Monday, February 28, 2011

Economics and Protest in the Middle East

"What the region needs is less crony capitalism and more competition. What it may get is political reform accompanied by economic stasis. When it comes to solving people’s economic woes, toppling the tyrants could turn out to be the easy part."

Economics and Protest in the Middle East : The New Yorker

A Quick Look at U.S. Government Debt

"Federal debt held by the public now stands at nearly $10 trillion, and it will soon fly past this marker. As the government continues to run budget deficits of $1.5 trillion or more, the debt will mount rapidly. Although the government projects a turnaround in this fiscal profligacy, its actions so far belie its promises. Nevertheless, the bond market may eventually rein in the Treasury, as investors lose confidence in the government’s ability to meet its contracted obligations."

A Quick Look at U.S. Government Debt | The Beacon:

A Free Trade Agenda

"Americans benefit from trade.  The administration and Congress should pursue a comprehensive strategy on behalf of freer trade."

U.S. Needs To Seriously Pursue A Free Trade Agenda - Doug Bandow - The Politics of Plunder - Forbes

Money, Inflation, and Rising World Commodity Prices

"The Fed’s low-interest policy has fueled not only a commodities boom, but a real-estate bubble in Asian countries and elsewhere."

Money, Inflation, and Rising World Commodity Prices | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Middle America Rejects Big Government

"A government intertwined with the private sector inevitably picks winners and losers. It allows well-positioned insiders to game the system for private gain. It bails out the improvident and sticks those who made prudent decisions with the bill.

Modest-income Americans think this is wrong. They want it fixed more than they want a few more bucks in their paychecks."

Middle America rejects big government--Michael Barone -

Unions vs. the Right to Work

"The national fiscal crisis and recession that began in 2008 had many ill effects, including the ongoing crises of pension and health-care obligations in many states. But at least one positive consequence is that the required return to fiscal discipline has caused reexamination of the growth in economic and political power of public-employee unions."

Robert Barro: Unions vs. the Right to Work -

Yaron Brook Speaks at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit

"His speech focuses on the idea that freedom lies in stresses a single, fundamental principle, the principle of individual rights, rather than vague terms such as fiscal responsibility (can be done through taxation) or limited government (can suggest democracy rather than a republic)."

Capitalism Magazine - VIDEO: Yaron Brook Speech at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Adding Zero to Zero

"Economists have studied the economic impact of stadiums to death, and the clear consensus is that there is no positive impact,” said author and sports economist J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State University. “Economists don’t agree on a lot, but right wing, left wing, they all agree on that.”

“It’s just adding zero to zero,” Bradbury said."

Venue’s benefit to public unclear  |

Politics and Government “Investment”

"I hope that you are as tired as I am of hearing politicians trot out the term “investment” to justify spending the taxpayers’ money on such things as high-speed rail, “green” energy alternatives to fossil fuels, innovative R&D projects and highways, more widespread Internet access and other so-called infrastructure."

Politics and Government “Investment” | The Beacon

Civil Discourse For Some

"Liberalism and socialism do not, and by their nature cannot, speak the language of reason, logic, and factual discourse because by definition this ideology is committed to the use of force -- not persuasion."

Capitalism Magazine - Civil Discourse For Some

The Irony of the Tragedy of the Commons

"I've never seen a behavioural economics study on this, but I'm sure somebody's done it, because it seems pretty widespread: people generally prefer rules telling them something is not allowed, rather than charges making them pay for it, even if the latter are clearly more efficient at maximising social value."

Environmental regulation: The irony of the tragedy of the commons | The Economist

End Forced Unionism

"The problem with unionism is that those who do not feel such an agreement is needed are compelled to surrender their right to bargain for their working conditions and compelled, as well, to support a vast, expensive bureaucracy of labor satraps.   It is coercion of workers masked as industrial democracy. "

American Thinker: End Forced Unionism

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Everything You Need to Know about Whether State and Local Bureaucrats Are Over-Compensated, in One Chart

"Every labor economist, right or left, will agree that higher 'quit rates' are much more likely in sectors that are underpaid and lower levels are much more likely in sectors where compensation is generous."

Everything You Need to Know about Whether State and Local Bureaucrats Are Over-Compensated, in One Chart | Cato @ Liberty

Do the Rich Oppress the Poor?

"Before answering this question it is necessary to put into better relief the distinctive feature of capitalism as against that of a status society."

Do the Rich Oppress the Poor? - Ludwig von Mises - Mises Daily

Barbara Branden on Atlas Shrugged

"To a remarkable degree, the movie captures the spirit, the sense of life, that was Ayn Rand's alone."

Barbara Branden on Atlas Shrugged, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Whitewashing the History of Organized Labor

"As scholars ranging from the liberal political scientist Ira Katznelson to the libertarian legal historian David Bernstein have now documented, organized labor’s rise to power typically came at the expense of black workers."

Whitewashing the History of Organized Labor - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Finding Your Worth

"The best way to find out what your time is truly worth is to observe a vigorous competition between those who wish to purchase it. "

Finding Your Worth - HUMAN EVENTS

Atlas Shrugged: Is Hollywood About to Destroy a Classic?

"What should be portrayed in the film is the ultimate bankruptcy of Marxism/socialism and the Robin Hood class of a self enriching elite, always claiming to act for the benefit and in the name of the people they ultimately oppress. In the book the society decays and collapses because those in control do not create any wealth but conspire to appropriate and consume the wealth created by others, wrapping it up of course in the obligatory self-justifying but bankrupt cause."

Atlas Shrugged: Is Hollywood about to destroy a classic? » The Cobden Centre

A Libertarian Antipoverty Agenda

"About a month ago I published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer arguing that poor Americans today are better off than poor Americans were back in the early 1970s (and certainly before that).  Not surprisingly, it has generated quite a stream of “fan mail” from those who either cannot or will not believe it.  I’m used to getting strong reactions like that, although one of the responses was among the nastiest pieces of fan mail I’ve ever received.  But what really bothers me about several of these responses is the accusation that I “hate” poor people and don’t care about their well-being."

A Libertarian Antipoverty Agenda | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Paul Krugman's Third World Fantasy

"In this world, when you tax a citizen a bit less to try to generate economic growth, you are not taking less from the taxpayer but 'stealing' from a third party who at some point in his life was told he had an indelible right to your wallet, no matter the cost."

Harsanyi: Paul Krugman's Third World fantasy - The Denver Post

Who’s Afraid of Stuff?

"Ideas like economic growth and material development are worth defending against those who obsess about ‘stuff’. Because if we don’t, if we accept their low horizons, it will be humanity that is stuffed."

sp!ked review of books | Who’s afraid of stuff?

The False Promise of Green Energy

"The failure of the twentieth century’s utopian experiments suggests caution in undertaking such widespread transformations of society. The master resource requires a free market path, not a road to serfdom."

The False Promise of Green Energy (new Cato book packs a punch) — MasterResource

The Fiscal Crisis Of The Welfare State

"Modern democracy is a racket; a racket where the marks and confidence tricksters are one and the same:  The People.  The People, of course don’t do the dirty deeds themselves; they hire third-party made men—politicians and bureaucrats who call themselves “public servants”—who eventually ensconce themselves in their jobs through perks and government-employee unions and thus become the greatest organized gang in the game."

The Fiscal Crisis Of The Welfare State - Lawrence Hunter - Back on the Margin - Forbes

Koch Executives Speak Out on Wisconsin

"“With the Left trying to intimidate the Koch brothers to back off of their support for freedom and signaling to others that this is what happens if you oppose the administration and its allies, we have no choice but to continue to fight,” says Richard Fink, the executive vice president of Koch Industries. “We will not step back at all. We firmly believe that economic freedom has benefited the overwhelming majority of society, including workers, who earn higher wages when you have open and free markets. When government grows as it has with the Bush and Obama administrations, that is what destroys prosperity.”"

Koch Executives Speak Out on Wisconsin - Robert Costa - National Review Online

Economists Diagnose Libya With 'Resource Curse'

"Libya's economy is entirely based on exporting oil to other countries. It has what's known as the resource curse, according to economists. That is, countries with vast natural resource wealth and no homegrown industries are often corrupt and repressive."

Economists Diagnosis Libya With 'Resource Curse' : NPR

What Bourbon Can Teach You

"Companies often get into trouble when they try to grow too big too fast."

Van Winkle bourbon: Creating the ultimate cult brand - Feb. 25, 2011

How to Live Freer in New Hampshire

"If New Hampshire becomes a right-to-work state, it would be the only New England state that does not force workers to join a union and pay dues"

How to Live Freer in New Hampshire -

Aerotropolis: The Airport-Based Global City of Tomorrow

"Thanks to the jet engine, Dubai has been able to transform itself from a backwater into a perfectly positioned hub for half of the planet's population. It now has more in common with Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangalore than with Saudi Arabia next door. It is a textbook example of an aerotropolis, which can be narrowly defined as a city planned around its airport or, more broadly, as a city less connected to its land-bound neighbors than to its peers thousands of miles away. The ideal aerotropolis is an amalgam of made-to-order office parks, convention hotels, cargo complexes and even factories, which in some cases line the runways. It is a pure node in a global network whose fast-moving packets are people and goods instead of data. And it is the future of the global city."

Aerotropolis: The Airport-Based Global City of Tomorrow -

New York Prices Itself Out Of The Market

"Anyone who believes high tax rates bring prosperity need only look at New York. Soak-the-rich rates there contribute to a wealth and talent drain the state can't afford."

Editorial: New York Prices Itself Out Of The Market -

Oil Leak

"According to Capital Economics, a research firm in London...the next trouble spot could be Venezuela."

Venezuela's economy: Oil leak | The Economist:

Life Is Rigged For Oligarchs As Well As Ordinary Russians

"When the 47 year old Khodokorvsky appeared  in court in November,  he exclaimed that  he was “ashamed for my country… the bureaucracy and law enforcement machine can do whatever it wants. There is no right of private property.”"

Life Is Rigged For Oligarchs As Well As Ordinary Russians - Robert Lenzner - StreetTalk - Forbes

Merchants of Culture

"You cannot have art, as William Morris argued, without resistance in the material. Books have provided splendid resistance. But as long as there is a medium, there will always be resistance, and, with luck, art. So while we codex-bound bibliophiles may look with gloom on the future, new cultural forms worthy of the name “book” will develop in the digital world. And despite digital romantics, and though tweets and Facebook walls often do resemble Hallmark aphorisms, the new will surely be worthy of a love that stretches well beyond the greetings card."

Merchants of Culture by John B. Thompson et al, reviewed by Paul Duguid - TLS

Memo to Syria

"If you are a despot, unleashing entrepreneurship can be bad for your job security."

Memo to Syria -

The Political Economy of Government Employee Unions

"It is the old socialist trick that Frédéric Bastiat wrote about in his famous essay, The Law: The unions view advocates of school privatization, not as legitimate critics of a failed system, but as haters of children. And the unions treat critics of the welfare state, not as persons concerned with the destruction of the work ethic and of the family that has been caused by the welfare state, but as enemies of the poor."

The Political Economy of Government Employee Unions by Thomas DiLorenzo

Bastiat, Hazlitt in Chesapeake

"'Law is force. Since the law organizes justice, the socialists ask why the law also should not organize labor, education and religion.' Or maybe swimming pools. I added that one in there. I'm sure he didn't say that back in 1850.'"

Bastiat, Hazlitt in Chesapeake | |

Ghosts of Fascists Past

"The overall picture is not one that elicits great enthusiasm and enormous optimism. Nor, however, is it one of unremitting deep gloom. Europe will gradually recover from its present travails. Prejudice and discontent will be managed. And life will go on."

Ghosts of Fascists Past | The National Interest

Is ‘Shutting Down Government’ A Threat Or A Promise?

"As the state grows faster than the private economy, we will eventually overdose. Collapse would have already come except for the amazing regenerative powers of the market. A market opportunistic politicians belittle and abuse at every turn even as it pays their bills and saves their hides."

Is ‘Shutting Down Government’ A Threat Or A Promise? - Bill Flax - The Courage To Do Nothing - Forbes

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Astonishing Genius Of Men In Tights

"Oddly dressed luminaries two centuries ago created the kind of financial stability that today's central bankers couldn't possibly conceive."

The Astonishing Genius Of Men In Tights -

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting Better by Charles Kenny

"As the income gap between developed and developing nations grows, so grows the cacophony of voices claiming that the quest to find a simple recipe for economic growth has failed. Getting Better, in sharp contrast, reports the good news about global progress. Economist Charles Kenny argues against development naysayers by pointing to the evidence of widespread improvements in health, education, peace, liberty—and even happiness."

Perseus Academic: Getting Better by Charles Kenny

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hayek’s Gloomy Prognosis for Egypt

"F.A. Hayek’s most important insight is that we cannot have political freedom without economic freedom. Hayek’s inexorable Road to Serfdom, from which it is difficult if not impossible to return, describes a number of today’s troubled countries, and it likely portends the future of post-Mubarak Egypt. Those caught up in the euphoria of democratic street demonstrations must confront the reality that the long-run outcome is likely to be bad."

What Paul Gregory is Writing About: Hayek’s Gloomy Prognosis for Egypt

The Curse of Natural Resources

"The nations of the Arab Middle East sit atop perhaps half of the planet's oil and a third of its natural gas reserves, yet the economies of the region are among the most stagnant."

Despite oil, Arab nations lag behind economically

Wisconsin Matters to the World

"If the forces of reason prevail, the contagion could spread like wildfire, bringing sanity to Washington and across the nation. If they don't, the best chance in many years to reverse America's slow decline will have been missed."

RealClearPolitics - Wisconsin Matters to the World:

Ms Pot May I Introduce Mr Kettle?

"But let's try to remember that the freedoms you demand for yourself are also the freedoms you must grant to everyone else, even southern plains oil & gas plutocrats."

Division of Labour

The Myth of Corporate Cash Hoarding

"The widely repeated notion that prudent corporate investments in liquid assets have somehow reduced real investments or hiring is unqualified nonsense based on inexcusable ignorance of elementary economics and accounting"

The Myth of Corporate Cash Hoarding | Alan Reynolds | Cato Institute: Commentary

Fiscal Exploitation

"If we cannot trust democratic bodies to treat government workers fairly, then we cannot trust democratic bodies generally."

Democracy diseased: Public-sector unions and fiscal exploitation | The Economist

Bastiat Revival Blog - Show #2 Online

Micheal Reber, creator of the Bastiat Revival Blog, continues his discussion on Republicans Abroad radio. You can listen to his segments online here.

Description of the segments:

Segment 3: Reber discusses Bastiat’s “The Demobilization.” He also talks about CPAC and states that “CPAC set the stage for current affairs and a need to re-evaluate the principles of limited govenment…” He comments on the “remarkable events” unfolding with Egypt…He mentions the need to be “supportive of the people and a shift in policy… For him, America should be the “shining city ” that President Reagan talked about…” whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.” Reber also comments on the President’s State of the Union Address and the President’s remarks to the US Chamber of Commerce. Reber says that these two speeches expose the President’s socialist agenda, and Reber disputes the President’s assertion the government created the Internet,as well as made other so-called investments by government, to support business.

Segment 4: Reber concludes the interview by giving his personal views on the subject of foreign policy and agrees with Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who wrote, in closing her article of the Washington Post, “The Future of Democratic Egypt” on February 16, 2011, “…Turbulence preferable to the false stability of autocracy…This is not 1979, but it is not 1989 either. The fall of communism unleashed patriots who had long regarded the United States as a “beacon of freedom.” …the Middle East is different, but…”It is as true today as it was when I said in 2005 that the fear of free choices can no longer justify the denial of liberty. We have only one choice: to trust that in the long arc of history those shared beliefs will matter more than the immediate disruptions that lie ahead and that, ultimately, our interests and ideals will be well served.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Starving the Academic Beast

"In order to ensure that budget cuts lead to better quality and efficiency, we recommend that the following six criteria be used to determine whether to reduce or eliminate appropriations: 1) reducing excessive costs or excessive growth, 2) improving quality, 3) eliminating politicization, 4) eliminating “mission creep,” 5) eliminating redundancy, and 6) eliminating programs no longer needed due to changing conditions."

Starving the Academic Beast | The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy

An Obesity Epidemic

"These examples of pension obesity were culled from the local newspapers, which never fail to shock with revelations of how good life is for those who once worked for the city, the state or any one of several public agencies."

Richard Cohen - Government pensions, an obesity epidemic

Soak the Rich! (Government Workers)

"There is a class of Americans who are situated so as to ignore the tragedies wrought by the financial and unemployment crises of the last three years, and whose buffer extends into the foreseeable future. This group is insulated from all economic shocks, immune to the vagaries that befall the common man. Behind their walls of privilege, they manipulate the system in their favor, through sweetheart arrangements with pet politicians paid for with millions upon millions in steady campaign contributions. "

American Thinker Blog: Soak the rich! (government workers)

Wisconsin's War With Union Represents Progress

"Walker’s decision to reduce public-union powers isn’t rash. It is overdue."

Wisconsin's War With Union Represents Progress: Amity Shlaes - Bloomberg

Democracy Versus Liberty

"It is truly disgusting for me to hear politicians, national and international talking heads and pseudo-academics praising the Middle East stirrings as democracy movements. We also hear democracy as the description of our own political system. Like the founders of our nation, I find democracy and majority rule a contemptible form of government.

You say, 'Whoa, Williams, you really have to explain yourself this time!'"

Democracy Versus Liberty by Walter E. Williams

Freedom, Not a Nanny

"Some people might actually benefit from the nanny state, but who decides what is in people’s interests and whether individuals can be coerced will forever separate libertarians from paternalists."

Think piece: It's freedom we need, not the nanny state

Government-Sponsored Training Programs: Failure in the US, Lessons for Canada

"The United States began a massive investment in programs of this type decades ago and, after 30 years, billions of dollars have been spent on thousands of local job-training programs. A growing body of evidence from experimental research is accumulating on the effects of such initiatives. The first objective of this study is to review the results of these studies and to draw from them policy lessons for Canada."

Government-Sponsored Training Programs: Failure in the US, Lessons for Canada

Reality Check on the Housing Market

"Veronique de Rugy explains that we shouldn’t expect to see housing prices return to the pre-recession prices of 2007. “The hike in house prices is really an anomaly,” said de Rugy. “The idea that our recovery hedges on this anomaly is incorrect.”"

Reality Check on the Housing Market | Mercatus

Monday, February 21, 2011

First Lady Hits the Slopes

School cafeterias offering braised ancho-chile short rib with hominy wild mushrooms and sauteed kale: Zero.

Working mothers with the time and money to prepare braised ancho-chile short rib with hominy wild mushrooms and sauteed kale: Zero.

Hearing about Michelle Obama's healthy meal in Vale, CO: Priceless.

First lady hits the slopes |

Wisconsin Protests: Myths vs. Facts

Wisconsin Protests: Myths vs. Facts - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

The Truth About Federal Pay

Yes, They’re Overpaid | The Weekly Standard

The End of Fannie and Freddie?

"On February 11, the day that Hosni Mubarak resigned as president of Egypt, the Obama administration released its report to Congress on reforming America’s housing finance market. The report most notably proposes phasing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two large government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). Like Mubarak, the GSEs have seen their once formidable political position reduced to one of helpless isolation, abandoned by all former supporters. However, as in Egypt, deposing former leaders does not by itself ensure a happy outcome. American housing policy is afflicted with deep political pathologies, and unless these can be confronted and overcome, a future without Fannie and Freddie could turn out to be worse than the status quo."

The End of Fannie and Freddie? | The Weekly Standard

Is It Time to Start Talking About the Future Again?

"When people are willing en masse to start talking about the future in non-apocalyptic terms, I take that as a good sign that the panic of the near-term past has officially begun to subside."

Is It Time to Start Talking About the Future Again? -

Gold, the States and Federal Monetary Policy

"Legislatures in a dozen states are considering laws making gold and silver based currencies legal tender, a power given to them by the U.S. Constitution. This is symptomatic of an uprising against the continued debasement of the dollar."

Benko: Gold, the States and Federal Monetary Policy | Community of Liberty

Who Rules America? The AARP

"The great question haunting Washington's budget debate is whether our elected politicians will take back government from the AARP, the 40 million-member organization that represents retirees and near-retirees."

RealClearPolitics - Who Rules America? The AARP

Big Debt

"Robert D. Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute and former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said that the debt accumulated by 1946 'was for a very different purpose, which was to preserve freedom and democracy versus totalitarianism rather than to throw a huge party and put it on the credit card.'"

Federal, state and local debt hits post-WWII levels

Only Intellectual Cowards Demand ‘Gross Intolerance’

"It is far easier to resolve disagreement and confusion through shutting down discussion than to practise true tolerance. Tolerance demands courage - intolerance, the outlook of the intellectual coward, merely requires a censor’s pen."

Only intellectual cowards demand ‘gross intolerance’ | spiked

A Presidents’ Day Prayer

"Great Leader, who art in Washington..."

A Presidents’ Day Prayer | The Beacon

How Great Entrepreneurs Think

"Sarasvathy concluded that master entrepreneurs rely on what she calls effectual reasoning. Brilliant improvisers, the entrepreneurs don't start out with concrete goals. Instead, they constantly assess how to use their personal strengths and whatever resources they have at hand to develop goals on the fly, while creatively reacting to contingencies. By contrast, corporate executives—those in the study group were also enormously successful in their chosen field—use causal reasoning. They set a goal and diligently seek the best ways to achieve it. Early indications suggest the rookie company founders are spread all across the effectual-to-causal scale. But those who grew up around family businesses will more likely swing effectual, while those with M.B.A.'s display a causal bent. Not surprisingly, angels and seasoned VCs think much more like expert entrepreneurs than do novice investors."

How Great Entrepreneurs Think

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Undergraduates Are Not Learning

"The university experience has become a trivialized way to enter adulthood or perhaps attenuate adolescence.  But on one point there isn’t doubt:  Undergraduates are actually learning very little, and if one were to consider this learning a precondition for competitiveness, the United States is falling behind other nations, even as the number of graduates increases."

Undergraduates Are Not Learning - HUMAN EVENTS

Private Business Net Investment Remains in a Deep Ditch

"If any one thing estimated in the Commerce Department’s National Income and Product Accounts may be described as the engine of economic growth, private domestic business net investment is that thing."

Private Business Net Investment Remains in a Deep Ditch | The Beacon

A Renegade History of the United States

"In Russell's revisionist view of American history, you see, there is 'an enduring civil war' between these two factions — the 'renegades' and the 'moral guardians,' whom he also calls the 'disciplinarians.'"

A Renegade History of the United States - Jeff Riggenbach - Mises Daily

7 Myths About Free Markets

"Fixing Arizona" by E. J. Montini

"Our state is out of money
It's billions that we need
And though it may sound funny
There's talk we may secede.

Our kids were kicked off welfare.
Our sick are out of luck.
Yet with audacious fanfare
Our leaders pass the buck.

They blame it on the migrants.
They blame it on D.C.
And when they need a new slant
They blame it on poor me.

They blame it on recession.
They blame the "Phoenix Lights."
They sometimes change direction
And say, "We need states' rights!"

The "birthers" get their blessing.
The newborns get their curse.
And while they're all digressing
We've got an empty purse.

But one man we elected
Has come up with a plan
That if it's not rejected
Would be Shakespearean.

With SB 1530
A poet we would name
To use words (that aren't dirty),
Our manners to reclaim.

Some say the bill is silly.
But what we've got is worse.
With things so willy-nilly
Why not trade vice for verse?

It wouldn't be high treason
In these unruly times
To fill our void of reason
With common sense that rhymes.

We could use a Robert Frost.
Our state does "love a wall."
Though being so obsessed with cost
We might need Monty Hall.

Perhaps an Edgar Allan Poe
To shout out, "Nevermore!"
Though leaders here put on a show
That drowns out any roar.

This kind of job is hard to sell.
Its benefits are sparse.
Our poet must be versed in hell
And also master farce.

But once we up the ante
I'm certain we'll deduce
We need one-quarter Dante
And three-quarters Dr. Seuss!"

Fixing Ariz. with rhyme, not reason

Are We Lacking “Ideas on a Grand Scale”?

"There are times when I read the editorial page of the New York Times to see what people might say when they believe they have a firm grasp of the obvious."

Are We Lacking “Ideas on a Grand Scale”? | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

The Men from McKinsey Diagnose Uncle Sam

"The report puts heavy emphasis on improving productivity in the public sector, and improving America's education system. But the public sector has proved almost impossible to reform, with temporary gains quickly being negated by vested interests (remember Al Gore's reinventing government programme); and the education system has proved even more resistant than the rest of the public sector. Alas, a country which is so good at business is pretty bad at government, and being good at government may be vital to bumping up those productivity numbers."

US productivity: The men from McKinsey diagnose Uncle Sam | The Economist

Spending Restraint, Part I: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton

"Take a couple minutes to watch Dan Mitchell's new mini-documentary released to coincide with President Obama's FY2012 proposal."

Budget and Obama: Spending Restraint, Part I: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton - CNBC

Socialism with Cheerleaders

"The National Football League is one of the most sucessful monopolies in history, on a par with OPEC in oil and DeBeers in diamonds."

Steven Pearlstein - In praise of 'socialism with cheerleaders'

Niall Ferguson's "Civilization"

Killer apps: the ideas that propelled the west to world domination

1. Competition
2. Science
3. Property
4. Modern science
5. Consumption
6. Work ethic

Niall Ferguson: 'Westerners don't understand how vulnerable freedom is' | Books | The Observer

The Great Convergence

"Convergent incomes and divergent growth – that is the economic story of our times. We are witnessing the reversal of the 19th and early 20th century era of divergent incomes. In that epoch, the peoples of western Europe and their most successful former colonies achieved a huge economic advantage over the rest of humanity. Now it is being reversed more quickly than it emerged. This is inevitable and desirable. But it also creates huge global challenges." / Comment & analysis / FT Columnists - In the grip of a great convergence

How to Stop Science From Scaring Us

"Most of the scary things we discover about our planet are infrequent and improbable, or getting a lot less scary because of human ingenuity. Stop fretting."

Matt Ridley: How to Stop Science From Scaring Us | Mind & Matter -

The Siren of Decline

"When Dambisa Moyo wrote a book claiming that aid was bad for Africa, many in the West were ecstatic. This was no right-wing, isolationist, middle-aged, white, male author, but a glamorous, young, black, female, African economist. Dead Aid won itself a load of publicity when it came out in 2009, not because its argument was particularly new, but because it came from such an unexpected source.

Moyo’s new book, How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly—and the Stark Choices Ahead, may be rather less welcome to Western audiences."

Dambisa Mayo: The Siren of Decline - Newsweek

The Wealth of Nature

In his book, The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley makes the point that natural resource wealth does not automatically equal a better standard of living for a poor country.

On the contrary, it typically leads to great wealth for just a few, and unchanging poverty for the rest. Consider the case of Angola.

Middle-Earth According to Mordor

"In Yeskov's retelling, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science 'destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!' He's in cahoots with the elves, who aim to become 'masters of the world,' and turn Middle-earth into a 'bad copy' of their magical homeland across the sea. Barad-dur, also known as the Dark Tower and Sauron's citadel, is, by contrast, described as 'that amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic.'"

Middle-earth according to Mordor - Laura Miller -

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who Owns You?

How We Know by Freeman Dyson

"As finite creatures who think and feel, we can create islands of meaning in the sea of information."

How We Know by Freeman Dyson | The New York Review of Books

Egypt's Economic Mess

"Mubarak's cronies controlled most of the economy. Entrepreneurship was stifled by red tape and cronyism. The country ranks No. 96 in the Index of Economic Freedom (out of 179 states), and No. 94 in the World Bank's Doing Business rankings (out of 183 countries). It also has one of the lowest start-up rates in the world. Educated workers found it almost impossible to get jobs that paid them decently for their skills (Mr Leonhardt points out that Egyptians who emigrated to the United States saw their earning power increase eightfold). Perhaps most worrying of all, the army, which now controls the country, is a major economic force, owning companies that produce everything from fire extinguishers to laptops."

Egyptian cities: Egypt's economic mess | The Economist

World at Risk

"The world is at risk of renewed protectionism or financial crisis if policymakers do not agree to currency and other reform, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said as G20 leaders prepared to meet in Paris."

G20 Paris: Mervyn King warns the world is at risk of protectionism or another financial crisis - Telegraph

Printing Money Without Ink

"If the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program is printing money, why is the growth of new currency in circulation below average?"

How the Fed prints money without any ink - Fortune Finance

In Wisconsin, It's The Unions Vs. Democracy

"Welcome to the reckoning. We have met the fiscal apocalypse, and it is smack dab in the middle of the heartland.

As Wisconsin goes, so goes the nation. Let us pray it does not go the way of the decrepit welfare states of the European Union."

In Wisconsin, It's The Unions Vs. Democracy -

What's at Stake in Wisconsin's Budget Battle

Who's in charge of our political system—voters or unions?

John Fund: What's at Stake in Wisconsin's Budget Battle -

How Lack Of Selection Undermines Education

"No matter how many presidents spend ever more on education, the situation gets worse."

How Lack Of Selection Undermines Education - Leapfrogging - - Forbes

Why It Pays To Be an Optimist

"RECENT RESEARCH finds evidence that optimism pays off in job hunting and promotions. Ron Kaniel, Cade Massey and David T. Robinson studied the effect of an optimistic disposition on MBA students’ job searches and then promotions in the two years after they graduated."

Why It Pays To Be an Optimist - The Magazine - MIT Sloan Management Review

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Stimulus Two Years Later

"We need to cut spending in order to grow the economy. We need to take a different path—an approach that is fiscally more prudent and that puts spending decisions in the hands of the consumers and investors rather than in the hands of bureaucrats. Cutting spending and reducing government's control over the economy is the road to stability, the road to prosperity, and the road to recovery."

The Stimulus Two Years Later | Mercatus

Thursday, February 17, 2011

UNLV is Busted Flat

UNLV president’s somber warning on budget cuts moves faculty to tears - Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011 | 2 a.m. - Las Vegas Sun

Doublespeak 102: Spending "Freeze"

"Our Big Government politicians’ solution is to throw money at every problem. In the process, they morally condemn those who created that money as “selfish” and even evil. Yet it’s that very evil they depend upon."

Capitalism Magazine - Doublespeak 102: Spending "Freeze" Means Spending Increases

Fiscal Armageddon

"...all government programs should be cut by 15 percent from last year’s budget level, including heretofore sacred defense and entitlement programs. Such reductions could be justified by saying that “we face fiscal Armageddon, and everyone has to sacrifice.”"

Across-the-Board Cuts Needed to Avoid Fiscal Armageddon: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Glaeser and Bastiat, Intellectual Neighbors

"Ed Glaeser was good, and very excited, on The Daily Show the other night, fronting his new book Triumph of the City. I look forward to getting a chance to read it. Perhaps our fine resident urban economist can blog a quick review. Meantime, I'm reminded of another great advocate of cities, Frederic Bastiat. In his Economic Harmonies, Bastiat leads the reader to recognize the great wonders of the division of labor and the concentrations of it that cities nourish."

Division of Labour: Glaeser and Bastiat, Intellectual Neighbors

“Shared Value” and State Capitalism

"Underneath its appeals to “meeting human needs,” however, Porter and Kramer are concerned much more with recapturing the values of some apparently not-so-distant past where Big Business was looked on as a neighborly paragon of virtue."

“Shared Value” and State Capitalism

F.A. Hayek | Foundation for Economic Education

F.A. Hayek | Foundation for Economic Education

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Green Hole in the Ground

"None of the government's 214 biomass promotion projects — with public funding coming to ¥6.55 trillion — over the past six years has produced effective results in the struggle against global warming, according to an official report released Tuesday."

Trillions for biomass projects fruitless | The Japan Times Online

Businesspeople Aren't Stupid

"Successful businesspeople are not stupid. That's why they are successful!"

Tell Obama Businesspeople Aren't Stupid -

Deconsumption Versus Dematerialization

"How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement: We’d all be better off if we consumed less."

Deconsumption Versus Dematerialization - Reason Magazine

Capitalism Kills AIDS

"Has anyone noticed the 800-pound gorilla called AIDS hasn't been in the room for years? It's disappeared from the political radar because Big Bad Pharma tamed it."

Capitalism Kills AIDS -

Follow The Unspent Money

"If the politicians are looking for places to cut spending, how about the hundreds of billions in appropriated but unspent funds, some of which have remained unspent for two decades?"

Follow The Unspent Money -

Inflation Watch: The World

"Rising food prices pushed tens of millions of people into extreme poverty last year and are reaching 'dangerous levels' in some countries, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Tuesday as he released new data showing the cost of grain and other staples is now near a historic high."

Food prices push millions into poverty

Bill O’Reilly vs. Ron Paul

"If Ron Paul's not running for President, who will point out the evils of big government? It needs to be said. It woke some people up last time.  I wish O’Reilly would listen.  In some ways, he’s a big government guy.  He wants to fight a War on Drugs, investigate oil companies, and forbid insurance compaines from demanding more money from people with pre-existing conditions.  He should spend some time listening to ron Paul."

Bill O’Reilly vs. Ron Paul « John Stossel

Beyond Intellectualism

"Got a problem? Analyze it as cleanly as possible, and then, having seen its roots, solve it. And don't waste time dropping the names of any fancy French philosophers."

Beyond Intellectualism

Monday, February 14, 2011

‘Peak Oil’ Price Wager

Matt Simmons’s Failed ‘Peak Oil’ Price Wager (Julian Simon rides again!) — MasterResource

White House Cuts the 2%

The White House's proposed budget for the 2012 fiscal year includes spending cuts of $1.1-trillion over 10 years (or $110B/yr). Two-thirds of this $1.1T (or $730B) are from spending cuts, the rest ($336B) is from projected revenue increases (which really isn't a spending cut at all is it?). Now for the easy math...

Current annual budget = $3.7T
(optimistically then, $37T over the next 10 years)

Proposed savings over these next 10 yrs = $730B

730,000,000,000 / 37,000,000,000,000 = .02 (or 2%)

Not really much to write home about....

See the article here.

Cowen on "The Great Stagnation"

"Cowen argues that in the last four decades, the growth in prosperity for the average family has slowed dramatically in the United States relative to earlier decades and time periods. Cowen argues that this is the result of a natural slowing in innovation and that we expect too much growth relative to what is possible. Cowen expects improvements in the rate of growth in the future when new areas of research yield high returns. The conversation includes a discussion of the implications of Cowen's thesis for politics and public policy."

EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

China Now #2

Watson, the Jeopardy Challenger

"All of this is more than a game. Deep, natural-language analysis could mean big things for business, health and anything where massive amounts of data need to be scoured smartly."

I Stumped Watson: And 7 Other Essential Bits About The Jeopardy Challenger - Michael Humphrey - Techno-tainers - Forbes

The Worst Violators of Campus Rights

"These Red Alert institutions have displayed severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of their students or faculty members and are the "worst of the worst" when it comes to liberty on campus."

'U.S. News' Readers: FIRE's Red Alert List Exposes the Worst Violators of Campus Rights - FIRE

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Honduras's Experiment With Free-Market Cities

"What advocate of free markets hasn't, at one time or another, fantasized about running away to a desert island to start a country where economic liberty would be the law of the land? If things go according to plan, more than one such 'island' may soon pop up here."

O'Grady: Honduras's Experiment With Free-Market Cities -

Learn Liberty

Learn Liberty

What We Say And What We Mean

Animation of a talk by Stephen Pinker.

What We Say And What We Mean - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Wal-Mart Lures Young People to a Life of Crime?

Wal-Mart Could Help DC in More Ways than One | Cato @ Liberty

The "Green Energy" Myth

"The fundamental problem is that green-energy technologies are still very inefficient and expensive compared to fossil fuels. Deploying less efficient, more expensive alternative-energy sources will hurt businesses and consumers, not help them."

The "green energy" myth: More efficient energy won't create more jobs. - By Bjørn Lomborg - Slate Magazine

Your Life According to the Government

An entertaining, if not completely accurate, video.

A Cloud in Every Silver Lining

"Ever since opening my own eyes by researching my book, I keep a watching brief for egregious examples of pessimistic bias in the media. Once your eyes adjust, the media's tendency to spot a cloud in every silver lining is very striking.

But just as striking is its ability to ignore anything that reaches optimistic conclusions."

Seeing a cloud in every siler lining | The Rational Optimist…

Defrosting the Obamalogic

"Progress is built into markets. Governments? Not so much."

Common Sense with Paul Jacob - Brought to You by Citizens in Charge Foundation » Archive » Defrosting the Obamalogic

'Chaffing' Under Easy Money

"QE2 is clearly not to blame for the burning of the Middle East, but it has a hand in driving up food and energy prices around the world. Unfortunately, rising food and energy prices act like a tax on the global consumer. You need to spend more of your paycheck to fill up your gas tank or to buy a loaf of bread."

Egypt, others are 'chaffing' under Fed easy money policy -
The increasing cost of bread in particular has caused many riots in impoverished countries; Tunisia and Egypt are just the most recent examples."

Raise Taxes, Lose Jobs

"'We have the worst business tax climate in the country and the worst combined state and local tax burden in the country"

NY biz owners fed up with exorbitant taxes -

The Great Crimes of the Great Leader

"However you slice it, Mao was a monster - and it's high time for China to tear down his remaining posters and replace them with monuments to his victims."

Mao's Great Famine and Depraved Indifference, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Heretics in the Holy City

"To be a tea party enthusiast in the District means being treated as an oddity, both by other Washingtonians and by other tea party members."

For D.C.'s few tea party residents, home can at times feel like enemy territory

The Arab 1989?

"The uprisings sweeping across the Middle East portend a political transformation as significant as those of 1989. The economic stagnation of the region, the failures of corrupt and repressive autocratic regimes, conjoined with a disenchanted youthful population wired together as never before, have triggered a political struggle few anticipated. Yet 1989 is not an entirely clear point of reference - the emergence of peaceful mass movements of change is a parallel, but the pull of the West, so marked in 1989, is weaker and more complex. Accordingly, the path ahead for these brave, inspiring, challenging movements is more uncertain."

The Arab 1989? | openDemocracy

On Growth Through Planning

"One of the rather annoying memes running around is that certain of the East Asian tigers managed to grow their economies through the use of planning rather than markets: thus we too should have more planning and less markets."

On growth through planning

Nick Clegg's New Drive on Civil Liberties in the UK

"I need to say this - you shouldn't trust any government, actually including this one. You should not trust government - full stop. The natural inclination of government is to hoard power and information; to accrue power to itself in the name of the public good."

New Statesman - Nick Clegg's new drive on civil liberties

Pursuing Perfection, Finding Excellence

"That is the message that Vince Lombardi told the Packer players who previously went 1-10 as he took over the head coaching job in Green Bay"

Pursuing Perfection, Finding Excellence - Coordination Problem

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Great Stagnation

"At $4 and the length of two New Yorker articles, Tyler Cowen's 15,000-word ebook 'The Great Stagnation' is well worth the time and money.

The basic thesis of the book is that advanced economies are slowing down because the pace of innovation is slowing down. It's because in the 20th century, we benefited from, in Cowen's words, a lot of 'low-hanging fruit' before, and that fruit is picked."

Worth A Look: Tyler Cowen's 'The Great Stagnation'

Can Monetary Policy Really Create Jobs?

"In summary, the Fed’s monetary policies tend to create temporary and unsustainable increases in employment while being the very engine of recession and depression that creates a much greater degree of job destruction and unemployment."

Can Monetary Policy Really Create Jobs?: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

Communist Tract of the Day

"H. Bruce Franklin is a man of many hats. A professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers, he has written respected books on Melville, menhaden, and the history of science fiction, among other subjects. He is also the author of one of the most bizarre exercises in historical interpretation that I've ever read: the introduction to a collection called The Essential Stalin. This essay isn't just an ode to Stalin. It's an ode to Stalin published in 1972, painting him as a People's Hero that the New Left could love. If you're an aficionado of revisionism gone wrong, this is your Holy Grail."

Communist Tract of the Day - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

No, We Can't Just Have More Entrepreneurs

"We'd all like to have more entrepreneurs in the economy, of course. Those lighting rods of the business world who are able to see new ways of putting together extant resources to produce new, better, even cheaper, products for the rest of us to enjoy.

But it turns out that 'encouraging entrepreneurship' is more difficult that it seems. Telling people to go and do something new doesn't inspire all that many to do so."

No, we can't just have more entrepreneurs

Some Free Market Reflections

"(1) A “sustainable” energy system, as that term is commonly used, will likely not materialize in our lifetimes; (2) except for heavily-subsidized wind, solar, and biofuel energy, the current, largely fossil fuel-based energy system is already sustainable; and (3) the “sustainable energy” agenda imperils the improving state of the world and, therefore, is politically unsustainable."

‘Sustainability’: Some Free Market Reflections — MasterResource

The Heretic - a Review

"Book your tickets now, this play is a must-see comedy.

It has everything - more accurate climate science than a BBC documentary (ok, that's not exactly hard), brilliantly funny and wonderfully staged."

- Bishop Hill blog - The Heretic - a review

A 'Wingnut Argument' For The Gold Standard

"There's a few universal things. Sex, mathematics, music, gold — all these things are universal."

A 'Wingnut Argument' For The Gold Standard : Planet Money : NPR:

Just In Time for Valentine's Day

Video - Not Having Enough Sex? Economic Theory May Help -

Unless You're Dating an Economist, Don't Mention This on Valentine's Day

"Economics and Valentine's Day go together like broccoli and chocolate. But we're a business site, so we can't help but see the news through supply and demand -- even when the news is candy hearts and flowers."

Valentine's Day: Just Another Liberal Stimulus? - Derek Thompson - Business - The Atlantic

Why We Need to Meet in Person

"Teleconferencing is a booming business, doubling in sales to $1.6 billion in the last five years. But we all know in our guts that even the fanciest high tech systems (some cost as much as $600,000) can’t replace getting together in the flesh."

Why We Need to Meet in Person - Susan Adams - Getting Ahead - Forbes

This is Not Your Father's Farm

"Precision agriculture is saving farmers across the country millions of dollars annually and dramatically reducing the impact of large-scale agriculture on the environment by avoiding unnecessary application of fertilizers and pesticides to crops."

American Agriculture’s ‘Sputnik Moment’ - William Pentland - Clean Beta - Forbes

Dunbar's Number

"Mr. Dunbar's eponymous number is 147.8, plus or minus a lot, and it is the size of the average human being's social network of friends, as predicted by the size of the average human brain."

Dunbar's number and individual differences | The Rational Optimist…

Will the current turmoil in the Arab world turn out to be good for business and the world economy? | The Economist

Will the current turmoil in the Arab world turn out to be good for business and the world economy? | The Economist

Friday, February 11, 2011

Learn Liberty

Learn Liberty

Obama's Nanny-State Control of Business Will Crimp Growth | Competitive Enterprise Institute

Obama's Nanny-State Control of Business Will Crimp Growth | Competitive Enterprise Institute

New at Reason: Veronique de Rugy on the Myth of the Global Food Crisis - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

New at Reason: Veronique de Rugy on the Myth of the Global Food Crisis - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

A History of the Climate Agenda | Foundation for Economic Education

A History of the Climate Agenda | Foundation for Economic Education

Atlas Shrugged Movie, Part I

Quarterly Economic Update February 2011

Quarterly Economic Update February 2011 | Mercatus

Cars and Drivers

After demonizing Toyota, the government has concluded that the problem is not the privately-produced car. It's the government-approved driver.

Unintended acceleration: How drivers can avoid it - Feb. 11, 2011

Opportunity or a Crisis?

"The more likely scenario is that the debt-ceiling “crisis” will be used for political grandstanding...Hopefully, responsible politicians will use this opportunity to strong-arm the irresponsible ones into accepting spending controls with serious teeth."

Raising the Debt Ceiling: An Opportunity or a Crisis? | Mercatus

'Madoff-style' Pensions Will Spark Crisis

"Britain's civil servants must be weaned off their gold-plated final salary pensions to avert a 'fiscal calamity', a new report into the looming pension crisis has warned."

Public sector's 'Madoff-style' pensions pyramid will spark crisis, warns Centre for Policy Studies - Telegraph Video Network | Business: Lessons From A Beauty Entrepreneur Video Network | Business: Lessons From A Beauty Entrepreneur

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Hypocrisy of Michael Moore

"Mr. Moore is demanding $2.7 million in unpaid profits that he says are owed to him. He has already pocketed nearly $20 million in profits from the blockbuster documentary. In other words, he has reaped a huge financial windfall. But this is not enough for him.

Mr. Moore has built an entire career - a vast personal industry - upon denouncing capitalism, the profit motive and “greedy” corporations. He is exhibiting the very behavior he claims to abhor."

KUHNER: The hypocrisy of Michael Moore - Washington Times

God in the Marketplace

"Their mindset is captured by Dave Evans, co-founder of the videogame giant Electronic Arts and a design professor at Stanford. Mr. Evans talks more like a theologian than a former Apple engineer. He points out that Genesis says that humans were created in the image of God, so all of our work—not just church work—is holy. We are called to be co-creators, with God, of a flourishing life on Earth. 'It is really a profound act of engaging the kingdom of God,' says Mr. Evans."

Rob Moll: Doing God's Work—At the Office -

"Bourgeois Dignity"

Deirdre McCloskey on "Bourgeois Dignity" | Mercatus

Who Lost His Job so You Could Get Yours?

"All subsidies to the electric power sector divert money that would otherwise be invested in higher value wealth and job-creating activities."

Who lost his job so you could get your 'green job'? | Timothy P. Carney | Beltway Confidential | San Francisco Examiner

Japanese View Of U.S. Tort System

Funny(?) Video Shows Japanese View Of U.S. Tort System - Daniel Fisher - Full Disclosure - Forbes

Diversity, Ends, and Rules

"Hayek emphasized that one of the great advantages of the liberal market order is that by requiring agreement on only a small number of things, the scope for peaceful coexistence and collaboration is widened among people who disagree on many other things. "

Diversity, Ends, and Rules | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Pricing the World in Gold: 4 Charts

"WHAT WOULD the world look like if, as a handful of economists, investors and politicians hope, gold really was money again?

In a word, cheap…ish. Cheaper, at least, than much of it was a decade ago."

Pricing the World in Gold: 4 Charts » The Cobden Centre

Exorbitant Privilege

"For Eichengreen, the threat to the dollar comes not from the Chinese but from America itself, and particular “eye popping” US deficits. He blames the ballooning of the deficit during the good times of the Bush era, the cost of tackling the financial crisis and the ticking time-bomb as the baby boomers reach retirement."

The Enlightened Economist :: Exorbitant Privilege - a guest review

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Economist Debates: Global elite

Economist Debates: Global elite

Reaganomics: What We Learned

"For 16 years prior to Ronald Reagan's presidency, the U.S. economy was in a tailspin—a result of bipartisan ignorance that resulted in tax increases, dollar devaluations, wage and price controls, minimum-wage hikes, misguided spending, pandering to unions, protectionist measures and other policy mistakes."

Arthur B. Laffer: Reaganomics: What We Learned -

What Makes an Entrepreneur Great

"It's not about analytical skills. It's about stubborn self-confidence and determination with a pinch of luck, according to Leigh Buchanan at Inc"

What Makes an Entrepreneur Great - Derek Thompson - Business - The Atlantic

Climate Change Fueled by Pursuit of Economic Growth

"The Prince of Wales warned today against the pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the environment - and condemned climate change sceptics for their ''corrosive'' impact on public opinion."

Climate change fuelled by pursuit of economic growth, says Prince of Wales - Telegraph

Fastest! Tallest! Marxist!

"The one voice that wasn't heard was that of teachers of Marxism-Leninism in East Germany. Where did they go? There must have been a lot of them: it was a compulsory subject.'"

Fastest! Tallest! Marxist! The visual art of Phil Collins | Art and design | The Guardian

Spontaneous Order

"The grand schemes of the politicians fail and fail again.

By contrast, the private sector, despite harassment from government, gives us better stuff for less money -- without central planning. It's called a spontaneous order."

RealClearPolitics - Spontaneous Order

Regulation Without Representation

"Regulatory agencies enact more than 3,500 new regulations in an average year. A new federal rule hits the books roughly every two hours, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Compare that with Congress, which passes fewer than 200 pieces of legislation per year. Only Congress has the power to legislate in the American system of government, but Congress never actually votes on most regulations.

This is regulation without representation, and it is a major problem."

Regulation Without Representation -

Don't Die in New Jersey

"Here's some free financial advice: Don't die in New Jersey any time soon. If you have more than $675,000 to your name and you die in the Garden State, about 54% may go to the IRS and the tax collectors in Trenton."

The Tax Foundation - Wall Street Journal Encourages Readers Not to Die in New Jersey

Inflation Worries Spread as China Raises Interest Rates

"Inflation jitters spread through emerging markets on Tuesday, prompting China's central bank to raise interest rates for the third time in four months amid worries that a drought threatening the country's wheat crop will put further pressure on global food prices."

Inflation Worries Spread as China Raises Interest Rates -

The 4 'Metaforces' Driving the Next Economy

"Washington likes to play guessing games with the economy, placing bets on certain industries by supplying them with luxurious tax giveaways or no-fault loans. But the jobs of the future are at the mercy of giant, global forces that are largely out of our control."

The 4 'Metaforces' Driving the Next Economy - Derek Thompson - Business - The Atlantic

Why Should I Hate Bernie Madoff?

"As it happens, I am being forced to participate in a Ponzi scheme, one that dwarfs Madoff's: Social Security."

Wait A Minute--Why Should I Hate Bernie Madoff? Page 1 of 2 -

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Poor Are Getting … Richer

"It's easy to assume, faced with images of continuing destitution in rural Africa and South Asia, that things have just kept getting worse. But they haven't. In fact, over the last two decades the pattern has reversed. The world has got a lot less poor -- and the nature of the poverty that remains has changed in important ways."

The Poor Are Getting … Richer - By Charles Kenny | Foreign Policy

5 Reasons the U.S. Won't Face a Lost Decade

"Worried about a Japanese-style lost decade? Don't be, says the Goldman Sachs January 2011 Outlook, offering five reasons we aren't doomed to ten years of weak growth and deflation."

5 Reasons the U.S. Won't Face a Lost Decade - Derek Thompson - Business - The Atlantic

Racism, Greed or Bad Regulation?

"Maybe some American bankers are racists. But many more American legislators are just destructively short-sighted."

Racism, greed or bad regulation?

BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Analysis, Radical Economics: Yo Hayek!

BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Analysis, Radical Economics: Yo Hayek!

Why Dictatorial Regimes Are Brittle

"Dictatorships, as we are seeing in the Middle East today, and as we saw in Iran in 1979 and in the communist nations in 1989—not to mention France in 1789—have a way of imploding unexpectedly, the unexpectedness lying in the fact that no external event seems to have precipitated the collapse."

Why Dictatorial Regimes Are Brittle—Posner - The Becker-Posner Blog

The War on the Poor

"The gigantic sums of credit created out of nothing, causing a doubling and in some cases tripling of the money supplies of Western Governments, over the two-decade boom that we have just experienced, have consequences. Unless you were living at the bottom of the ocean, or on planet Zog for the last three years, the most obvious consequence is that this boom was unsustainable, as they all are. The bust has wreaked havoc across the developed world. The poorest members of society will be forced to pay for the errors of their political masters, and the richest members of society will benefit."

The War on the Poor » The Cobden Centre

Can Government Manage the Economy?

"A doctor says he can cure illness by waving birch wands over the patient. We are skeptical, but being open-minded, we agree to give him a chance with ailing Uncle George. He waves a red wand and chants something. The patient shows no improvement."

Can Government Manage the Economy? | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

IMF Chief Twists Adam Smith's View of Inequality

"Modern liberals used reflexively to condemn Adam Smith as the 'father of capitalism' (although he had never heard the word). More recently, however, they have been trying to recruit him, switching their emphasis from misunderstanding what he wrote in The Wealth of Nations to misquoting what he said in The Theory of Moral Sentiments."

IMF chief twists Adam Smith's view of inequality

Now They Love Him

"The only good conservative is a dead conservative.

That, in a nutshell, de scribes the age-old tradition of liberals suddenly discovering that once-reviled conservatives were OK after all. It's just we-the-living who are hateful ogres and troglodytes."

Now they love him -

Stop Trying to Balance Liberty With Security

"What the state too often portrays as a balancing act between two separate and opposing things, freedom and security, really boils down to one single thing: the suspicion of the autonomous individual."

Stop trying to balance liberty with security | spiked

A G-Zero World

"In the wake of the financial crisis, the United States is no longer the leader of the global economy, and no other nation has the political and economic leverage to replace it. Rather than a forum for compromise, the G-20 is likely to be an arena of conflict."

A G-Zero World | Foreign Affairs

When Irish Eyes Are Crying

"Not knowing why they were so suddenly so successful, the Irish can perhaps be forgiven for not knowing exactly how successful they were meant to be. They had gone from being abnormally poor to being abnormally rich, without pausing to experience normality."

When Irish Eyes Are Crying | Business | Vanity Fair

The Trouble with "Green Jobs" Approach

"The problem is that Obama thinks that green jobs are the answer to the anemic economy recovery. And he clings to that belief in the face of contrary evidence."

RealClearPolitics - The Trouble with "Green Jobs" Approach

Obama Does Not Understand Business

"As a teacher of comparative economics and textbook author on the subject, I cannot refrain from commenting on President Obama’s unfortunate lack of understanding of business."

What Paul Gregory is Writing About: Obama Does Not Understand Business

Profit Sharing?

"Nothing wrong with profit sharing - as long as it's a private transaction either between an employee and the company or the union and the industry."

American Thinker Blog: Obama: Corporate profits must be 'shared with workers':

Are Health-Care Waivers Unconstitutional?

"The president cannot simply decide who does and does not have to follow the law."

Are Health-Care Waivers Unconstitutional? - Philip Hamburger - National Review Online

The Quest for a 'Charter City' -

The Quest for a 'Charter City' - "CAPITALFEBRUARY 3, 2011, 6:22 P.M. ET
The Quest for a 'Charter City'"

Boomers are Driving a New Entrepreneurship Boom

"Some people are calling entrepreneurship the ‘new mid-life crisis’ for the 76 million-strong demographic once thought to be over the hill."

Boomers are Driving a New Entrepreneurship Boom - Martin Zwilling - Startup Professionals Musings - Forbes

Monday, February 7, 2011

Articles & Commentary

"Generally speaking, federal workers do receive higher salaries than similar private employees; individuals changing jobs receive bigger pay increases when their new job is with the federal government; federal employees quit less than private workers; and private workers line up to get federal jobs."

Articles & Commentary

Peter Pomerantsev · Diary

"The word ‘bribe’ was never used. The officials would look at the fake books, which they knew perfectly well to be fake, and extract fines in line with legislation they knew Ivan did not need to comply with. So everything would be settled, and every role, pose, and line of dialogue would reproduce the ritual of legality. It was a ritual played out every day in every medium-sized business, every furniture company, restaurant, modelling agency and PR firm across the country."

LRB · Peter Pomerantsev · Diary

Rethinking the Great Recession

"Chances are that the United States and the other prosperous nations of the developed world will, over time, get wealthier as a result of technological changes that are now barely glimpsed. But the widespread faith—and the sense of security it imparted—that economic management would forever spare us devastating disruptions has been shattered. Just as there has never been a war to end all wars, there has yet to be an economic theory that can end all serious instability."

The Wilson Quarterly: Rethinking the Great Recession by Robert J. Samuelson


"How many Americans work in government? That’s a difficult question to answer. Officially, as of 2009, the federal government employed 2.8 million individuals out of a total U.S. workforce of 236 million — just over 1 percent of the workforce. But it’s not quite as simple as that."

Leviathan - Iain Murray - National Review Online

Egypt's Economic Apartheid

"Leaders and governments may change and more democracy might come to Egypt. But unless its existing legal institutions are reformed to allow economic growth from the bottom up, the aspirations for a better life that are motivating so many demonstrating in the streets will remain unfulfilled."

Hernando de Soto: Egypt's Economic Apartheid -

Crony Capitalism Or Raw Corruption?

"It's good to have friends in high places. Last month, the White House issued tough new rules on CO2 emissions. This month, its biggest corporate supporter wins an exemption. Something smells here."

Crony Capitalism Or Raw Corruption? -

The Poor Getting Poorer is a Myth? | Mercatus

The Poor Getting Poorer is a Myth? | Mercatus

Book Chat: A Conversation With Tyler Cowen

"Ask yourself a simple question: how many famous scientists are there? Not so many. Or try this one: how many men or women dream of marrying or dating a scientist? Not so many. These changes have to happen at the individual and family level. I’m not against science prizes or higher pay, but those ideas alone are not going to do the trick, as they are top down solutions."

Book Chat: A Conversation With Tyler Cowen -

Why Wal-Mart Is the Embodiment of Economic Stimulus

"If Wal-Mart were allowed to open stores in New York City, the average buyer of a diverse basket of groceries – from hamburger buns to cereal to butter – would save 33%."

Why Wal-Mart Is the Embodiment of Economic Stimulus - John Tamny - Political Economy - Forbes

Do The Lawyers Who Write The Tax Code Benefit From Making It Complex? - Business in The Beltway - Money & Politics - Forbes

Do The Lawyers Who Write The Tax Code Benefit From Making It Complex? - Business in The Beltway - Money & Politics - Forbes

Shilling Finds Good Buys Amid Slow Growth -

Shilling Finds Good Buys Amid Slow Growth -

Oh Great…A European Ruling On Competitiveness

"...competitiveness is not a gift of the state, it is a genetic trait of the market."

Oh Great…A European Ruling On Competitiveness - Stephen Pope - Market Mind - Forbes

YouTube - Four Reasons Why Big Government Is Bad Government

YouTube - Four Reasons Why Big Government Is Bad Government

The (Non) Producers: Obama’s Bialystock and Bloom

"Frederic Bastiat noted in the 19th century that this precise language – “Besides, it is a way of creating jobs for the workers” – is offered to justify every political scheme when the merits don’t persuade. Everything can be said to ‘create jobs’, but at what cost? Just this past Friday night PJ O’Rourke noted, in a dinner speech in Brussels, that everything ‘creates jobs’ including violent crime. But what else happens, as the cost?"

» The (Non) Producers: Obama’s Bialystock and Bloom - Big Government

Let There Be Light… Bulb Choice

"The attack on individual liberty may seem small to some, but it has larger implications for our economy. French economist Frederic Bastiat believed freedom of choice was closely connected to competition.

In his book Economic Harmonies, Bastiat said, “In things that concern me, I want to make my own choice, and I do not want another to make it for me without regard for my wishes; that is all. And if someone proposes to substitute his judgment for mine in matters that concern me, I shall demand to substitute my judgment for his in matters that concern him. What guarantee is there that this will make things go any better? It is evident that competition is freedom.”"

Let There Be Light… Bulb Choice - HUMAN EVENTS

How About Tax Reparations For The Rich?

"Considering how much we benefit from the great producers, it would seem that good manners–to say nothing of fairness and justice–requires a clarion “thank you.” Instead, in the political and public arenas wealth creators are increasingly smeared, spit on, and punished. This is un-American. A nation built on a foundation of individual rights and the pursuit of happiness should celebrate success, not punish it."

How About Tax Reparations For The Rich? - The Objectivist - - Forbes

A Hollywood Ending

"Now, studio executives -- like every other known species of rent-seekers -- argue that transferring wealth from average-income taxpayers to wealthy producers, directors, and actors somehow increases jobs on balance.  But critics reply with the point -- so trenchantly expressed by Frederic Bastiat over a century and a half ago in his classic essay 'That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen' -- that subsidizing employment in one sector of the economy lowers employment in other sectors.  After all, to get the funds that subsidize whatever industries the politicians favor, the politicians must confiscate money from taxpayers, who then have less money to employ others (either directly or else indirectly through their purchases).  Subsidies don't create more jobs overall -- they just shift them from one sector of the economy to another."

American Thinker: A Hollywood Ending

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Announcing The Bastiat Revival Movement

The Bastiat Society encourages our members and supporters to visit the Bastiat Revival Movement and their blog.

This blog helps you and your friends empower yourselves by sharing your ideas, comments, and stories on liberty and free markets with other Bastiat bloggers via Bastiat’s essays on political economy as featured in Micheal Reber's new free market economics activity book, "What Is Seen and What Is NOT Seen: Fun Systems Thinking Activities with Frédéric Bastiat" (release date early 2011).

About the organization:

Dr. Michael F. Reber, coordinator for the Bastiat Revival Movement, has a new blog located at He is also a featured guest on Republicans Abroad Radio for the new "Breakfast with Bastiat" morning talk show which is aired every third Thursday of the month at 10am at Each show will be a discussion on one of Bastiat’s essays in What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen. Shows will be archived once a month on his blog and can be accessed by clicking a “show link." To listen to the Prelude Show, which was aired on October 28th, 2010, regarding Dr. Reber's new book on Bastiat as well as the free market movement in Japan go to:

Please take a moment to visit the blog and join the discussion!

Also, if any of our members would like contribute their own essays to the blog please contact Micheal Reber directly at: