Friday, 10 May 2013

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: Brought to you by Henry Ford [updated]

The Ramble this week is brought to you by Henry Ford, who said:

"Anyone thinking they could be happy & prosperous by letting the
gov’t take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian"

Since the first reading of the fast-tracked GCSB bill allowing them access to our homes passed this week, this suddenly seems directly relevant. Simple answer: “yes.”
Are All Telephone Calls Recorded and Accessible By US Government? – Glenn Greenwald, GUARDIAN

“Len Brown’s apparent moderate approach to rates increases should not be allowed to go unchallenged. Especially when he tries to curry favour with voters by boasting of an ‘average’ rates increase of 2.9% this year. Many ratepayers will be hit with increases far in excess of this figure.
    “Rates increases differ across the Super City region as a result of aligning rating levels between the various different former Councils. This means residents of former Councils that taxed relatively prudently, such as the residents of Orewa, get smashed with increases of 10% on top of last year’s 10% increase. Residents of high tax former councils end up getting a decrease in rates. I say every ratepayer in Auckland should be getting a rates decrease!..
    “A sense of fiscal sanity needs to be restored in the next Auckland City Council. Voters will not obtain this by electing the same washed out crew of career councillors who waste millions of dollars on trains that go nowhere and institute rules that add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of building a new home.”
Rates Increase Anything But Average – Stephen Berry, AFFORDABLE AUCKLAND

“A city—especially a great one—cannot really be seen.”
 The Invisible City. Sandy Ikeda, THE FREEMAN

“Urban populations typically vote for greater government control and hence more interference than rural populations do. The paradox is that city people are less restrained, yet they seek political interference in their own and others’ lives.”
 The Paradox of the Illiberal Cities – Alex Moseley

Mind you…
Why Too Much Data Might Actually Protect Your Privacy – Sam Volkering, DAILY RECKONING

I must confess, my own jury is still out on this one.
Why 3D-Printed Untraceable Guns Could Be Good For America – Paul Hsieh, FORBES
[UPDATE: BREAKING: Pentagon Removes 3D Gun Plans From Internet Site – Robert Wenzel, EPJ

Something for young folk and tertiary ministers to think about.
The Jobs Of The Future Don't Require A Uni Degree – FORBES

I’ll give you a clue—they’re not arts or architecture graduates.
And The Highest-Paid College Majors Are… – WALL STREET JOURNAL

"A movement whose main promise is the relief from
responsibility cannot but be antimoral in its effect. . . ."
- Hayek on the welfare state

It’s true. Foreigners buying land is good for all of us. Except the Green Party.
Economic stupidity? Yes ..... by the Greens – Paul Walker, ANTI DISMAL

Scientist Stephen Hawking is boycotting Israel. I’m not sure he’s thought this through.
Look Who's Talking – TIM BLAIR’S BLOG

“The crusades of the anti-legal high lobby are doing far more harm than good. If the anti-synthetic cannabis lobbyists are to be believed, each new type of product is getting more harmful and damaging. “That is the effect of prohibition! The first major legal high product was BZP and was largely safe. It never resulted in any deaths but was a victim of media and communitarian scandals. The early cannabis substitute products also had negligible negative health effects but also got the chop by the Government. Now each product that gets banned is replaced by something allegedly worse. If this doesn’t prove the destructive power of prohibition, I don’t know what else can!
Libertarianz: Prohibition Won’t Solve Legal High Issues – Dr Richard McGrath, SCOOP

UKIP are still wrong on immigration, but right on prohibition.
Nigel Farage on Drug Prohibition – Sean Gabb, LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE

A good news story: “War…is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking.”

More good news: human progress ends poverty, if we’re free to.

Wonder why private property is good and socialism hates it? It's about the tragedy of the commons ...
KWR: Crony Capitalism, Tragedy of the Commons, Sports Symposium, Competition is Good, Pixar – Virginia Murr, KAIZEN WEEKLY REVIEW + STEPHEN HICKS

Banker John Allison built the bank that didn’t fail—and didn’t need a bailout.
Business Hero John Allison: BB&T — The Bank That Atlas Built – Donald Luskin & Andrew Greta, CAPITALISM MAGAZINE

We see it  so often we take it so much for granted.  (And Paris still gets fed.)
Regulation through Competition – Don Boudreaux, CAFE HAYEK

Since the Japanese central bank began keeping its promise to double the money supply, all those promises have ended up in a stock market bubble.  You can just tell it’s going to end badly.  And then what…
The Real Reasons You Should Care About Japan – Chris Mayer, MONEY MORNING AUSTRALIA

Only one country in European Union with a recorded government surplus last year. Have a guess.
Sector: General Government – Faisal Islam, TWITPIC

Wow. That’s a lot of regulations.
# Red Tape Tower

Did you know it was Friedrich Hayek’s 114th birthday this week? Here’s the Nobel Prize winner talking about one of his key contributions, on the economics of knowledge.
Happy 114th Birthday, Hayek = ADAM SMITH INSTITUTE

imageSince we were talking last night at the Uni Econ Group about the history of the Great Depression, hopefully debunking a few myths along the way, I figured you folk might be interested in some of the shorter readings. So here you go:

This is timely, given its relevance to last night’s discussion.
Fed’s policy of price stability damages US economy – Frank Shostak, COBDEN CENTRE

“As the graph below makes clear, in duration – if not necessarily in scale – the current economic crisis is now worse than the Great Depression. There are realistically just two schools of thought as to how an economic depression should be tackled…”
Still stuck in the Middle Ages – Tim Price, THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING

Author David Stockman “is a myth buster par excellence. He busts myths that are cherished by Democrats and myths that are cherished by Republicans, and some cherished by both. Never pulling any punches and always happy to name names, he exposes as complicit in the deformation of American capitalism politicians, central bankers, and self-important economists of the Keynesian, monetarist and supply-side persuasion. He also identifies the many crony-capitalists, who shamelessly exploit the system’s many deformations for their own gain. But Stockman not only identifies the villains – the advocates and profiteers of unsound money – he also gives us the heroes, the defenders of sound money, people like Dwight Eisenhower, William McChesney Martin, and Paul Volcker, even if their efforts ultimately did not avert the corruption of American capitalism.
    Here are the main myths that Stockman exposes…”
Book Review - David Stockman: The Corruption of Capitalism in America – DETLEV SCHLICTER

Politicians’ maths:

Speaking of debunking myths, Reason magazine often has good series on American immigration.
Don’t Believe What You’ve Heard About Immigrants and Welfare – Shikha Dalmia, REASON
No Skills? No Problem! – Veronique De Rugy, REASON
5 Reasons Why Low Skilled Immigrants are Good for the Economy – Paul Detrick & Shikha Dalmia, REASON

I liked this little story about Margaret Thatcher and Atlas Shrugged.
A "Delightful" Dinner with The Iron Lady – John Aglialoro

Warren Buffett is now tweeting. If you call two tweets in seven days tweeting.

I hope Warren doesn’t get distracted by the technology!
Brain, Interrupted – NEW YORK TIMES

How Twitter Killed Thought - The return to blogging – Joe Green, MACGREGOR MEDIA

Nice summation of 5 parenting blogs.
How to Parent with The Best – IMPETUS ENGAGEMENT

He had me, right up until the last line.
Talentless, pert-breasted reporters don't know the world, let alone journalism. – Geoffrey Barker, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

And I love the images appearing daily in the 365 Days of Organic Architecture that Organic Design Operatives are running. For example…

Photo: 365 Days of Organic Architecture / Day 128 / Florida Southern College, Part 2

Image: Wright’s E. T. Roux Library (1945), Lakeland, Florida

Turns out it wasn’t invented the way you’ve been told.
The Lies You've Been Told About the Origin of the QWERTY Keyboard – Alex Madrigal, ATLANTIC

Researcher maps music listening to exam scores. Who’s smarter, Beethoven or Ben Folds listeners? Radiohead or Rage Against the Machine? Justin Timberlake or Jim Hendrix?
Music That Makes You Dumb

It truly was a bargain in its day.
10MB system, only... – DANGEROUS MINDS

Photo Gallery of the Odd Contents of Gitmo's Library:
Guantanamo prison library books for detainees – TUMBLR

Answering the important questions since 2008.
So, how much cocaine can actually fit up your arse? – DANGEROUS MINDS

Yes, it’s the world’s smallest movie. Made out of atoms!
Tiny Toon: IBM Makes a Movie Out of Atoms - TIME

There’s plenty to like without even mentioning beer!
Six Things I Really, Really Like About Beer, Part One – Neil Miller, BEER & BREWER
Six Things I Really, Really Like About Beer, Part Two – Neil Miller, BEER & BREWER

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

[Hat tips Geek Press, On Liberty Street, Dim Post, CatallaxyFiles, Dangerous Minds, Clay Steadman, Virginia Murr, Faisal Islam, WFMU, Erik Johnson, Harry McCracken, Craft Beer Capital, Hayekonomics, Paul Hsieh , Lenore Skenazy, Joe Bastardi, David MacGregor ]


  1. Great article on drug prohibition Doc.

  2. 'The making of' video of The World's Smallest Move is even better than the movie. It's brilliant, heroic even. It's witnessing the coming of age of man as master of nature.

    Govt and all forms of irrationality can butt away, here we come, a future of prosperity and human flourishing is within grasp this century.

  3. @Gregster: Thanks - was drafted by Stephen Berry, so all credit to him.

  4. You should be asking if all telephone calls in New Zealand are recorded and accessible by the New Zealand government. The answer is that they are all recorded and have been for over a year.

    When it was first reported this was about to happen no-one spoke up. You all stayed slient.

    Amit Cim

  5. Smart music - in case you are wondering who or what Sufjan Stevens is, his album Illinois in heartily recommended.


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