12 Jul 2013

Potpourri

Climate Change, Daniel Kuehn, David R. Henderson, Economics, Krugman, Potpourri, Shameless Self-Promotion, Steve Landsburg 48 Comments

==> I’m getting ready for my trip to Mordor next week, so blogging is still sparse. I’m really looking forward to posting the YouTube videos of the presentations from our panelists at the IER Carbon Tax conference, especially for you professional free-market economists who read this blog. I think you’re going to be surprised by some of the facts about the peer-reviewed literature that Ross McKitrick in particular has to share.

==> C’mon, this exchange with Daniel Kuehn is just plain funny.

==> David R. Henderson, perhaps sensing that I have been lazy, takes up the crusade against Krugman.

==> Landsburg wants Krugman to show his work next time, when commenting on sweatshops. BTW, in this earlier post I pointed out Krugman’s hypocritical complaints against the pro-taperers. Krugman said (with no quotation or link so I can’t verify) that the “near-universal” assertion among the people who wanted the Fed to taper, was that a small rise in interest rates wouldn’t do any real damage. Krugman incredulously asked: “As I’ve argued, this is a novel economic principle; where else do we argue that demand curves (in this case the demand for investment) are vertical at low prices?”

I pointed out that Krugman had done the exact same move in his support for raising the minimum wage (saying it wouldn’t increase unemployment). And now we have another example, when Krugman writes:

Given this reality, can we demand that Bangladesh provide better conditions for its workers? If we do this for Bangladesh, and only for Bangladesh, it could backfire: the business could move to China or Cambodia. But if we demand higher standards for all countries — modestly higher standards, so that we’re not talking about driving the business back to advanced countries — we can achieve an improvement in workers’ lives (and fewer horrible workers’ deaths), without undermining the export industries these countries so desperately need.

So, can we act to improve the lot of workers in low-age, labor-intensive manufacturing? Yes, we can, as long as the goals are realistic and the measures appropriate in scale. And we should go ahead and do it.

So, for Krugman’s argument to work, the demand curve for apparel apparently is vertical at least for cheap apparel. (Landsburg spells this out here.) Yet another example of Krugman doing exactly the thing for which he ridiculed the pro-taperers (without giving an actual example so I can’t evaluate if they’re doing it too).

48 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Blackadder says:

    C’mon, this exchange with Daniel Kuehn is just plain funny.

    This pretty much sums up every exchange between you and Daniel (except that there was no mention of Krugman).

  2. guest says:

    C’mon, this exchange with Daniel Kuehn is just plain funny.

    First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln
    March 4, 1861
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/lincoln1.asp

    I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

    Letter to Horace Greeley by Abraham Lincoln
    August 22, 1862
    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1057

    If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.

    • guest says:

      Neo-Confederates love to point out that Lincoln didn’t start the war to free the slaves. I agree he didn’t, but who cares? That’s not proof that the Confederacy wasn’t erected to preserve slavery from perceived threats.

      Being kept in a Union against your will is also slavery.

      Also:

      Jim Crow: Government Against Market Forces
      http://archive.mises.org/13502/jim-crow-government-against-market-forces/

      Racism and discrimination can be expensive, and one of the only ways they can be maintained successfully is if bigots have access to political institutions that allow them to impose enormous costs on others at relatively trivial costs to themselves.

      The problem was government. The solution was not more centralization:

      Race and Economics
      http://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/08/walter-e-williams/race-and-economics/

      During the 1930s, there were a number of federal government interventions that changed the black employment picture. The first was the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which mandated minimum wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects. During the bill’s legislative debate, the racial objectives were clear. Rep. John Cochran, D-Mo., said he had “received numerous complaints … about Southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics getting work and bringing the employees from the South.”

      American Federation of Labor President William Green said, “Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates.” For decades after Davis-Bacon enactment, black workers on federally financed or assisted construction projects virtually disappeared.

      The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 broadened the number of workers covered by minimum wages, with negative consequences for black employment across a much wider range of industries. Good intentions motivate most Americans in their support for minimum wage laws, but for compassionate public policy, one should examine the laws’ effect.

    • guest says:

      The article says:

      Secession outside of constitutional processes for breaking up the union is “illegal” …

      This is false because the states created the Union, not the other way around (besides the fact that only individuals have rights, not collectives such that they could have a right to impose their will on other individuals).

      The states are in a compact with each other. The general government was put in place to facilitate that compact. The compact between the states can be abandoned at will by any or all states.

      The general government has only those powers delegated to it by the states. States may undelegate that authority.

    • Ken B says:

      oh for cripes sakes. We’ve seen this quote a thousand times. Note the date. Things change, like Lincoln’s aims.

      And it was not Lincoln who seceded. Read the sources at the time to see why the south seceded. Slavery. Read the fricking confederate consyitution or the acts of secession.

      • guest says:

        It’s irrelevant what the reason was for the South’s wanting to secede – that’s their right as a party to the compact.

        Yes, slavery is wrong, but being forced to stay in the union against your will is also slavery.

        And no, Lincoln’s aims didn’t change:

        Another Big Lincoln Lie Exposed
        http://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/08/thomas-dilorenzo/another-big-lincoln-lie-exposed/

        Lincoln followed in the footsteps of his idol, Henry Clay, who was the president of the American Colonization Society, and quoted Clay often on the subject. During his presidency he established a colonization office in the Department of Interior and funded it with $600,000, while working diligently to plan on deporting black people to Liberia, Haiti, Jamaica, Central America, the West Indies — anywhere but the U.S.

        Based on newly-rediscovered documents in the American and British National Archives, including letters signed by Lincoln himself, these researchers have established that Lincoln continued to pursue colonization right up to the days before his assassination, when he discussed plans with General Benjamin Butler to deport the freed slaves. There was no divine transformation; …

        • Ken B says:

          1 cite a credible source. I doubt anything with claims phrased that way. If you cite this guy cite his citations of the letters. I accord him slightly more credence and respect than David Duke. Slightly.
          2 as for the letters lets assume diL is right. He may well be as Lincoln was serious about resttlement. So what? Resettlement was openly discussed for decades in re ending slavery, and by blacks too. Lots of abolitionists supported it. In fact, and this should be obvious even to diL mass resettlement only makes sense in the context of ending slavery. You only deport ex slaves. This bolsters my case not yours.

          You keep changing the subject answering points about slavery with “yeah but being forced to stay in a union and respect the bill of rights is WORSE!!!”

          • Richie says:

            Why is DiLorenzo uncredible? Is he lying? Prove that he’s not credible.

            • Ken B says:

              Well we could start with his charge in the linked article that MacPherson made stuff up about Lincoln. Or we could simply look at his reliance on non sequiturs, innuendo, and his readers’ ignorance in the rest of it.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Doesn’t it suck when your desired world, the world you want, the world you think is just, ends up being a world that goes directly against all that?

                I agree with you that we should vehemently attack the messenger on this one.

          • guest says:

            You keep changing the subject answering points about slavery with “yeah but being forced to stay in a union and respect the bill of rights is WORSE!!!”

            The Bill of Rights was a guard against states losing their rights, not a means to centralize government. It asserts the compact theory.

            Also, I didn’t say that being forced to stay in a Union was worse than slavery at the time; I said that being so forced was ALSO slavery.

            Besides, the Union keeps blacks from prosperity by trying to help them, and while doing things it’s not even authorized to do:

            Race and Economics
            http://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/08/walter-e-williams/race-and-economics/

            During the 1930s, there were a number of federal government interventions that changed the black employment picture. The first was the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which mandated minimum wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects. During the bill’s legislative debate, the racial objectives were clear. Rep. John Cochran, D-Mo., said he had “received numerous complaints … about Southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics getting work and bringing the employees from the South.”

            The DiLorenzo quote was meant to show that he was unmotivated by the slavery issue when he invaded the South. You said his aims had changed.

            Citations:

            Thaddeus Stevens and Colonization
            http://philmagness.com/?page_id=470

            Lincoln to Bates, 9/9/1864
            http://philmagness.com/?page_id=48

            • Ken B says:

              The Bill of Rights was to protect the rights of state legislatures, and based on a theory Madison rejected?

              Here’s a tip. When your go to argument is a moral equivalence between following the constitution and black chattel slavery, you’ve lost. When your fallback is that the bill of rights is to protect governments not persons …

              • guest says:

                When your go to argument is a moral equivalence between following the constitution and black chattel slavery, you’ve lost.

                Degrees of slavery is not what I’m arguing. All slavery is bad, including being forced to stay in the Union against your will.

                The Bill of Rights is a compact between the several states, and you’re right that individuals are not in view (primarily).

                (This is also why, strictly speaking, the 2nd Amendment applies only to the state militias formed by the state governments.)

                But if the concept of compact and delegated authority applies at the national level, it also, for the same reason, applies at the state level: the individuals who created the states are the sovereigns.

                Besides:

                The Federalist No. 28
                http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa28.htm

                If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair. The usurpers, clothed with the forms of legal authority, can too often crush the opposition in embryo. The smaller the extent of the territory, the more difficult will it be for the people to form a regular or systematic plan of opposition, and the more easy will it be to defeat their early efforts. Intelligence can be more speedily obtained of their preparations and movements, and the military force in the possession of the usurpers can be more rapidly directed against the part where the opposition has begun. In this situation there must be a peculiar coincidence of circumstances to insure success to the popular resistance.

              • Ken B says:

                The Federalist you quote undercuts your position, for it posits that sovereignty resides with and flows from the people not the state governments, but it is the latter which underlies your compact notion. If the Federalist is right the compact theory is wrong.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                State government are “closer” to the will of sovereign people, or individuals, than centralized states.

                So your argument undercuts your own antagonism against guest’s main point, which you continue to tiptoe around.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                In the US, that is.

              • guest says:

                If the Federalist is right the compact theory is wrong.

                Individuals created the states, and the states created the compact between them (as states).

                How is that incompatible with the compact theory?

              • Ken B says:

                Because guest the Federalist you quoted says the people directly not the states dunnit. It flatly contradicts the compact idea.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                While the idea of individual sovereignty does undercut the idea of state level compacts, it undercuts them much less than federalist compacts.

                If you accept individual sovereignty as a valid anough idea to serve as a framework for ethical action, then you can’t put yourself in a position of “siding” with federal level power during disputes between the feds and a particular state. You can’t have it both ways, just so you know.

              • guest says:

                Because guest the Federalist you quoted says the people directly not the states dunnit. It flatly contradicts the compact idea.

                The people in one state can’t decide something for the people in another state.

                A compact between the states would have to be done at the state level.

                (And yeah, as MF alludes, I am ignoring the fact that a state can’t compel individuals to be a party to a compact between states.

                (If the NAP was followed, the states would likely not be anywhere near as large as they are, and a compact between states would be logistically impossible, seeing that any individual has the freedom to leave the Union, retaining his private property.)

              • Ken B says:

                guest: “The people in one state can’t decide something for the people in another state.”

                Actually they can. We have two states, California and Rhode Island. The Californians want a peace treaty with Canada. They have votes in the house, and with the Veep can break a tie in the 4 member senate.
                And of course more generally in any majoritarian system, the people in some states can and do decide for those in the rest. You may not like it is all.

  3. Ken B says:

    Tom cheats on his wife and gets caught. She files for divorce and it is granted.
    Do we say Tom’s divorce was caused by the cheating? Not if we read Lewrockwell.com; then we know the divorce was caused by the wife’s filing. The cheating had nothing to do with it!

    • Richie says:

      Then Tom should be allowed to murder his wife, no?

      • Ken B says:

        Now lets leave religion out of this.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          And, you know, Union level governments.

  4. Daniel Kuehn says:

    1. When I’m talking to the guy that has ethical problems with a public program to prevent the annihilation of the human species, and the subject is ethics, I feel pretty good clarifying “it probably doesn’t mean what it sounds like to you. If people get a laugh out of it that’s just icing on the cake :)

    2. I’ve registered for the IER event – should be able to make it. If I do I’ll definitely make sure to raise the issue of the impact of climate change on the bonobo population in the Q&A. I feel like I owe Ken B that much at least.

  5. Ken B says:

    A word on the ” compact” theory, lest guest lead anyone astray. This is the contra factual claim that the federal government was form only as a treaty between states, which delegated but reserved their sovereignty in so doing. It requires that the founders not have believed what they said, that sovereignty flows from the people and that the federal govt was a real government. The earliest versions of this notion that I know of date from 1798, in resolutions drafted by Madison and Jefferson, inter Alia. These were later elaborated by Calhoun and others, reaching conclusion explicitly rejected by Madison. That the theory post dates the ratification debates should suggest to you that it is ahistorical and wrong. A reading of a few Federalist papers will too.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      “It requires that the founders not have believed what they said”

      That’s false. As DiLorenzo has shown, there are many statements on record that reinforce the argument that the articles of confederation and the constitution were contracts whereby sovereignty was reserved to the states, not the feds.

      You’re the one leading people astray.

      • Ken B says:

        Hilarious MF. What are the first words of the constitution, ” We the States”?

        • Major_Freedom says:

          It’s comments like that which basically prove to me you’re misinformed.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          There are no enumerated powers granted to the Feds to allow them to stop nullification, for example, and so that, along with many other pieces of the puzzle, serve as premises for the “compact” argument.

          Pundits such as yourself would have everyone believe that the states would have ratified a Constitution with a Supremacy Clause that basically said:

          “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof…plus any additional laws we may choose to pass depending on how we’re feeling that day, whether constitutional or not constitutional…shall be the supreme law of the land.”

          Hamilton noted “…the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding.”

          In other words, should Congress pass unconstitutional laws, the power is regarded as held with the states to nullify, i.e. go against, i.e. exercise their constitutional authority, and overrule the feds. Overruling the Feds is another way of saying ultimate power resides external to the federal government.

      • Ken B says:

        Note MF’s trickery here. One criticism aimed at the Articles by federalists at the time was PRECISELY that it was a compact and that that needed to change. This was Hamilton’s position. So conflating remarks about the articles being a compact to apply to the 1787 thing, is trickery. Either his or diLorenzo’s, I know not which.

      • Dan says:

        I’m not sure why anyone wastes their time discussing these issues with the perpetually misinformed Ken B. He can’t even accurately state what the compact theory means.

        Besides, Tom Woods has already blown up this same nonsense argument from people like Dean Clancy. http://www.tomwoods.com/blog/shock-establishment-outlet-opposes-nullification/

        • Bob Murphy says:

          But when Ken B. made fun of religion, that didn’t give you pause Dan?

          • Dan says:

            I might be missing a joke you’re trying to make, but I don’t agree with Ken B. on religion. I think he does the same thing in those discussions. in fact, I start from the premise that if Ken is criticizing some particular view, he is very likely not even accurately stating the views of his opponent.

            • Bob Murphy says:

              Yeah I’m making a joke. I couldn’t believe that when someone took Ken B. divorce analogy at face value and asked if one could murder his wife, that Ken just said “let’s not bring religion into it” rather than admitting he’d been backed into a corner.

              • Dan says:

                Ahh, yeah I saw that the other day. I guess it didn’t surprise me because that’s the type of response I’ve come to expect from him.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Yeah, that was “surprising.”

                At least he didn’t respond to being backed into a corner by calling for and supporting the act of armed military armies taking control of civilian towns and threatening to shoot anyone who dares wanting to leave a contract signed by dead people hundreds of years ago.

              • Bob Roddis says:
              • Ken B says:

                What corner? The objection was a non-sequitur which I spun into a joke. There IS a popular religion where that penalty is routinely applied you know.

                My anology is spot on to the point I made: confusing the occassion for something with the cause. WWI really was not *caused* by the death of an archduke.

                Secession was the occassion, slavery was the cause. We have people here who cite secession the way my hypothetical Tom would cite the petition.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Except you can’t argue slavery was “the” cause, at least not the cause for all the state legislatures, and definitely not for all the civilians in the southern states, who wanted to secede for other reasons, such as not wanting to kowtow to the North’s demands for taxes, tariffs, economic sanctions, regulations, etc.

  6. Ken B says:

    Speaking of DiLorenzo he asks
    “Why was the United States the only nation in the world to fight a war to end slavery?”

    Haiti?

  7. Ingrid N. Cardenas says:

    With nearly 150 million inhabitants on a landmass of 147,570 square kilometers, Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries in the world. Sustained growth in recent years has generated higher demand for electricity, transport, and telecommunication services, and contributed to widening infrastructure deficits. While the population growth rate has declined, the labor force is growing rapidly. This can be turned into a significant demographic dividend in the coming years, if more and better jobs can be created for the growing number of job-seekers. Moreover, improving labor force participation and productivity will help to release the potential of the economy. Exploiting the potential of regional cooperation and making trade policy more conducive to a deepening and diversification of exports will also play a vital role in the growth process.

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