The video explains it all.
I’ve been in Texas for the Bitcoin conference. The site was not at the hotel (which normally happens when I travel for business) and so I’ve only been at my computer for a very limited time this week. I’ll resume normal posting this weekend.
In the meantime, check out the reading list at the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute. Michael Goldstein–a very solid an-cap coming from the Rothbardian tradition–gave a talk at the conference showing that an-caps should really look into the history behind Nakamoto’s famous white paper. It didn’t emerge from the brow of Zeus.
My quick takeaway from the conference is that Bitcoin isn’t just about money; it is a technological innovation (“the blockchain”) that has all sorts of ramifications, just one of which is a new medium of exchange (that may, or may not, one day be a money by anyone’s definition). If you are a hard money person who thinks BTC as intangible digital money is nonsense, okay fine, let’s put that issue to the side. Look at the possibilities of decentralized contract enforcement without the need for large, reputable third parties.
Tyler Cowen praises Daniel Drezner’s book The System Worked: The the World Stopped Another Great Depression. An excerpt Tyler gives from the book:
A closer look at the global response to the financial crisis reveals a more optimistic assessment. Despite initial shocks that were more severe than the 1929 financial crisis, global economic governance responded in a nimble and robust fashion. Whether one looks at economic outcomes, policy outputs, or institutional operations, these governance structures either reinforced or improved upon the pre-crisis status quo. The global economy bounced back from the 2008 financial crisis with relative alacrity.
Without having his book in front of me, I can only wonder what Drezner means by arguing that today’s “economic outcomes” are ”either reinforced or improved upon the pre-crisis status quo.” Does he just mean, back in 2007 we were on the verge of a global catastrophe, but now we’re six years into it?
I suppose Drezner’s argument sorta makes sense if you think these “shocks” that hit the financial system are completely exogeneous, like earthquakes. But one of the arguments for the massive interventions in the economy in the 1930s and beyond was (we were told) that this new “system” would mean we wouldn’t suffer through something like the Great Depression again. Yes, it would be an even more demonstrable failure of such a system if we had an outcome that was clearly worse than the Great Depression, but the actual reality is still pretty bad. To have a set of “shocks” that cripple the global financial sector and leaves people still hurting six years later is an odd way to demonstrate that the system “worked.”
I absolutely love the message of this song. If you don’t like my stuff, go follow Stefan Molyneux.
Gene Callahan linked to a very interesting review of David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss. (The review itself is written by Mark Anthony Signorelli.) Yet in seeing Gene argue in the comments, I understand why Gene’s critic(s) think he is “redefining” terms when arguing that God must exist, even though Gene claims he is just using the original definition of “God.” (Note that Gene is here using the same stance I took with the term “inflation,” so I’m not quibbling with such a stance in general.)
The pithy statement from the review is, “An atheist is just someone who has failed to notice the perfectly evident necessity of God’s existence.” But let’s quote further to make we know what this means:
In contrast, all of the religious traditions Hart refers to define God as Being itself, “the one infinite source of all that is: eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, uncreated, uncaused, perfectly transcendent of all things and for that very reason absolutely immanent to all things.” This is why a recognition of God’s reality is, as stated, an acknowledgment of something obvious, because none of us can keep from experiencing being, thinking about being, coming to know being in some way. As Hart puts it, “Evidence for or against the reality of God, if it is there, saturates every moment of the experience of existence, every employment of reason, every act of consciousness, every encounter with the world around us.” Yet precisely because God’s presence is implicit in the totality of our encounter with the world, it is liable to our neglect.
I think there is a danger in such a presentation. On the one hand, yes, one can easily win in an argument with an atheist, if we take “God” in this fashion.
Yet when I say, “I know there is a God,” it’s because I truly think He is a living Being who communicates with us, including with me personally on a few occasions in my life. I don’t expect individual anecdotes to persuade a rationalist skeptic. But, at the same time, to give a proof that God must exist through introspection, doesn’t seem to do justice to what I mean when I say, “I know there is a God.”
My latest at Mises Canada. To entice you, I’ll just quote the concluding paragraphs:
The above story is just to get the logic across. I am trying to show why, IF we agree with Mises that slavery is unproductive relative to free labor, that it could not last in an otherwise free market economy. Over time, incremental moves such as the above would transform the slaves into self-owners, because that would be the most efficient outcome, setting aside moral considerations.
Think of it like this: Imagine if, during the night, gnomes took all of the cartons of cigarettes from the homes of smokers, and deposited them in the homes of non-smokers. The legal system now said that the non-smokers were the owners. Wouldn’t market forces soon move the cigarettes back into the possession of the smokers?
By the same token, under a free market economy, if for some reason the property titles to particular human beings initially started out in the hands of other people, market forces would soon return everyone to a state of self-ownership.
My latest at Mises Canada. In addition to being wrong on the economics of it, our progressive supporters of ObamaCare display a remarkable callousness to the actual human beings involved.
This article is from the May 2013 issue of the Lara-Murphy Report. This area actually represents a large and growing portion of what I do for a living, so I thought my autobiographical tale would interest some of you.