Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chris Christie to Illinois Businesses: Come to Jersey

"Now this is a bold move. Going onto the airwaves of a state that just raised their taxes and trying to lure away their businesses."

» Chris Christie Ad to Illinois Businesses: Come to Jersey - Big Government

What’s Broken in Greece? Ask an Entrepreneur

"DEMETRI POLITOPOULOS says he has suffered countless indignities in his 12-year battle to build a microbrewery and wrest a sliver of the Greek beer market from the Dutch colossus, Heineken."

In Greece, a Brewer’s Dream Runs Into Frustration -

I'm Happy and Somebody Should Tell Jeffrey Sachs

"“We’re mean. Our politics is mean,” to the rest of the world and to America’s own poor, he said. “We’re an unhappy society amid wealth.”"

Of Wealth and (Un)Happiness -

Has Thinking Outside the Box Had its Day? | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian

"Ultimately, isn't seeking advice on how to think like nobody's ever thought an oxymoron? The Zen version of 'fresh eyes' is 'beginner's mind', and experts can't help. As the priest Shunryu Suzuki put it: 'In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few.'"

This column will change your life: Has thinking outside the box had its day? | Oliver Burkeman | Life and style | The Guardian

Looking for a Legacy of the Financial Crisis Inquiry

"The final judgment of the official inquiry into the 2008 financial crisis — that it was an avoidable disaster, brought about by regulatory neglect and Wall Street recklessness — was an admonition to the government never to let it happen again.

Most experts aren’t holding their breath."

Looking for a Legacy of the Financial Crisis Inquiry -

Man Versus the State - Reason Magazine

Man Versus the State - Reason Magazine

The 'Your Money Is Not Yours' Crowd

"One branch of American politics shares Krugman's view that the money you earn -- the material manifestation of your mental and physical labor -- is not yours.  It belongs to the government."

American Thinker: The 'Your Money Is Not Yours' Crowd

Demonizing Trade Is Costing American Workers Their Jobs

"The public has been misled. The misplaced blame is particularly dangerous because it offers voters false hope. If only we block trade from China, or repeal NAFTA, or avoid an FTA with Colombia, the critical voices seem to suggest, we can return to the halcyon days of a labor market in which workers with limited educations enjoyed lifetime employment, good pay, and generous pensions. Not true."

Articles & Commentary

How Bad Weather Built The 'World's Biggest Markets'

"Emily Lambert, author of The Futures: The Rise of the Speculator and the Origins of the World's Biggest Markets, tells Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that it was Chicago's cold winters that triggered the beginning of commodities trading."

How Bad Weather Built The 'World's Biggest Markets' : NPR - Videos > Richard Epstein on Barack Obama, his former Chicago Law Colleague - Videos > Richard Epstein on Barack Obama, his former Chicago Law Colleague

Climate Change Claims Melt Away

"In 2007, the U.N. said the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035 due to man-made global warming. Yet four years later, some are advancing. What's retreating is the global warming narrative."

Climate Change Claims Melt Away -

Video - Davos Update: Economic Outlook From Robert Shiller -

Video - Davos Update: Economic Outlook From Robert Shiller -

Government's Return on "Investment" is Pitiful

"One thing government can and should do to promote American competitiveness is reform the tax code. It is our tax code that puts domestic firms at a clear disadvantage, not a lack of skill or innovation on the part of the American worker."

Government's Return on "Investment" is Pitiful | Mercatus

Yield Curve Steepens as More Bond Traders Price in Inflation

"Like a dripping faucet filling up a sink, yields on U.S. Treasuries have been slowly rising for several months now -- raising concerns that inflation may be on the horizon."

Yield curve steepens as more bond traders price in inflation - Jan. 28, 2011

Vampire Squid

"So although I am an Austrian and I am entirely opposed to the overall technocratic, collectivist, and statist aims of the New Economics Foundation — the producers of the entertaining video above — it is good to see that the intrinsically Austrian message about our broken corporatist financial system has spread so far beyond we few, we happy few, we usual band of suspects within the movement for true economics."

Vampire squid » The Cobden Centre

Gold and the Barbarians

"Gold has hit fresh highs against the dollar recently, trading at well over $1,400 per troy ounce in the last month, from under $300 per troy ounce 10 years ago. The metal’s mounting value is hooked directly to its economic role as a stable alternative to paper currencies, and its rise should tell us something about the health of the global monetary system. Unfortunately monetary authorities around the world still broadly misunderstand and even dismiss gold’s role. How else to explain their recent policies ?"

Institut économique Molinari | Gold and the Barbarians

Obama’s Corporatist Big Plans | The Freeman

"Obama’s program is nothing more than a stepped-up corporatism, draped – as it so often is – in rah-rah red-white-and-blue, all the better to keep the public from looking too closely."

Obama’s Corporatist Big Plans | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

'Superman' Slapped

"The most widely seen Amer ican documentary of the year sparked a national dis cussion, received almost universal acclaim from critics and delved deeply into the details of what all agree is a subject of massive importance -- the increasingly alarming dysfunction of much of the US public-school system. Yet this vital and heartbreaking film, 'Waiting for 'Superman,' ' this week failed to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. Why?"

'Superman' slapped -

Food Riots: Is Bernanke Partially to Blame?

"Commodities are priced in dollars, and the Fed has been overproducing dollars for more than two years. Consequently, emerging markets throughout the world — and the food sector in particular — are suffering from rising inflation."

Kudlow's Money Politic$: Food Riots: Is Bernanke Partially to Blame?

Opening the Pathway Through Entrepreneurship

"The organization I lead, the Network for Teacher Entrepreneurship (NFTE), was founded by Steve Mariotti on one basic principle: teaching young people living in poverty how to create wealth for themselves is the surest path to poverty alleviation.  More simply put, ownership equals prosperity."

Opening the Pathway Through Entrepreneurship - Amy Rosen - Start It Up - Forbes

Egypt: Behold the Power of Liberty

As the oppressive Mubarak regime of falls in Egypt, the Bastiat Society is once again humbled and amazed by the power of liberty and the desire for freedom. We are reminded of these words, drafted by another oppressed population over 230 years ago:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

The unanimous Declaration of Independence
adopted by the US Congress on July 4, 1776.

For more on the ongoing Egyptian revolution click here:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Video - Will Japan Be the Next Greece? -

Video - Will Japan Be the Next Greece? -

China's Progress is to be Lauded, Not Feared

"China, China, China. Seemingly everything in the economically challenged West has come to be seen through the prism of this aspiring superpower. At one and the same time a marvel and a perceived threat, the rise of the East has become an anxiety bordering on obsession."

China's progress is to be lauded, not feared - Telegraph

Thursday, January 27, 2011

“Capitalism, American Style”

"One might think that capitalism is as American as apple pie, but a review of most American Studies programs at colleges and universities in the United States reveals little, if any, coverage of our economic system.  In fact, at many schools, what the students learn about our economic system is misleading if not downright false. Mention “capitalism” to many students and you’re apt to draw scowls."

“Capitalism, American Style” at Christopher Newport University | The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy

The McFlation Index: Lies, Flame-Grilled Lies and Statistics

"Inflation is creeping up around the globe. But in many countries, ordinary folk as well as investment analysts suspect that governments are fiddling the figures for political reasons, and that the true inflation rate is much higher than officially reported."

The McFlation index: Lies, flame-grilled lies and statistics | The Economist

The Crescent and the Company

"In 2002 a group of Arab scholars produced a brave report, under the auspices of the United Nations, on the Arab world’s twin deficits, in freedom and knowledge. A salutary debate ensued. Now Timur Kuran, a Turkish-American economist based at Duke University, has written an equally brave book on “how Islamic law held back the Middle East”. One can only hope that the result will be an equally salutary debate."

Schumpeter: The crescent and the company | The Economist

Innovation Ain’t So Easy Mr. President

"Most companies aren’t designed to innovate, and most executives don’t want to do it. "

Innovation Ain’t So Easy Mr. President – Think Google, Not GE - Adam Hartung - Growth - Dealing with Market Shifts - Forbes

The Loud Passing of the Old Order

"In response to this topsy-turvy world, the traditional media, tenured professors, well-paid public employees, rigid ethnic and racial lobbies, unions, organized retirees, open-borders advocates and entrenched politicians all are understandably claiming that we live in an uncivil age."

RealClearPolitics - The Loud Passing of the Old Order

Report: 2008 Financial Crisis Was 'Avoidable'

The crisis was avoidable.

They always are. Unfortunately, we can only know for sure what we should have done after it is too late to do it.

Welcome to the world as it is, was, and ever shall be.

Report: 2008 Financial Crisis Was 'Avoidable' : NPR

The Conflicting Visions of The Union

"Sowell’s visions again bring clarity to Obama’s attempts at reclassifying “spending” as “investing”.  Obama’s quintessential demonstration of the “unconstrained vision” says that government is capable of knowing how to “invest” (invest our money, mind you) in the right ways to achieve his goals, which we are to assume are our goals as well."

The Conflicting Visions of The Union - Dean Zarras - On Civil Society - Forbes

What Is A Gold Standard?

"A gold standard is a tool used for a specific purpose--to create a currency that is, to the extent humanly possible, perfectly stable in value."

What Is A Gold Standard? -

Video - Capital: Why Are States and Cities Going out of Business -

Video - Capital: Why Are States and Cities Going out of Business -

Why Washington Smothers its Tech Startups

"For all its talk of change, Washington intoxicates people with the power of 'bigness.'"

Why Washington smothers its tech startups - Jan. 27, 2011

State Workers to Suffer Layoffs and Salary Cuts

"Public employees are getting hit hard in the latest round of spending cuts as state officials look to close billion-dollar deficits. Governors across the nation are promising to eliminate thousands of positions and freeze or reduce salaries."

State workers to suffer layoffs and salary cuts - Jan. 27, 2011:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The American Nomenklatura

"Recently I read We, the Living, which is the closest thing to an autobiography that Ayn Rand ever wrote. It gives a portrait of her life as a young woman in the early stages of the Russian revolution. What she describes is a world dominated for a brief period by idealistic revolutionaries, for whom it is clear Rand holds some degree of admiration, but before long she sees the same faces running things. The men who manipulated power under the controlled economy of the Czar ended up doing the same thing under the Reds. Like Pasternak’s Komarovksy in Doctor Zhivago, the most ambitious rise to the top. Not the most intelligent or the most creative, but the most ruthless. This is the nature of all centralized regimes."

The American Nomenklatura - Jerry Bowyer - The Great Relearning - Forbes

The Rise of Emerging-Market Think Tanks

"The rise of new economic powers is inexorably bringing the rise of new intellectual powers, too."

The rise of emerging-market think tanks: The rise of emerging-market think-tanks | The Economist

We Won't Win the Future By Attacking Oil Companies

"In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama called for reform of the corporate income tax for all businesses, but also singled out the oil industry for tax code punishment."

The Tax Foundation - We Won't Win the Future By Attacking Oil Companies

What Has The IMF Done With Our Money?

"Since the IMF operates under a veil of secrecy, these hidden taxpayer subsidies are not subject to annual appropriations, and they are nowhere to be found in the federal budget."

What Has The IMF Done With Our Money? -

Roubini at Davos

"You have to reduce defense spending, and raise taxes on the rich and taxes on the middle class."

Roubini at Davos: Inflation is biggest threat - Jan. 26, 2011

A Curzon Without An Empire

"Patrick French's armchair exercise parrots the rosy Western view of India, shunning rigour and ignoring depth for shallow deftness. His 'portrait' is a catalogue of absences" | A Curzon Without An Empire

Global Poverty's New Reality: There's a Lot Less of It

"The decline in poverty is happening in all the world's regions and most of its countries, though at varying speeds."

Global Poverty's New Reality: There's a Lot Less of It - Brookings Institution

Nine Cato Experts Break Down the 2011 State of the Union Address

"In this video reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, Cato experts Gene Healy, Benjamin H. Friedman, Jagadeesh Gokhale, Neal McCluskey, Sallie James, John Samples, Justin Logan, Daniel J. Mitchell, Michael F. Cannon, and David Rittgers analyze the president’s address, and make note some of the outright fabrications in it."

VIDEO: Nine Cato Experts Break Down the 2011 State of the Union Address | Cato @ Liberty

The Specter of Inflation

"Readers might remember that from time to time, I fret about the danger of price inflation due to the frenetic printing of money going on in the world. As a survivor of hyperinflation (Peru, 1980s), I suppose you can’t blame me. In any case, symptoms of price inflation have begun to pop up in many countries."

The Specter of Inflation: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

But Can They Trade?

"Developmental psychology’s advice for producing smarter robots is simple: Make them social learners. Give machines the capacity to move about, sense the world and engage with people."

Meet The Growbots - Science News

The Swedish Model

"In the mid-1800s, Sweden was one of the poorest and underdeveloped countries in Europe. Then, Finance Minister Johan August Gripenstedt, a proponent of de Tocqueville and Bastiat, launched far-reaching economic reforms that forged Sweden's transition to capitalism. Sweden was opened up to the world, to free trade, and to migration. Free enterprise and free competition were introduced. In particular, the financial sector was deregulated."

The Swedish Model -

When Numbers Get Unserious

"That rustling sound you hear is New York Times reporters leafing through their thesauruses, looking for a dismissive adjective stronger than untenable."

When Numbers Get Unserious - Reason Magazine

The Great Misallocators

"The path back to faster growth, more jobs and a more competitive U.S. economy does not travel through more political mediation. Nor does it lie in endlessly easy Fed policy in a misguided attempt to refloat the housing bubble or revive the financial boom. A better economy requires policies that reward work and innovation, while letting capital flow to the companies and individuals with the best ideas. They might even be GE's."

Review & Outlook: The Great Misallocators -

How Public Unions Took Taxpayers Hostage

"Restraining the immense clout that government-employee unions have accumulated over the past half-century will be difficult, but not impossible."

Fred Siegel: How Public Unions Took Taxpayers Hostage -


"His comment had a partisan undertone."

PolitiFact | Ten years of deficits? Even more than that

The Most Serious Challenge for the World

"Wealth inequality is the most serious challenge facing the world in the years ahead, senior business figures heard at the World Economic Forum in Davos today."

Or so they are told. I'm willing to bet the most serious challenge for the world is the one no one can imagine.

It is always the bear you can't see that bites you in the bum.

Davos WEF 2011: Wealth inequality is the "most serious challenge for the world" - Telegraph

The Strong Case for Global Optimism

"We've come to accept that the world is doomed. But a closer look at our long-term prospects paints a much rosier picture."

The strong case for global optimism - FORTUNE Features - Fortune on

The President as Micromanager

"While watching the speech, I tweeted that 'Obama sounds remarkably similar to the CEOs I used to listen to on earnings calls: the ones with mediocre EPS and a failing business model.'  This wasn't a crack at Obama, or Democrats; it was a reaction to the content.  And after watching the responses, the impression lingers--indeed, maybe it's strengthened."

The President as Micromanager - Megan McArdle - Business - The Atlantic

A Dangerous Lack of Evidence Based Teaching

"What is being taught in management courses is usually not based on solid scientific evidence. Instead, it concerns the generalization of individual business cases or the lessons from popular management books. Such books often are based on the simple yet appealing formula that they look at a number of successful companies, see what they have in common, and then conclude that other companies should strive to do the same thing. However, how do you know that the advice provided is fair and reasonable, or whether it comes from tomorrow’s Enrons, Lehmans, and Worldcoms? How do you know that today’s advice and cases will not be soon heralded as the epitome of mismanagement? "

Business schools suffer from a dangerous lack of evidence based teaching - Freek Vermeulen - Business Exposed - Forbes

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Socialism's Folly Across Time

"The most familiar thread in all strands of socialism - creeping or jackboot, velvet glove or iron fist - has much in common with the old hat trick. As its government practitioners play the class-hatred card to force a redistribution of wealth, many other basic human rights are also redistributed “just to make it fair.” Then ultimately, they disappear altogether for all but the elite distributors of “rights.”"

Socialism's folly across time - Washington Times

Why Aren't Your Dishes Getting Clean?

"Thanks to environmental protection laws passed in 16 states, dish detergent manufacturers have been forced to remove powerful cleansing agents called phosphates from their formulas nationwide. The result? Detergents that don't clean, reported Tampa Bay Online."

Why Aren't Your Dishes Getting Clean? New Environmental Laws -

Public Employee Union Benefits Are a Fiscal Disaster

"State governments are in a huge hole, and they're still digging."

Public Employee Union Benefits Are a Fiscal Disaster - US News and World Report

A Step Toward a Cuban Market Economy

"The Cuban economy is about to undergo its most dramatic transformation in 50 years – this is a wise and bold step, one with irreversible consequences."

A step toward a Cuban market economy - The Globe and Mail

Five Steps to Fix Economic Policy

"None of these steps is easy. They will take time. But, taken together, they would help reduce uncertainty and restore a pattern of stability and inclusive growth to the global economy."

Michael Spence: Five Steps to Fix Economic Policy - Newsweek

Must We Frighten Students Away?

"There is nothing magical about taking courses taught by law professors; most people who have gone through law school will tell you that it’s mostly a waste of time and money in studying material that will never have any relevance in their careers. Nearly everything a lawyer needs to know is learned on the job, not remembered from law school."

Must We Frighten Students Away? | The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy

Obama’s Portfolio

"And the man who fancies himself our national investment guru will no doubt take tonight’s State of the Union address to pitch us a bunch of new exciting financial opportunities, like some ephebic stockbroker just out of training. If we must endure the rhetoric of investment, it is fair to ask: How is Obama’s portfolio doing?"

Obama’s Portfolio - The Editors - National Review Online

Political Speak: Is Investing The New Spending?

"President Obama is not expected to use the word spending in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. Instead, the word of the moment is investment. Ben Zimmer, who writes the 'On Language' column in The New York Times Magazine, parses the two terms."

Political Speak: Is Investing The New Spending? : NPR

Obama Needs to Wise Up About “Investments”

"It’s an old trick, calling spending investments, one pioneered by Bill Clinton. As Obama said last month: “[C]utting the deficit by cutting investments in education [and] innovation [is] like trying to reduce the weight of an overloaded aircraft by removing its engine….It’s not a good idea.”"

Obama Needs to Wise Up About “Investments” - Brian Domitrovic - Past & Present - Forbes

Monday, January 24, 2011

Robert Shiller on Human Traits Essential to Capitalism

"Yale economist Robert Shiller argues that rising inequality in the US was a major cause of the recent crisis, and little is being done to address it. He chooses books that give insight into human nature"

Robert Shiller on Human Traits Essential to Capitalism | FiveBooks | The Browser

Five Reasons the Planet May Not Be Its Hottest Ever

"On Thursday the U.N.'s weather agency announced that 2010 was a milestone, the warmest year on record, in a three-way tie with 2005 and 1998. 'The 2010 data confirm the Earth's significant long-term warming trend,' said Michel Jarraud, the World Meteorological Organization's top official. He added that the ten warmest years after records began in 1854 have all occurred since 1998." - Five Reasons the Planet May Not Be Its Hottest Ever

Climate Change, Unlimited Liability, and the End Of Capitalism

"From being a marginal and even mocked issue,” writes Richard Ingham, “climate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake.  Compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money.  Imagine: a country or an individual could get redress for a drought that destroyed farmland, for floods and storms that created an army of refugees, for rising seas that wiped a small island state off the map."

Climate Change, Unlimited Liability, and the End Of Capitalism - HUMAN EVENTS

How Western Environmental Policies Are Stunting Economic Growth in Developing Countries

"Governments and large agribusinesses are increasingly using the environmentalist movement and its policy arm of green nongovernmental organizations to justify imposing protectionist non-tariff barriers on developing countries. Wrong-headed environmental policies and “green” protectionism are contributing to a resurgence of malaria in some countries and endangering millions of jobs in developing countries. Even the World Bank’s mandate to foster economic development is being subverted to serve environmentalist and protectionist objectives. The EU and the U.S. need to eliminate protectionist policies and regulations that are masquerading as environmental safeguards and refocus the World Bank on promoting economic development to alleviate poverty."

How Western Environmental Policies Are Stunting Economic Growth in Developing Countries | The Heritage Foundation

Heroes Of Old Were Creators — Not Talkers

"At one time, people like Rockefeller, Edison, Ford and the Wright brothers were regarded as heroes, for having opened vast new possibilities for other human beings.

The fact that they got rich doing it was an incidental part of the story."

Heroes Of Old Were Creators — Not Talkers -

The Biggest Myths of 2010

"Look at all the promises that they made,” de Rugy.  “That by the end of 2010 we would get 3.5 million jobs, 90 percent in the private sector and then without the stimulus unemployment would raise around 8.8 percent. Now we hover around 10 percent.  And spending has been going up.  We’ve spent almost 600 billion dollars."

The Biggest Myths of 2010 | Mercatus

The 10 Least Prosperous Countries in Pictures

"Five years ago researchers at the Legatum Institute, a London think tank, set out to rank the happiest countries in the world. To avoid the touchy-feely connotation of the word 'happy', they use the term 'prosperity'."

The 10 least prosperous countries in the world – in pictures - Telegraph

The Most Ridiculous Argument for Keeping Fannie and Freddie Yet

"So let's see if we've got this straight. We should keep around two firms whose combined bailout cost will easily dwarf that of all other financial firms combined during the crisis? We should continue to tolerate firms that had come under fire for significant accounting manipulation even before the mortgage market collapse drove it out of business? We should just look past these firms' culture of failure, because DC will lose some high-paying jobs if we don't."

The Most Ridiculous Argument for Keeping Fannie and Freddie Yet - Daniel Indiviglio - Business - The Atlantic

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World

"McCloskey's laudable aim in this book, and in the series of which it is a part, is to rehabilitate capitalism for those who regard themselves as 'progressives', keen to improve the lives of the poor. As one chapter title sums it up, 'Opposing the Bourgeoisie Hurts the Poor'."

New Statesman - Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World

Nouriel Roubini

"Dr. Doom returns to talk with Steve Forbes about a housing double-dip, the U.S. equity market and a potential Muni Bond bubble."

Transcript: Nouriel Roubini -

The End of Credit Cards

"You can already use your iPhone, Droid or BlackBerry to buy a hotdog at the ballgame, buy your Starbucks latté, or give a friend a few bucks by Bumping phones. But by the end of the year you may not even think twice about reaching for your phone to pay at the register instead of fumbling for your credit card."

Credit cards: On their way out 'like vinyl records' - Jan. 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Inflation Watch: Europe

"Inflation fears—fueled by spiraling food, oil and raw material prices—are mounting around the globe, prompting the head of the European Central Bank to signal that it could raise interest rates in the future even though some countries have been weakened by the Continent's debt crisis."

Global Price Fears Mount -

The Crisis in Microfinance

"Without the controls, there will undoubtedly be a good deal of fraud, and improvident borrowing without fraud. With the controls, the amount of lending will be curtailed. But with or without controls, the amount of lending will be limited by the very high default rates that can be anticipated unless there is very careful screening of would-be borrowers. Interest rates will remain very high and will strangle many of the businesses that rely on microfinance. Microfinance may turn out to be a niche service, with little overall impact."

The Crisis in Microfinance—Posner - The Becker-Posner Blog

Vatican Bank Chief Recommends Austrian Economics

"Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the head of the Vatican’s bank, has denounced the Keynesian economic policies that are wreaking havoc on the Western world, and recommends the book Where Keynes Went Wrong by Austrian School economist Hunter Lewis. "

Vatican Bank Chief Recommends Austrian Economics | Tom Woods

Complaints About Tax Havens Are Misguided

"Tax competition almost certainly is the biggest impediment that now exists to restrain big government. Greedy politicians understand that high taxes may simply lead the geese with the golden eggs to fly across the border. Indeed, competition between governments is surely the main reason that tax rates have dropped so dramatically in the past 30 years."

Complaints About Tax Havens Are Misguided - Business in The Beltway - Money & Politics - Forbes

The Disposable Academic

"The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes."

Doctoral degrees: The disposable academic | The Economist

West Is Best?

"In the Middle Ages, the Middle East was at the forefront of optics, metallurgy, and mathematics. Its largest cities, libraries, and marketplaces dwarfed those in Europe. Subsequently, over the next half millennium, the Middle East slipped behind Europe in many realms, including science and medicine, finance and business, and literacy and living standards. But just as Confucianism and Taoism could not explain China's failures, Islam, often blamed for the Middle East's shortcomings, raises more questions than it answers. If Islam's supposedly retrograde system of beliefs explains the Middle East's recent failures, what accounts for its earlier successes?"

West Is Best? | Foreign Affairs

Galt's Ideological Gulch

"[A]s a metaphor, Galt’s Gulch has an ominous ring at a time when the business elite view themselves increasingly as a global community, distinguished by their unique talents and above such parochial concerns as national identity, or devoting “their” taxes to paying down “our” budget deficit. They may not be isolating themselves geographically, as Rand fantasized. But they appear to be isolating themselves ideologically, which in the end may be of greater consequence."

The Rise of the New Global Elite - Magazine - The Atlantic

Naomi Klein, Reactionary

"[W]hat passes as 'left' today is often the most reactionary in explicitly rejecting progress and growth."

Naomi Klein, reactionary › The American Situation:

Adam Smith on Tax-Regime Uncertainty

"The uncertainty of taxation encourages the insolence and favours the corruption of an order of men who are naturally unpopular, even where they are neither insolent nor corrupt."

Adam Smith on Tax-Regime Uncertainty | The Beacon

Trouble in DC: America's Boomtown

"The looming reduction in government spending already casts a menacing cloud over the area's economy, and the dismantling of Fannie and Freddie would be a body blow."

Steven Pearlstein - D.C. area will take hit if Wall Street steals away with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat

"Market forces are often derided as cold and inhuman. But in fact, the free market—and the curiosity it encourages—calls upon what is uniquely human within us. While animals have instincts, human beings possess the capacity of choice, and fully exercising that choice requires a curious mind that is open to new knowledge, opportunities, and experiences."

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat — The American, A Magazine of Ideas

The Hidden Cost of Going Green

"But having paid a little extra to go green, many consumers are now encountering an unexpected irritation: They have to pay more than their neighbors to stay green. The price of maintaining, repairing and even getting insurance for green products can often be higher than for their ordinary counterparts. 'There are hidden costs that people don't think about,' says Tim Haab, an environmental economist and a professor at Ohio State University. And with many tax credits for energy-efficient upgrades likely to expire soon, some consumers are finding themselves having to recalculate the cost of being eco-conscious."

The Hidden Cost of Going Green -

The Anglosphere & the Future of Liberty

"A specter is haunting America, the specter of freedom. What happened on November 2 was not an instance of business as usual in the world of partisan politics. It was stage one in the rejection of that business as usual: the big-government, top-down, elitist egalitarianism practiced by both major parties in the United States."

The Anglosphere & the future of liberty: an introduction by Roger Kimball - The New Criterion

Plutocracy: The Rich Elite And The Rest Of Us

"The controversy over the disparity between the rich and the rest of us has hit the covers of two emblematic fountains of ideas; The Economist and The Atlantic Monthly.  The mention of a risk to society of “an entrenched plutocracy,” brought that almost archaic word back to me. I had used it on the front-piece of my best-selling biography of J. Paul Getty, “The Great Getty” some quarter of a century ago."

Plutocracy: The Rich Elite And The Rest Of Us - Robert Lenzner - StreetTalk - Forbes

The 10 Most Prosperous Countries in the World

"Legatum recently published its 2010 Prosperity Index, which ranks 110 countries – covering 90pc of the world's population. Each nation was evaluated according to 89 variables sorted into eight subsections: economy, entrepreneurship, governance, education, health, safety, personal freedom and social capital."

The 10 most prosperous countries in the world – in pictures - Telegraph

Medical Loss Ratio Explained

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Austrian Business Cycle Theory

So you want to learn Austrian Business Cycle Theory? — Mises Economics Blog

The Dead Bird Society

Progress has brought us the kind of economic efficiency that preserves and even restores great expanses of the natural world, and gives us the leisure time to enjoy them.

And this is ominous? Please.

3,000 dead black birds and the ominous rise of amateur ornithology. - By Nathan Heller - Slate Magazine

Tax Break = Government Investment?

What, exactly, did the government "invest" in this deal?

"...Obama noted that GE is spending millions of dollars on advanced equipment for its Schenectady plant, taking advantage of a new tax break.

The president wants the government to keep making similar investments in long-term growth, even as he looks for ways to cut spending elsewhere in the federal budget."

By this same logic, the government is investing in my house (mortgage interest tax break), my church (charitable deduction tax break), the Bastiat Society (a 501(c)3 eligible for the charitable deduction tax break), and my children (dependent tax break).

Imagine investing in all that, and using money that's already mine! Even Goldman Sachs can't do that.

By the way, what is the opposite of such government "investment"? "Dis-investment?" Is the government dis-investing in high-wage earners and capital gains?

Bottom line: such talk obscures the fact that government is playing a game with other people's money.

The Charge To GE's CEO: Amp Up The U.S. Economy : NPR

Kids Aren't Cars

America has a one-size-fits-all, assembly-line education system that is setting us back in the world—literally graduating some students who cannot read or do basic math.

The Kids Aren’t Cars film series exposes how our educational system is designed to benefit school labor unions—putting adults’ interests first, turning schools into dropout factories, and driving school and state budgets into the ground. Focusing on Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, Kids Aren’t Cars offers a disturbing look at American public education

Kids Aren't Cars - Blog

Specialization and the Exchange of Ideas

"Australia has an unusually unstable climate. It can be sure of getting terrible floods and droughts, but it cannot be sure when. This made it unsuitable for early agriculture, which is why aborigines sensibly did not invent it (as their New Guinea neighbors did when their climate became more stable after the end of the last ice age).

This circumstance made it difficult for Australian hunter-gatherers to form the dense demographic concentrations that gave rise to technological civilization through specialization and the exchange of ideas. If Earth's climate had remained as unstable as Australia's, and as unstable as it was all over the planet during the last ice age, then the radio would never have been invented and the Earth would still be silent. Stability is key."

Matt Ridley Links Planet Kepler 10b and Australian Floods | Mind & Matter -

Friday, January 21, 2011

Give Me $1 Billion to Cut the Budget Deficit

"I have a plan to reduce the budget deficit.  The essence of the plan is the federal government writing me a check for $1 billion.  The plan will be financed by $3 billion of tax increases.  According to my back-of-the envelope calculations, giving me that $1 billion will reduce the budget deficit by $2 billion."

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Give me $1 billion to cut the budget deficit

Real Men Find Real Utopias

"...if this book exemplifies academic Marxism, conservatives can rest easy. We should all fear, however, what it suggests about the contemporary university and its scholarship."

Dissent Magazine - Winter 2011 Issue - Real Men Find Real Uto...

The U.S. Loses Ground on Economic Freedom

"Riots in Greece and France! An IMF bailout for Ireland! The Euro under threat! A new government in London! Tea parties in America! Is it the end of capitalism? Many were predicting just that last year."

The U.S. Loses Ground on Economic Freedom | The Heritage Foundation

The Science of Libertarian Morality

"Libertarian morality, by rising above and rejecting primitive moralities embodied in the universalist collectivism of left-liberals and the tribalist collectivism of conservatives, made the rule of law, freedom of speech, religious tolerance, and modern prosperity possible. Liberals and conservatives may love people more than do libertarians, but love of liberty is what leads to true moral and economic progress. "

The Science of Libertarian Morality - Reason Magazine

Obama to Push New Spending in State of the Union

"President Barack Obama will call for new government spending on infrastructure, education and research in his State of the Union address Tuesday, sharpening his response to Republicans in Congress who are demanding deep budget cuts, people familiar with the speech said."

Obama to Push New Spending in State of the Union -

The State Against Blacks

"Sometimes I sarcastically, perhaps cynically, say that I'm glad that I received virtually all of my education before it became fashionable for white people to like black people,' writes Walter Williams in his new autobiography, 'Up from the Projects.'"

The Weekend Interview with Walter Williams: The State Against Blacks -

Video - Opinion Journal: Obama's Pro-Business Talk -- John Fund on the president's new rhetoric -

Video - Opinion Journal: Obama's Pro-Business Talk -- John Fund on the president's new rhetoric -

Interviewing Indians: Talking the Talk

"Western executives, and, I'm sad to say, particularly American ones, have become dreadful bores. They speak in management clichés (I feel like vomiting whenever I hear the phrase 'walk the walk'). They are surrounded by plastic public-relations people who have managed to invent a language, PR-speak, that makes managementese sound like Shakespeare. Terrified of contradicting the company line, they all sing from the same dismal song-sheet.

Indians, or at least the ones I've been talking to, could not be more different."

Interviewing Indians: Talking the talk | The Economist

Britain Triggers Global Inflation Alarm

"Some of the world’s leading investors have turned bearish on government bonds from developed countries as they warn of the growing danger of inflation." / Global Economy - Britain triggers global inflation alarm

The Bankrupt States Of America Video Network | Intelligent Investing: The Bankrupt States Of America

So, Exactly Why Are They Going to College?

"However, a good case can be made that the same people who attain college degrees likely also possess other attributes (e.g., above average intelligence, motivation, leadership abilities, etc.) that make them more valuable to employers, and thus higher paid. In this case, it is not college that creates the higher wage, but rather a matter of correlation."

So, Exactly Why Are They Going to College? - CCAP - Higher Education and the Economy - Forbes:

The Minimum Wage: Putting the First Rung on the Ladder of Success Out of Reach

"The real danger is not starving families with low wages, but locking them out of the economy altogether.  If the minimum wage gets too high, there is no way for low-skilled workers to take their first step into the work force.  What’s worse, there are many government regulations that are tending to compound the effect of the minimum wage, raising the price of hiring workers.  Obamacare, for example, will effectively raise the minimum wage by adding an expensive minimum benefits package every worker must be given."

The Minimum Wage: Putting the First Rung on the Ladder of Success Out of Reach - Warren Meyer - Coyote Den - Forbes

EU Energy Orwellianism: Ignorance Is Strength

"I am not sure whether Eurostat, or the EU Commission, are intentionally hiding pieces of information, or they just do not think those pieces of information is really relevant. I am not even sure whether it is better to be governed by evil people who do not want to be challenged, or by stupid people who do not realize that data availability is a critical part of a well-functioning decision-making process. I am sure, however, that policies that are built upon data which either do not exist, or are not accessible, deserve no public trust."

EU Energy Orwellianism: Ignorance Is Strength — MasterResource

America's Economic Soul-Searching isn't Putting Off the Chinese

"Counter-intuitive though it may seem, making it easier for more of the brightest from countries like China and India who are currently getting a higher education in the US to stay and work for longer may help all Americans desperate to find a job or get a better one.
The country’s economic vigour has, after all, long been replenished by immigrants."

America's economic soul-searching isn't putting off the Chinese - Telegraph

Running the Government on 8 Cents

"Everybody wants a small government. Everybody would like low taxes. And they'd like government to do everything that they think government should do. But the arithmetic can be a problem."

Running the government on 8 cents - Jan. 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kim Holmes on the Index of Economic Freedom on Bloomberg | The Heritage Foundation

Kim Holmes on the Index of Economic Freedom on Bloomberg | The Heritage Foundation

Public Service Payroll

"Excessive salaries might be only a small part of the government's budgetary shortfall, but their existence implies government is not serious about fiscal belt-tightening."

Articles & Commentary

Save Money, Live Better

"Now this isn't the first time the retailer has jumped on a consumer health issue in a big way. In late 2006, Wal-Mart started making a slew of generic prescription drugs available for $4 a month. And later, 90-day mail order prescriptions were added. Their price: $10.

There was some skepticism at the time. But Wal-Mart's move to offer generic drugs at such cheap prices prompted other retailers, including Target, to bring down their prices, too."

Wal-Mart Food Push Echoes Earlier Move On Generic Drugs : Shots - Health News Blog : NPR

Yes, Virginia, A Climate Cover-Up

"It's not the crime, it's the cover-up, as the saying goes. In the case of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann and his supporters, it may be both. Not only did Mann participate in perhaps the greatest scam of modern times, but he may have also have fraudulently used taxpayer funds to do so."

Yes, Virginia, A Climate Cover-Up -

How the Reader Was Lost

"HERE are two predictions about the world economy. First, the West’s malaise and the rise of emerging economies will yield a mountain of books. Second, few of these are likely to be as bad as “How the West Was Lost”."

Economic folly: How the reader was lost | The Economist

Picture of the Day: Shanghai in 1990 and 2010

"China's economy has grown at a rate of about 10 percent a year for the last two decades. Over those 20 years, Shanghai, the country's largest city, has experienced a remarkable transformation."

Picture of the Day: Shanghai in 1990 and 2010 - Derek Thompson - Business - The Atlantic

Inoculating Against True Health Care Reform

"The 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat foresaw schemes like this when he wrote, 'Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.' That illusion lies at the heart of the new program."

Inoculating Against True Health Care Reform - Reason Magazine

Disrupting the Education Monopoly

"As governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, Jeb Bush championed school choice. His first year in office he created a program that offered vouchers to students in failing schools."

» Jeb Bush on Disrupting the Education Monopoly - Big Government

What Do University Students Actually Learn?

"Richard Arum of New York University found that they were woeful at critical thinking, complex reasoning and written communication. 36% showed no significant gains in 'higher order' thinking skill. 45% made no significant improvement in critical thinking."

Donald Clark Plan B: Huge study: Do universities really teach critical thinking? Apparently not.

Bill Cosby for School Choice

"With Congress and the White House gearing up for a major battle over the future of education policy, the comedian who famously criticized academic failings in the black community added his voice Wednesday to that of House Speaker John A. Boehner and others who want to give parents a bigger say in their children's education."

Cosby joins Boehner in drive for more school choice - Washington Times

Hubris Heading for a Fall

"The idea that America's problem of governance is one of inadequate resources misses this lesson of the last half-century: No amount of resources can prevent government from performing poorly when it tries to perform too many tasks, or particular tasks for which it is inherently unsuited."

George F. Will - Hubris heading for a fall

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Big Is Beautiful

"Financial access is key to helping the world's poor -- and tech-savvy big banks, not microcreditors, are our best hope for providing it."

Big Is Beautiful - Microcredit, Banking and the World's Poor - By Charles Kenny | Foreign Policy

Can Ecological Models Explain Global financial Markets?

"When a biological or social system is full of uniform individuals—be they bean plants or banks—one shared weakness can spell disaster for the whole lot."

Observations: Can ecological models explain global financial markets--and make them more stable?

Obama's Meaningless Regulatory Shuffle | Peter Van Doren | Cato Institute: Daily Podcast

Obama's Meaningless Regulatory Shuffle | Peter Van Doren | Cato Institute: Daily Podcast

Anti-WalMart Thugs Target Developer: Plan Protest Outside of Private Residence

"With unemployment in Washington, DC at 10.2%, it is hard to imagine anyone not wanting to see jobs added. That is, unless that someone is a union that doesn’t like the fact that WalMart operates its U.S. stores union-free."

» Anti-WalMart Thugs Target Developer: Plan Protest Outside of Private Residence - Big Government

Bureaucrats Keep Us Safe?

"Once people believe that government agents protect us, there can be no end to the avenues of “protection” bureaucrats will offer."

Bureaucrats Keep Us Safe? | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

The Beneficiaries of a Complicated Tax Code

"As my father — one of the many accountants in my lineage — likes to say, he is always grateful that Congress has chosen to take pity on the nation’s poor accountants by guaranteeing them employment for life."

Inefficiency Isn't Bad for Everyone - The Beneficiaries of a Complicated Tax Code -

Inflation Watch: Brazil

"Brazil’s central bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points and signalled further tightening in the weeks to come as Latin America’s biggest economy seeks to rein in a worrying surge in inflation." / Americas / Economy & Trade - Brazil lifts rates and signals further tightening

Corporate Taxes are Self-Defeating

"If you were establishing a new business whose products would be produced and sold worldwide, would you set it up in the United States, which now has the world's highest corporate-tax rate?"

RAHN: Corporate taxes are self-defeating - Washington Times

Fixing America's Economic Problems - Fox Business Video -

Fixing America's Economic Problems - Fox Business Video -

Rising Social Unrest May Upend Top-Down China

"While China has clearly transformed itself for the better in the past three decades, the country shows signs that it hasn't quite shed the nightmares of the past."

Rising Social Unrest May Upend Top-Down China -

Rate Rises are Coming in the UK

"Inflation is back. There is no denying it now. Prices rose 3.7pc last month, well above the consensus forecast of 3.4pc and higher even than the Bank of England’s prediction of a 3.6pc peak in the coming months."

Rate rises are coming, households should prepare - Telegraph

How the Government Caused Overinvestment in Housing

"Data indicates that the government's broader efforts to make housing an attractive investment has funneled money away from business and into the housing sector."

How the Government Caused Overinvestment in Housing - Daniel Indiviglio - Business - The Atlantic

America’s Best Days Are Still Ahead - Helen H. Wang - The Chinese Dream - Forbes

"Plenty of evidence shows that the case for an American decline is incorrect. For example, America is ranked at the top in opportunities for entrepreneurship, and 70 percent of U.S. venture capital is invested in domestic startups. America is not only the most competitive country in information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, but is also a frontrunner in agricultural innovation. American inventors register more patents than the rest of the world combined."

Think Again: America’s Best Days Are Still Ahead - Helen H. Wang - The Chinese Dream - Forbes

A Tale of Two Earthquakes

"Perhaps after the jet set has decamped, someone in Haiti of influence might ask the Chileans how to craft a society in which the people are well served and free.

A large consignment of Capitalism and Freedom, in Creole, might be the best form of aid we can give that suffering land. "

American Thinker Blog: A tale of two earthquakes

5 Business Myths to Ditch

"Feeling a little disillusioned lately? That's not a bad thing if you're an entrepreneur. There's nothing like humbling economic times to force chief executives to let go of the sacred-cow ideas and grandiose illusions they've been harboring and start building on reality. Some of the smartest business owners I know have fallen for these five myths. Ditch them. It will make your business that much stronger."

5 business myths to ditch for small business owners - Jan. 19, 2011

Top 5 Books of 2010

"A wide variety of Libertarian scholars contributed to the 2010 list of the top five books on advancing liberty. While backgrounds varied amongst the scholars, one predominant theme emerged: economic history. With one book focusing on a single century, and another focusing on the history of humanity, it is clear that 2010 has been a year of great scholastic contributions to the understanding of the economic past. While scholars are still trying to put the pieces together to understand current economic and social issues, this list is a reminder that the proper comprehension of any historical phenomena is the work of generations."

Top 5 Books of 2010 | The Atlas Network (News)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

‘There’s Only a Free Market Solution If You’re Willing to Let Lots of Poor People Get Sick and Die’

"That’s what Kevin Drum — channeling his inner Alan Grayson — thinks about free health care markets, and the people who support them.  Clearly, under government-dominated systems (including our own), no one falls through the cracks."

‘There’s Only a Free Market Solution If You’re Willing to Let Lots of Poor People Get Sick and Die’ | Cato @ Liberty

Will States Default on Their Debt?

"The problems in a California or Illinois or Michigan are so enormous that journalists have begun asking the question while some budget watchers have been debating default or bankruptcy. Nevertheless, when I asked our colleague Matthew Murray of the University of Tennessee, the lead author of our new paper, about state deficits, he said he found it highly unlikely that states would default at this time."

Will States Default on Their Debt? - Up Front Blog - Brookings Institution

West Is Best?

"In the absence of a stable democratic system based on political checks and balances, incentives to make long-term investments in new businesses and the freedom to innovate are limited. There is no guarantee that China and the Middle East will develop healthy democracies anytime soon, and both may face long periods of political turbulence. For all its present challenges, the West may continue ruling in the twenty-second century."

West Is Best? | Foreign Affairs

Government’s Obesity Crisis

"The question that will haunt America for the next several months is whether the new 112th Congress has the will to trim back the unsustainable excesses to which Washington has become accustomed or will fall back into old, unhealthy habits."

Government’s Obesity Crisis: Newsroom: The Independent Institute:

A Congress that Reasserts its Power

"Americans are exceptionally committed to limited government because they are exceptionally confident of social mobility through personal striving. And they are exceptionally immune to a distinctively modern pessimism: It holds that individuals are powerless to assert their autonomy against society's vast impersonal forces, so people must become wards of government, which supposedly is the locus and engine of society's creativity."

George F. Will - A Congress that reasserts its power:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Merchants and Craftsmen

"Merchants and craftsmen make prosperity; chiefs, priests and thieves fritter it away."

Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist

Let Freedom Ring

"The socialists were right. Capitalism and racism can't long peacefully coexist."

Let Freedom Ring - HUMAN EVENTS

The Coming Muni Meltdown

"For decades, many of our biggest cities and such states as New York, New Jersey and California have grown mindlessly -- running up ever more debt and routinely hiking taxes on business and entrepreneurs. The market's now saying that the game will have to end."

The coming muni meltdown--Charles Gasparino -

The Times Loses It

"I worry that in the tremors and hysteria of the Times we’re seeing the sad end of liberalism."

The Times Loses It | The Weekly Standard

The Imaginot Line

"Above all, like historians assessing the Maginot Line, we must avoid comforting ourselves with the judgment that the system's architects were naive and that therefore we might hope to do much better. Far more important is to be aware that defenses are vulnerable precisely where they are strongest and to be prepared to respond creatively and calmly when they fail, as they surely will again."

The Imaginot Line - By Paul Seabright | Foreign Policy

Frederick Douglass’s Irrepressible Faith in America

"In America’s dedication to principles of natural human rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence, Douglass found reason to love and identify with his country, despite the injustices that he and his people had suffered."

Morning Bell: Frederick Douglass’s Irrepressible Faith in America | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Are Politicians Serious about Spending Cuts?

"The United States fell from sixth to eighth place -- behind Canada -- in the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal's 2010 Index of Economic Freedom.  Now, in the just-released 2011 Index, the United States is in ninth place.  The biggest reason for the continued slide?  Spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), says John Stossel."

Are Politicians Serious about Spending Cuts?

Kicking Away the Ladder

"Which historical experience is most relevant for developing countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa today -- the perceived failure of state-led development and import substitution in those countries in recent decades, or the experience of Britain and the United States in the nineteenth century? Certainly China and India have answered by saying that their past policies of inward-looking socialism have failed them. Both countries have done better over the past decade or two by shedding heavy-handed government involvement in regulating the economy and allowing a greater role for market forces, even though they have not embraced every aspect of the 'Washington Consensus.' In particular, China and India have decided to become much more open to world trade and investment and have reaped benefits by exposing long protected 'infant industries' to global competition."

Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective | Economic History Services

The Intellectual and the Marketplace

"The Intellectual and the Market Place — Stigler’s classic defense of the marketplace against the discomfort felt by so many intellectuals — is well worth a quick read."

The Intellectual and the Marketplace at Steven Landsburg | The Big Questions: Tackling the Problems of Philosophy with Ideas from Mathematics, Economics, and Physics

What’s a Business to Do?

"As a matter of principle, Koch companies believe there is only one reason for any business to exist: creating value."

What’s a Business to Do? (In search of heroic capitalism) — MasterResource

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Murder, Mass Die Offs, and the Meaning of Randomness

"Patternicity is what our brains do. We can’t help it. We see those clusters of events and naturally seek out deep causal meaning in some grand overarching theory. But as often as not events in life turn on chance, randomness, and statistical probabilities that are largely beyond our control. So calls for “an end to all overt and implied appeals to violence in American politics”—such as that just issued by—may make us feel better but they will do nothing to alter the inevitability of such one-off events in the future."

Skepticblog » Murder, Mass Die Offs, and the Meaning of Randomness

The Myth of an American ‘Gun Culture’

"The right of Americans to disagree with the political elite instead of instantly deferring to the opinions and ideas of their betters is what is really at stake here."

The myth of an American ‘gun culture’ | spiked

The Invention of Money | This American Life

423: The Invention of Money | This American Life

The Coming Green Car Pileup

"All this week -- ahead of the show's opening to the public tomorrow -- the media have been reporting breathlessly on the ever-proliferating range of hybrids and plug-in vehicles on display. However, these vehicles would not exist but for Washington's leaden foot on the policy accelerator."

The coming green car pileup

Raise Taxes on Everyone Who Pays Them

"Even with bold spending cuts, there will still be a large deficit. The only realistic way to close the gap is by raising revenue. Some of it can and should come from higher taxes on the rich. But because there are far more middle-class families than wealthy ones, much of the additional money will have to come from ordinary people. Since any agreement will have to be bipartisan, Congressional Republicans will have to come to terms with this fact as well."

Obama State of the Union Speech Should Focus on Deficit -

Getting Better by Charles Kenny

"Gloom and doom have long been the default view of global poverty. It would take a clear-eyed and courageous researcher to show that the orthodox viewpoint is wrong. Such a researcher has finally appeared in Charles Kenny, who shows convincingly that most trends in human well-being worldwide, and region by region, are happily, dramatically positive. Read this delightful book and you will never look at global economic development the same way again.”

Tyler Cowen, Holbert C. Harris Professor of Economics, George Mason University

Basic Books: Review Copy Requests: Getting Better by Charles Kenny

Everybody is Working for Everybody Else

COOL IT Official Movie Website

COOL IT Official Movie Website, NOW PLAYING | Home

Learn to Love Uncertainty and Failure, Say Leading Thinkers

"Being comfortable with uncertainty, knowing the limits of what science can tell us, and understanding the worth of failure are all valuable tools that would improve people's lives, according to some of the world's leading thinkers."

Learn to love uncertainty and failure, say leading thinkers | Edge question | Science | The Guardian

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sex, Pizza or Self-Esteem?

"Given the choice, young bright college students said they’d rather get a boost to their ego — like a compliment or a good grade on a paper — than eat a favorite food or engage in sex, a new paper suggests."

Sex, Pizza or Self-Esteem? -

Mad Men: Entrepreneurs for an “Affluent Society”

"So, we should raise our glasses of whiskey, or whatever we’re drinking, in thanks to the real life Donald Drapers of the world, for helping us find what we desire."

Mad Men: Entrepreneurs for an “Affluent Society” | Foundation for Economic Education

"Essential Benefits" an Impossible Job, But They're Going to Do It Anyway

"After hours of testimony, the panel's chairman John Ball, seemed to find only one point on which everyone could agree: 'We have an impossible job.'"

'Essential benefits' a complex question in new health-care law

Economic Freedom and the Good Society

"It's not for nothing that Professor Sumner has been shouting for years that underneath the tax rates, Denmark is actually the freeest, most classically liberal, of all the major economies."

Economic freedom and the good society

Through Trade, Millions Tap Into the Talents and Knowledge and Efforts of Each Other

"Thomas Thwaites, in his brilliant demonstration of the gargantuan complexity of the simplest toaster available today on the market, notes that the toaster that he bought as a guide for his project cost him 3 pounds, 94."

Through Trade, Millions Tap Into the Talents and Knowledge and Efforts of Each Other

Two New Versions of the Cold War

"Many Western historians are most reluctant to use the word “totalitarian” with regard to Stalin’s Russia; they believe is a loaded, even propagandistic, term—not to be used by serious, dispassionate analysts. Some Russian historians and commentators have no such compunction; even the president of Russia has not shied away from using this term on occasion. Here’s Dmitri Medvedev in an interview with Izvestia from May 6, 2010: “If we speak honestly, the regime that was built in the Soviet Union cannot be called anything other than totalitarian.”"

World Affairs Journal - West Meets East: Two New Versions of the Cold War

Poll: Cut Taxes

"Americans strongly prefer cutting spending to raising taxes to reduce the federal deficit. While 77 percent prefer to cut spending, just nine percent call for raising taxes."

Poll: Americans Split on What to Cut from Government - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rent Control for the Rich, From NYC to Hanoi

"The crumbling buildings and raging fires in the South Bronx and throughout New York City in the '70s went a long way in convincing people that perhaps landlords should be allowed to collect enough rent to cover maintenance costs, and it's one of the few issues on which economists of all stripes largely agree."

Rent Control for the Rich, From NYC to Hanoi - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Film Tax Credits Are a Bad Deal: Massachusetts Edition

"The report finds that the state's $82 million film tax credit program generated $10 million in new state tax revenue in 2009."

The Tax Foundation - Film Tax Credits Are a Bad Deal: Massachusetts Edition

Making the Federal Budget | Mercatus

Making the Federal Budget | Mercatus

Dick Fisher vs. Ron Paul

"Those lawmakers who advocate 'Ending the Fed' might better turn their considerable talents toward ending the fiscal debacle that has for too long run amuck within their own house. The Fed does not create government debt; fiscal authorities do. Deficits and the unfunded liabilities of Medicare and Social Security are not created by the Federal Reserve; they are the legacy of those who control the purse strings―the Congress, working with the president."

Dick Fisher vs. Ron Paul - Street Sweep: Fortune's Wall Street Blog

Cigarettes Bad for Wealth, But There’s Life in Tobacco Yet

"If these trends continue, then by 2050 many important tobacco markets will have gone to zero smoking." / Equities - Cigarettes bad for wealth, but there’s life in tobacco yet

Bill Ritter’s ‘New Energy Economy’ Based on Old Fallacies

"If you think corporate welfare “creates jobs,” you might be an outgoing Colorado governor."

Denver Daily - Bill Ritter’s ‘new energy economy’ based on old fallacies

Thursday, January 13, 2011

S&P, Moody's Warn On U.S. Credit Rating

"Moody's Investors Service said in a report Thursday that the U.S. will need to reverse an upward trajectory in the debt ratios to support its triple-A rating."

S&P, Moody's Warn On U.S. Credit Rating -

Book review: The Price of Everything

"As a piece of lay economics, Mr. Porter's book isn't worth a great deal. As a Democratic policy tract, it's standard fare. But as a window into liberal provincialism, 'The Price of Everything' is invaluable."

Book review: The Price of Everything -

Climate Change: Junk In, Junk Out

"We can hardly dig out of one snowstorm before another hits, yet the believers keep telling us global warming is here. A new climate model, however, is showing that the projections of doom have been wrong."

Editorial: Climate Change: Junk In, Junk Out -

Pension Pledges Have Left UK and US 'insolvent'

"The world's most advanced economies, including Britain and the US, would be insolvent if they accounted properly for the pension and health pledges made to their aging populations, an authoritative report has warned."

Pension pledges have left UK and US 'insolvent' - Telegraph

Illinois State Income Tax Hikes Hit Businesses Hard

"The tax increase has vaulted Illinois into the top ranks of states with the highest corporate rates"

Illinois state income tax hikes hit businesses hard - Jan. 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Trouble With Liberty

"Libertarians, of both left and right, haven’t been this close to power since 1776. But do we want to live in their world?"

The Trouble With Liberty

Denis Dutton, Intellectual Entrepreneur

"Dutton’s genius lay not in his philosophy, but in his capacity to provoke intelligently. Look at him speaking at a TED conference last year, and you see not only a thinker, but also a charmer, a gentle bruiser, an ironist. Even more than an intellectual, he was an intellectual entrepreneur."

Denis Dutton,javascript:void(0) Intellectual Entrepreneur by Robert Cottrell | NYRBlog | The New York Review of Books

Puritanism, Paternalism, and Power

"Live and let live” would appear to be a simple, sensible guide to social life, but obviously many Americans reject this creed with a vengeance. They find toleration so unpleasant that they support the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of individuals whose personal behavior they regard as offensive. Why do so many Americans favor the use of coercive sanctions to enforce repression? Perhaps the answer lies in our history . . ."

Puritanism, Paternalism, and Power: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

Can We Trust the GOP?

Historically, Republicans have often been worse spenders than Democrats."

Can We Trust the GOP? - Reason Magazine

Steep, Lasting Drop in Wages

"To an extent rarely seen in recessions since the Great Depression, wages for a swath of the labor force this time have taken a sharp and swift fall."

Downturn's Ugly Trademark: Steep, Lasting Drop in Wages -

Hyberbole, Ignorance, or Something Worse?

On Today: Spike Lee Attacks NRA, Calls USA 'Most Violent Country In History of Civilization'

Imagine No Possesions

John Lennon's first car, a Ferrari, for sale - Jan. 12, 2011

Media Hysteria

"America is safer than ever.  Crime is down.  Political assassinations are rare.  They were once much more common.  Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy were murdered.  So were Senators James Hinds, Huey Long, Robert Kennedy and Rep. Ryan Leo. The shooting of Congresswoman Giffords was the first such incident in more than thirty years.  There is little that can be done to stop a crazy person from committing a crazy act."

Media Hysteria « John Stossel

The States in Crisis

"Over the past three years, the news out of state capitals has been dire. From Albany to Sacramento, economic shocks have reduced states' tax revenues, even as the downturn has required states to spend more on welfare for the struggling and newly jobless. The Great Recession has thus torn gaping holes in state budgets — holes that governors and state legislatures are now desperately trying to close."

The States in Crisis > Publications > National Affairs

How's that Stimulus/Green Jobs Thing Workin' Out?

"It seems that we've just had another belly flop in a long list of belly flops proving that politically conjured jobs, which exist solely because of wealth transfers from the taxpayer, are temporary, even if their creation kills real jobs in both opportunity cost, and otherwise."

The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : How's that Stimulus/Green Jobs Thing Workin' Out?

China and Intellectual Property Theft

"As the scholar Zhang Guoqing wrote in a Chinese newspaper recently, “A high unemployment rate and the trouble in stimulating the economy” are helping to create “enormous hidden dangers” in the United States.

One of those dangers is the possibility that American politicians will eventually decide that tough talk isn’t enough to satisfy voters’ anger. If that day comes, the United States and China could end up in a trade war that only worsens the situation for both countries."

China and Intellectual Property Theft -

Ambassador Terry Miller and Bill Beach on the Index of Economic Freedom

"Ambassador Terry Miller and policy expert Bill Beach discuss the release of the 2011 Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom. David Weinberger hosts."

Ambassador Terry Miller and Bill Beach on the Index of Economic Freedom: Heritage in Focus, January 12, 2011 | The Heritage Foundation

Sowell Says Abolish the Fed

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Crash from an Austrian Perspective

"We should not ask what pricked the bubble, but what inflated it in the first place."

The crash from an Austrian perspective | The Spectator

The Authoritarian Media

"Its authority dwindling, the New York Times is resorting to authoritarian tactics--slandering its competitors in the hope of tearing them down."

The Authoritarian Media -

The Impact of Regulation on Investment and the U.S. Economy

"Bad policies can increase total jobs, and good policies can decrease total jobs."

The Impact of Regulation on Investment and the U.S. Economy | Mercatus

Big Business to Obama: The Fight's Not Over

"In his annual 'State of American Business' address on Tuesday, Donohue zeroed in on overzealous rulemaking as a potential hamstring to the economic recovery -- pointing in particular to the implementation of the health care and financial reform laws and plans by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions."

Big business to Obama: The fight's not over - Jan. 11, 2011

Never Waste a Crisis

"We libertarians cringe when presented with a “national tragedy” like the shooting of Gabriella Giffords.  Not because we are somehow more or less sensitive to vilence and loss of life, but because we begin bracing for the immediate, badly thought-out expansion of state power that nearly always follows any such tragedy, whether it be 9/11 or Columbine or Oklahoma City or even Pearl Harbor."

Never Waste a Crisis - Warren Meyer - Coyote Den - Forbes

Latin America Needs Free Trade and Drug Legalization

"’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Mary Anastasia O’Grady, a member of the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board and a Journal columnist specializing in Latin America, to talk about the outlook for the region – and how free trade and drug legalization would go a long way to solving Latin America’s problems."

» Latin America Needs Free Trade and Drug Legalization – Q and A with the WSJ’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady - Big Government

The Science of Right and Wrong

"Harris’s program of a science-based morality is a courageous one that I wholeheartedly endorse, but how do we resolve conflicts over such hotly contested issues as taxes?"

Michael Shermer » The Science of Right and Wrong:

China and Wind: What a Waste

"Setting aside the matter that wind turbines are not an effective means to supply utility-scale electricity, the claims of job creation and 21st century industrial development are equally illusory."

China and Wind: What a Waste — MasterResource

America's Elite Hijacked Massacre to Take Revenge

"History shows how dangerous it is to try to second-guess the motives of political assassins.

John Hinckley shot Ronald Reagan because he was obsessed with the actress Jodie Foster, not because he hated Right-wingers.

Likewise, Lynette Fromme tried to shoot Gerald Ford because she revered the cult killer Charles Manson.

But those lessons from ­history won’t stop some Democrats exploiting the shooting of a nine-year-old girl and five others at the weekend with precisely the sort of foam-flecked over-reaction for which they love to condemn their opponents on the Right."

Arizona shooting: America's elite hijacked massacre to take revenge on Sarah Palin | Mail Online

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Charlatans' Response to the Tucson Tragedy

"A characteristic of many contemporary minds is susceptibility to the superstition that all behavior can be traced to some diagnosable frame of mind that is a product of promptings from the social environment. From which flows a political doctrine: Given clever social engineering, society and people can be perfected. This supposedly is the path to progress. It actually is the crux of progressivism. And it is why there is a reflex to blame conservatives first."

George F. Will - The charlatans' response to the Tucson tragedy

The New Versus the New-New

"My point is that new technologies threaten young technologies more than they threaten ancient ones."

The new versus the new-new | The Rational Optimist…

Rhee's New Group Calls for Changes in Education

"Michelle Rhee, who gained national attention as the chancellor of schools in Washington, D.C., called Monday for giving students government-funded vouchers to attend private schools, rating principals based on student achievement and getting rid of teacher tenure."

Rhee's New Group Calls for Changes in Education -

Generosity, Trussed - Innovations

"Greenlining in this context is essentially an effort to intimidate foundations into channeling a higher percentage of their resources to “minority” concerns. Greenlining also calls on foundations to add members of minority groups to their boards and staffs. It bears some similarity to the tactics that ACORN used to bully banks into giving loans to unqualified borrowers. We know how that worked out."

Generosity, Trussed - Innovations - The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Microfinance Backlash

"Politicians in some developing countries are encouraging borrowers not to repay their loans. And a few studies have cast doubt on the benefits of lending small amounts of money to very poor people — a practice that has long been held up as one of the most promising ways to help people work their way out of profound poverty."

The Microfinance Backlash : Planet Money : NPR