Archive for December, 2011
Dave Killion — December 31, 2011
Our most read post – Quantitative Consequences by Antony Zegers
Most commented upon – Pee-ew! by Dave Killion
Best Comment (as picked by me) – Ashley Johnston commenting on Where Do You Draw the Line? :
“While I would not encourage vindictiveness, I am a fan of finding common ground, but this should not be confused with compromise.
At the Porcupine Freedom Festival, during one of the discussions about the usefulness of politics, somebody made the point that while he might vote to ‘free half the slaves’ you wouldn’t find him holding a sign campaigning to ‘free half the slaves’. I take this to mean vote for what you agree with, but campaign for what you believe in.
That is to say I will campaign with liberals to end the death penalty and war; I will vote for medical marijuana and tax credits for seniors, but I will not campaign to legalize half the drugs, or free half the tax slaves.” (emphasis mine)
Thank you all for your attention and your input this year. Please keep coming back, and please don’t hesitate to comment on and pass along our posts. This blog is an opportunity for you and for us to be more than just spectators, so let’s make the most of it!
Dave Killion — December 30, 2011
Over at Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreax has listed some lessons he feels careful readers will take away from reading this longish-but-fascinating New York Times article about Dharavi, India. Rather than simply repeating him here, I want to point out something else that I see all too frequently -
“The problem is that government hasn’t provided easy channels to be employed in the formal sector.”
“It is a visual eyesore, a symbol of raw inequality that epitomizes the failure of policy makers to accommodate the millions of rural migrants searching for opportunity in Indian cities.”
“If China’s authoritarian leaders have deliberately steered the country’s surplus rural work force into urban factories, Indian leaders have done little to promote job opportunities in cities for rural migrants.”
It is common for writers concerned about the developing world to talk about government doing too little, and of failing to provide infrastructure, opportunities, or what have you. This conveys a tragic misunderstanding of the situation. The fact is, if the formal sector is in need of employees, employers will themselves provide easy channels to employment. If the appropriate conditions exist, then the market will promote job opportunities in cities for rural migrants. And if rural migrants seek opportunities in Indian cities, entrepreneurs will slave to provide accommodation for them.
And since these things require no government action to come into being, it is safe to conclude that their failure to materialize is the result of too much, rather than too little, government intervention. I wish more journalists would get this right.
David — December 28, 2011
There are some great quotes from this recent Haaretz interview with Ron Paul:
“‘Any kind of racism or anti-Semitism is incompatible with my philosophy,’ Paul said in an interview with Haaretz, conducted by email. ‘Ludwig von Mises, the great economist whose writing helped inspire my political career, was a Jew who was forced to leave his native Austria to escape the Nazis. Mises wrote about the folly of seeing people as part of groups rather than as individuals,’ Paul said.”
“Q. Do you support completely cutting all foreign aid, including the aid to Israel? Paul: Yes, I am personally against all foreign aid. We give $3 billion to Israel and $12 billion to her avowed enemies. How does that help Israel? And in return, we act like her master and demand veto power over her foreign policy.”
Also, check out Megan Kelly’s interview with Doug Wead, senior advisor to the Good Doctor:
Mr. Wead needs to be in the spotlight more as he is very effective at answering questions.
Dave Killion — December 28, 2011
Although seriously alarmed by government monopoly, which survives only through force and fraud, libertarians are concerned with private sector monopolies only so far as they exist as a result of government policy. In the absence of tariffs, subsidies, licensing restrictions and requirements, and other such state-based mischief, monopolies are difficult to create, impossible to sustain, and beneficial for almost the entirety of their brief existences. Hans F. Senholzlays lays out the argument in the longish-but-worthy essay, ” The Phantom Called “Monopoly” ” -
“… even if competitors of similar size and structure should be absent, the monopolist must be mindful of the potential competition that can arise overnight. Numerous financiers, promoters, and speculators continuously search for opportunities to establish new enterprises. They have formed new giant companies in the past. And they are willing to risk their capital again if they see an opportunity for profits.
Dreading the promoter who may invade his field, the monopolist therefore must act as if he were surrounded by numerous competitors. He must be alert and always “competitive.” He must continuously improve his product and reduce its price. For if he should relax, another company will soon invade his field. The newcomer is likely to be a formidable competitor for he has new machinery and equipment. He has new ideas and applies new methods of production. And he enjoys the good will of all customers. Indeed, a monopolist who relaxes invites disaster.”
Anyone doubting the truth of the above may wish to acquaint themselves with this brief history of the rise and decline of De Beers, perhaps the strongest monopoly ever. Interesting stuff!