Archive for July, 2007|Monthly archive page

Is Green the new Red?

To Al Gore: can you name a problem with our planet that can’t be cured by government intervention?

On that theme, Brussels Journal has an interesting new piece:

Why Green is Red

A rallying cause

These movements also provide an enemy, and enemies are useful for defining your place in the world. While it is difficult to share friends, you can easily share enemies, since hatred is far less demanding than love and requires no shared judgment—only a common target.

But I object to the statement that environmentalism is necessarily Red. Just because the movement has been subverted does not make it an invalid concept.

Next: Capitalism and the environment, how can they make good friends

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Global Warming – Doomsday Called Off

CBC released a new documentary on the theme of global warming.

Watch it over at Freedom Channel

Bring back Mercantilism

Conservation Finance posts references to a real gem of an article.

Ha-Joon Chang writes that almost all rich countries got wealthy by protecting infant industries and limiting foreign investment.

The article fails to deliver, falling in the same trap of “the unseen” that so many economists and laymen are victims of.

[…]had the Japanese government followed the free-trade economists back in the early 1960s, there would have been no Lexus. Toyota today would at best be a junior partner to a western car manufacturer and Japan would have remained the third-rate industrial power it was in the 1960s—on the same level as Chile, Argentina and South Africa.

Why was the Lexus necessary to exist? Yes, we may see it today and judge it as a valuable thing, but why would it have been necessarily superior? How do we know that the resources destroyed by the restrictions (the missed opportunities, the unrealized enterprises) would not have been put to a better use?

This is a variant of the post-hoc fallacy. Because economic development happened after some economic restrictions, the latter caused the first. One must actually present a causal relationship between the two. Why were these industries to benefit and not others? How do we know the government can make these choices consistently? If entrepreneurs are not willing to risk their own money, what trust can we have of the government risking the money of others?

People tend to see the great public works project, but not the things (often mundane) that were not constructed, had people been free to chose for themselves. And it is these things, as proven that people are willing to sponsor, that make up the decidedly superior economic outcomes. The economy is not about cars, it’s about people getting what they want, whatever that is.

Where are you, Bastiat?

Ancient libertarians

I stumbled on this wikipedia article by complete accident.

Quite interesting:

Urukagina’s code is perhaps the first known example of government self-reform. Like the Magna Carta and the United States Constitution that followed (and like the Codes of Hammurabi, et al. to some degree), Urukagina’s code limited the power of politicians. He governed government. The text describing Urukagina’s reforms is also the first known use of the word freedom, in this case the Sumerian ama-gi.

And the ama-gi

amagi.png

Question for the global warmingers

Is there an unusual weather phenomenon that does not confirm global warming?

Slogans for a better tomorrow

Zhwazi gives  us his take on Orwell’s proclamations:

Recycling as waste

 waste.jpg

Do we see gold or do we see garbage?

Mike Munger is interviewed by Russ Roberts from EconTalk on the issue of recycling. Munger poses the question: “Is it[the recyclable] garbage or a resource?”

If it’s garbage, then it’s just better to throw it away. If it takes more resources to turn it back into something useful, then recycling it is actually wasteful. Sometimes, just throwing things away is better for the environment.

Listen to the podcast

The Global Warming Swindle (documentary)

One for Gore:

Dilbert and Global Warming

A new perspective:

http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/dilbert-20070701.html

Bastiat knew it all along

This is too good of a quote to not post. Total ripoff from Mises blog:

Socialism, like the old policy from which it emanates, confounds Government and society. And so, every time we object to a thing being done by Government, it concludes that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of education by the State — then we are against education altogether. We object to a State religion — then we would have no religion at all. We object to an equality which is brought about by the State then we are against equality, etc., etc. They might as well accuse us of wishing men not to eat, because we object to the cultivation of corn by the State.

How is it that the strange idea of making the law produce what it does not contain — prosperity, in a positive sense, wealth, science, religion — should ever have gained ground in the political world? The modern politicians, particularly those of the Socialist school, found their different theories upon one common hypothesis; and surely a more strange, a more presumptuous notion, could never have entered a human brain.

They divide mankind into two parts. Men in general, except one, form the first; the politician himself forms the second, which is by far the most important.

In fact, they begin by supposing that men are devoid of any principle of action, and of any means of discernment in themselves; that they have no moving spring in them; that they are inert matter, passive particles, atoms without impulse; at best a vegetation indifferent to its own mode of existence, susceptible of receiving, from an exterior will and hand, an infinite number of forms, more or less symmetrical, artistic, and perfected.

Moreover, every one of these politicians does not scruple to imagine that he himself is, under the names of organizer, discoverer, legislator, institutor or founder, this will and hand, this universal spring, this creative power, whose sublime mission it is to gather together these scattered materials, that is, men, into society.

Starting from these data, as a gardener according to his caprice, shapes his trees into pyramids, parasols, cubes, cones, vases, espaliers, distaffs, or fans; so the Socialist, following his chimera, shapes poor humanity into groups, series, circles, subcircles, honeycombs, or social workshops, with all kinds of variations. And as the gardener, to bring his trees into shape, wants hatchets, pruning hooks, saws, and shears, so the politician, to bring society into shape, wants the forces which he can only find in the laws; the law of customs, the law of taxation, the law of assistance, and the law of instruction.