The Foie Gras Fight: Animal Cruelty or Animal Rights Propaganda?
Terça-feira, Janeiro 31, 2012
Study Finds Economic Bias in Gravitational Law Enforcement:
A landmark study by a major university today found the Law of Gravity is selectively enforced and that the heaviest burden tended to fall on members of disadvantaged and oppressed socio-economic groups.
Professor Omar Amabo, Chief Community Organizer and Chair of the Victimology Department at the University of East Angrya recently concluded the decades-long study and revealed the results at a national press conference today. They showed that while it is true that members of disadvantaged socio-economic groups tended to have heavier body weights than priviledged groups, this was not due to bad eating habits and lack of exercise as previously thought but rather a systematic and coordinated over-zealous selective enforcement of gravitational statutes.
They forsee a call for new federal programs to provide services to the victims of higher gravity in order to help them compensate for its effects. Legal scholars predict thousands of lawsuits will shortly be filed on behalf of those suffering from the aftershocks of over-zealous gravitational law enforcement in an attempt to recoup monetary damages for the injuries inflicted.
Political observers say there will likely be renewed calls for repeal of archaic Gravitational Laws. "These laws date back to the 17th century, for cryin' out loud," complained one anti-gravity activist. "They're just kept on the books to hold poor people down!", another added.
But despite questions about the fairness or even applicability of gravitational laws in the modern age, repeal or reform is unlikely in the near term. "It would be very difficult", said one congressional staffer. "The Law of Gravity is so deeply embedded in so many aspects of society, it would be hard to get rid of it without everything falling apart."
That may be true, but for the victims of high gravity, it is of small comfort.
The Apple Boycott: People Are Spouting Nonsense about Chinese Manufacturing:
.. yes, they’re poor people living in a poor country. That’s what being poor means, having to work extremely hard to make very little. Yes, that is a harsh thing to say but then reality can indeed be harsh.
.. the spate of suicides at the Foxconn plant .. we are talking about some 18 suicides in 2010 ..
The general suicide rate in China is 22 per 100,000 people .. Foxconn employs some 1 million people in total so, if the Foxconn workforce were to have the same suicide rate as the general Chinese population (which, to be accurate, it won’t for suicide is not equally divided over age groups and the workforce is predominantly young) we would expect to see 220 suicides among such a number each year.
To judge whether safety really is ignored at Foxconn we would like to, well, why not, compare it with US workplace safety? .. 3.5 per 100,000: we would expect, if the Foxconn factories were no more dangerous than the average American workplace, 35 workplace deaths a year among those 1 million workers .. if we were being realistic .. we would not be using evidence of three or four deaths as evidence of how Apple, Foxconn or even China are ignoring worker safety in pursuit of filthy lucre.
The question is not whether $17 a day is a low wage or not: it’s low relative to what? For a start, working those 6 day weeks that comes out to an annual income of $6,000 a year. No, not great riches by our standards but in China it’s a pretty fair whack. It’s around and about the per capita GDP for the whole country for example and thus obviously and by definition higher than average wages. Which is why those 1 million people have voluntarily signed up to work for those wages, many of them travelling hundreds of miles to do so.
It is precisely because Apple manufactures in China that conditions for manufacturing workers in China are getting better. Better at a rate never before seen in human history
César Vidal: "El fascismo es un socialismo de carácter nacional":
César Vidal ha subrayado que "el fascismo lo definió muy bien Mussolini, su fundador, durante una entrevista con una periodista extranjera".
"Durante toda mi vida fui socialista internacionalista. Cuando estalló la gran guerra vi que todos nuestros partidos que eran internacionalistas se convirtieron en socialistas nacionalistas. Eso me pasó a mí y eso es el fascismo".
"El fascismo es un socialismo nacional", ha resumido César Vidal. Federico ha recordado que "Mussolini era el director del periódico Avanti, que era el periódico cabecera del socialismo italiano".
Según Vidal, "el fascismo se parece al socialismo, tanto en la visión económica intervencionista como el miedo a la libertad y el intento de controlar a la sociedad". En el caso del fascismo "está muy acentuado el elemento nacional, que teóricamente no estaba muy acentuado en el socialismo, por lo que el fascismo era un socialismo de carácter nacional".
Via Blasfémias, Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust:
The money the federal government delivered dwarfed what VCs had put into clean energy. The loan guarantee program alone provided a little more than $16 billion for 28 projects. The government pumped an additional $12.1 billion into the sector through tax credits. All told, federal subsidies for renewable energy nearly tripled between 2007 and 2010, rising from $5.1 billion to $14.7 billion. The federal largesse also made clean tech look like a safer bet to the VC world, whose investments rebounded after the 2009 dip.
The financial models that had justified the massive investments in clean-energy sources were built on assumptions that the price of fossil fuels, in particular natural gas, would continue to rise. But those models began to fall apart as a natural gas boom transformed the energy landscape.
In at least one respect, these companies rely on a very old-fashioned boost: federal and state subsidies and tax breaks. When they install a solar system on someone’s roof, they take all the government sweeteners that accompany the installation, which helps these firms offer their systems at lower prices. “Between 40 and 50 percent of the system is covered up front,” says Danny Kennedy, founder of Sungevity. “The customer is getting an incredible value proposition: ‘I’m going to save money from day one.’ That’s a hell of a thing. For no investment, I’m going to save money.”
But there is an investor: the taxpayer.
‘The Left’ and Public Choice Theory:
.. The idea that there might be a classical liberal/free market understanding of ‘power relations’ as exemplified by public choice theory is a possibility that simply hasn’t occurred to this particular species of left-winger.
A second reaction is based on ‘avoidance’. This strategy is adopted by those who are aware of public choice arguments but see them as a direct threat to their most cherished ideas. So why is public choice theory such a threat? I think in part because it offers a more plausible account of ‘power relations’ than its neo-Marxist competitors ..
A further reason why many on the left see public choice as a threat to their ideals relates to its’ solution to the problem of special interest power. If the interventions of the state are often captured by corporate special interests -as many left-wingers seem to think they are – then how will social democratic efforts to give the state even more discretionary powers to intervene in markets do anything to undermine the power of these interests ..
The third type of reaction to public choice sometimes encountered is one of denial. Faced with the argument that politics is a game where self-interested businesses, labour unions and government bureaucrats use the state to enrich themselves at public expense, some left-wingers respond by denying that this is so ..
.. public choice theory poses some difficult questions for ‘the left’. If one takes an ‘interest-based’ view of politics then public choice offers a more plausible account of the way special interests seek and gain power than its leftist rivals – and of how to minimise the threat presented by such interests. If on the other hand one takes the view that ideas matter more than interests then the left is robbed of much of the ‘them versus us’ rhetoric which historically has been one of its most important vehicles of political recruitment.
Segunda-feira, Janeiro 30, 2012
If Catholics Adhere to Their Traditions, They Will Vote for Ron Paul:
The rule, "do unto others as you would have them do to you," while not quintessentially Catholic, is certainly included, and given an important place, in this religious tradition. Congressman Paul is forever saying things like, How would we like it if they did to us (bombing innocent women and children, invading other countries, stationing our military bases there) what we are doing to them. If this way of analyzing the world does not fit in with the Catholic tradition, then nothing does. In contrast, in sharp contrast, the other candidates for the Republican Party’s nomination for president claim that the reason they hate us is because of our freedoms and liberties. Nonsense on a stick. We are not all that free, as it happens. In any case, this sort of Golden Rule thinking is a Ron Paul refrain, and very consonant with Catholicism.Letting God Sweat the Small Stuff, Or Why Christians Should Vote For Ron Paul:
This is what we have seen in the Republican debates, not candidates but suitors. Whatever the constituency wants the candidates are eager to endorse…and here "the constituency" doesn’t just mean the primary voters, but the contributors as well, including the PACs and the super PACs. During the course of the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary, Romney, Gingritch, and all the others (except Paul) have been accused of various inconsistencies, if not wholesale reinvention of their political persona. But since when is inconsistency a vice in lovers who try all avenues to gain access to the hearts and minds of the beloved? In principle, this political eros is no more complicated than "What do you want me to be?" albeit the mavens of advertizing, marketing, and crowd psychology claim to have made it into a science.
Libertarians are often accused of trying to abolish the political dimension of social life, but in fact what Paul’s limited government politician ideally accomplishes is to restore a respect for truth and understanding to the political process.An Open Letter to the Jewish Community in Behalf of Ron Paul:
So, yes, Israel will lose $2.58 Billion, but its enemies, both actual and potential, are out of pocket a far larger $4.5 Billion. If we sum up the amounts received by all countries which harbor anti-Semites, we reach a much higher figure. If we define this broadly enough, this might well include just about every other nation on earth. No matter what statistics we consider, Israel is relatively strengthened by the Ron Paul policy on foreign aid. It loses, but its actual and potential enemies lose more. Thus, it becomes relatively stronger. Note, also, that these figures do not include the vast amounts currently spent by the U.S. on and in Iraq and Palestine, certainly no friends of Israel.
I am addressing myself solely to the narrow question of whether Ron Paul's plan to eliminate all foreign aid will likely help or hurt Israel. The mainstream Jewish community fervently believes the latter. And this to such a degree that they have acted disgracefully by barring Dr. Paul from their debate. With leaders like that, the Jewish community in the U.S. hardly needs enemies.
Domingo, Janeiro 29, 2012
Strippers can show us bankers’ just rewards:
Lap dancers receive performance-related pay. Miserly and overenthusiastic customers aside, they get £20 per lap dance. The more beautiful, charming and determined the dancer, the more lap dances she will sell and the more she will earn. By allowing a woman with these qualities to work in his club, Peter Stringfellow puts her in the way of potentially large cashflows.
The same goes for investment bankers. Their roles vary but all can earn bonuses for their performance. For example, a foreign currency trader is typically paid a bonus equal to about 15 per cent of the net revenue he generates for the bank. By giving someone a job at an investment bank, its owners are putting him in the way of potentially large cashflows.
But here is one of the many differences between lap dancers and bankers: whereas Mr Stringfellow makes his lap dancers pay for the privilege of being put in the way of their bonuses, with a “house fee” of about £100 a night, investment bankers are paid to have the chance of earning bonuses in the millions, with base salaries ranging from roughly £50,000 to £300,000.
This is silly. Investment bankers, like lap dancers, should have to pay to go to work ..
Lá como cá...
DEBT LIMIT - A GUIDE TO AMERICAN FEDERAL DEBT MADE EASY.
DEBT LIMIT - A GUIDE TO AMERICAN FEDERAL DEBT MADE EASY.
The Lesson the Tech Community Should Have Learned from SOPA:
Imagine you’re an expert in some field of technical knowledge. Your field impacts quite a lot of people but most of them don’t understand the details the way you do. One day, Congress proposes legislation called the Make Things Better Act, which, its sponsors say, will make things better.
But wait. The Act happens to deal with exactly the field you’re knowledgeable about. And you know what? It won’t make things better. In fact, it will make things far, far worse. Not only will it make things worse, but any benefits the legislation does create will accrue exclusively to a small but powerful interest group.
So you and your other technically-minded friends mobilize against the Make Things Better Act and, through coordination and outcry, succeed in killing it. Two days later, Congress proposes another piece of legislation called the It’s Good for the Children Act. Except this time the law deals with an area outside your expertise. If you applied the lesson learned from the Make Things Better Act, you might react to this new proposal with skepticism. After all, when you were in a position to evaluate what Congress was really up to, you discovered that it wasn’t working in the interests of the American public but, instead, of a tiny and powerful minority. Couldn’t it be possible the new bill is just be more of the same?
Most likely, though, based on the way people typically react in these situations, you won’t apply that lesson. Instead you’ll say, “Boy this new law is great because my favored political party wrote it and, well, it’s good for the children.”
The Problem with Privatization:
.. the call for privatization does not get at the real reason the private sector works better than the political sector. The great advantage of the private sector is not private ownership per se but that private owners compete with one another. Classical liberals would do better to contrast not the “private” and “public” sectors, but the “competitive” and “monopolistic” sectors. If the goal is efficiency in delivering the goods, private ownership is a necessary but not a sufficient condition. Instead of calling for the “privatization” of government services, classical liberals should be calling for “de-monopolization.”
In some of his later writing, F. A. Hayek recognized a similar point when he suggested that it was problematic to talk of “private property” and that we should talk instead of “several property.” The distinction is not merely semantic. His point is that the important thing about “private” property is not that it is private, but that it is divided among “several” owners who then compete to make the best use of it.
The rhetoric of “privatization” may turn people off who might otherwise be more sympathetic to classical-liberal ideas if we were to frame them as opposition to monopoly rather than as support for shifting resources from “public” to private hands ..
Private ownership is not a goal but a means to an end. What really matters is what best serves the public in its role as consumers. Private ownership only does that if it’s within an institutional context that promotes competition. We classical liberals need to shift our rhetoric from promoting privatization to promoting competition by ending government monopolies wherever possible. That is the path to lower prices, higher quality, and more freedom.
Sábado, Janeiro 28, 2012
Do-do-DO-do, do-do-DO-do, do-do-DO-do…:
.. “Should Everyone Be Required to Have Health Insurance?” ..
Does Prof. Davenport advocate this model also for other businesses – say, restaurants? Does she think that restaurant customers would be better served if government required restaurants to price meals without regard to ‘hunger status,’ so that the bill paid by a diner who orders three lobsters, two filets, and a bottle of ’61 Chateau Latour be the same as the bill paid by a diner who orders only a single cup of soup? Does she think that whatever problems might arise from such a regulation will be solved if government also forces every American to buy a minimum number of restaurant meals? After all, food – even more so than health-care – is necessary for life.
If Prof. Davenport doesn’t advocate this regulatory model for restaurants, why doesn’t she? (Please, Prof. Davenport, no protests that the health-care market is ‘unique.’ Of course it’s unique; every market is unique. But is the health-care market unique in ways that prompt people consistently to act against their financial self-interest, as you apparently expect insurance companies to do?)
The economics of role-playing games:
The more segmented those brains became, the weaker the overall social network was. Every new game system, and every new variant to those systems, subdivided that network further, making it weaker. Between 1993 and 1999, the social network of the TRPG players had become seriously frayed. Even if you just looked at the network of Dungeons & Dragons players you could see this effect: People self-segmented into groups playing Basic D&D, 1st Edition, 2nd Edition, and within 2nd Edition into various Campaign Settings that had become their own game variants. The effect on the market was that it became increasingly hard to make and sell something that had enough players in common that it would earn back its costs of development and production.
We looked around the industry and saw the same problem at virtually every company that had become successful: White Wolf had 5 World of Darkness games which were all slightly different, surrounded by a more diffuse constellation of games somewhat related to the Storyteller system but designed to be mutually incompatible. FASA had 4 games, none of which shared anything in common. Palladium & Steve Jackson Games both had “house systems” that they tried to use across their entire product lines, but they had ended up with the “Campaign Setting” issue that was bedeviling TSR; the variant rules at the edges of their games were creating independent game networks despite the shared DNA of the core. And we knew that inside every one of those companies they were seeing the same financial information we were seeing: Each new release was selling fewer and fewer copies, and in response, the companies were increasing the pace of releases trying to sustain planned revenues by volume of titles, not by volume of units. And it was killing everyone.
…My opinion is that the hobby gaming industry is going to transform into a very small niche business. It will cater primarily to an aging group of players who have made TRPGs their lifetime hobbies. As those players age, they’ll need less and less support in the form of commercially produced products. They will instead seek out community support tools to help them remain in touch with their hobby even as the social network they’re directly connected to becomes ever more frayed.
No seguimento de Pro-Business and Pro-Market are Not the Same, "Free Market" Doesn't Mean "Pro-Business":
.. Economists of a libertarian persuasion find this frustrating because our enthusiasm for free markets is often mistaken as enthusiasm for specific businesses or corporate interests. But just because something is good for General Motors does not mean it is necessarily good for America.
.. One of the key features of a free market is that it is a system of profit and loss. The “free” part of “free market” means free entry and exit ..
Do free-market solutions sound harsh? Perhaps .. In a free market, people compete to see who can best secure others’ cooperation. Government, on the other hand, works by the threat of violence. If we’re going to use government to protect a business, we can only do it by threatening violence against its potential competitors.
I teach economics, and I write for a couple of different websites. If I were to insulate myself from foreign competition by hiring the mafia to prevent potential foreign economists from teaching classes that compete with mine or from writing articles that compete with mine, it would be a criminal act. Change “teach economics” to “make cars,” “mafia” to “government,” and “foreign economists” to “foreign car-makers” and you have flag-wrapped American industrial policy.
.. Businesses should not be protected from competition, losses, and bankruptcy when they fail to deliver for the customer. All three are essential to truly free markets and free enterprise.
Sexta-feira, Janeiro 27, 2012
Uma das queixinhas mais frequentes das pessoas é que as coisas são muito caras porque alguém anda a fazer muito dinheiro. Descontando explicações macroeconómicas para alguns problemas reais (por exemplo política monetária), o que se constata é que este descontentamento deriva não só do mito da "ganância" como de uma profunda ignorância da estrutura de custos dos prestadores de serviços (incluindo custos fiscais - veja-se por exemplo toda a polémica à volta do preço dos combustíveis) .
Eis uma história engraçada que ilustra este ponto: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”:
Eis uma história engraçada que ilustra este ponto: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”:
Earlier today my friend and fellow photographer posted a link to a craigslist ad from a woman in Seattle looking for a wedding photographer. The woman was upset because she thought that $3,000 for a wedding photographer was “wack” because all we do “is hang out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them” and that we are “making so much money its crazy.”
I am a wedding photographer in the Erie, PA area. Wedding season only last about 4 months here, so I photograph an average of 20 weddings per year for an average of $2,500/wedding (which totals about $50,000/year).
That being said, I am a small business owner, so I pay all of my taxes, totaling about $15,000/year, which leaves me with a gross income of around $35,000..
That would technically leave me with about $7,000/year to feed myself, buy groceries, pay for my heat and electricity, clothe myself, etc. But, usually I end up reinvesting whatever I have left on upgrades and new equipment:
All of that being said, I’m usually in the hole at the end of the year, and take on many family portraits, senior portraits and corporate jobs in order to make ends meet.
Photography is my passion and my livelihood, and it is also expensive. Yes, it seems like a lot of money for one day, but one day isn’t all we spend on your photographs or on our business. You will spend thousands of dollars on a wedding dress or flowers or a venue or on catering which you are going to have for only one day, but your photographs will be the only thing you have to remember that one day for the rest of your lives.
No Need to Panic About Global Warming:
Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 "Climategate" email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." ..
The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle. Plants do so much better with more CO2 that greenhouse operators often increase the CO2 concentrations by factors of three or four to get better growth. This is no surprise since plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today. Better plant varieties, chemical fertilizers and agricultural management contributed to the great increase in agricultural yields of the past century, but part of the increase almost certainly came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere.
Why is there so much passion about global warming .. a good place to start is the old question "cui bono?" Or the modern update, "Follow the money."
Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet ..
.. There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.
.. The better we understand climate, the better we can cope with its ever-changing nature, which has complicated human life throughout history. However, much of the huge private and government investment in climate is badly in need of critical review.
Anarchy and Freedom is what I want
Minimovies - Crass - Trailer 1 (White Punks on Hope)
They May Hate Capitalism, But They Sure Love To Loot It:
Obama, Gingrich, Perry -- they all hate capitalism, but they sure like the loot it gives them to be the career politicians they are. Where would career politicians be without capitalism?
Don’t kid yourselves. The liberal-statist agenda is to raise taxes on the wealthiest (who already pay the great bulk of taxes), lower taxes on the poor and middle class, and massively expand the welfare-entitlement state, especially for the middle class. The conservatives will only ask, “How are we going to pay for it?” But the real question should be: WHO is going to pay for it? Obviously, those who make the most money are the ones who are going to pay for most or all of it as both taxes and government expand over time. Yet these are the same people who provide the jobs for the great majority of the working and middle class. They are the “capital” in “capitalism.” How does hitting them up for more money help the middle class? The politicians will take the credit for the seizure of wealth and expansion of nice-sounding programs, but those upon whom the middle class and the career politicians depend for their paychecks are going to be burdened ever further.
The more our government drains our economy of capital, the less capitalism there will be. Government is the vulture -- not anyone who runs a business! This means higher unemployment, more bankruptcy, and generally less productivity and economic growth. The world will be a less comfortable and poorer place, as capitalism continues to fade away because of government spending and taxation. We cannot go on like we are.
It doesn’t really matter who’s in charge in the long run ..
.. A great majority of Americans, with each election cycle, express disgust with “the system” as we know it; and demand “change.” Democrats, when in power, outspend Republicans; then Republicans, once in power, outspend Democrats. I suppose the next step will be “Independents” outspending both the Republicans and the Democrats. When will people understand that the “system” is nothing more than this continued process of spending more money on things that patently and self-evidently don’t work, even on their own terms?
Quinta-feira, Janeiro 26, 2012
Attack the System: Interview with Paul Gottfried:
Keith Preston interviews Paul Gottfried. Topics include:
- The core characteristics that distinguish the Right from the Left, including a belief in the necessity and legitimacy of organic hierarchy, respect for the limitations imposed by human nature, and a preference for tradition ;
- How the American “conservative movement” is not really of the Right and how mainstream American politics is dominated by two factions of the Left;
- The transformation of the Left from its previous orientation towards Marxism to its current obsession with multiculturalism and alternative lifestyles;
- The role of the managerial state in promoting Political Correctness;
- The relationship between Christianity and modern “politics of guilt”;
- Neoconservatism as an outgrowth of the radical Left.
No seguimento de a Internet está segura com o Estado (9), If You Thought SOPA Was Bad, Just Wait Until You Meet ACTA:
What Is ACTA ?
Say NO to ACTA
Few people have heard of ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, but the provisions in the agreement are just as pernicious as anything we saw in SOPA. Worse, the agreement spans virtually all of the countries in the developed world, including all of the EU, the United States, Switzerland and Japan.
Many of these countries have already signed or ratified it, and the cogs are still turning. The treaty has been secretly negotiated behind the scenes, with unelected bureaucrats working closely with entertainment industry lobbyists to craft the provisions in the treaty.
What Is ACTA ?
Say NO to ACTA
Ron Paul is sweeping the GOP youth vote:
Across the country, the youth vote is down. Registration is low. Voter enthusiasm for Republican candidates has been lackluster.
Unless that candidate's name is Ron Paul.
Motivated by Paul's purist libertarian ideology — he opposes most foreign wars, advocates for severe cuts to federal budgets and believes drugs should be decriminalized federally — supporters say they're drawn to a movement that is consistent, fair and free. And while the 12-time congressman has failed to win any of the first three voting states, he's captured the youth vote every time, sometimes dominantly.
Paul has attributed the idealism of his platform to his popularity among young voters. Asked by Jay Leno, on "The Tonight Show," in December, about the issue, the candidate said: "Freedom is very appealing, it's based on principle. …. And I think younger people tend to be more principled and later on resort to blend in and mesh in and go along with the crowd".
Quarta-feira, Janeiro 25, 2012
Em Portugal, a despesa pública representa oitenta mil milhões de euros, ou seja, 47% do PIB .. quase metade é originada nos chamados Serviços e Fundos Autónomos.
.. não me refiro aos gastos do Governo nem dos seus ministérios; refiro-me "apenas" aos institutos, às agências, às comissões, às entidades, às direcções, aos centros, às fundações, às administrações, aos serviços e fundos autónomos que, com estas ou outras designações, fazem parte do chamado Serviço Público.
Ora, neste labirinto, o dinheiro é facilmente esbanjado entre organismos que, sem razão de existir ou redundantes entre si, sugam recursos à actividade produtiva .. serviços e fundos autónomos a) não têm massa crítica e b) não tendo massa crítica, provavelmente, não têm razão de existir. Serão, porventura, redundantes no objecto, na forma ou até nos dois. E no total, representam um universo global .. no qual a miríade de estruturas, certamente, esconderá muita burocracia, muito ineficiência, muita artificialidade; tudo isto, é claro, pago com o dinheiro dos outros ..
Enfim, fala-se hoje muito numa agenda para o crescimento. Na minha opinião, uma boa forma de começar seria libertando o País destas redundâncias, reduzindo o peso que um Estado excessivamente oneroso e regulamentador persiste em impor à economia. O combate pelo aumento da produtividade tem, pois, de começar no próprio Estado.
Liberalismo versus anarcocapitalismo:
El error fatal de los liberales clásicos radica en no haberse dado cuenta de que el programa del ideario liberal es teóricamente imposible pues incorpora dentro de sí mismo la semilla de su propia destrucción, precisamente en la medida en que considera necesaria y acepta la existencia de un estado (aunque sea mínimo) entendido como la agencia monopolista de la coacción institucional.
Por tanto, el gran error de los liberales es de planteamiento: piensan que el liberalismo es un programa de acción política y doctrina económica que tiene por objetivo limitar el poder del estado, pero aceptándolo e incluso considerando necesaria su existencia. Sin embargo, hoy (en la primera década del siglo XXI), la Ciencia Económica ya ha puesto de manifiesto: (a) que el estado no es necesario; (b) que el estatismo (aunque sea mínimo) es teóricamente imposible; y (c) que, dada la naturaleza del ser humano, una vez que existe el estado es imposible limitar su poder.
Se abre, pues, un futuro apasionante, en el que continuamente se descubrirán múltiples nuevos caminos que, en consonancia con los principios esenciales, nos permitirán avanzar en pos del ideal anarcocapitalista. Futuro que aunque hoy nos pueda parecer lejano, en cualquier momento puede ser testigo de pasos de gigante que incluso sorprendan a los más optimistas. ¿Quién fue capaz de predecir tan solo cinco años antes, que en 1989 se desmoronaría el Muro de Berlín y con él todo el comunismo del este de Europa? La historia ha entrado en un proceso acelerado de cambio que, aunque nunca se detendrá, sí que abrirá un capítulo totalmente nuevo cuando el género humano, por primera vez en la historia moderna, logre desembarazarse definitivamente del estado y reducirlo tan sólo a una oscura reliquia histórica de trágica memoria.
Management in Popular Culture:
I recently read Planet of the Apes, the 1963 novel by Pierre Boulle that inspired the movie franchise ..
It seemed absolutely clear that industry did not require the presence of a rational being to maintain itself. Basically, industry consisted of manual laborers, always performing the selfsame tasks, who could easily be replaced by apes; and, at a higher level, of executives whose function was to draft certain reports and pronounce ceratin words under given circumstances. All this was a question of conditioned reflexes. At the still higher level of administration, it seemed even easier to concede the quality of aping. To continue our system, the gorillas would merely have to imitate certain attitudes and deliver a few harangues, all based on the same model.
.. apes gradually assimilated and displaced a former human civilization simply by imitating their masters. The discovery of this older civilization (confirmed by the remains a talking human doll, as in the 1968 movie) explains the mystery of why ape culture stagnated at the level of its former human model. The apes could imitate, but not innovate.
.. the usual effect of the attempts of government to encourage consumption, is merely to prevent saving; that is, to promote unproductive consumption at the expense of reproductive (investment), and diminish in total the national wealth by the very means which were intended to increase it.John Stuart Mill
The Truth About Tulipmania:
When the economics profession turns its attention to financial panics and crashes, the first episode mentioned is tulipmania. In fact, tulipmania has become a metaphor in the economics field ..
.. this paper will present evidence to the contrary; the supply of money did increase dramatically in 1630s Holland, serving to engender the tulipmania episode.
The powerful Charles V was among the most culpable for altering the value of money .. suddenly raising the value of his gold coins to 13 1/2 times the value of silver coins .. This action raised the value of gold nearly 50 percent and by this device, Charles was able to replenish his dwindling treasury.
This transgression, in 1546 .. may have been "the straw that broke the patience of his long suffering subjects." A revolution was then sparked in the Netherlands ..
One of the first measures instigated by the revolutionary government was "free" or "individual" coinage.
.. the Bank of Amsterdam was originated in 1609 ..
The effects of free coinage combined with the stability of the Bank of Amsterdam, created the impetus that channeled the large amounts of precious metals being discovered in the Americas, and to a lesser degree in Japan, toward Amsterdam ..
.. a rise of prices ensued, which found one form of expression in the curious mania of buying tulips at prices often exceeding that of the ground on which they were grown.
A apresentação é mais séria que o título meio loony:
How the Private Bankers Are Using the Financial Crisis to Reshape World Government | Murphy
How the Private Bankers Are Using the Financial Crisis to Reshape World Government | Murphy
Terça-feira, Janeiro 24, 2012
How to abolish the NHS:
The National Health Service enjoys strong support among the public, making it almost impossible to introduce radical reforms, even if the performance of the NHS is relatively poor ..
The problem with such ‘part-privatisations’ is that ..
.. since politicians and officials retain control over funding, the system remains unresponsive to consumer preferences and subject to capture by special interests, particularly producer interests such as the medical and nursing professions and the pharmaceutical industry. Mixed public-private systems therefore risk introducing additional transaction costs while suffocating the potential gains from private sector entrepreneurship. If this results in disappointing outcomes, as is likely, the whole concept of privatisation may be brought into disrepute.
.. an alternative strategy would seek to bypass the NHS by liberating the private healthcare sector such that the NHS became less and less relevant as more and more people opted out of state provision to avoid long waiting lists and substandard care.A lista de acções continua no artigo
Segunda-feira, Janeiro 23, 2012
Contra o processo de apagamento da identidade portuguesa em curso:
.. a nossa servidão voluntária quando nos pretendem impor ideias que são simplesmente páginas novas no processo de apagamento da identidade portuguesa em curso. Vem isto a propósito de .. ataques do rolo unidimensionalizador do estado, que encontra quase sempre, infelizmente, uma enorme passividade da sociedade portuguesa em relação aos ataques por ele prosseguidos.
.. É aceitar que o estado é dono da língua. É aceitar que, sem que ninguém lhe tenha conferido esse mandato, o estado se pode arrogar a possibilidade de fazer o que quer com a língua. No caso em apreço, é aceitar que o estado pode convocar um grupo de alegados iluminados e permitir-lhes redesenhar a língua de milhões de pessoas a seu bel-prazer.
Escapa a estes iluminados, provavelmente herdeiros da filosofia cartesiana que incorre no racionalismo construtivista – um ignóbil produto da modernidade que inspirou totalitarismos assentes no princípio de que é possível desenhar ou redesenhar uma sociedade complexa a partir de cima, ou seja, do aparelho estatal – uma coisa tão simples quanto isto: a língua é uma das instituições humanas originada e desenvolvida espontaneamente, i.e., através da interacção de milhões de indivíduos ao longo do tempo. A língua originou-se através da natural evolução humana e é por via das interacções que se registam numa comunidade ou sociedade que se vai modificando, de forma lenta, gradual e sem coação estatal. A língua não é produto nem pode ser apropriada por um aparelho cuja fundação é posterior ao momento de origem da língua da sociedade de onde aquele emana.
Sinto-me ultrajado com este acordo e pela violentíssima forma como o estado tem avançado para o impor. Raras vezes tenho sentido uma revolta tão grande, uma revolta que cada vez mais me custa calar e que é, com toda a certeza, partilhada por milhões dos meus compatriotas. É difícil, mas não impossível, resistir ao rolo unidimensionalizador da única instituição que detém o monopólio da força legítima. Mas não resistir é aceitar a coação estatal num domínio que é nosso, dos indivíduos e da sociedade, dos portugueses, não do estado. E é por isto que sou terminantemente contra a existência de qualquer acordo ortográfico. Este ou outros (e sim, sei que se fizeram vários ao longo do século XX e sempre por razões políticas). Não discuto os critérios do acordo porque, por uma questão de princípio, este nem sequer deveria existir.
Why isn’t the iPhone made in America?:
- a _estupidez_ do ’Buy American’ (AADF)
- Apple in China !? جهانخوار گرسنه (Youtube)
- Ron Paul spot on about Apple Question
Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.
In China, it took 15 days.
Foxconn Technology has dozens of facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in Mexico and Brazil, and it assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony.
“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” .. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”
“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”BÓNUS:
- a _estupidez_ do ’Buy American’ (AADF)
- Apple in China !? جهانخوار گرسنه (Youtube)
- Ron Paul spot on about Apple Question
Excerto de The Secret Document That Transformed China:
In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China's economy in ways that are still reverberating today.
In Xiaogang there was never enough food, and the farmers often had to go to other villages to beg. Their children were going hungry. They were desperate.
So, in the winter of 1978, after another terrible harvest, they came up with an idea: Rather than farm as a collective, each family would get to farm its own plot of land. If a family grew a lot of food, that family could keep some of the harvest.
Before the contract, the farmers would drag themselves out into the field only when the village whistle blew, marking the start of the work day. After the contract, the families went out before dawn.BÓNUS - parte da história aqui - [Discovery Channel]Discovery Atlas: China Revealed [HDVDRip]
"We all secretly competed," says Yen Jingchang. "Everyone wanted to produce more than the next person."
It was the same land, the same tools and the same people. Yet just by changing the economic rules — by saying, you get to keep some of what you grow — everything changed.
At the end of the season, they had an enormous harvest: more, Yen Hongchang says, than in the previous five years combined.
No seguimento de "Equalization of Opportunity", mais uma política que parece ter sido retirada de um livro de Ayn Rand, Idiot Politicians Propose Regulating Oil Companies With 'Reasonable Profits Board':
In a scene straight out of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” a group of congressmen have submitted a bill that would create a “Reasonable Profits Board” to regulate how much profit oil and gas companies are allowed to make.
The board would consist of three members, appointed by the President of the United States to three-year terms, and would be responsible for determining when oil companies were making excess profits.
Of course this is a terrible idea. A tax on a commodity supplier’s profits only disincentives the capital investment required to find and produce more of the commodity. Tax oil unfairly and you’ll end up with less oil, which would only push prices up higher. Furthermore, a tax on U.S. oil producers would only incentivize foreign producers like the OPEC nations to collude to raise the price of oil to “unreasonable” levels, knowing that their U.S. competitors would be taxed out of the marketplace, thus strengthening the position of their cartel-opoly.
.. any kind of tax on the producers of any commodity will eventually be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Purposefully targeting U.S. producers only strengthens foreign producers, while destroying the wealth of U.S. shareholders and destroying jobs.
If it’s just “unreasonable profits” that they’re worried about, there’s a lot more obvious places to look than oil companies. Exxon’s net profit margin is roughly 10%. Microsoft‘s is 33%. By the politicians’ logic, if we levy such a tax on Microsoft, we’ll magically end up with better software. Do you think that will work?
Create Value, Not Jobs:
Public discourse on matters of the economy is and has always been dominated by the idea that the road to prosperity is to create jobs. In a moment of high unemployment, the “create jobs” rhetoric becomes that much more prevalent. We get a “Jobs Bill“; opponents of Obama’s reform call it “job destroying“; after a brief period of discussing deficits and debt national news outlets turned right back to talking about jobs.
The point is, our goal should never be to “create jobs”. Our goal should be to enable people to contribute something valued by other people. The value is the point, not the work. If someone finds a way to provide value to hundreds of millions of people and it requires no more effort from them than batting their eyelashes, that would be a win.
This is not a matter of semantics. If you think the problem is a lack of jobs, all sorts of dangerous “solutions” may come to mind. Anything from having the government hiring en masse to do make-work, valueless jobs, to setting high tariffs and immigration restrictions so that domestic companies and labor do not have any foreign competition.
.. Yes, there would be more “work” to do if we cut off trade and immigration, but it would also impoverish just about everyone as the cost of getting anything would skyrocket. Getting a job is not an end unto itself; the whole point is to trade our labor for other things that we want. Getting a job at the cost of not being able to afford anything is an absurd proposition.
But we need to get our priorities straight; what we want to do is help people create value. Unless giving someone a job will enable them to create more value than it costs, the existence of that job is counterproductive.
The Fed as a Criminal Organization:
I regard the Fed as a criminal organization, since it engages in (well, aids and abets) counterfeiting. The Fed is to the U.S. economy as was the old central planning apparatus of the late and non-lamented Soviet Union to the entire economy of the U.S.S.R. The Federal Reserve System has been responsible since its inception in 1913 for destroying some 97% of the value of our dollar, the life blood of our economy. This organization has exacerbated the business cycle. It has created both inflation and unemployment. These people, along with HUD, Fannie and Freddie, are responsible for the depression that currently afflicts us.
I pray, hope and trust that Ron Paul will be the next President of the U.S. .. I hope he appoints me the next head of the Fed. If so, I will do my level best to end this monstrosity of an institution with all deliberate speed, and institute a 100% gold backed dollar in its place. But more. I shall also do what I can to institute a Nuremberg type trial for all employees of the Fed. Not only should we audit them, we should throw in jail all of those responsible for counterfeiting, creating unemployment, inflation, and all but destroying our currency.
Domingo, Janeiro 22, 2012
Why Less Government Spending Would Mean Less Economic Trouble:
Though our current economic troubles are complex, many mainstream economists have endorsed the simplistic Keynesian theory that massive government spending will produce jobs and prosperity.
From such Keynesian thinking have flowed the “stimulus” and bailout measures that have increased the size and power of government and added trillions of dollars to the public deb ..
Politicians, who are always looking for plausible rationales for their insatiable spending, borrowing, and power-grabbing, had never abandoned Keynesianism, so they have been elated to find economic “experts” again confirming their self-interested inclinations. Indeed, several prominent economists, such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, are urging Washington to spend even more, lest the economy slow.
History teaches that temporary surges in government spending give people money that, for the most part, they save or use to reduce debt, rather than setting in motion an upward spiral of income, expenditure, real output, and employment, as envisioned by John Maynard Keynes, the British economist whose theory spurred massive government interventions in the economy from the 1930s onward.
History also teaches that government “emergency” spending tends to fatten the coffers of the politically connected. Thus, much of the so-called stimulus spending has served only to increase the pay and benefits of government employees, transferring income from the private sector to the government sector ..
How well can you communicate over email? (or blog posts? how about in person?):
Without the benefit of paralinguistic cues such as gesture, emphasis, and intonation, it can be difficult to convey emotion and tone over electronic mail (e-mail). Five experiments suggest that this limitation is often underappreciated, such that people tend to believe that they can communicate over e-mail more effectively than they actually can. Studies 4 and 5 further suggest that this overconfidence is born of egocentrism, the inherent difficulty of detaching oneself from one’s own perspective when evaluating the perspective of someone else. Because e-mail communicators “hear” a statement differently depending on whether they intend to be, say, sarcastic or funny, it can be difficult to appreciate that their electronic audience may not.
Fear and Greed: The Real Political Parties of the State:
The State is the physical embodiment of two emotional states of being, those being fear and greed. If all of humanity were to conquer these two emotional states, there would be no State .. In all that the State does, it first evokes these emotional states though propaganda before it is able to move its agenda forward. It is interesting to note that the two party system of America is distinctly split between these two emotional states. Republican’s being the party of fear while democrats embody the party of greed.
Mastering fear and greed is something that has to come from within. No level of statism, no level of militarism, no level of police state security will ever be enough for those who harbor fear and greed within themselves. Helping people master those emotions was primarily the purpose of the major religions of the world. If your spiritual beliefs are not bringing you closer to mastering fear and greed then it is high time you ask yourself why and what you should do about it.
You are here to overcome fear and greed. That is your purpose. You are hear to learn how to love unconditionally. That is your purpose. If your religion is not bringing you closer to achieving your life’s purpose, then ask yourself why you are even bothering with it. Perhaps it is time to look inside for answers rather than a pulpit.
Regulatory Czar wants to use copyright protection mechanisms to shut down rumors and conspiracy theories:
As Congress considers vastly expanding the power of copyright holders to shut down fair use of their intellectual property, this is a good time to remember the other activities that Obama’s “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein wants to shut down using the tools of copyright protection. For a couple of years now, Sunstein has been advocating that the “notice and take down” model from copyright law should be used against rumors and conspiracy theories, “to achieve the optimal chilling effect.”
Sunstein already has a history of escalation in his legal crusade against ideas he does not like. If SOPA and PIPA are enacted and the machinery of copyright protection becomes vastly more censorious, its pretty much a certainty that Sunstein will want to use these more powerful tools against rumors and conspiracy theories as well.
Whenever free speech is attacked, the real purpose is to cover up the truth. Not that Sunstein himself knows the truth about anything. He just knows what he wants to suppress, which is exactly why government must never have this power.
Na continuação de Intervenção de AMN (9),
O socialismo é laico mas acha que o dinheiro cai do céu
BÓNUS: O socialismo é laico mas... (resposta ao Deputado João Galamba)
O socialismo é laico mas acha que o dinheiro cai do céu
BÓNUS: O socialismo é laico mas... (resposta ao Deputado João Galamba)
Onde é que a troika se enganou sobre Portugal de José Manuel Fernandes:
Mas não basta vendar activos, como mostra o caso da EDP. É necessário também afastar o destino das empresas da vontade dos governos e aproximá-lo das necessidades e opções dos seus clientes, fornecedores e accionistas. O que obriga a acelerar todas as reformas que tornem os investimentos privados menos dependentes de autorizações, licenças, favores ou cunhas, para já não falar de contratos públicos. Este país tem regulamentos a mais e um dos efeitos perniciosos desse excesso de regulamentação é que há sempre um momento em que qualquer empresário, como qualquer cidadão, fica nas mãos da vontade discricionária de um funcionário ou de um político. É isto que facilita a corrupção, é isto que alimenta as redes de “conhecimentos” em que medram os aparelhos partidários e é isto que corrói a competitividade da economia.
Um dos arcaísmos da cultura política portuguesa, à esquerda e à direita, é a ideia de que o bem público é sempre melhor assegurado pelo Estado, pelos seus serviços e pelas suas empresas. Apesar da evidência esmagadora da ineficiência desses serviços e dessas empresas, das provas de abusos, desperdícios e investimentos errados, de entrar pelos olhos dentro de como é aí que se alimenta o nepotismo e a corrupção, há um discurso eterno sobre um ideal de “pureza” que, apesar de nunca ter sido alcançado, continua a ser atribuído à “bondade” congénita do que é visto como “serviço público”.
O autor desta reflexão, o Prémio Nobel da Economia Friedrich Hayek, não é muito bem quisto em Portugal, pois acredita-se que o poder que o Estado tem é um poder benigno para “bem da colectividade”. Isso é falso, e a nossa actual colectivização dos prejuízos e das dívidas é um exemplo moderno do “caminho para a servidão” que Hayek denunciou na obra com o mesmo nome.
Moral Culpability of Independent Contractors:
.. much of the literature on privatization and contracting out takes the focal organization’s objectives as given, then studies the least costly methods of meeting those objectives. But objectives are endogenous to production costs. Predator drones lower the cost of extrajudicial killings, so we get more extrajudicial killings, ceteris paribus. If prison privatization lowers the cost of incarceration, we should expect more incarceration. And so on. For this reason, the desirability of contracting out depends on whether we want more of thing that is being contracting out, a point made eloquently by Bruce Benson.
A related question is the extent to which contractors should be legally liable, not to mention morally culpable, for the outcomes they help facilitate. Most of us reject the Nuremberg defense, but how far are we willing to go? Is Xe partly responsible for US military strategy and tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do private prison operators share some of the blame for the US’s astonishingly high incarceration rate?
The Keynesian School of Economics Leads to Violence:
We are seeing the end game played out over and over in different cultures all over the world. There is one thread of similarity. All of them have practiced Keynesian economics for decades. The belief that more government spending and bigger government to solve society ills has degenerated into a stagnant economy with no growth and in many parts of the world it’s unsafe to walk down the street.
The problem is that eventually the socialist/Keynesian school runs out of other people’s money to spend. They can’t raise taxes high enough, and the market forces them to pay ever higher interest rates to access public markets. When governments increase spending, businesses cut back ..
When governments ramp up their debt loads and ramp up the amount they spend on government programs, there is only one outcome. Eventually the merry go round stops. People get off and look at each other. Some have enjoyed the ride. They either built a business and got rich, or they used crony capitalism to insulate themselves and are well off. The rest of the poor saps are stuck with nothing. They have to survive, so basic human survival instincts take over.
That is the danger of accumulating so much debt. We are starting to see it played out in various economies throughout the world. Unless America changes it’s ways .. we are on the same miserable trail to nowhere.
Sexta-feira, Janeiro 20, 2012
Soak the poor:
The class-war doctrine is most vicious not in that it sets man against man, producer against producer, but in that it diverts the attention of the contestants from their common enemy, the State. Men live by production, but the State lives by appropriation. While the haves and the have-nots struggle over the division of existing wealth, it is the business of the State to improve itself at the expense of both; it picks up the marbles while the boys are fighting.
The poor, simply because there are more of them, have more ability to pay than the rich. The national pay envelope contains more money than the combined treasuries of all the corporations of the country. The government could not for long overlook this rich mine. Political considerations however, made the tapping of the pay envelope difficult. The wage earners have votes, many votes, and in order not to alienate these votes, it was necessary to devise some means for making the taxation of their incomes palatable. They had to be lulled into acceptance of "soak the poor."
The drug that was concocted for this purpose was "social security."
The swindle is further compounded by the promise of something-for-nothing. The worker is told that his employer, the "exploiter," pays part of the premium, and is in effect compelled to make a contribution to old-age benefits. The fact is, as every schoolboy should know, that the employer must include in his expenses what he is compelled to "contribute." This expense shows up in the price of his goods, and the wage earner, as consumer, actually pays it. There is a similarity in this scheme with the shell game at the county fair.
The government will meet its obligations by handing out brand-new printed dollars, with declining purchasing power, and the old folks will have to depend on what support they can beg from their tax-ridden children.
The European Crack-Up:
A Belgian journalist who interviewed me recently about the European debt crisis asked me whether I believed in the European Project. I replied that I would answer her question—if she would tell me what the European Project actually was. By revealing my doubts, I proved to her that I suffered from the strange kind of mental debility known as Euroskepticism, a condition supposedly compounded of low intelligence and aggressive xenophobia. The low intelligence manifests itself in the patient’s view of European institutions as a gravy train for a transnational nomenklatura, rather than as the beginning of a new, generous, and free-spirited type of postnational identity. The xenophobia manifests itself as a secret desire for conflict and war, the European Union and its predecessors supposedly having been responsible for the avoidance of war on the Continent over the last 65 years.
The journalist then asked whether I thought that nationalism was dangerous. The question implied that the choice before Europe was between the European Union and fascism: that all that stood between us and the ascension to power of new Mussolinis, Francos, and Hitlers were the free lunches of senior Eurocrats. I replied that dangerous forms of nationalism existed, of course, but that in the present circumstances, supranationalism represented by far the greater danger. Not only was such supranationalism undemocratic, for it reflected no widespread demand or sentiment among the population; it also risked provoking the very kind of nationalism against which it was to stand as the bulwark. Further, the breakup of supranational polities in Europe tends to be messy, as history demonstrates.
I was not entirely fair, however, in implying that no one could say what the European Project was. José Manuel Barroso, a fiery Portuguese Maoist student leader who became the preternaturally dull president of the European Commission—perhaps not as great a change as one might suppose, many a revolutionary being a frustrated bureaucrat—once let the cat out of the bag. Asked the same question that the journalist asked me, Barroso responded, “Sometimes I like to compare the European Union as a creation to the organization of empires.” ..
In short, the incontinent spending of many European governments, which awarded whole populations unearned benefits at the expense of generations to come, has—along with a megalomaniacal currency union—produced a crisis not merely economic but social, political, and even civilizational. The European Union that was supposed to put an end to war on the continent has resuscitated antagonisms that might end in bellicosity, if not in outright war. And the European Project stands revealed as what any sensible person could have seen it always was: something akin to the construction of a massive, post-Tito Yugoslavia.
Sam The Kid - À Procura da Perfeita Repetição
E quanto às leis (e quanto às leis?), não tão bem explicadas, e eu não vejo o sentido, pra mim tão erradas/
São papéis, mai nada, não dão liberdade, a esta arte que pra eles 'inda é novidade/
Tou no meu quarto, eu sou um artista ausente de SPA's, a minha alma é alquimista, eu penso em RCA's/
Eu penso em rimas estruturadas, penso em 12 polegadas, eu não penso qu'ideias possam vir a ser multadas/
ou julgadas por alguém com poder, eles dizem 'tem cuidado a escolher', mas a censura censule/
National Health Insurance and the Welfare State:
The modern welfare state and the implementation of socialized health care arose in 19th-century Germany, during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the administration of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. In the 1870s, the Social Democratic Party had acquired increasing support among the German electorate and threatened to obtain a majority in the Reichstag, the German Parliament. The democratic triumph of Germany's socialist party seemed likely in the near future. The German monarchy and the conservative parties realized that something had to be done to deflect support away from the socialists and back to the established order.
Thus, the Kaiser sponsored welfare-statist legislation that was enacted by the Reichstag. Bismarck had this tactical goal in mind: the masses would shift their support from the radical program of the socialist movement to a renewed allegiance for the monarchy and the political status quo.
In the 1890s, Bismarck explained his rationale to American historian and Bismarckian sympathizer William H. Dawson: "My idea was to bribe the working classes, or shall I say, to win them over, to regard the state as a social institution existing for their sake and interested in their welfare .."Otto von Bismarck, conqueror of Germany and creator of the central gov't aka Second Reich:
Could you imagine how much better the 20th century would have been if Hitler had only been the ruler of a the small German state of Lower Saxony?
El FBI cierra Megaupload, una de las mayores webs de intercambio de archivos:
Internet strikes back: Anonymous Operation Megaupload explained
Various Artists - The Mega Song (Megaupload)
El Departamento de Estado de EEUU, junto al FBI y otras autoridades internacionales, ha liderado una operación contra la popular página web de intercambio de archivos Megaupload, que ha sido clausurada, y contra varios de sus responsables, que han resultado detenidos y acusados en el estado de Virginia (EEUU) de conspiración para cometer un crimen y violación de la propiedad intelectual.Hackers attack FBI, Justice Department websites after Megaupload shutdown:
Minutes after the U.S. Department of Justice shut down notorious file-sharing site Megaupload.com, the department’s own website was brought down in a cyber attack orchestrated by the hacker group Anonymous.
“The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government & record label sites,” a member of Anonymous said via Twitter.
The group also disabled the sites of Universal Music, the RIAA, the U.S. Copyright Office, Broadcast Music Inc., the FBI and the Motion Picture Association of America in what it called its “largest attack ever.”
Internet strikes back: Anonymous Operation Megaupload explained
Various Artists - The Mega Song (Megaupload)
In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.
Ayn RandCapitalism, Socialism, and the “Middle Way”: A Taxonomy (PDF):
Abstract- Political scientists have coined a variety of ideologically slanted terms to designate the “middle way” between the market and the command economy, including neofascism, the affirmative democratic state, and corporate liberalism. A more straightforward approach to classifying a political-economic system is by the way it treats property ownership (public vs. private) and control (public vs. private).
A fourfold political-economic classification system emerges from the dimensions of property ownership (private versus public) and control (private versus public). Capitalism is the system in which ownership and control are largely private, socialism the system in which they are largely public. The system that emerged in most Western states beginning in the late nineteenth century was one in which the ownership of the means of production was nominally private, but their control was increasingly in the hands of public officials. Feudalism, when added to this three-way taxonomy, appears as a fourth arrangement, in which the means of production are nominally public, but the actual use of productive property is largely private.
The most neutral description for the system of nominally private ownership and public control is “the third way” between capitalism and socialism. Many authors, however, have proffered far more descriptive names based on their ideological beliefs about the nature and workings of “third-way” systems. Those who believe in laissezfaire capitalism tend to coin terms stressing the negative effects resulting from the public control of productive property, for example, the hampered market and neofascism. Those who reject capitalism occasionally employ terms that connote the benefits of regulation, such as the positive state and the affirmative democratic state. Yet others, believing that third-way systems are typically captured by commercial interests who exploit them for their own gain, coin terms that emphasize a negative reading of that situation, such as corporate statism and corporate liberalism.
Quinta-feira, Janeiro 19, 2012
How Copyright Industries Con Congress por Julián Sánchez:
In my previous life as the Washington editor for the technology news site Ars Technica, I became curious about two implausible sounding claims I kept seeing made over and over—and repeated by prominent U.S. Senators!—in support of more aggressive antipiracy efforts. Intellectual property infringement was supposedly costing the U.S. economy $200–250 billion per year, and had killed 750,000 American jobs. That certainly sounded dire, but those numbers looked suspiciously high ..
As one expert consulted by GAO put it, “effects of piracy within the United States are mainly redistributions within the economy for other purposes and that they should not be considered as a loss to the overall economy.” In many cases—I’ve seen research suggesting it’s about 80 percent for music—a U.S. consumer would not have otherwise purchased an illicitly downloaded song or movie if piracy were not an option. Here, the result is actually pure consumer surplus: The downloader enjoys the benefit, and the producer loses nothing. In the other 20 percent of cases, the result is a loss to the content industry, but not a let loss to the economy, since the money just ends up being spent elsewhere. If you’re concerned about the overall jobs picture, as opposed to the fortunes of a specific industry, there is no good reason to think eliminating piracy by U.S. users would yield any jobs on net, though it might help boost employment in copyright-intensive sectors. (Oh, and that business about 19 million jobs? Also bogus.)BÓNUS: SOPA, Internet regulation, and the economics of piracy
Does that mean online piracy is harmless? Of course not. But the harm is a dynamic loss in allocative efficiency, which is much harder to quantify. That is, in the cases where a consumer would have been willing to buy an illicitly downloaded movie, album, or software program, we want the market to be accurately signalling demand for the products people value, rather than whatever less-valued use that money gets spent on instead. This is, in fact, very important! It’s a good reason to look for appropriately tailored ways to reduce piracy, so that the market devotes resources to production of new creativity and innovation valued by consumers, rather than to other, less efficient purposes. Indeed, it’s a good reason to look for ways of doing this that, unlike SOPA, might actually work.
¿Las Malvinas o las Falklands?:
No está claro que la historia vaya a cerrar el debate. En cualquier caso tiene poco de liberal remontarse a reivindicaciones estatales de hace más de dos siglos para determinar la soberanía de un pueblo actual, como si fueran los Estados y no los individuos los que tuvieran derechos .. Lo que cuenta es la opinión de las personas que hoy habitan las islas, muchas de las cuales son descendientes de los primeros colonos ..
Ludwig von Mises, en el apartado “El derecho a la autodeterminación” de su libro Liberalism, habla del “derecho de auto-determinación de los habitantes de cualquier territorio lo suficientemente grande como para formar una unidad administrativa independiente”. Según Mises, debe respetarse la voluntad de los habitantes de un pueblo, un distrito entero o una serie de distritos adyacentes que expresen en un plebiscito libre su deseo de formar un Estado independiente o asociarse a otro Estado.
La situación de las Falklands, por último, guarda cierto paralelismo con Gibraltar, donde el 98.97% de los llanitos quiere permanecer bajo jurisdicción británica. Como en las islas, no corresponde a España o al Reino Unido decidir sobre el futuro del peñón, sino a los gibraltareños que allí residen.
Fostering Strong Comment Threads, and the Effort Rule of Comment Moderation:
.. I see Internet comment threads as a new and relatively important kind of online discussion, and I’m very interested in the conditions in which comment threads tend to be useful or just noise. In my view, having a really good comment thread is a terrific asset to a blog .. The interesting and new question is .. What kind of comment policies and software leads to the best, most interesting comment threads, and which don’t?
.. When the site is a popular blog with hundreds of commenters, some of the commenters will be “normal people” and some won’t. In any collection of that many people who can post at any time, there will be some stylistic quirks: There are the commenters who always bring up their pet topic, no matter the subject of the post; the commenters who see themselves as needing to wage constant battle with perceived ideological foes; the commenters who see criticism of their views as inherently objectionabe, etc ..
This diversity of audience, combined with the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, means that unmoderated threads have a tendency to devolve into virtual food fights ..
These two conditions combine to produce what you might call the Effort Rule of commenting: Having consistently strong comment threads requires a significant effort moderating threads .. Second, the combination of no front-end filter and back-end moderation invariably leads to accusations of bias and claims of censorship .. The same basic reasoning applies to interpreting editorial decisions on a blog. The more passionate a commenter feels about the subject, the more likely they are to interpret editing or (in extreme cases) a ban on commenters as incredibly obvious evidence of bias against them based on their viewpoints .
Where do these points take us? First, to the conclusion that really good Internet comment threads are rare .. Second, I suspect the future of Internet comment threads is a bifurcation into two sorts of threads on high-traffic sites: open and unmoderated threads, where anyone can say anything and few people read the threads; and sites with more moderation on the front end, such as requiring registration through a Facebook account. Neither of those are ideal, for the reasons stated above, but they are more stable forms of comment threads because they don’t require the same amount of work from the editor.
Politicians are to blame if we have crony capitalists:
For many firms, profits are more dependent on political favours than serving individual customers. Energy companies rely on rigged electricity markets for their reveunues from renewables; rail firms require operating subsidies; the defence industry needs government contracts, and so on. The banking sector is, of course, one of the most telling examples. Without the bailouts, many of the banks now being heavily criticised on pay would not exist.
This level of state involvement brings immense political risks to business. A new regulation, tax hike or subsidy cut can destroy profits or ruin investment plans. George Osborne’s raid on North Sea oil revenues is one recent example; the subsidy cut for the solar-power industry is another.
The incentives for business leaders to develop close relationships with politicians and regulators are therefore very strong. The returns from lobbying are often far higher than the returns from conventional business activity. Indeed, large corporate interests often successfully capture the policy process and use it to shut out competition or obtain favourable treatment. The losers are generally dispersed groups such as consumers and taxpayers, who are powerless to resist.
The answer is not, as politicians propose, to add more layers of regulation to control corporate behaviour. This will strengthen incentives for business leaders to get closer to government – an entirely counterproductive result.
Crony capitalism is inevitable given an intrusive regulatory state. It can only be stopped by removing the payoffs from special-interest lobbying – by a substantial reduction in political influence over business activity.
Embora seja certo que a segunda parte omita a história do libertarianismo que o Cato Institute não aprova...
Exploring Liberty: The History of Liberty, Pt. 1 (Tom G. Palmer)
Exploring Liberty: The History of Liberty, Pt. 1 (Tom G. Palmer)
The New Yorker Misunderstands Ron Paul (Again):
In the New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann frets over Ron Paul’s “hostility to government” .. I was especially struck by this comment ..As for the financial crisis, Paul would have countenanced no regulation that might have prevented it, no government stabilization of the financial system after it happened, and no special help for working people hurt by it. This is where the logic of government-shrinking leads... Here’s how the paragraph should have read:As for the financial crisis, Paul would have countenanced none of the regulation that helped to cause it, no government creation of cheap money that created the unsustainable boom, and no special help for Wall Street banks when the bubble collapsed. He would have seen that that was where the logic of government-expanding leads.