Friday, 9 December 2011

Friday Morning Ramble: From the childish to the ridiculous

Morning readers.  Here’s a few things that interested me. They might grab you too.  But first, a message from our sponsor:

To take ideas seriously means that you intend to live by, to
practice, any idea you accept as true.
- Ayn Rand

  • Labour’s David Parker explains how government turns $150 million into $33 million.
    Reserve Generation – O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R
  • Dim Post rewrites classic Kiwi literature as if written by celebrated Herald columnist Shelley Bridgeman.
    Shelley writes the classics -  D I M   P O S T
  • “With the demise of ACT and the disappearance from Parliament of oddballs and eccentrics like John Boscawen and Hillary Calvert, NZ First is stepping up and filling the void.” Thank goodness.
    "You talkin' to me?" – I M P E R A T O R   F I S H
  • Despite their party’s relative electoral success, not all Greens were happy campaigning on holidays swimming in rivers, pink batts for children, and jobs constructing windmills.
    Back of the brain niggles – G    B L O G
  • Surprise, surprise. Christchurch’s council did everything they could to stop Christchurch’s volunteer hero.
    Civil society and earthquake recovery – O F F S E T T I N G     B E H A V I O U R 
  • Letter of the week in The Press: “Remember every time you enjoy a latte … you are lucky to have the benefits of capitalism,” begins The Press’s letter writer of the week…
    In praise of capitalism – H O M E   P A D D O C K 
  • How Occupy Wall Street reduced the unemployment rate.
  • The British Industrial Revolution: A Tribute to Freedom and Human Potential.
  • 5 Reasons Money Can Buy Happiness. [Hat tip Stephen Hicks]
    5 Reasons Money Can Buy Happiness -  C R A C K E D A
  • Why stimulus fails. A case study.

    • Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble  admits the Euro bail-out fund won't halt the Euro crisis—but sees this as too good a crisis to waste: he’s talking political union. "We can only achieve a political union if we have a crisis," Mr. Schäuble said.
      Wolfgang Schäuble admits euro bail-out fund won't halt crisis  - T E L E G R A P H
      Wolfgang Schäuble seeing opportunity in Europe's crisis -  N E W   Y O R K   T I M E S
    • “I watched the ECB announcement press conference last night. You can find it below. I recommend you watch it in full. The Q&A session at the end contains the most important parts. After watching it,  I am still in shock.”
      Europe’s last hope collapses -  Z E R O   H E D G E
    • It had to happen…
      Hitler Hears About The Collapse Of The Eurozone … Z E R O   H E D G E
    • Government debt, aka sovereign debt, used to be thought of as a risk-free investment.  That’s one theory that’s now been thoroughly exploded by reality.
       The Risk of Sovereign Debt – David Howden,  M I S E S   E C O N O M I C S   B L O G
    • Keynes vs Hayek was the economic “Fight of the Century.” Yet it is said Hayek abandoned the fight after Keynes published his General Theory. Or did he?
      Hayek’s Critique of The General Theory: A New View of the Debate between Hayek and Keynes
      -  David Sanz Bas, Q U A R T E R L Y   J O U R N A L   O F   E C O N O M I C S
    • Detlev Schlicter’s well-reasoned warnings about the coming collapse of paper money have made the pages of The Guardian! Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight's economics editor (and the guy who fronted the recent LSE/BBC4 Keynes v Hayek radio show), picks Detlev Schlichter's Paper Money Collapse as one of his five economics books to give people for Christmas. [Hat tip Samizdata]
      Books for giving: economics – T H E   G U A R D I A N
    • Want to understand Detlev’s argument without buying his book? Then try this:

    • Peter Schiff dismantles the many economic fallacies in Obama's latest speech, ending with this important point:
      "The reason the middle class is getting squeezed [and] the reason [it] is disappearing is because those freedoms that created it are also disappearing. It's because the 'simple theory' [of capitalism] has been abandoned by so many people and replaced with this nonsense that President Obama believes in, and of course the more we pursue these policies, the more people are going to leave the middle class and the more people will be impoverished." [Hat tip Objective Standard]

    • Here’s a link to Ross England’s winning entry in the U.S. Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest. Note to local Objectivists: Time to start organising for the local competition next year, right?
       I Won!/Read Atlas Shrugged!  -  T H I N K   T W I C E 
    • "Who says Public Goods can't be financed without taxes? Here's 15 ways to fund roads and healthcare without forced coercion from the State. Let's be more imaginative.”
      Financing of Public Goods in a Free Market Society –  B L A Z I N G    T R U T H
    • Pirate radio stations were free-market heroes, bashing down ridiculous government restrictions on radio broadcasting by taking their signal out into international waters to escape the grey ones. But what if you could do the same thing to get around ridiculous immigration restrictions?
      New Startup Hopes to House Immigrants in International Waters –  M O T H E R   O F   E X I L E S
    • A scientist explains in layman terms “why rather than being a refutation of factual knowledge, quantum physics is a testament to the fact that knowledge is possible, and can be obtained with certainty."
      The Certainty in Quantum Physics – W I T   L A B
    • When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. Except no-one puts them away entirely. Nor should they. Here’s The Damned, and they’re playing Auckland in January.

    • And so are the Dresden Dolls…

    • And to close with something completely different, from the finale of Wagner’s opera Siegfried ( on screen around the country this weekend) here’s the dawn. And if you’re wondering why she’s sleepy, well, you would be too if you’d been awakened after an eighteen-year sleep. “Hail the Sun!”

    Thanks for reading
    Have a good weekend


    1. Niggle niggle.
      He means diametrically surely.

      But let’s be honest – No party has been more diagrammatically opposed to National in their voting record over the last three years that the Greens (92 percent voting against the National Party vs Labour’s record of voting 58 percent against the National Party).

    2. PC,

      Have you read The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World" by David Deutsch yet? I mention it not just because of your quantum physics reference above but because it is about human progress and what brings it about. Many of the themes in the book should be of interest to libertarians and are germane to the problems we see in the world today.

      Here's an excerpt:

      "Whenever there has been progress, there have been influential thinkers who denied that it was genuine, that it was desirable, or even that the concept was meaningful. They should have known better. There is indeed an objective difference between a false explanation and a true one, between chronic failure to solve a problem and solving it, and also between wrong and right, ugly and beautiful, suffering and its alleviation -- and thus between stagnation and progress in the fullest sense.

      In this book I argue that all progress, both theoretical and practical, has resulted from a single human activity: the quest for what I call good explanations. Though this quest is uniquely human, its effectiveness is also a fundamental fact about reality at the most impersonal, cosmic level -- namely that it conforms to universal laws of nature that are indeed good explanations. This simple relationship between the cosmic and the human is a hint of a central role of people in the cosmic scheme of things."

    3. On the question of Britain and the EU, I am reading but I am still confused. I know that there is a strong argument against 'Eurocrats' meddling in sovereign governments' laws etc blah blah, by surely it would be to everyone in Europe's advantage to pull together under a united legal and financial framework?

      I don't understand how a bloc of countries can successfully have a single currency if they all have different business laws and regulations. Conversely, I don't see how Europe can survive as a bloc with all its open borders etc but no overall set of financial laws (and currency) that everybody has to abide by.

      Wouldn't Britain be better off inside the tent than out in the long run? I mean.... its not as if Britain is exactly a vibrant economy in its own right any more, is it?

      Can anybody explain in plain language what is going on here?Thanks.

    4. Dave - Liberty Scott has made a start. More to come.

    5. Thanks for that, Craig. I went and read it and it was a good start. I might be sounding stupid and naive here.... but I can't for the life of me understand why our governments can remain so seemingly unperturbed by the huge debts that are being racked up all over the world. I run a small business and a household and there's no way I would get into debt beyond my earnings. How come whole countries think its OK to destroy their productive sectors and yet continue to pile on more and more debt? I cannot understand it.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. @Dave Mann:

      Like you I can't quite believe the governmental indifference to debt levels. I sometimes imagine having that level of per capita debt applicable to me and my dependents.

      For instance, the people of Massachusetts have a debt per capita of over $US11,000.

      But wait... let's not forget federal debt, which is $48,300 per person, so that's $US60,000 per person in total. For me and my dependents that would be $240,000 or about 300,000 pacific pesos.

      That's scary!


    1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
    2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
    3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
    4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
    5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.