Archive for October 2013

Peter Klein to Speak in South Africa

Writes Chris Becker:

I’m very pleased to announce that South Africans with an interest in free-markets, liberty, and in particular, Austrian economics, are in for a treat in November.

Peter G. Klein, Executive director and Carl Menger Research Fellow of the Mises Institute, and Associate Professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences at the University of Missouri, will be visiting South Africa for a week in mid-November.

Professor Klein has speaking engagements at AfriSake, Solidarity, and Wits. The business dinner hosted by AfriSake on Thursday 14 November at Centurion Lake Hotel is open to the public and one can book seats for the event here. Prof Klein will be speaking about the free-market economy and property rights as a solution to SA’s economic challenges.  Tickets cost R250 each or R2000 for a table of eight. There is a maximum of 100 seats available for the event.

Thomas Woods Explains How to Roll Back the State

LRC yesterday posted this transcript of this podcast with Senior Fellow Thomas Woods.

Among other things, Woods notes the tactics employed to ensure that military spending keeps flowing without fail:

ROCKWELL:

I was so impressed with what you had to say about the Military-Industrial Complex.  It seems to me you’ve got, within the Libertarian/Rothbardian/Ron Paulian view of this, you know, just a particularly effective take-down of that bunch.

WOODS:  …What they’ll typically do is, first, they introduce some weapons program. And this isn’t even prescinding from the morality of these programs, some of which I do get into towards the end of the chapter.  But basically, they introduce one of these programs and they way over promise regarding what it can accomplish.  Oh, it’s going to be great.  It’s going to be stealthy.  Nobody’s going to be able to see it.  Be able to bomb people like crazy from great distances and won’t be able to hit it and everything.  And then it’s going to turn out to be, you know, the size of Wymoing so that the only way for it really to be stealthy would be to rip enemy pilots’ heads — eyes out of their heads.  And it’s not going to be able to do what was promised.  And, in fact, the costs will wind up being much higher than the initial projection.  Well, this is a very — this isn’t unusual.  This even has a name.  It’s called frontloading.  So they over promise what it can do; they under promise what it’s going to cost.  And then you figure, all right, this will come to light and it will all come to an end.  But by then, they’ve done the second scam, which is political engineering, where they make sure that all the jobs associated with this particular program are spread out among so many congressional districts that it becomes politically impossible, once the taxpayer spigot has been turned on for this program, ever to turn if off again, no matter how absurd the program is, no matter how obviously unworkable it is, no matter whether the enemy it was designed for even exists any more.  And this is just one aspect.  And then I just talk about how it hurts firms that have the Pentagon as a client because they become weirdly unable to complete in the normal economy anymore because of the perverse incentives of the Pentagon, and just on and on.  I mean, there’s just so much to be said about it.

Not Enough Inflation Revisited

With the coming anointment of Janet Yellen as Fed chairwomen and the return of Tobin Keynesianism to the leadership of Fed the calls are coming from many of the usual suspect for more inflation as a cure for unemployment. Sheldon Richman responds with “Inflation is the Last Thing We Need.

The call for more inflation as a stimulus for the economy continual resurrects itself from the trash pile of bad ideas despite the long run harm such policies always bring when adopted such as the last time Tobin Keynesianism dominated Fed thinking with the go-stop of the late 1960s and 1970s. Paul Krugman made the argument during Spring 2012. My response, “Not Enough Inflation?,” is still highly relevant.

New Spanish-language Resources

Instituto Mises Hispano has some new translations:

The Institute has posted a translation of Ryan McMaken’s Mises Daily article on government-controlled water: “Subvenciones y escasez de agua en el oeste americano.”

The institute has also added Spanish subtitles to this video: Liberty and Economy on the work of Ludwig von Mises.

Peter Klein Explains: What Is Entrepreneurship?

In this interview, Peter Klein explains what entrepreneurship is, what it means for the economy, and how the state distorts it.

Niaz: To me a great entrepreneur is someone who understands economics, can see the big picture, and analyzes the things globally. He is also an economist, a research scientist, and a remarkable doer. What are the core things of economics and globalization should entrepreneurs be master at?

Peter: I think everyone should understand basic economics—say, by reading Henry Hazlitt’s classic Economics in One Lesson. Most of economic principles are common sense: there’s no such thing as a free lunch, benefits and costs should be compared at the margin, voluntary exchange is mutually beneficial, actions often have unintended consequences, and so on. Basic knowledge about globalization—the radical drop in communication and transportation costs, the often-surprising differences in legal, political, and social rules and customs around the world—is important too. But I don’t think a deep theoretical knowledge of economics or international trade is a prerequisite to successful entrepreneurship. Intuition and experience are typically more here valuable than “book learning.” (And I say that as a university professor!)

Competition In the Marketplace Is a Hassle

6572So  have the government crush your competition for you. Writes Brian LaSorsa in Mises Daily:

The politicians of the world would like to offer anyone dead set on controlling an entire industry the chance to shine. So come one, come all — government agencies, cronies, and all their friends — as we present the five best ways to create a monopoly and to ensure you never have to compete again….

When the cost of doing business is high, make it higher. Small firms can’t survive government imposed regulations while bigger firms can certainly bear the burden, at least temporarily. Taxes, mandates, and especially “safety regulations” (e.g., clinical trials at the Food and Drug Administration) will wipe out your competition before they even have time to ask what the new rules mean. Then hire a lobbyist in Washington. I’m sure he or she will come up with a good reason that the industry should adhere to stricter and more expensive guidelines.

David Gordon Lists 5 Books For Freedom

LRC today posted the transcript to this podcast with David Gordon on five books every new libertarian should read.

ROCKWELL:  Our guest this morning is Dr. David Gordon.  David is editor of the Mises Review.  He’s a senior fellow at the Mises Institute, author of a number of books, many, many articles.  His most recent book, The Essential Rothbard

But this morning, I want to talk to him about what — say, a person coming into Libertarianism as a result of the Ron Paul movement or attracted by an interest in Austrian economics during this part of the business cycle, David, let’s say, what are the five books that you would recommend for the intelligent layperson to introduce them to the basics of Libertarianism?

GORDON:  Well, thank you, Lew.  It’s very nice to be here.

The first book I might recommend if someone’s been interested in Ron Paul is — I think Ron Paul has a very fine book that came out calledThe Revolution: A Manifesto that really gives an excellent explanation of the basics of his political views and political philosophy…

I think one book people should definitely read — it’s a very short one but it really gets to the essence of the Austrian account of money and the basis of the business cycle and it explains why we’re in the conditions we are today — is by Murray Rothbard, called What Has Government Done to Our Money? …

Now the third book is a great classic of the 19th century by a great French classical Liberal, Frederic Bastiat, called The Law….

Another one that is sort of Bastiat for the 20th century was Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson….

And the last one I’d mention is another book, a little longer, by Rothbard called For a New Liberty

The Mises Institute Is Now on Instagram

If you’re like me, you’ve concluded that reading messages up to 140 characters in length on Twitter is simply too exhausting. Who has the time?

If you’d like to know about the Mises Institute’s latest publications, events, news, media appearances, and videos by merely glancing at an image, then the Mises Institute’s new Instagram account is for you.

If you have photos of your own from Mises Institute events that you’d like to share, feel free to send them to me at rwmcmaken@mises.org.

The Death Penalty Is Just One of Many Things the State Does Badly

6571Marc Hyden writes in Mises Daily:

The framework that governs the death penalty guarantees dysfunction. Elected prosecutors are given broad discretion to decide to seek a death sentence or not — regardless of the wishes of the victim or victim’s family members. Political, rather than moral or legal, considerations sometimes drive elected officials to pursue a death sentence. Even the juries are designed to support the death penalty. If a prosecutor seeks capital punishment, then a person who opposes the death penalty is generally not permitted to serve on that jury. If that alone isn’t problematic enough, the appeals process that is currently in place is there not to introduce new evidence but to ensure the convicted was given a fair initial trial. It remains incredibly difficult to introduce new evidence. This framework favors the death penalty and the will of the government over protecting the rights of the people.

VIDEO: Glenn “Kane” Jacobs on Our Enemy, the Fed

Glenn Jacobs (also known as “Kane,” the professional wrestler) explains why understanding the Federal Reserve System is one of the most important tasks facing Americans.