Saturday, 24 August 2019

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

"We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage... If we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost." #QotD


"We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage. What we lack is a liberal Utopia, a program which seems neither a mere defense of things as they are nor a diluted kind of socialism, but a truly liberal radicalism which does not spare the susceptibilities of the mighty (including the trade unions), which is not too severely practical, and which does not confine itself to what appears today as politically possible. We need intellectual leaders who are willing to work for an ideal, however small may be the prospects of its early realization. They must be men who are willing to stick to principles and to fight for their full realization, however remote. The practical compromises they must leave to the politicians. Free trade and freedom of opportunity are ideals which still may arouse the imaginations of large numbers, but a mere "reasonable freedom of trade" or a mere "relaxation of controls" is neither intellectually respectable nor likely to inspire any enthusiasm.
    "The main lesson which the true liberal must learn from the success of the socialists is that it was their courage to be Utopian which gained them the support of the intellectuals and therefore an influence on public opinion which is daily making possible what only recently seemed utterly remote. Those who have concerned themselves exclusively with what seemed practicable in the existing state of opinion have constantly found that even this had rapidly become politically impossible as the result of changes in a public opinion which they have done nothing to guide. Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost."

          ~ Friedrich Hayek, from his 1949 essay 'The Intellectuals & Socialism'
[Hat tip Peter Boettke]
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Tuesday, 20 August 2019

"'Left' and 'right' are each descriptive of authoritarian positions. Liberty has no horizontal relationship to authoritarianism. Libertarianism’s relationship to authoritarianism is vertical; it is up from the muck of men enslaving man…." #QotD


"'Left' and 'right' are each descriptive of authoritarian positions. Liberty has no horizontal relationship to authoritarianism. Libertarianism’s relationship to authoritarianism is vertical; it is up from the muck of men enslaving man….
    "What, actually, is the difference between communism and fascism? Both are forms of statism, authoritarianism. The only difference between Stalin’s communism and Mussolini’s fascism is an insignificant detail in organisational structure. But one is 'left' and the other is 'right'! Where does this leave the libertarian in a world of Moscow word-making? The libertarian is, in reality, the opposite of the communist. Yet, if the libertarian employs the terms 'left' and 'right,' he is falling into the semantic trap of being a 'rightist' (fascist) by virtue of not being a 'leftist' (communist). This is a semantic graveyard for libertarians, a word device that excludes their existence. While those with Moscow relations will continue this theme, there is every reason why libertarians should avoid it."

          ~ FEE founder Leonard Read, writing in 1956
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Monday, 19 August 2019

Climate Corrections


In full-on apocalyptic mode this morning, Martyn Bradbury hyperventilates over melting ice in Greenland. Greenland ice melting should "terrify us," he tells us. The melting is "so extreme" that the ice sheet "lost 11 billion ton of ice -- in just one day"!

Imagine that! 11 billion tons!! In just one day!! In summer!!!

"How does that impact the rest of us?" asks Martyn, and answers: "In a terrifying manner I’m afraid."

Martyn is afraid.

Martyn is very afraid:
We are seeing the last canary die in the coal mine. Catastrophic climate change is here, we have run out of time. Our collective denial has made it impossible to stop climate change, our only hope now is radical adaptation.
But Martyn hasn't done his sums.

George Reisman has. After headlines such as “Greenland is on track to lose most ice on record this year and has already shed 250 billion tons,” Reisman put down his paper and picked up his calculator -- something Martyn should have done before letting loose:
It turns out that this amount of water is equal to slightly more than 60 cubic miles. (http://bit.ly/33tnVhf) The total volume of water in the world’s oceans is approximately 320 million cubic miles. (http://bit.ly/2N2yl1x)
    If we divide the 60 cubic miles of water added by the ice melt in Greenland by the 320 million cubic miles of water already in the oceans, the result is 0.0000001875. This is the relative increase in the volume of water in the oceans.
    The absolute increase is the relative increase times the pre-existing average depth of the oceans, which is approximately 12,100 feet (idem) [or 3,688m).... The results of these multiplications are .0023 feet [or 0.69mm] ... That’s 23 ten-thousandths of a foot, 27 one-thousandths of an inch [or less than one millimetre].
    To put these numbers in proper perspective, recall that a quarter of an inch is 250 one-thousandths of an inch. So what the fake media were trying to frighten us with is a rise in the sea level of little more than a tenth of a quarter of an inch (i.e., .027/.250).
Terrifying! A whole summer's worth of Greenland ice a-melting, as it does every summer, creating a seal-level rise of less than two-thirds of a millimetre. And as Reisman reminds us, "much or most of the 60 cubic miles of melted ice from Greenland will refreeze come Winter."

This is a canary in the coal mine only in the sense that it flushes out those prone too easily to panic.

There is no more need to panic because Greenland ice raises sea level less than the thickness of a cigarette paper than there is to panic about (to pick a place made topical by a costly Prime-Ministerial visit) the seas around Tuvalu. To remind readers:
The reported `plight' of the Tuvaluans is not about sea level rise at all - it's about over-population. With such a high population density, the fresh water table on the atolls is subject to rapid depletion, especially in dry years. In addition, the development which would follow from such a high density will bring the inevitable coastal erosion, a problem which the Tuvalu government falsely blames on climate change and sea level rise. Tide gauge data from all around the South Pacific shows the same pattern as the one at Funafuti - no sea level rise. It is, and always was, a bogus claim, with few in the outside world bothering to check the accuracy of the claim.”
Little has changed since those claims were first made, neither in any acceleration of sea-level rise around Tuvalu, nor the arrival of that flood of "climate refugees" from Tuvalu that Al Gore forecast would have begun arriving here at least a decade ago. (The Tuvaluan population increased by 660 between 2001 and 2006, largely through births. By 2006, there were 1654 Tuvalu-born folk living in NZ; in 2013 just 1848.)

We are right to be afraid. Not by the way the planet is behaving, but by those who purport to report upon it.
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"It is amazing how many people act as if the right to free speech includes the right to be free of criticism for what you say — which means that other people should not have the same right to free speech that they claim for themselves." #QotD


"It is amazing how many people act as if the right to free speech includes the right to be free of criticism for what you say — which means that other people should not have the same right to free speech that they claim for themselves."
          ~ Thomas Sowell
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Sunday, 18 August 2019

"Suffering is a divided mind. Happiness is an integrated state." #QotD


"Conflict is not a pleasant state. PJ Eby says, with deep truth, that ‘suffering is a divided mind.’
    "Happiness is an integrated state."

-- two quotes combined: from Jean Moroney's post on 'Eyes-Wide-Open Decision-Making,' and from Onkar Ghate's interview with Dave Rubin on 'Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Happiness'
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Saturday, 17 August 2019

"Simplicity - with a capital "S" - is difficult to comprehend nowadays. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.” #QotD



“As we live and as we are, Simplicity - with a capital "S" - is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.”
          ~ Frank Lloyd Wright, from his book 'The Natural House'
[Hat tip Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple Restoration Foundation]
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Friday, 16 August 2019

Question of the Day: "What does zero interest mean?"



"News Flash: the central bank cannot print wealth...
    "What does this really mean [then when the interest rate on the 30-year Treasury, or arguably the 10-year], gets to zero?
    "What does zero interest mean? It means there is no demand for credit by businesses that justifies [them] paying more than zero... If businesses had opportunities to profit at higher rates, they’d take all the credit they could get at those rates. But ... debt capacity aside, what would they put the cash to?
    "No, buying their own shares, or speculating on other assets, does not count.
    "What does zero interest mean? It means cash borrowed at zero is expected to generate a marginal return. And that means all the cash borrowed previously, at higher rates, is generating submarginal returns. Those capital assets are being churned. That is, competitors buy bigger machines, build bigger hotels, or more glorious restaurants simply by dint of borrowing cheaper. And the process has culminated in a market interest rate of zero. Zero means: 'here, take this cash and use it for free. Yeah, no, we don’t expect a return.'
    "When there is no return on lending, that is a sign that there is little to no return on anything that can be financed by borrowing. One necessitates the other. We encourage you to stop here and think about this. It is a critical point.
Getting back to the problem of all the borrowing incurred at a higher rate, well much of it can be refinanced at lower rates or at the then-current zero rate. But that does not fix the problem of a restaurant that looks dated, with middling finishes and cheaper materials that now competes against an opulent Dining Palace. Customers prefer the latter, and no amount of refinancing can fix that problem.
    "Large corporations might borrow to refurbish and remodel their stores. This piles more debt on top of the old debt, which they cannot retire. They cannot operate the perfectly good old restaurant, so they go deeper into debt to rebuild it into something that can be operated. It may pay the debt service (hah!) payroll, food ingredients, etc. But it cannot amortise the debt.
    "And that brings us full circle. At zero interest, the debt has become so heavy it cannot be lifted. The force that would lift it is: return on capital. And it is precisely RoC that has been atrophied by decades of force-feeding capital to businesses. During this long process, the demand for capital picked up, only with each downtick in interest rates.
    "And finally the end is reached. Zero interest. In physics, there is a construct of infinite mass and zero volume. It is called the singularity.
    "A black hole."

          ~ Keith Weiner, from his post at Monetary Metals on 'The Economic Singularity'
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Thursday, 15 August 2019

"We got into this stupid housing mess because the 'Let's protect Precious Agricultural Land' people teamed up with the 'Let's protect Precious Neighbourhood Amenity' people and banned anybody building anything anywhere." Bonus #QotD


"We got into this stupid housing mess because the 'Let's Protect Precious Agricultural Land' people teamed up with the 'Let's Protect Precious Neighbourhood Amenity' people and banned anybody building anything anywhere.
    "I get depressed when a government that came in promising to fix the housing crisis screws this stuff up."

          ~ Eric Crampton, from his post on 'Precious Arable Land'
[Hat tip Mitchell Palmer]
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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

“Proposals for an increased volume of credit, therefore, are merely another name for proposals for an increased burden of debt. They would seem considerably less inviting if they were habitually referred to by the second name instead of by the first.” #QotD


“Proposals for an increased volume of credit, therefore, are merely another name for proposals for an increased burden of debt. They would seem considerably less inviting if they were habitually referred to by the second name instead of by the first.”

~ Henry Hazlitt, from his book Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics -- the book that has Deborah Russell MP's panties in a bunch
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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

"Cheap money policies eventually bring about far more violent oscillations in business than those they are designed to remedy or prevent." Bonus #QotD



"[W]e may define 'savings' and 'investment' as constituting respectively the supply of and demand for new capital. And just as the supply of and demand for any other commodity are equalised by price, so the supply of and demand for capital are equalised by interest rates. The interest rate is merely the special name for the price of loaned capital. It is a price like any other.

    "This whole subject has been so appallingly confused in recent years by complicated sophistries and disastrous governmental policies based upon them that one almost despairs of getting back to common sense and sanity about it. There is a psychopathic fear of 'excessive' interest rates. It is argued that if interest rates are too high it will not be profitable for industry to borrow and invest in new plants and machines. This argument has been so effective that governments everywhere in recent decades have pursued artificial 'cheap money' policies. But the argument, in its concern with increasing the demand for capital, overlooks the effect of these policies on the supply of capital. It is one more example of the fallacy of looking at the effects of a policy only on one group and forgetting the effects on another…

    "The effect of keeping interest rates artificially low, in fact, is eventually the same as that of keeping any other price below the natural market. It increases demand and reduces supply. It increases the demand for capital and reduces the supply of real capital. It brings about a scarcity. It creates economic distortions. It is true, no doubt, that an artificial reduction in the interest rate encourages increased borrowing. It tends, in fact, to encourage highly speculative ventures that cannot continue except under the artificial conditions that gave them birth. On the supply side, the artificial reduction of interest rates discourages normal thrift and saving. It brings about a comparative shortage of real capital.

    "The money rate can, indeed, be kept artificially low only by continuous new injections of currency or bank credit in place of real savings. This can create the illusion of more capital just as the addition of water can create the illusion of more milk. But it is a policy of continuous [monetary and asset-price] inflation. It is obviously a process involving cumulative danger...

    "Cheap money policies, in short, eventually bring about far more violent oscillations in business than those they are designed to remedy or prevent."


~ then NY Times senior economics writer Henry Hazlitt, writing as if yesterday on 'The Assault on Saving,' from his book Economics in One Lesson

* * * * * 

Henry Hazlitt explains the primary lesson contained in his book, "Economics in One Lesson," beginning with the reason the lesson is still needed: "Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man..."




A walk through Hazlitt's chapter 'The Assault on Saving' ...




"Socialists imagine that the minimum wage increases wages paid. But the fact is that it increases, not the wage paid to a given worker, but the threshold. That is, it raises the bar on what employment is legally permissible." #QotD


"In an attempt to raise wages, the government imposes a minimum wage by law. Socialists imagine that this increases wages paid. But the fact is that it increases, not the wage paid to a given worker, but the threshold. That is, it raises the bar on what employment is legally permissible..."
    "A price fixing scheme like minimum wage is based on the idea that ... there is a magically right wage—nowadays called “living” ... And the government, of course, has the job to ensure it is paid. Of course, the government cannot guarantee any such thing....
    "On one side, there are people who go without work. They suffer the hardships of poverty .... On the other side, there are entrepreneurs who go without workers. ...
    "By fixing price, they think to fix the economic outcomes. But the reality is the opposite ... government intrusion into the market causes dis-coordination. There are people who lack for work, and at the same time companies who lack for workers. This is an extraordinary thing, for all that we take it for granted and accept it as if it were normal."

          ~ Keith Weiner, from his post 'Distortion Due to Minimum Wage Law'
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Monday, 12 August 2019

"It will scarcely be necessary to demonstrate the beneficial tendency of free trade in general, or to prove that it is for the interest of a nation to purchase its commodities where they are cheap, and not where they are dear. Self-evident as this proposition may appear, it has had to make its way against all the resistance which strong interests and still stronger prejudices could oppose to it." #QotD


"It will scarcely, we imagine, be any longer deemed necessary to demonstrate the beneficial tendency of free trade in general, or to prove that it is for the interest of a nation to purchase its commodities where they are cheap, and not where they are dear. Self-evident as this proposition may appear, it is one of the most modern of all modern discoveries, and has had to make its way against all the resistance which strong interests and still stronger prejudices could oppose to it."
~ John Stuart Mill, from his 1825 essay “The Corn Laws" (reprinted in Essays on Economics and Society Part I)
[Hat tip Cafe Hayek]
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Saturday, 10 August 2019

In 1789 Marie Antoinette said 'let them eat cake.' In 2019, the Reserve Bank tells us to eat 'cheap money.’



A piece of excrement called Adrian Orr
[pic of Herald hard copy]

Many savers live off their savings. In order to maintain their capital, many -- older, retired folk, especially -- live off the interest on their savings.

Mr. Adrian Orr has just told all those people, every single one of them, to get stuffed.

Mr. Adrian Orr is the governor of the New Zealand Reserve Bank.

This makes him, by virtue of the Official Cash Rate, which he dictates, the person who sets the level of New Zealand's interest rates.

Without any special inflationary pressure on him (controlling which purports to be the purpose of his job), Mr. Adrian Orr announced this week that he intends to savage savers. Not in those words, naturally. What he did was announce a savage and unprecedented cut to the make the OCR the lowest it has ever been in history, while telling savers to suck it up: Savers, he said, "might have to think about investing in other assets if you want to get higher than what you consider the lowest-risk nominal returns."

In other words, savers who wish to stay afloat need to seek out all those forms of risky too-good-to-be-true investments that collapsed so spectacularly just over a decade ago.

Mr Orr is considered a prudent manager of the country's interest rates.

Clearly however, by his subsequent (and frankly stupid) comments about the "need" at this dangerous time for govt spending, for greater borrowing and spending, and to flush out cash from under pillows, he is a student of John Maynard Keynes -- who famously called for interest rates to be driven to zero in order to bring about "the euthanasia of the rentier." That is, to euthanase all those folk, like all those retirees, all those rentiers, as he labelled them, who live off the interest on their savings.

In what world would you call that "prudence"?

Every student of Keynes is aware of Keynes's ambition here. Because this was not just one of My Keynes's many idle remarks. This was
a linchpin of his basic political programme, the “euthanasia of the rentier” class: that is, the state’s expanding the quantity of money enough so as to drive down the rate of interest to zero, thereby at last wiping out the hated creditors. It should be noted that Keynes did not want to wipe out investment: on the contrary, he maintained that savings and investment were separate phenomena. Thus, he could advocate driving down the rate of the interest to zero as a means of maximising investment while minimising (if not eradicating) savings.
The basic message to savers being, as from Mr Orr, to get stuffed. This cheap money policy is here to stay, Keynes wished for and Orr now seems to say, and the "class of savers" seeking should simply suck it up and get used to it. As with others, like the FT's Martin Wolf, who have similarly invoked Keynes's methodology
What makes [this] conclusion so tainted is that he understands the consequences of this policy... the ruination of people who earn interest on their savings.
    He sees the problem as insufficient aggregate demand...
    This is classic Keynesian logic: solve the problems of debt and monetary expansion by engaging in more debt and monetary expansion. With governments reluctant to expand spending further he concludes that we are stuck with the second-best solution of a cheap money policy consisting of ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing.
Besides, as we have observed, Mr. Orr believes the cautious "rentier" no longer serves a useful purpose.

Mr. Orr's comments are of a piece with other we might declare as an "unabashed mouthpiece for the ruling power elite." Because as Mark Thornton points out about the FT's Martin Wolf when he openly advocated (in a piece titled “Wipe out Rentiers with Cheap Money,”) what Mr Orr now clearly implies:
He clearly and correctly [observes] what this policy actually accomplishes — cheap monetary policy hurts most people in the economy, particularly workers and savers and redistributes wealth to the ruling elites. The losers from easy credit policy include the broad categories of insurance, pensions, and households. This long known result was confirmed in a [2014] study ... by the McKinsey Global Institute.
    Insurance is far more important than most people think. Insurance protects us against the loss of life (life insurance), our health (medical insurance), our homes (home, flood, and fire insurance), and our vehicles (car insurance). There is also general liability insurance and various types of business insurance. Insurance companies even offer incentives to be better drivers, to maintain safer homes, and to live healthier lifestyles, and they strive to eliminate moral hazard. Insurance companies are hurt by cheap money policies because their interest return on investments are now lower than required to meet their payout obligations. This hurts the companies and their policyholders because it requires higher premiums and raises the possibility of bankrupting insurance companies.
    Pensions and retirement savings accounts are also hurt by easy credit policies. These institutions arose to address the problems associated with increased longevity brought about by increased prosperity. By saving during your working career you provide income for your retirement. Cheap money policy and low interest rates discourage saving and also makes it more difficult for pensions to earn returns on their investments necessary to make future payouts to retirees. The same is true for individuals who have retirement savings accounts.
    In order to achieve higher returns, pension funds and people saving for retirement have been forced into more risky investments. Savings accounts, money market mutual funds, certificates of deposit, and short-term government bonds earn less than 1 percent, and after taxes and inflation they are losing purchasing power. Hence, central banks have been forcing these people to invest in the stock markets and junk bonds and the possibility of large losses in the future.
This is precisely and specifically what Mr Orr demands of householders, to "stop suffering money illusion and if that's still too low a return then push your bank or investment advisers for alternatives." The unspoken adjective here being "riskier" alternatives.
    The class labeled 'households' [who are the losers here] is basically everyone except the small number of people who benefit from cheap money policy. Households are harmed in a variety of ways, including the weak job market, declining real wages, and the negative impact on savings. It has also harmed them by encouraging households to take on extremely high amounts of debt, much of which comes with much higher interest rates.
    The winners from cheap money policy are the government, large corporations, and large banks in the US. Low interest rates clearly benefit borrowers with lower interest rates and governments, banks, and corporations are the biggest borrowers. In general, artificially low interest rates benefit capital and hurt labor. Cheap money policy by central banks helps banks, like subsidized flour policies would help bakeries. Banks are also helped by most forms of government bailouts.
    The easy money policy makes it easy for large corporations to borrow large amounts of credit at very low interest rates. It also forces stock prices up as alternative forms of savings, such as certificates of deposits, yield a real negative return. It has also made it very cheap for corporations to buy back their stock and to leverage their balance sheets. The stock market bubble is the direct effect of the cheap money policy of the central bank.
    Mr. Wolf and central bankers around the world [like Mr. Orr still] have the idea that cheap money policies can increase stock prices and that this will lead to sustainable increases in investment, consumer spending, and increased aggregate demand. In reality, cheap money policies cause economic bubbles that are inherently unstable and subject to crash. It should be obvious that harming the workers and savers of society to benefit the wealthy ruling class is no way to get the economy back on track. Therefore, cheap money policy is a scam of gigantic global proportions.
    Achieving economic recovery and growth requires first knowing what caused the problem in the first place. A lack of aggregate demand is the effect, not the cause. A lack of aggregate demand is the crisis, not the cause of it. The cause of the crisis is easy money policy and runaway government spending and debt. Continued easy money policy and government spending will only make the negative consequences of the crisis even worse.
    The solution consists of: 
1. Central banks should have no monetary policy and they should not interfere with interest rates.
2. Government budgets should be balanced and reduced over time.
3. Government regulations, subsidies, and taxes should be eliminated.
4. Land, labour, and capital should be transferred from the public sector to the private sector. And,
5. Programmes that burden future generations should be ended.
The horrible irony here is that when Keynes wrote approvingly of the euthanasia of the rentier class, he was speaking of a powerful class of monopoly capitalists and aristocrats. When [Mr. Orr implies] the euthanasia of the rentier he is actually targeting insurance, pensions, and households, with a policy that has enormous financial benefits to the class of people that Keynes was targeting for extinction!
    In 1789 Marie Antoinette said 'let them eat cake.' In [2019, Mr. Orr] tells us to eat 'cheap money.'

[Note: The text quoted above comes from a 2014 post by Mark Thornton critiquing the Financial Times's Martin Wolf. That it could have been written yesterday, and directed at Adrian Orr, is reason enough to quote it in full, with permission, here.]

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  • "When the Fed [i.e., the US Federal Reserve Bank] goes back to rate cuts, after months of stopping rate cuts, it means only that their recovery failed, the economy is moving back toward recession, and the Fed sees a need to go back to stimulus measures because the economic recovery was not sustainable on its own.
        "It means the patient is in need of perpetual life support to stay alive, and that is horrible news. Truly abysmally horrible, as it is the end of hope for the US [and world] economy if the Fed, by going to the zero bound for years and creating the largest heap of new money ever created for years, could not create a recovery that can sustain itself but has to go right back on to emergency life support.
        "It also demonstrates how utterly dependent on the Fed this market has become, which is miserably unhealthy."
    When will we win? Chinese trade victory is a mirage - THE GREAT RECESSION BLOG
  • "If the market interest rate is artificially suppressed, people save less and consume more out of their incomes – compared to a situation in which the market interest rate had not been artificially lowered. In addition, firms invest in projects that had not been undertaken had the market interest rate not been manipulated downward. In other words: The artificially lowered market interest rate leads an unsustainable production and employment structure."
    The Fed Has No Choice But to Return to Ultra-Low Interest Rates - Thorstein Polleit, Mises Wire
  • "According to the Austrian School of economics, however, the latest crisis has been brought about by a monetary policy of artificially suppressing the interest rate; and pushing interest rates down even further will only make matters worse."
    The Cure (Low Interest Rates) Is the Disease - Thorstein Polleit, Mises Wire
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"Through all time, wherever mankind have attempted to live in peace with each other, both the natural instincts & the collective wisdom of the human race have acknowledged and prescribed, as an indispensable condition, obedience to this one only universal obligation: viz., that each should live honestly towards every other." #QotD


"The science of justice ... is the science of all human rights; of all a man’s rights of person and property; of all his rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
    "It is the science which alone can tell any man what he can, and cannot, do; what he can, and cannot, have; what he can, and cannot, say, without infringing the rights of any other person.
    "It is the science of peace; and the only science of peace; since it is the science which alone can tell us on what conditions mankind can live in peace, or ought to live in peace, with each other.

    "These conditions are simply these: viz., first, that each man shall do, towards every other, all that justice requires him to do; as, for example, that he shall pay his debts, that he shall return borrowed or stolen property to its owner, and that he shall make reparation for any injury he may have done to the person or property of another.
    "The second condition is, that each man shall abstain from doing so another, anything which justice forbids him to do; as, for example, that he shall abstain from committing theft, robbery, arson, murder, or any other crime against the person or property of another.
    "So long as these conditions are fulfilled, men are at peace, and ought to remain at peace, with each other. But when either of these conditions is violated, men are at war. And they must necessarily remain at war until justice is re-established.
    "Through all time, so far as history informs us, wherever mankind have attempted to live in peace with each other, both the natural instincts, and the collective wisdom of the human race, have acknowledged and prescribed, as an indispensable condition, obedience to this one only universal obligation: viz., that each should live honestly towards every other.
    "The ancient maxim makes the sum of a man’s legal duty to his fellow men to be simply this: 'To live honestly, to hurt no one, to give to every one his due.'
    "This entire maxim is really expressed in the single words, to live honestly; since to live honestly is to hurt no one, and give to every one his due."
          ~ Lysander Spooner, from his 1882 pamphlet on Natural Law
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Friday, 9 August 2019

"It is only because the majority opinion will always be opposed by some that our knowledge and understanding progress." #QotD


"It is only because the majority opinion will always be opposed by some that our knowledge and understanding progress."          ~ Friedrich Hayek, from his book The Constitution of Liberty.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

"If you're running a dictatorship, you don't really have to worry about the welfare or the property rights of the ordinary citizen. Only the people who keep you in power, a very small group, matter." #QotD


"If you're running a dictatorship, you don't really have to worry about the welfare or the property rights of the ordinary citizen. Only the people who keep you in power, a very small group, matter."
          ~ Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." #QotD


"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
          ~ Thomas Paine, from The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777
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Tuesday, 6 August 2019

"The moment that housing, a universal human activity, becomes defined as a problem, a housing problems industry is born with an army of experts, bureaucrats and researchers, whose existence is a guarantee that the problem won't go away." #QotD


"The moment that housing, a universal human activity, becomes defined as a problem, a housing problems industry is born with an army of experts, bureaucrats and researchers, whose existence is a guarantee that the problem won't go away."
~ Colin Ward, in his Preface to John Turner's book Housing By People: Towards Autonomy in Building Environments.

Monday, 5 August 2019

"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." #QotD


"Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbours than the other sort." 
          ~ Robert Heinlein
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Sunday, 4 August 2019

"The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero." #QotD



"The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine." 
        ~ Penn Jillette (the talking half of Penn and Teller) from an interview at Interrobang


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Saturday, 3 August 2019

"One of the principal costs of abandoning libertarian principle on immigration is an immigration police state.' #QotD


"One of the principal costs of abandoning libertarian principle on this particular issue [of immigration is] an immigration police state, one consisting of highway checkpoints for travellers who have never left the United States, roving Border Patrol checkpoints, warrantless searches of farms and ranches within 100 miles of the border, body-cavity searches of Americans returning from overseas vacation, warrantless searches of cell phones and mandatory disclosure of passwords, violent raids on private businesses, forcible separation of children from parents, squalid conditions in immigrant concentration camps, and boarding of private buses to examine people’s papers.
    "What is the real argument that these libertarians are using in support of [abandoning their principles and joining up with the statists on this particular issue]? They are saying that if we have open borders and a welfare state, foreigners will come to the United State and get on welfare, which will mean that Americans will have to pay higher taxes. That’s the core of their argument—that libertarians should abandon their principles because open borders and a welfare state will mean that people will have to pay higher taxes.
    "Of course, that’s not necessarily true..."
   ~ Jacob Hornberger, from his post 'Open Borders Are Compatible With a Welfare State'
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Friday, 2 August 2019

"We like to tell ourselves that the satanic hysteria that wrongfully convicted Peter Ellis wouldn’t happen today, but with the spread of woke mob social media where accusation is the new evidential threshold, he’d probably be found guilty of everything under the sun if the accusations were made on social media today." Bonus #QotD


"We like to tell ourselves that the satanic hysteria that wrongfully convicted Peter Ellis wouldn’t happen today, but with the spread of woke mob social media where accusation is the new evidential threshold, he’d probably be found guilty of everything under the sun if the accusations were made on social media today."
~ Martyn Bradbury, from a post exploring why the left are crap at winning hearts and minds
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"Preventing access to unstructured play can deprive children of the opportunity to develop risk-management skills that are necessary for them to thrive." #QotD



"If a parent worries that unsupervised play is dangerous, the [Canadian Public Health Association, with support from the Lawson Foundation] responds:
    "'It is understandable you’re concerned for your child’s safety, and these concerns are appreciated. Children actually learn new skills when we allow them to engage in unstructured play, and they’re less likely to have more serious injuries later on. They are able to learn about their physical capabilities which allow them to rely less on adults to manage their environments.
    "'Preventing access to unstructured play can deprive children of the opportunity to develop risk-management skills that are necessary for them to thrive as they grow older. These skills include learning how to navigate risky circumstances and environments, knowing personal physical limits, how to cooperate with peers, and solve unforeseen problems.'"

~ from Lenore Skenazy's post at 'Let Grow': 'Let My Kids Play Outside With All Those Strangers and Cars??? An Evidence-Based Response'
[Pic from Let Grow]
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Thursday, 1 August 2019

"The notion that we need inflation to make an economy grow is obscenely brainless." Bonus #QotD



"The notion that we need inflation to make an economy grow is obscenely brainless."
          ~ Vinay Kolhatkar

"One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore..." #QotD


"One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore..." 
~ United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) official Ottmar Edenhofer, lead author of the IPCC’s fourth summary report released in 2007, in an interview with Germany’s NZZ Online.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

"The institution of private property, in the full, legal meaning of the term, was brought into existence only by capitalism. In the pre-capitalist eras, all property belonged to the head of the tribe, and was held only by his permission, which could be revoked at any time, at his pleasure." #QotD


"The institution of private property, in the full, legal meaning of the term, was brought into existence only by capitalism. In the pre-capitalist eras, private property existed de facto, but not de jure, i.e., by custom and sufferance, not by right or by law. In law and in principle, all property belonged to the head of the tribe, the king, and was held only by his permission, which could be revoked at any time, at his pleasure ... on the unchallenged axiom that wealth is an anonymous, social, tribal product.    "That notion has not been challenged to this day; it represents the implicit assumption and the base of contemporary political economy." 
          ~ Ayn Rand, from her essay 'What is Capitalism?'
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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

"When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear." #QotD


"When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear."  
        ~ Thomas Sowell
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Monday, 29 July 2019

Friday, 26 July 2019

"We are descended from a people whose government was founded on liberty; our glorious forefathers of Great Britain made liberty the foundation of everything. That country is become a great, mighty, and splendid nation; not because their government is strong and energetic, but, sir, because liberty is its direct end and foundation." #QotD


"We are descended from a people whose government was founded on liberty; our glorious forefathers of Great Britain made liberty the foundation of everything. That country is become a great, mighty, and splendid nation; not because their government is strong and energetic, but, sir, because liberty is its direct end and foundation."
~ Patrick Henry, 1787, from the Debates on the Adoption of the [US] Federal Constitution.