Yesterday I got a box of 10 copies of my new book. Longtime readers know that I am nothing if not modest, but I have to say that this book is sweet. In all seriousness, it used to terrify me when people suggested I give a talk at a bookstore for my first PIG book, since I couldn’t imagine passersby getting drawn in by my discussion of cartels.
However, when it comes to cartels created by the New Deal, now you’re talking. I can truthfully say that there is some powerful stuff in this new book that is sadly lacking from the current political buzz.
Here’s the deal: In order to maximize the chance of getting onto bestseller lists, the publisher wants to hold fire until launch day (April 20). But, it also helps if–when people hear me on the radio and check out Amazon–they see a bunch of favorable reviews from people who have clearly read the book.
So, for any of you who were planning on buying it from Amazon, it’s probably most strategic if you pre-order the book and get it as soon as possible, and then write a favorable review on Amazon. (If you hate the book, just remember what your mom said about not having anything nice to say.)
But to be clear, don’t buy 15 copies for your liberal relatives just yet. The mass buying should be postponed until the week of April 20.
Good luck, comrades. May the force be with us.
Since I’m speculating on motives, let’s turn to the Fed chairman. Let’s drop the super conspiracy theory and assume for the sake of argument that Bernanke really does call the shots. (In reality, I think it is entirely possible that Bernanke knows he can’t do such-and-such or else he might accidentally take too many sleeping pills.)
Now we know that presidents have always tried to expand the power of the Executive Branch. It’s no “conspiracy theory” to say that, it is simple Public Choice economic analysis.
OK so you run the Federal Reserve, and here you have this prime opportunity to write checks for trillions of dollars while the CPI actually falls. (!!!) You’ve got a pretty good gig going, because no political leader can really challenge you, since a vote of no confidence in the Fed chairman would literally ruin the world economy.
So your one worry is that you won’t be reappointed when your present term expires (in 2010). What do you do? Why, I think getting the biggest corporations in the world–not to mention other central banks–utterly dependent on your handouts is a pretty shrewd move. If Obama starts floating trial balloons about canning you, you can float trial balloons about “preventing inflation expectations from becoming unmoored” which would require you to raise interest rates to 30%. I think the president might back off after Goldman Sachs or the British government called him up and had a little chat.
Kids kids kids. Many of you doubt my conviction that Barack Obama will be re-elected. But don’t you realize that that is what preoccupies him and all his advisors every day?
All of these moves are not out of some devotion to Karl Marx, they are instead expertly calculated to deliver the Democrats campaign contributions and votes in upcoming elections. Do you think major corporations are going to donate vigorously to only Republicans when the Obama Administration can declare them a “systemic risk” and nationalize them?
What about the labor unions in Detroit? You think a bunch of their members are going to rally for Newt Gingrich to make another go of it?
The elusive von Pepe emails me with his theory that the ultimate reason was to keep GM out of Chapter 11, where a court might overturn union contracts.
Take a guess before looking. Thanks to Tim Swanson who is smarter than most of us because he moved to China.
For those atheist readers on the verge of abandoning this blog, I humbly offer this response to Krugman’s critique of the “hangover theory” of recessions. An excerpt:
In the present article, I will set the record straight. Krugman’s theoretical criticism of (what he dismissively calls) the “hangover theory” of recessions is silly, and his empirical test is also a poor one. Once we set up a more appropriate test, the “hangover” theory — i.e., the Mises-Hayek explanation — passes with flying colors.
This is a standard arrow in the atheist’s quiver. I’m not saying it is the only or the preferred arrow, but nonetheless I think many, possibly most, atheists think it is a perfectly valid illustration of just how preposterous the very concept of God is, at least the “God” that Western people know.
First, it’s odd that we have such a flippant wisecrack as one of the standard arguments lodged against God’s existence. It’s a fairly weighty issue, so it’s odd that people are eager to settle it with one-liners.
Second, it doesn’t even work. The question is, “Can God make a rock so heavy He can’t lift it?” My answer: Yes He can–He’s God and can do anything–but He chooses not to.
People think this leads to paradox, but no it doesn’t. If I had answered “No God can’t make that rock” then I would be contradicting myself. Phew, I’m glad that wasn’t my answer! I just dodged a landmine! *wipes brow*
OK but now back to Door #1. I said that God can in fact make a rock that He Himself can’t lift. But does that pose a threat to my worldview?
No, not really. It’s no more threatening than if I “concede” that God has the power to end His existence. If God chose to create that special rock, at the moment of its creation he would cease to be God. But He chooses instead to retain his omnipotence, and avoids the mistake of Clark in Superman II.
So in conclusion, I don’t see why the question, “Can God make a rock so heavy He himself can’t lift it?” is so popular. It is no more profound than asking, “Well could your God kill Himself?”
One of the trickiest issues for a Christian is the Mosaic Law. Jesus claimed that He was the fulfillment of the Law, and yet in many respects He clearly overturned it.
One of the most fascinating passages in all of Scripture occurs in Mt 19: 3-9:
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
More generally, we have to deal with one of the biggest problems, namely the fact that God ordered the Israelites to kill babies. That’s…kind of a big deal.
As a former college professor, I grapple with these things with an analogy to testing students at different levels. With the freshman Business majors who are taking Intro to Micro, sometimes the multiple choice questions or even the short essays were a little off. That is, I had to dumb the issues down in order to test the students, and thus what they were forced to parrot back on the test (if they wanted a good grade) wasn’t quite right.
But if a student majored in economics and took my seminar as a senior, or even better did an independent study and wrote a paper with me as the guide, then obviously we got a lot more nuanced and could see why the kiddie stuff they learned in Intro wasn’t actually correct.
(Note that this isn’t just about Economics. I’ve even had math professors tell me the same thing, that they literally teach “bad math” to freshmen in Calc I or whatever because it’s not worth going into the real subtleties of certain things.)
It’s just an analogy, of course, but I think it serves a purpose in illustrating why God may have ordered the Israelites to do things that modern Christians would consider immoral. In a nutshell, look at what He had to work with!
And just as with my freshmen students, it’s still true that an incomplete instruction is better than none at all. In other words, even though I knew that some of the concepts and techniques were a little off, it was still better to show the students that than to show them nothing, and it was also better than trying to dive into Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk on Day One.
So by the same token, even though Jesus seems to be conceding that the Mosaic Law was flawed, He presumably also knew that God was right to promulgate it.
And while we’re here, a Big Picture thought: In the very beginning, Adam and Eve had total freedom. They abused it.
Then God allowed the humans to run rampant with no intervention on His part. They messed things up so bad, that He destroyed the world and started over with Noah’s family.
Then things got bad again and God intervened and guided the Israelites by the hand, like the little children they were.
Now the atheist says, “Ha ha, if God is so smart why did He have to reboot?! What a dumb story.”
But I think part of the Christian answer may be, “God wanted it to be perfectly clear that we needed Divine Intervention. So He let things run their natural course right off the bat, before finally He had to stop it. We can’t even imagine how awful people must have been back then. In fact, there were probably many non-believers the week before it started raining who said, ‘If there were a God, He would surely destroy the earth because there is so much wickedness.’ Yup.”