Friday afternoon ramble
- Paul Walker praises Obama. Doesn’t happen often. But it does when the Messiah “discards two major campaign pledges on international economic policy” – and those discarded pledges were to name China a currency manipulator, and to forswear renegotiation of NAFTA. Says Paul: “One of the biggest fears about the Obama administration was that, with regard to international economic policy, the President might actually follow through on his campaign rhetoric. That would have been a disaster, and so its good to see he isn't.”
- Lindsay Perigo is less excited. “Fewer than 100 days into his presidency, Barack Chavez-Obama is shaping up as treasonous…”
- 250 jobs axed at the IRD? That means, says Glenn Jameson, that there’s only 5750 to go.
- From the UK: Looks like both Gordon Brown (recently) and David Cameron (last year) are jumping on Obama’s voluntary slavery bandwagon. Says the Devil’s Kitchen: “it seems that the Prime Mentalist has found a solution to the fact that the state just doesn't have the money to keep people in compulsory education until they are 18: don't actually educate them (no fucking change there, eh?), but make them indentured slaves instead. . . Because when I want to feel proud of my country, I definitely like to highlight state slavery as one of the best things about it. You fucking moron." Read Would you like some state slavery, or some state slavery? and find out how to swear properly. [Hat tip Rory Hodgson]
- From the West Island: Looks like Plan Rudd for Team Holden is tits up. Already.
- Deflation Has Gone Global, says Mish at MISH'S Global Economic Trend Analysis. “Deflation properly defined is a net decrease in the money supply and credit, with credit being marked to market. Deflation by that measure went global long ago.” Which means either prices and wages are allowed to fall – as they’re already doing in some markets – so the decreasing amount of money can buy as much as before, or we’re going to be in this for a very long time.
- Still, New Zealand’s big four Australian owned banks have been rated inside the top 20 of the world’s 50 safest banks, says Bernard Hickey. Good news, as long as you ignore that all fractional reserve banks are technically insolvent anyway.
- Echoing comments made by Austrian economists such as George Reisman and Peter Schiff, Libertarianz leader Richard McGrath says attempts by governments to intervene during a time of market correction will prove counter-productive and costly in the long run. “The nine-day fortnight is just the latest example of voodoo economics, promoted by ignoramuses,” he says. Read Nine Day Fortnight Is Economic Lunacy.
- Speaking of bitter bloggers, media morons and Deborah Hill Cone – as I was last weekend, when I fixed all the problems of the press for them – you’ll enjoy the New Clarion’s analysis of that annoying CNN reporter at last week’s Chicago Tea Party. Read CNN Reporter Blanks Out On Camera.
- Meanwhile, from the newsletter of NZ’s Foundation for Economic Growth comes this gem:
- Stephen Jennings is the founder of the Moscow-based Renaissance Group including Renaissance Capital - the leading investment bank in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and sub-Saharan Africa. Born and schooled in Taranaki, he studied business and economics at Massey and Auckland, before joining the New Zealand Treasury. Later he worked with Credit Suisse First Boston before founding Renaissance Capital in Moscow in 1995. Today he is ranked by London’s Financial News as among the top 100 most influential people in European capital markets and has been described by a fellow banker as the only foreign oligarch in Russia.
The NZ Business Round Table invited him over to give this year's Sir Ronald Trotter lecture. Amongst many other things he had this to say:
- "My personal assessment is that as a society we are drifting away from this type of hard-nosed common sense reasoning; to put it politely we are becoming too inclined to believe our own myths. We are more likely to move forward if we talk about why the World Economic Forum ranks New Zealand 51st for burden of government; 67th for the extent and effect of taxation and 90th for hiring and firing practices."
- Read the full speech here at NZCPR: Opportunities of a Lifetime: Lessons for New Zealand from New High-Growth Economies.
- Iran is in the news again for all the wrong (but usual) reasons. With or Without Nukes, Iran Is a Mortal Threat, reminds Elan Journo.
- “Changes” to the Resource Management Act? Who is anybody kidding, here? Local Government New Zealand reckons “changes designed to simplify and streamline the Resource Management Act may actually create more delays and increase costs.” Really. Ya think? Meanwhile, Business New Zealand – the government’s friend – says “it supported the fundamental principles of the Resource Management Act , but . . .” Apparently they don’t realise their first clause makes the second redundant.
- Cactus Kate maintains that if her alma mater wants to give Helen Clark an honorary doctorate, then she will start binning those alumni contribution requests. Farrar reckons “To be truly appropriate, I think they should make it a retrospective degree!”
- The Humble Libertarian humbly and studiously lists and links the “top 100 libertarian blogs and websites” from around the world. The Ayn Rand Institute makes it in (with an apology); Not PC doesn’t (thank you to readers who’ve promoted it).
- And The Nearby Pen lists the top 20 Objectivist blogs. Once again, I don’t make the front page – but the honourable mention is much appreciated. :-)
- While we're listing blogs, here (courtesy of Bernard Hickey and the Irish Times) are the world's best financial blogs. You'll see by the presence of alleged economist Paul Krugman on the list that "best" is not a measure of acumen, so much as traffic.
- Whale Oil discovers that California's 'Green Jobs' Experiment Isn't Going Well. No surprises there. “The last thing the economy needs is a ‘green solution’ to a problem that doesn't exist and then cripples our economy right when we need it to be clawing its way out of a socialist induced recession.”
- George Reisman agrees, but sees a way ‘green jobs’ could be made to work. “Indeed, advancing the goals of environmentalism is capable of creating a virtually limitless number of jobs. Big-rig trucks and their ‘polluting’ emissions might be done away with by replacing them with human porters who would carry freight on their backs. Ocean-going ships and their emissions might be done away with by replacing their "dirty engines" with the clean labor of banks of oarsmen. (Sails would be a substitute too, but they are no match for oarsmen when it comes to the number of workers needed.) Automobiles and their emissions might be replaced by sedan chairs and teams of litter bearer. . . “
The possibilities are endless.
- Residents of W(h)anganui get to vote on whether they spell their address the way Ken Mair wants them to, but Aucklanders don’t get to vote on whether they get to live in Rodney Hide’s new fascist uber state. The Standard reckons that this represents yet another National election promise broken – “that National policy before the election was to let Aucklanders have their say on any proposal to change our city.” I’m inclined to agree with them.
- Good news from the coming depression: Crocs are going to disappear forever! Even if it takes a decade of stagnation and unemployment, that may just be worth it if that’s true.
- From the how-come-this-isn’t-making-news file, comes this story from Stratfor: the Taliban problem is going critical in nuclear Pakistan. It is making news in some places, anyway. The Daily Mail:Pakistan is a 'mortal threat' to world, says Clinton as Taliban surge towards Islamabad. [Hat tip Leighton Smith]
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House, a Frank Lloyd Wright gem (dedicated website here) is reopening. Volunteer Gayle Manning says this is especially good news, since “she and her colleagues can call off the ghost of Susan Dana, the home's eccentric socialite, now deceased, who was known to dabble in the paranormal. ‘We sent her to visit the ex-governor to make him pay for what he did,’ Manning joked Tuesday. ‘I'm sure she's here dancing in the gallery now, thrilled like the rest of us’."
- For the first time in American legal history, a judge has explicitly endorsed important principles of Ayn Rand’s political theory in a published appellate opinion. Story here.
After Salon writer Glenn Greenwald spoke at a Cato forum about his new study on Portugal’s successful drug decriminalization program, he sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss his research. Head here for the video.
- You wanted a local cannabis cafe? The Daktory is just what your doctor probably ordered – a club that allows you to peacefully indulge your favourite habit in the company of friends and fellow members. Join here. More here:
- Environmentalists, listen up. Forbes.com published this article yesterday based on Art Carden’s paper "Economic Calculation in the Environmentalist Commonwealth."
Here's the gist, says Art: “private property and prices are necessary for rational economic calculation; therefore, without private property we cannot know what responsible environmental stewardship even means. Bringing more resources into the cash nexus--by privatizing garbage collection and recycling, and by eliminating building restrictions in large cities--can reduce the amount of environmental damage that gets done.”
Good to see then that the FrogBlog’s ‘Toad’ maintains on this Kiwiblog thread that he, at least, is a supporter of property rights. For one race, anyway.
- The upside down world of John Maynard Keynes got us into the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it looks increasingly like it’s going to keep us there for some time. Keynes was “more bureaucrat than economist,” says Mark Thornton. “In fact, he would best be described as an anti-economist…”Sounds like too high praise, really. Read ‘The Upside-down World of John Maynard Keynes’ and see if you agree.
- Want a sober, rational summary of what just happened to the world’s economies? Want a cracking good read? Then the book you’re after is Tom Woods’s Meltdown, as this short book review should persuade you: It’s Austrian theory for everyone!
- And while we’re talking new and essential books, Bob Murphy’s new book on The Fake History of the Depression is another one. Real name: The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal.
- Did I mention Austrian economics? Some Objectivists (who should remain nameless, but whose names might include the words Richard and Salsman) suggest that Austrian economics should be shunned in favour of the supply-siders and the “rational expectations” school. Austrian economics is “inane,” says Salsman. Per-Olof Samuelsson fisks this ridiculous notion in a piece he calls Objectivism and "Austrian" Economics – compatible or not? (or: Richard Salsman is a Moron). As Wladmir Kraus says, “I liked [this] piece very much. It's forceful and to the point. If an Objectivist, after having read [this] analysis, still finds the nerve to believe and propound Salsman's nonsense about the Austrian school and George Reisman in particular, he's either a fool or dishonest fool.” Take that, fools. [And there’s More Salsman Nonsense here if you’re so inclined.]
- And finally, if you enjoy my daily art and architecture posts here at NOT PC, which I post to show you that there’s more in the art world than just crap art, then you’ll love Lindsay Perigo’s Music Gems of the Day that he’s been posting, well, every day – and for much the same reason. Scroll down at his blog to see (and hear) them all, from Sibelius, to Massenet, to Bach.
The most recent is Dimitris Sgouros at an open-air evening performance of Liszt's Harmonies du Soir.
Which means here’s what you need to add these to your list of essential reading this week, or to give to a friend: