30 Apr 2013


Economics, Potpourri, Rothbard, Shameless Self-Promotion 28 Comments

==> My thoughts on Earth Day.

==> In the context of the standard debates, I would be classified as an “open borders” kind of guy, but I think that is a terrible label. Somebody should ask Bryan Caplan why they don’t call it “freedom of migration” or “no CheckPoint Charlies” or something. “Open borders” sounds like you’re putting a bullseye on your crotch.

==> In this single post, Roderick Long has anticipated everything that will ever be said (in English) about the Nonaggression Principle.

==> Come on.

==> For those who know Nelson Nash (founder of the “Infinite Banking Concept”), check out this interview he gave in June 1961 when the government was trying to take over the timber industry. (Nash was originally a forester before going into life insurance.) The article has “federal takeover” in the title.

==> This is pretty funny about the King of Sweden (naughty word).

==> This is possibly the worst argument against anarcho-capitalism I have ever read, except maybe the time an outbreak of food poisoning at Jack in the Box a few years ago proved that we needed a federal food inspection agency to keep food safe, since otherwise there would be outbreaks of food poisoning in a laissez-faire world.

ADDED:==> Here’s a defense of anarcho-capitalism.

==> Mosler vs. Murphy: It’s ON, and will be LIVE at Columbia University on June 3. CNBC’s John Carney will moderate.

==> The caustic von Pepe sends this harsh Selgin comment. Yikes!

==> Haven’t read it yet–econometrics is boring, Barbie–but this paper has arguably made Daniel Kuehn more famous than me. And you guys wondered why I linked to him so much. (Daniel, if this Austrian thing fizzles, please keep me in mind for unwinding the Maiden Lane portfolios.)

28 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Randy Jackson says:

    how could you forget this crushing blow to arachno capitalism??


  2. Ken P says:

    I didn’t read the whole Kuehn article, but will. I assumed, I would see the classic “we have a shortage of trained workers”, conclusion which really means “the supply of workers does not meet demand at the price employers are willing to pay.” The media is full of those stories, with interviews of employers and community colleges wanting the government to subsidize employee training. But instead the article has this statement:

    “The flow of U.S. students (citizens and permanent residents) into STEM fields has been strong over the past decade, and the number of U.S. graduates with STEM majors appears to be responsive to changes in employment levels and wages.”

    Imagine that. Wages influence degree decisions.

    I’m guessing this research supports those opposed to increasing the number of STEM immigrants. I’m pro “freedom of migration”, but I also recognize that the companies lobbying to bring in these immigrants also likely lobby to keep competing goods out. I will withhold judgement til I read the paper, but I’m guessing I will be in favor of more freedom to work even if they will be competing for my job (STEM).

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      Although some reporting on it has wandered into policy recommendations (and the VP of EPI has as well) we don’t make a firm policy statement, in part because the authors disagree on what policy follows from this 🙂

      What’s clear is you can’t make your policy judgement based on the idea that STEM workers don’t respond to market signals.

      • Bob Murphy says:

        Don’t pander to the nativists Daniel!!!!

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          …says the guy who thinks I’m too hard on Ron Paul


        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          I’ve been pleasantly surprised that most of the coverage has been on “the shortage myth” rather than “they took our jerbs!!!”. Anyway, even if it was the other way around it seems like a bad reason to refrain from reporting that that the (partial equilibrium, micro) labor demand curve is downward sloping.

          • Ken P says:

            The STEM shortage myth is most often used to make the case for policies to increase STEM graduates.

            The tech worker shortage myth is most often used to support govt subsidized worker training. I went to the website of one company complaining. They had job postings for workers who have a good understanding kf calculus and experience with CAD design of machined parts with a starting salary of $12 an hour. Yes, expect a shortage at that wage level.

            • Daniel Kuehn says:

              The prior study by my co-authors (which I was a research assistant for, but not an author) in 2007 made exactly this point and was focused on education rather than immigration.

              Part of why this report got so much press was because Hal had a ten page list of media contacts from that last report (which he was more surprised got the coverage that it did).

  3. Ken P says:

    ” how would these killers have been identified and apprehended? By individual citizens investigating and prowling around on their own?”

    Isn’t that what happened? Martial law was lifted and someone said “Look there’s some bloody guy in my boat!”

    • Ken B says:

      Bit of both. He was found that way, but rounded up by cops.

      A pretty clear case of epic fail for the lockdown though.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        re: “A pretty clear case of epic fail for the lockdown though.”

        I don’t understand why people keep saying this with such assurance.

        Doesn’t it stand to reason that without the lockdown by that evening he might have been in a building in NYC instead of cowering in a boat in Watertown?

        I’ll note in this venue – because I’m not sure I have noted in this venue – that the lockdown of the whole city was certainly overkill, but the idea that it was a bad idea as a strategy seems far from obvious to me (as does the idea that it was unconstitutional).

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        Again – the human species’s inability to think relative to counterfactuals leads to some odd conclusions.

        • Ken P says:

          NYC is a bit far fetched for his condition. Of course different wounds or another situation, who knows.

          My view is that counterfactuals are primarily useful for developing alternative models, but not something to hang your hat on. I am well aware of the complexity that comes about by changing even a single antecedent.

  4. Major_Freedom says:

    I think I just became a eudaimonist.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Better than an egoist.

      • K.P. says:

        Bah! It’s not nearly as fun.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Eudaimonism takes egoism into account when balancing virtues.

    • Chris P says:

      On this topic…Zwolinkski says he’s going after anarchism next.

      “Having argued against the Non-Aggression Principle as the sole and absolute principle of justice, my next trick is to argue against anarchism as a normative political ideal. Coming to Liberty Fund’s “Liberty Matters” website, May 2013. #ThingsThatAreOnlyControversialAmongAVeryLimitedCircleOfPeople”

      And he has quite a few fan boys.

    • RPLong says:

      Welcome to the club. I’ve been a fan of virtue ethics ever since Landsburg’s “The Big Questions” left me uneasy with consequentialism and I decided to find a suitable alternative.

  5. John S says:

    Good luck in the debate! (Just please don’t condemn fractional reserve banking 🙂

    This should be an epic event. Mosler himself, and in NYC no less! Next stop: Krugman?

    Let’s hope so!

  6. Matt M says:

    Last week I had someone argue that anarcho-capitalism is bad because without government-issued drivers licenses, Stevie Wonder would be driving around Manhattan murdering pedestrians and we would all be powerless to stop him.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      If anarcho-capitalism would lead to Stevie Wonder driving around Manhattan, I think that’s a point in Rothbard’s favor.

  7. Doug says:

    Open borders – useless without secession and property rights.


  8. Silas Barta says:

    Re the “come on” link: I wonder if the left will treat the main paper supporting that conclusion the same way they treat RR’s paper on austerity.

    (The “come on” link says that a few weirdo representatives are claiming that global warming will disproportionately affect women and make them turn to prostitution, and thereby spread STDs, presumably because that’s the thesis of some hot-shot paper that got published.)

  9. Bob Roddis says:

    Several House Democrats are calling on Congress to recognize that climate change is hurting women more than men, and could even drive poor women to “transactional sex” for survival. *****

    “[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health,” it says.

    Since Keynesianism causes poverty, austerity and thus “food insecurity”, I guess it also causes sex work, transactional sex, HIV and STIs.

  10. Shawn Gregory says:

    Thanks for including my defense of anarcho-capitalism, Bob!

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