Must Reads For The Week 9/20/14

Posted September 20, 2014 by austrianaddict
Categories: Must Reads For The Week

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
The pen is mightier than the sword...

 The pen is mightier than the sword… (Photo credit: mbshane)

Radical Math, at radicalmath.org. You would think math would be a subject that could not be propagandized by the left. But you would be wrong. Here is a quote from the Radical Math website: “Join educators, parents, students, activists, and community members from around the country for a 3-day conference to explore the connections between math education and social justice. We will explore many questions, challenges, and opportunities to work toward social justice through math education.” We can never rest in our quest to keep what’s left of our freedom and regain the freedoms we’ve lost, because the progressive left will never rest.

Peer-to-Peer Car Rental Startup FlightCar Raises Another 13.5 Million, by Ryan Lawler, at techcrunch.com. Here is another example of the market benefiting the consumer, and not the status quo crony’s. FlightCar has lots near airports around the country. Travelers can park for free for the duration of their trip. Their cars are then used by visitors to the airport, at a discounted rate, instead of paying higher rates charged by traditional rental car companies. Both parties benefit. One party doesn’t have to pay for long-term parking, and the other party pays a discount for a rental car.

The Simple Economics Of Adjunct Abuse, at mungowitzend.blogspot.com. Why is the pay and benefits for College adjuncts so low? The supply of adjuncts is high, and the demand for adjuncts if low. Universities recruit students for their MA and PhD programs. The students aren’t told the demand for these advanced degrees is marginal at best. Producing more than the market demands lowers the price of the good or service. Economic forces are always at work.

Global Un-Warming? Antarctic Sea-Ice Reaches Record High Levels, at zerohedge.com. Another example of reality going against the conventional wisdom of the global warming cult. Here is a quote form the article, “CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Tony Worby, said the warming atmosphere is leading to greater sea ice coverage by changing wind patterns.” It must be nice to be able to use global warming as a universal excuse for every weather scenario.

Paul Krugman Explained, at zerohedge.com. Keynesian economist Paul Krugman is like the global warming cultists, he doesn’t have to be intellectually consistent.

Obama Met Privately With Top Journalists Before ISIS War Speech, by Michael Calderone, at economicpolicyjournal.com. I wonder if the journalists were given tips on how to propagandize the ISIS speech? Memorize the list of these unbiased journalists for future reference.

Castro Valley Winery Fined $155,000 For Using Volunteers, by Rebecca Parr, at mercurynews.com. Westover Winery is out of business after being fined $155,000 for using labor that volunteered. Here is an excerpt from the article, “The volunteers, some of them learning to make wine while helping out, were illegally unpaid laborers, and Westover Winery should have been paying them and paying worker taxes, the state Department of Industrial Relations said.” Why would people voluntarily work for no pay? Answer: Because they thought what they were getting out of working at this vineyard was more valuable than the labor they expended and also more valuable than the next best use of their time. Then government steps in and uses it’s coercive power to imposes they’re special wisdom on the people who voluntarily made this arrangement. I saw this at Carpe Diem Blog.

8 Subliminal Messages Hidden In Corporate Logos, at economicpolicyjournal.com. Individuals are really clever.

The World’s Largest Urban Zipline, at youtube.com. These people are insane.

The Economics Of American Pickers, by Joel Poindexter, at mises.org. There is a lot of depth in this short article that explains the economic principles in play on the History Channel Show, American Pickers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Break Down Of The Rule Of Law

Posted September 18, 2014 by austrianaddict
Categories: Government and Politics

Tags: , , , , ,

Law book library - stock photo

The rule of law is defined as, 1) general rules, 2) known in advance, 3) applying to the rulers as well as the ruled. How does the break down of the rule of law happen? Because there are too many rules to even count, the “general rules” part of the definition of the rule of law doesn’t exist. The increasing amount of rules makes it impossible to know them in advance. But the third part of the definition, applying to the rulers as well as the ruled, is the part that is starting to bother people. Abuses of power and corruption by individuals who are protected by their positions of power in Government are starting to result in a push back by the public.

Here are a couple of examples of Government agents abusing power.

1) TSA Officer Tries To Search Passenger After He Lands At Denver Airport.

This guy did a great job and could have walked away a minute before he did.

 

2) A Lesson In Police Escalation (here), at economicpolicyjournal.com.

If the cop was an NFL player and did this, he would be out of a job.

The result of what we see happening in the above clips will be a natural push back by the average citizen. The passenger walking away in the video above is an example of push back. We should all start peaceful non compliance because if we don’t, it will escalate into what you will see in these videos below. Both sides have to dial it back, because the cost of settling our differences through mob (thug) rule, on both sides, will be greater than if we settle our differences before we get to mob rule.

3) Angry Mob Throws Ukrainian Politician In Dumpster.

I can’t say I didn’t get a chuckle out of this video.

 

4) Airline Passengers Throw Elitist Politicians Off Plane, (here), at economicpolicyjournal.com.

A planes departure time was delayed for two hours as the crew waited for two Pakistani politicians to arrive. The passengers were so upset, they forced the politicians off the plane. I got a kick out of this one too.

These videos show each group using force against the other. The police side uses the sanctioned force of government, to enforce non general rules, that are not know in advance, and don’t apply to the rulers but must be obeyed by the ruled. The citizenry uses the perceived power of a larger group of people who are not going to back down. How far will this escalate before Government gives up a huge portion of it’s power?

Related ArticleThe Ruling Aristocracy Doesn’t Abide By The Rules They Impose On The Serfs, by austrianaddict.com.

Related ArticleThe Result Of The Break Down Of The Rule Of Law, by austrianaddict.com.

 

 

 

 

Why Has Classical Capitalism Devolved Into Crony-Capitalism, by Charles Hugh Smith

Posted September 16, 2014 by austrianaddict
Categories: Econ. 201, Government and Politics

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In this article, Why Has Classical Capitalism Devolved Into Crony-Capitalism, Charles Hugh Smith, (oftowminds.com) makes the point that the Elites, consisting of ; people in Government and central bankers, lesser institutions that are closest in orbit around Government and central banks, and organizations and individuals who are orbiting these lesser institutions, think the economy will eventually “heal itself” even after all they have stolen through zero percent interest rates, electronically printed counterfeit money, and Government debt. These three legs of theft are, quoting CHS, “crippling the market’s self-healing immune system: Price discovery. Thanks to ceaseless interventions by central banks, the price discovery mechanism has been shattered: want to know the price of risk? It’s near-zero. Yield on sovereign bonds? Near-zero. And so on. Prices have been so distorted (the ultimate goal of Central Planning everywhere, from China to the EU to Japan to the U.S.) that the illusion of stability is impossible without more intervention.”

Here are his six factors of how, “...free market capitalism becomes state-cartel crony-capitalism, a Ponzi scheme of epic proportion...”

1. “Those who control most of the wealth are willing to risk systemic collapse to retain their privileges and wealth. Due to humanity’s virtuosity with rationalization, those at the top always find ways to justify policies that maintain their dominance and downplay the distortions the policies generate. This as true in China as it is in the U.S.”

2. “Short-term thinking: if we fudge the numbers, lower interest rates, etc. today, we (politicians, policy-makers, money managers, etc.) will avoid being sacked tomorrow. The longer term consequences of these politically expedient policies are ignored.”

3. “Legitimate capital accumulation has become more difficult and risky than buying political favors. Global competition and the exhaustion of developed-world consumers has made it difficult to reap outsized profits from legitimate enterprise. In terms of return-on-investment (ROI), buying political favors is far lower risk and generates much higher returns than expanding production or risking investment in R&D.”

4. “The centralization of state/central bank power has increased the leverage of political contributions/lobbying. The greater the concentration of power, the more attractive it is to sociopaths and those seeking to buy state subsidies, sweetheart contracts, protection from competition, etc.”

5. “Any legitimate reform will require dismantling crony-capitalist/state-cartel arrangements. Since that would hurt those at the top of the wealth/power pyramid, reform is politically impossible.”

6. “Understood in this light, it’s clear that central bank monetary policy—zero-interest rates, asset purchases, cheap credit to banks and financiers, QE, etc.—is designed to paper over the structural problems that require real reform.”

 

CHARLES HUGH SMITH INTERVIEW

If you want to hear an interesting and in-depth explanation about the rise of crony capitalism, listening to Charles Hugh Smith’s interview with Gordon T. Long would be well worth your time ( it also has some great graphs and diagrams).

Related ArticleCentral Bank Monetary Policy Enables Us To Put Off Real Reforms, by Charles Hugh Smith, at oftwominds.com.

Related ArticleIs There Capitalism After Cronyism?, by Charles Hugh Smith, at oftwominds.com.

 

Must Reads For The Week 9/13/14

Posted September 13, 2014 by austrianaddict
Categories: Must Reads For The Week

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
The pen is mightier than the sword...

 The pen is mightier than the sword… (Photo credit: mbshane)

11 Ways You Know You Live In A Country Run By Idiots, at theburningplatform.com. Only eleven! I’m sure we can come up with a few more. How about this:  If the incentives created by The Affordable Care Act raise the price of health care, you live in a country run by idiots.

New York Schools Drop Michelle O’s Lunch Program, by Victor Skinner, at eagnews.org. More schools are dropping FLOTUS’s school lunch program because sales are down. But in true totalitarian fashion FLOTUS and POTUS are in lock step in their attempt to force kids to eat healthier (healthier as defined by whom). Here is the money quote from the article,  “Meanwhile, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are considering legislation to provide exemptions from the lunch regulations for schools that are losing substantial revenue, though Michelle Obama has vowed to fight for her pet project “until the bitter end. President Obama has also promised to veto the legislation if it makes it to his desk, the Associated Press reports.”

The Myth Of Obamacare’s Affordability, by Casey Mulligan, at economicpolicyjournal.com. As I said when the Affordable Care Act was passed, “If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it becomes affordable”.

Socialist Venezuela Has World’s Largest Oil Reserves And Goes From Oil Power House To Oil Importer, by Mark J. Perry, at aei-ideas.org. If you want to destroy a productive industry, allow central planners to use their “special” knowledge to make it better. Read about why socialism is doomed to fail, in this article, “Why Socialism Won’t Work? Human Nature“.

What Ever Happened To Global Warming, at economicpolicyjournal.com. When I was in high school in the early 70’s, scientists would have been considered “global warming deniers”, because they thought the earth was cooling.

Competition Heats Up In The NYC Taxi Market As Gett Introduces $10 Rides In Manhattan, by Mark J. Perry, at aei-ideas.org. Competition in free markets means lower prices for consumers. Unfortunately many consumers unwittingly vote against their own self-interest when they vote for politicians who are for central planning and against free markets.

Registration Records Are Used For Confiscating Guns. Government Retroactively Changing Its Mind About What Is A Legal Gun, at johnlottblogspot.com. Individuals in Government who were supposed to enforce the law, are the ones who are breaking the law.

Issa Accuses Holder Spokesman Of Attempting To Conspire With Democrats On IRS Documents, by Colby Itkowitz, at washingtonpost.com. Eric Holders communication director called GOP staffers by mistake. Thinking he was talking to Democrats, he asked how he could get materials, about the IRS targeting of conservative groups, to interested reporters, before they were sent to the Republican majority, so the agency could spin the story first. This is why I hate politics. The good of the party overrides what is good for individuals.

Five Feminist Myths That Will Not Die, by Christina Hoff Summers, at time.com. Read the five myths, or watch Christina Hoff Summers talk about the five myths on this video here.

Things I Don’t Understand, by Walter Williams, at jewishworldreview.com. If Dr. Williams doesn’t understand these things, neither do I.

 

 

“Human Action” Helps Us Understand Mrs. Rice’s Instagram, and Obama’s Iraq Speech

Posted September 12, 2014 by austrianaddict
Categories: Econ. 101, Miscellaneous

Tags: , , , , ,

 

File:Human Action scholars edition brown cover.jpg

How can these seemingly unrelated stories have anything in common? They are not related in any way, unless you understand the concept of human action as explained by Ludwig von Mises in his tome “Human Action: A Treatise On Economics”. Human action has nothing to do with the psychological reasons or the internal forces that result in a particular action. Trying to figure out these reasons would be guesses by anyone who is not a psychiatrist, and educated guesses by professional psychiatrists. Human action is purposeful behavior and as such can be meaningfully interpreted. The end man seeks with his action is his motive for acting. Why he is motivated to attain this end has nothing to do with human action. Human action doesn’t care about the psychological reason compelling a person to act, it only cares about the action itself. When a person acts he is not simply giving preference among many alternatives, he is displaying what he prefers at that particular moment.

In summary. A person purposefully acts using available means, to reach a particular end, an end which he thinks will bring about a more satisfactory state of affairs than the state of affairs that existed before he decided to act. A person makes a particular choice,  between many competing ends, at a particular time. His choice reveals his most valued end that particular moment. The correctness or incorrectness of the action chosen will be revealed at some point in the future.

Now lets analyze these two stories.

RAY AND JANAY RICE

Ray Rice hit and knocked out his then fiancée Janay Palmer in February of 2014. On March 27th a grand jury indicted Ray Rice on aggravated assault charges, and dropped simple assault charges on Janay Palmer. On March 28th Rice and Palmer were married. On May 1st Rice rejected a plea deal and applies for pretrial intervention program which accepted him allowing him to avoid a trial. Rice is suspended in July for the first two games of the year. The video of Rice punching his then fiancée surfaces on September 8th, and later that day the Ravens terminate his contract, worth $4 million this year, and the NFL  suspends him indefinitely.

Everyone from reporters, commentators, spokesmen for women’s groups, politicians, et al, have an opinion on why she would marry the guy who knocked her out. Here is how human action helps us understand this. It doesn’t matter what motivated her to marry him. Her choice reveals that she thinks being married to him is a better state of affairs than not being married to him. Trying to figure out why, assumes a level of knowledge that no one, outside of Ray and Janay, has access to. The correctness of her action will be revealed at some point in the future. The statement in her instagram message (here), “…THIS IS OUR LIFE!”, means butt out it is none of your business.

One more comment. What is the preferred end, the Ravens, the NFL, reporters, commentators, spokesman for women’s groups, and politicians think they will achieve by the actions they have taken in this case? No matter what the preferred end is, they obviously think the actions they have taken will bring about a better state of affairs, for themselves.

OBAMA’S IRAQ SPEECH

Lets start with a little background. In 08 the President campaigned  on getting out of Iraq. After he got elected he set a date for withdrawal which allowed the enemy to lay low and rearm. He withdraws our troops without leaving enough of them to keep the enemy in check and help support the new Government.

If there is one thing we can be 99% sure of concerning every politician its this: the end sought in every action is to gain political power, especially when these actions happen closer to an election. This is why in the last few weeks, the President has talked about corporations using “unpatriotic tax loopholes” to pay less in taxes, and why the minimum wage should be raised. The speech about Iraq is purposeful action taken for the achievement of an end that will be preferable to the present state of affairs. Now here is the 64,000 dollar question: is this preferable state of affairs to make the Iraq situation stable, or is it to help the Presidents political situation before the November elections? Either way we will know the answer to this question at some point in the future.

The biggest difference in these two cases is, 1) In the Rice situation, Ray and Janay suffer the consequences of their actions. 2) In the Iraq situation, all of us will suffer the consequences of the actions of the President. So why are more people talking about the situation that doesn’t affect them, instead of talking about the one that does affect them?

 

What Creats Wealth? Freedom

Posted September 10, 2014 by austrianaddict
Categories: Econ. 101, Government and Politics

Tags: , , , , , ,

Front Cover

George Gilder talks about what creates wealth in this short video below from Prager University. He talks about knowledge and innovation leading to economic growth. But the most important point he makes in this video is that freedom is the foundation on which knowledge and innovation is expanded and used productively to create economic growth. Here are some excerpts from the video.

“If freedom promotes knowledge and innovation, which leads to economic growth; why don’t all people and Governments embrace it? Innovation is a surprise, it’s unpredictable. This unpredictability makes many people uncomfortable. Their goal is to eliminate surprise. One finds this in all utopian vision, from communism, to socialism, ….in Europe with its failing welfare states and more and more in the US. We see their desire to eliminate surprise in the ever-expanding role played by Government, bigger bureaucracies, more rules, and more regulations. Every new crisis, real or imagined, brings ever more laws….Ironically the ones that benefit from all these regulations are big corporations and their teams of lawyers, lobbyists, and accountants. They’re the only ones who have the resources to untangle the mess and survive it. This drift away from freedom can be reversed, and quickly within a matte of a few years….Because it’s an economy of mind, the future can change as fast as minds can change. The opportunity for dynamic growth exists not only in the US, but all over the world if we’re only courageous enough and free enough to seize it.”

WHAT CREATES WEALTH?

Here are some related quotes by George Gilder from his books  Wealth and Poverty and Knowledge and Power.

“Socialist and totalitarian Governments are doomed to support the past, because creativity is unpredictable, it is also uncontrollable. If the politicians want to have central planning and command, they cannot have dynamism and life. A managed economy is almost by definition a barren one. “

“Knowledge is about the past; Entrepreneurship is about the future regulations are rules based on past experience. Regulators are political appointees responsive to their bosses and to the rules. Only entrepreneurial owners taken their cues from the subtle signals on the crests of creation.”

“Under capitalism, economic power flows not to the intellectual, who manipulates ideas and basks in their light, but to men who gives himself to his ideas and tests them with his own wealth and work.”

“The real issue is between the rule of law and the rule of leveler egalitarianism, between creative excellence and covetous “fairness”, between admiration of achievement versus envy and resentment of it.”

“The leading enemy and obstacle for accomplishment throughout the ages is the philosophy of victimization and socialist redistribution.”

In my opinion Wealth and Poverty is a must read, not only because it will expand your mind, but also because his writing style will be pleasing to your ear buds.

Related ArticleUnleash The Mind, by George Gilder, at austrianaddict.com.

Related ArticleCapitalism vs. Crony Capitalism, at austrianaddict.com.

 

New (Old) Information About Benghazi: “What Difference…Does It Make?”

Posted September 9, 2014 by austrianaddict
Categories: Government and Politics

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The release of the new book, 13 Hours: The Inside Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi, a first hand account by the security operators who were on the ground fighting in Benghazi, tells us they were given an order to stand down and not go help at the State Department Compound that was under attack on 9/11/12. They don’t know how far up the chain of command the order came from. They disobeyed and went anyway after they were delayed. I saw these three men interviewed on Fox News (here).

I watched this interview thinking only of the comment that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made at the Senate hearings about Benghazi in January of 2013, “…the fact is we have four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because it was guys out for a walk one night who decided to go kill some Americans. What difference, at this point, does it make?

I think this question by Secretary of State Clinton is “the” question that we should be thinking about. Mrs. Clinton, you are correct, “at this point”, in January 2013, the question of how this truly happened “doesn’t make a difference” from a political standpoint. The truth about Benghaze only had major political significance if would have been told before the November election in 2012, and quite possibly it “could have made a difference”. And that’s the whole point. Gaining, or remaining in, the seat of Government power, through the political process, is the most important thing to politicians. And everything, including the lives of individuals, is to be sacrificed at the alter of politics.

HUMAN ACTION EXPLAINS POLITICAL ACTION

I wrote an article titled, Mises’ “Human Action” Explains Lies About Lybia, that sums up the thinking of politicians. Here are some excerpts from the article that are even more true today than when I wrote them in October 25th 2012. Here are excerpts from the article.

“Here is how “Human Action” by Ludwig von Mises helps us analyze the Libyan situation. Human action is purposeful behavior. Action is not simply a verbal preference, it is the individual choosing and acting to reach a particular end. Action is a tangible thing and cannot be confused with wishes, hopes, or after the fact quarterbacking. Men act to substitute what they think will be a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory state. We wouldn’t want to change our existing state of affairs if we didn’t think the result would be better. Our action reveals the correctness of our thinking. When a baseball manager makes a decision during a game he does it because he thinks it will help his team win the game. After the fact we can judge if his decision was correct or incorrect in attaining his goal, but that doesn’t mean we would have made a different or better decision than he did, because we cannot recreate that point in history exactly as it was. The science of human action is called praxeology it studies the action itself. Psychology studies the internal events that result in action. It studies the forces pushing a man toward a particular action. Psychology is where Monday morning quarterbacking takes place. Praxeology is where we can analyze success and failure. Lets look at Libya through these lenses.”

“Every Administration has the right to make its own policy about how heavy of a security footprint it will have at any one embassy. You can argue about which policy will achieve the particular goal an administration wants to achieve. What that particular goal is, may be misunderstood. For some administrations the goal is the safety of the people in the Embassy. For others the goal is what the people in a particular country will think if too much power is shown. There are obviously many degrees of security between completely locking down an embassy with every asset you can bring to bear, and simply allowing the people at the embassy to carry a sidearm. There are many foreign policy goals each administration is trying to attain, and security for their people may be sacrificed for these goals. The choice the administration makes is up for discussion and debate before anything happens. After the decision proves to be incorrect, we can say it didn’t work to achieve the end sought,  assuming we knew the true goal of the administration beforehand. The end sought may not have been the security of the people. We can say the Obama Administration’s decision in Benghazi didn’t work from a security standpoint, just as we can say the Reagan Administration’s decision in Beirut didn’t work from a security standpoint. But we don’t really know if security was the primary goal in either situation.”

“What we know is that all politicians are self-interested individuals, and remaining in power is their main goal. This is the over-riding goal of every decision they make. They hire advisers to specifically look at everything they do and determine how it will affect them politically. If it is not the over-riding factor in decision-making, it certainly has a major influence in all decisions. This is my problem with the deaths in Libya. From the standpoint of security it was a failure, fine admit it and adjust. When you know what was going on within an hour of the start of the attack, and you put forth a story that’s untrue, and stick with it for weeks even as the truth starts to leak out, it tells me you have no other interests above yourself. You denigrate the lives of the fallen, you insult our intelligence, and you erode whatever trust remains, which is probably a good thing for liberty.”

“Every action that has been taken since the attacks began, is purposeful action toward the attainment of a more satisfactory state of affairs. Every lie told and photo-op taken was an attempt to reach a particular end, this is the science of human action. Since the situation was and is constantly changing, each day’s purposeful actions seemingly contradict the previous day’s purposeful actions. This contradiction only makes sense if we know the true ends sought. The end sought is to hold on to power through any means necessary. The administration believes their purposeful actions will result in them holding on to their power. We will find out in two weeks if their purposeful actions are correct or incorrect.

POLITICAL SPIN, AKA. LYING.

Parents of the fallen have said that Hillary Clinton told them, a video was responsible for the attacks, and she vowed to have the film maker arrested and prosecuted, read here. She told them this at a ceremony the day the bodies arrived at Andrews Air Force Base. If she lied in a situation where there were dead bodies and grieving families, wouldn’t she, and all politicians, lie to protect their own political power in every situation? They probably lie about trivial things in order to keep their skills sharp for the big things like Benghazi.

This is why I hate politics. The incentive to gain power or to remain in power overrides everything from a political perspective. Politics interferes with everything, and I mean everything, concerning our daily lives. We are being spun, or lied to, everyday. We can be inoculated from the spin, or lies, if we understand the concept of Human Action, and see all things through its lens.

Related ArticleHuman Action Reveals The Reality About Political Decisions, by austrianaddict.com.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 118 other followers