“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.”
— Oscar Wilde

Let A Thousand Nations Bloom

If you haven’t yet, do pick up a copy of Huemer’s latest book, The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the RIght to Coerce and the Duty to Obey. But for the short version, check out this month’s Cato Unbound. Here’s a typical Huemerian insight: 

Imagine that someone proposed that the key to establishing social justice and restraining corporate greed was to establish a very large corporation, much larger than any corporation hitherto known—one with revenues in the trillions of dollars. A corporation that held a monopoly on some extremely important market within our society. And used its monopoly in that market to extend its control into other markets. And hired men with guns to force customers to buy its product at whatever price it chose. And periodically bombed the employees and customers of corporations in other countries. By what theory would we predict that this corporation…

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Here’s a perfect opportunity for someone with some real book learnin’ on the subject to demonstrate the broken window fallacy. But no, it’s left to me, an unlettered nobody, to supply the punchline to this economic in-joke. Well, me and Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

Let A Thousand Nations Bloom

Things that make you go hmmmm:

Whether it’s recovering from a war or cleaning up after a natural disaster, periods of severe destruction are usually followed by sharp bursts of economic activity. Money pours in from government and insurers to repair infrastructure. Homes get rebuilt, debris cleared. As a result, the overall economic growth that follows a natural disaster can often outweigh the wealth it destroyed. Economists call this the broken window effect. “To an economist, breaking a window always boosts GDP,” says Michael Englund, chief economist at Action Economics. Englund thinks that Sandy could end up boosting fourth-quarter gross domestic product by as much as two-tenths of a percentage point. “The backfill activity will probably be bigger,” he says. “By the time the rebuild is over, I think we’ll see this as a net positive [for GDP].”

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Defining and applying the principles of good governance.

Let A Thousand Nations Bloom

The political news cycle is entertaining in about the same way that a tornado watch is entertaining: nothing good comes of it, but there is a lot of noise and activity. I’m sadly addicted. Every time the legislature passes a dictionary-thick bill that nobody likes or ignores another impending financial disaster I struggle to restrain myself from screaming “institutional sclerosis!” at my computer screen.

Political activists of every generation learn the same sad lessons. It’s easy to identify areas where the law can be improved, sometimes with huge social gains. But they soon discover that lawmaking is controlled by a bizarre machine full of biases against good policy. The best of intensions are no match for the force of institutional inertia.

In short, they rediscover some small portion of the classic problems of collective action first written about by Public Choice economists. For example, the case against agricultural subsidies…

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Local politicos and their backroom “business partners” are creating phoney licensing scams to keep you out of work. Check out your local licensing regulations and see if any of them are based in reality. Fight for your right to work!

Amplify’d from www.ncpa.org

Proponents of such requirements justify these barriers by endlessly parroting the same worn-out phrase: public health and safety.  Yet if public health and safety were truly at risk, we would expect to see florists regulated in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., not just in Louisiana as they are now.

State legislators largely seem oblivious to the counterproductive effects of the licensure schemes they create.  This spring there was a ray of sunshine in the gloom of occupational licensure when Florida’s new governor, Rick Scott, proposed a list of 20 occupations ripe for deregulation.

Read more at www.ncpa.org

 

Amplify’d from www.eff.org
There is an acute need for circumvention technologies in authoritarian regimes – and even activists in many would-be progressive societies may feel safer if they can avoid the electronic gaze of authorities.

Our gratitude goes out to the hundreds of individuals who set up relays and donated bandwidth to help strengthen the network. They are true defenders of online freedoms.

Read more at www.eff.org

 

It should also be noted that ‘official’ unemployment figures ignore the completely disenfranchised who do not ‘qualify.’

Amplify’d from www.ncpa.org

Myth 1: Stimulus spending can jump start the economy and fix unemployment.

  • Since the enactment of the stimulus bill in February 2009, the unemployment rate has not approached pre-American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) levels, even though $382 billion has been made available by government departments and agencies (on top of tax credits and other tax-related items).

  • In fact, unemployment recently edged up, from 9 percent in April to 9.1 percent in May.

Myth 2: Additional infrastructure spending is an effective way to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

politicians rarely include infrastructure spending in stimulus bills.

  • Instead, they spend money on items like transfers and tax cuts.

  • Only 3 percent of the last stimulus went to infrastructure.

Read more at www.ncpa.org

 

Federal, State and Local governments continue to pour money and manpower into the War on Food, but who’s winning?
Here’s a brief selection of examples from 2011 to 2008:

“Government regulation … requires costly procedures that drive small producers out of the market without necessarily improving the quality of food.” http://drewt333.amplify.com/2010/12/21/get-a-taste-of-some-nutritious-freedom/

“Mandatory menu labeling did not promote healthier food-purchasing behavior.” http://reason.com/blog/2011/07/07/washington-post-food-nannyism

“Growing too many vegetables is illegal” http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/10/weird_zoning_laws

The War on Lunch: http://blog.mises.org/13894/the-great-food-truck-lobbying-race/

Hot Dog Wars http://reason.com/blog/2008/02/08/las-bacon-wrapped-hot-dog-wars

“Nationwide, fancy juices and venti mocha Frappuccinos remain almost completely untouched by sin surcharges, while a bodega bottle of Sprite brings down the wrath of the taxman. ” http://reason.com/archives/2009/09/29/5-myths-we-need-to-can-about-s

Regulation and enforcement? Failed.
Minimalist “education?” Failed.
“Sin tax?” Failed.

While waving the flag of “health concerns” Federal, State and City governments grow steadily more “obese” at the tax trough while protecting their business partners.
Small business, local producers and tax-payers are not welcome at the table.

Amplify’d from www.latimes.com
America continues to get fatter, according to a comprehensive new report on the nation’s weight crisis. Statistics for 2008-2010 show that 16 states are experiencing steep increases in adult obesity, and none has seen a notable downturn in the last four years.

Read more at www.latimes.com