29 Apr 2014


Potpourri 15 Comments

==> Tom Woods interviews Jordan Page, a musician who made a name for himself among liberty fans by opening for a lot of Ron Paul’s appearances.

==> I really liked this Stefan Molyneux video on heroism. (Thanks to a Molyneux fan who didn’t like my video on “Rio 2.”) I don’t think I agree with it, but it’s a fascinating conspiracy theory.

==> Regarding Catalan’s claims about Krugman vs. Rothbard, I’m trying to find any Austrian recognition of the fact that you can get specialization just relying on economies of scale. I ask because I am pretty sure we criticized the statements of Mises and Rothbard on this point back in the early 2000s at the Rothbard Graduate Seminar (when I was a student); Block et al. published the idea here. (I’m not saying the two episodes were related.) Does anyone know if any Austrian alluded to the concept, before Krugman wrote it up formally?

==> Here’s an IER post I did on the Massachusetts gubernatorial race, where the Democrats are all vying for carbon tax street cred.

==> Richard Ebeling on the lower cost of a truly limited government.

15 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. guest says:

    I don’t think I agree with it, but it’s a fascinating conspiracy theory.

    Remember that movie, “Hero”, with Jet Li?: Collectivist propaganda; With appropriately useless fight scenes.

    The Hero – who proves that he could have killed the Emporer – allows himself to be made an example of – killed – so that the Emporor can unite the lands without people questioning his authority; Because centralizing authority is the only way to keep people from killing each other. It’s for the greater good, you know.

    • Andrew' says:

      Reminiscent of Billy Budd.

  2. andrew' says:

    Why would I read any of Krugman’s papers? I have. But has he read anything about metastasis?

    Did Rothbard want to be an academic trendiest? To continue with my analogy there is more grant money in making no progress on heart disease than the virtually zero funding for anti aging.

  3. Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    Regarding that last one, heck, even asking for private individual accounts for social security is basically a pipe dream at this point. Eliminating all federal entitlement programs is about as realistic as proposing we can reduce carbon emissions by replacing all cars with flying unicorns.

    • andrew' says:

      Right, because the pooping rainbows would be considered geoengineering.

  4. Major_Freedom says:

    I don’t think Molyneux is saying all these movies and stories are designed by “them” with the purpose of mentally and therefore physically enslaving you, I think he is just suggesting that that is their effective practical effect, irrespective of their purpose.

    Along these lines, I think these fantastic, mythological movies and stories are attractive to those who are already predisposed to mental enslavement. I don’t think the stories can “make” you a slave, (which may very well be what Molyneux is thinking), because if they make you a slave, then does Molyneux think he is immune and can “see” through them? If so, then the stories can “make” you a mental slave. They can only reinforce existing self-slave mentality. If not, then so can everyone else. I think he made this video because he thinks everyone can see through them for what their effects are, practically speaking. “Don’t be a slave, be a hero in your real life.” Or, perhaps more crass, “Get your ass off the couch/chair and do somethihg with your life.”

    Personally, I think realistic stories of heroes are healthy because they show people who might not know how to be a hero, to be a hero.

    I think all the mythology and fantasy hero stories are more symptoms of people’s beliefs. Those movies make a lot of money because that is what people demand. They demand it because they want fantasy. Perhaps this is a worrisome sign about society. The ancient societies loved stories of Gods and Monsters, it is almost all there was, well, that and stories of heroism in battle and wars under a flag or King. Those societies did not last.

    Compare that to the hero stories of the enlightenment and early industrial revolution. More realistic, aren’t they? Then along came socialism, and we’re back into fantasy and myth.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Typo: meant to say “If so, then the stories CANNOT make you a mental slave…”

      • Matt M (-Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

        Agree with this sentiment BTW. Reminds me of the lefties who constantly screech about how advertising brainwashes people and we’re all mindless zombies who will buy whatever corporations tell us to buy.

        Well, not THEM of course. Just the idiots out there. THEY are too smart to fall for such base trickery. I don’t have time to watch the video now, but that level of elitism has always bothered me, so I hope Molyneux isn’t engaging in it…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I”m curious how economies of scale alone can explain specialization without reference to costs. It seems if you bring costs into the picture, you get comparative advantage. Of course, Krugman is working within a flawed paradigm of utility functions, perfect competition, etc, so what comes out of that paradigm has to be taken with heaps of salt by us Austrians. It’s a case of GIGO, in short.

    Also, economies of scale relies on the idea of “fixed costs” which Rothbard criticized in MES.

  6. Anonyblogger says:

    Did Richard Ebeling hop back on the wagon at some point and stop being a “hermeneutician”?

    Rothbard accused him of such here: http://mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae3_1_3.pdf pg. 57, last paragraph

    This version of the article was reprinted in Rothbard’s “Economic Controversies”, and yet it seems to have been whitewashed/down the memory hole on the Mises Daily Article version, see absent conclusion here: https://mises.org/daily/2337

    I was reading the EC version recently and saw the swipe at Ebeling and I thought, “That’s weird, I thought the rabid Rothbardian Robert Wenzel was always posting commentary from Ebeling, but here Rothbard accuses him of methodological heresy…”

    And now here is Bob linking up to Ebeling and it just gets curiouser and curiouser as I went digging for the hermeneutician flamestrike and see the precision editing…

    Is there a story there? I’d love to read the “Why I’m Not A Hermeneutician (Any Longer)” come-to-Jesus piece if it exists. Maybe Bryan Caplan will write one of his own one day.

  7. Mule Rider says:

    Thoughts on the latest Krugman hypocrisy, Dr. Murphy, where he calls out Chris Christie (let me first make it clear I am not a fan of Christie’s either)?


    The Other Christie Scandal

    key excerpts:

    “Now Vox tells us that the critics were in fact completely right, and that Christie’s budget projections were absolutely as unrealistic as they said.

    Can we say that someone who tries to browbeat anyone daring to question rosy scenarios is someone who should never, ever be allowed near higher office?”

    Has it not dawned on Krugtron the Invincible that we’ve gotten PRECISELY this same reaction (i.e. browbeating) from the feds – from Bush officials back in 2007-08 and Obama officials since 2009 – as their “rosy scenarios” have failed to pan out time and time again? Why single out Chris Christie for this when it’s being done on a much grander scale by the US government and related officials?

    • Mule Rider says:

      I draw attention to this because perhaps you can better elucidate us on the relative “wrongness” of the NJ budget outlook from Team Christie versus what we’ve heard from Obama/Bush and their acolytes the past 6-7 years. What might be less clear (and ultimately very subjective) is the level of “browbeating” from Christie and those who questioned him and the pushback against all “the haters” of Bush and Obama. I’m sure Krugman would find a creative way of explaining away any Obama/Biden/Axelrod/Carney/etc. arrogant dismissiveness (even after they were ultimately proven wrong) as just necessary pushback against the “insane rhetoric and incoherent babbling of the extreme right-wing.”

  8. Matt M (-Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    When it comes to leakage, the pro-tax people will simply hide behind “setting an example” or “doing our part” or some other feel-good catch-phrase. After all, the same concept applies to virtually any government policy. if the feds raise the minimum wage, companies will have greater motivation to outsource to mexico, india, etc. But the progressives don’t care about that. They care about making themselves feel good.

  9. Peter Klein says:

    Block “et al.”?!

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