Ruined By Trade”

"Our politicians get it backwards: Trade creates jobs for Americans and everyone else."

“No Nation Was Ever Ruined By Trade” - Reason Magazine

Fiscal Fight

"In 1850, French economist Frederic Bastiat defined legalized plunder as forcibly taking the property of another through legislation so beneficiaries could live at the expense of others. Since mans nature is to avoid pain - and it is in the nature of some men to avoid labor by resorting to plunder - government should use its collective force to stop this fatal tendency. But Bastiat failed to see that it is man who runs government and it is mans nature to want to expand his power."

Fiscal fight could change Beltway culture - Washington Times

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mission Accomplished! Right?

Now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, can we please bring our troops home?

Not so fast! Bin Laden's body had yet to sink to the bottom of the sea before our 'leaders' began re-justifying their "War on Terror."

The "War on Terror," the "War on Drugs," and the "War on Poverty" are all un-winnable wars with unclear objectives. However, they do allow the Federal government to destroy personal liberty, ignore habeas corpus, torture, invade foreign countries, increase taxes, and pit one class against the other. Instead of "Just say no to drugs", let's "Just say no to unconstitutional wars."

Photo Credit: here

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bad Education

"The nearly axiomatic good of a university degree in American society has allowed a higher education bubble to expand to the point of bursting."

n+1: Bad Education

Climate Science Kit

Via Bishop Hill.

The Destruction of Economic Facts

"Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge."

The Destruction of Economic Facts - BusinessWeek:

Victims of Communism Day

"Today is May Day. For the past several years, I have advocated that this date be transformed into Victims of Communism Day."

The Volokh Conspiracy » Victims of Communism Day

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs Hayek Round Two

Who Was Really at Fault for the Toyota Recalls?

"Did corporate hubris, an overzealous media or vindictive regulators turn a small safety problem into a massive scandal for the automaker?"

Who Was Really at Fault for the Toyota Recalls? - Robert E. Cole - Business - The Atlantic

Saturday, April 30, 2011

CO2 and Tornadoes

"Well, you now have a simple algorithm for sorting flakes and politicized hacks from honest scientists — anyone who is going around this week saying that the tornadoes in Alabama this week were due to manmade CO2 sit firmly in the former category."

Coyote Blog » Blog Archive » CO2 and Tornadoes

America's Reckless Money-Printing

"Last week, Ben Bernanke suggested that the US base interest rate will stay close to zero for an 'extended period'. It's been there since December 2008."

America's reckless money-printing could put the world back into crisis - Telegraph

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Green Jobs Don’t Come Cheaply

"Frédéric Bastiat, where are you when we need you? The acerbic 19th century French economist, who pointed out the absurdity of breaking windows for the sake of keeping glaziers in business, would have a word or two to say about the notion of “green jobs”, and they would not be kind ones."

THE FT LEX COLUMN – Green jobs don’t come cheaply | iPolitics

Bernanke's Inflation Paradox

"We too want faster economic growth, but the keys to that are fiscal and other reforms that would reverse the policies of the last four years. Much lower spending and tax reform, freer trade, fewer new regulations, an end to foreclosure mitigation and banker harassment, and repealing ObamaCare's job-killing taxes and mandates, among others."

Review & Outlook: Bernanke's Inflation Paradox -

Monday, April 25, 2011

China As No. 1? Give Us A Break

"The old saying among economists is that you have to get rich before you get old. China's losing that race."

China As No. 1? Give Us A Break -

Why Tax the Rich is Wrong

"But when a government that has overspent for years turns to tax increases instead of spending cuts simply for the sake of 'fairness,'it weakens free enterprise, lowers opportunity and impoverishes us in many ways."

Articles & Commentary

Even Children Understand Inflation...

Sleepwalking Towards Disaster

"There is now, according to S&P, 'at least a one in three chance' that American debt will be downgraded from its top-notch status over the next two years – which would be a first in modern times."

America appears to be sleepwalking towards disaster – does no one care? - Telegraph

Archbishop Calls for Law Requiring Service

"What his suggestion reveals, however, is a far more worrying trend: that of the state being the first port of call for any perceived problem."

Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fast Train to Nowhere

From the NY Times, a brief but illuminating history of railroads and "hothouse capitalism,” where government takes the risk and private investors take the profit.

Fast Train to Nowhere -

Saturday, April 23, 2011

You Can't Make This Up

"Jesse Jackson, Jr. recently claimed that the iPad is 'eliminating thousands of American jobs.'"

Is Steve Jobs Killing Jobs? - Art Carden - The Economic Imagination - Forbes

Friday, April 15, 2011

Top 8 Tax Protest Songs of All Time

"Love may have inspired more songs than any other subject, but the subject of taxes inspires tax songs that are just as heartfelt. Singers and songwriters seem to be just like the rest of us – you work hard, you do the best you can, and pow! The better you do, the deeper the IRS digs into your pocket."

Top 8 tax protest songs of all time |

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Road to Prosperity

"...eliminating the job of a single regulator grows the American economy by $6.2 million and nearly 100 private sector jobs annually."

The Road to Prosperity isn’t Paved with Good Intentions | The ChamberPost

Deceitful and Dull

"Most successful people achieved success with little or nothing from the federal government beyond the national defense and other things the federal government provides to all people. Second, most wealthy people have done things for America by inventing things, creating jobs, providing investment capital, etc. They become wealthy by doing things that benefit millions of people."

Today’s Obama Speech: Nearly as deceitful as it was dull

Nudge Theory

"Most of us think that it is quite right to constrain and channel the choices of children – that is how children learn behaviour that is beneficial to themselves and their fellow creatures. But I'm not sure what right a self-interested government has to treat us just as if we were children"

Nudge theory and personal liberty

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Real Ayn Rand

"Rand was not a conservative or a liberal: She was an individualist. 'Atlas Shrugged' is, at its heart, a plea for the most fundamental American ideal—the inalienable rights of the individual. On tax day, with our tax dollars going to big government and subsidies for big business, let's remember it's the celebration of individualism that has kept 'Atlas Shrugged' among the best-selling novels of all time."

Donald L. Luskin: Remembering the Real Ayn Rand -

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Nanny State Can’t Last

"Last week, Congress and the administration refused to seriously consider the problem of government spending. Despite the fear-mongering, a government shutdown would not have been as bad as claimed."

» The Nanny State Can’t Last Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Subsidy-Absorbing Institutions of Higher Education

"The growth in student subsidies over the past 30 plus years has certainly increased student’s ability to pay for college, but there is a growing body of research suggesting that the subsidies have done little to make college more affordable."

Subsidy-Absorbing Institutions of Higher Education - CCAP - Higher Education and the Economy - Forbes

Sunday, April 10, 2011

James Gleick Interview

"Information has never been so cheap; our choices have never been so numerous; the cacophony has never been quite so grand. Everyone knows this, and everyone is right. It's why we're fascinated, if not obsessed, with Google and Twitter and all the rest of their oddly named species. We know that information poses as many challenges as opportunities."

James Gleick: 'Information poses as many challenges as opportunities' | Technology | The Observer

Hayek and Private Currency

"Toby Baxendale was recently interviewed by Dave Birch of Consult Hyperion. The interview talks about both the goals of the Cobden Centre and Hayek’s beliefs about competing private currencies as a pathway towards honest money and how this might be achieved via digital technology."

Cobden Centre Radio: Toby Baxendale on Hayek and Private Currency » The Cobden Centre

Saturday, April 9, 2011

5 Problems with Ultra-Low Interest Rates

"The Fed may have good and honorable reasons for pushing interest rates very low. But when they're left there for an extended period, distortions can begin to creep into the economy."

5 Problems with Ultra-Low Interest Rates - Daniel Indiviglio - Business - The Atlantic

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Notice the choice of the verb in this sentence, and then ask yourself if "earn" would have been more accurate but not as politically useful.

"Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret."

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% | Society | Vanity Fair

American Banking and Monetary Problems

"We have fundamentally fragile banking systems, and partly it’s because our monetary system is difficult to deal with. We’ve got a long history of restrictions on banks that have weakened banks in the United States. And rather than remove the restrictions — the regulations that have weakened banks — we keep adding patches on top of them."

Friday Interview: Addressing American Banking and Monetary Problems

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The More Things Exchange

"The Rational Optimist is an intelligent and interesting guide to mankind's cultural evolution and technological innovation. This is sufficient reason for us to be grateful for this very impressive book. "

The American Spectator : The More Things Exchange

Capitalism's Waning Popularity

"Capitalism’s waning fortunes are starkly visible among Americans earning below $20,000. Their support for the free market has dropped from 76% to 44% in just one year."

Capitalism's waning popularity: Market of ideas | The Economist

The Fiscal Purists Go Mad

"But if you want to feel really gloomy about America’s ability to tackle its deficit, consider the ideological, almost theological, arguments about tax that are taking place within the Republican camp itself. In the past few weeks these have been revealed in all their dreadful clarity by an esoteric debate about the tax break for ethanol."

Lexington: The fiscal purists go mad | The Economist

The Case for Having More Kids

"Parents are “overcharging” themselves for their kids. And what do economics and common sense tell you to do when prices turn out to be lower than you thought? Buy more. Stock up. Tell your friends."

Book Chat: The Case for Having More Kids -

US Going Same Route as Greece, Portugal

"(We've had) forty years of political promises to give people certain entitlements, certain benefits. And we've now come to understand that the United States is in a very difficult position than it was in the early post-World War II period. We're not the dominant economy. And our pace of growth has moderated. Ourability to finance this is all limited."

US Deficit Spending: US Going Same Route as Greece, Portugal: Economist - CNBC

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

US Debt Crisis: Finding a Solution

"Veronique de Rugy explains that cutting spending is better for the economy in the long run, but there are a variety of possible plans that could balance the budget by the end of the decade.

“We don’t need to cut spending, just hold it steady, and automatically, you end up with the balanced budget by 2020,” said de Rugy.  “The real problem is the explosion of spending that happens after 2021.  You can have a balanced budget by 2020, and it will be balanced for 5 minutes.”"

US Debt Crisis: Finding a Solution | Mercatus

It's Time to Rethink Everything

"By the time you finish the introduction to Ron Paul's book, you realize that you are going to be treated to a completely new and radical form of thinking about politics, one that reimagines the current world in the same way that Jefferson reimagined his world — and became the real father of this country."

It's Time to Rethink Everything - - Mises Institute

It's Hard to Make Predictions

"Everywhere we turn, we find an expert declaiming on some future trend, concerning nearly every activity. Should we pay much attention?"

It's Hard to Make Predictions, Especially About the Future - Reason Magazine

Above Subsistence

"Our modern standard of living was sparked by a major cultural change that occurred only a few generations back."

Above subsistence - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

This Is Going to Hurt

"In the end, the only real way to bring the federal budget into long-term balance is to reform entitlement programs, as Ryan has proposed doing. But here again, the public is reluctant to support cuts. According to the most recent Gallup Poll, two-thirds of Americans oppose cutting Social Security benefits. Even self-professed supporters of the Tea Party oppose cutting Social Security by 2 – 1. Nearly as many voters, 61 percent, oppose cutting Medicare."

This Is Going to Hurt | Michael D. Tanner | Cato Institute: Commentary

A Misleading Barometer of Growth

"GDP is not only causing smart people to misdiagnose the economic impact of disasters and fanning fallacies. It has become so entrenched as barometer of growth that policy is being judged not by its effect on prosperity but its ability to boost GDP."

GDP no real guide to wealth or welfare | The Australian:

Going After Wal-Mart

"If there was ever such a thing as junk justice, the suit against Wal-Mart now in the Supreme Court is exhibit A."

Going After Wal-Mart -

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Keeping the Poor in the Dark

"Electricity is an absolute minimum precondition for entry into the modern world. If half the energy devoted to stopping climate change was applied to providing energy to the poor, the world would be a much better place indeed."

Keeping the poor in the dark | Rob Lyons | spiked:

As Minority Populations Grow

"When we let in skilled immigrants with H1B visas, we get the expertise that will power our productivity for decades to come....

When we let in less-skilled immigrants, we are fulfilling America’s promise as a place of opportunity for everyone – a promise that was offered to all of our ancestors."

Edward L. Glaeser: As Minority Populations Grow -

Recycled Determinism?

This article by Charles Kenny claims "The reason you earned as much as you did last year has far less to do with how hard you worked than with where and to whom you were born."

Isn't this just another version of determinism, the belief that whatever we are and will be is determined by circumstances and forces out of our control?

And if economic success is truly out of an individual's control, why should we assume that it is under the control of the individuals who write the tax code?

Seems to me that Kenny undermines his own argument.

Don't Mess With Taxes - By Charles Kenny | Foreign Policy

Socialism's Legacy: Lest We Forget

"Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many optimists claimed that the world was now somehow 'after socialism.' There are reasons, however—structural, political, moral, and intellectual—why the collapse of Communism did not entail the end of socialism. This talk will explain why there can be no 'after socialism' until the West comes to ultimate terms with the catastrophic legacy of international communism."

The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism