28 Dec 2016


Potpourri, Shameless Self-Promotion 33 Comments

==> My latest IER post provides your Krugman fix while you wait for another podcast episode… An excerpt:

As the four figures indicate, according to various metrics air quality in the United States had been improving well before the creation of the EPA and passage of the Clean Air Act. We have no reason to attribute the gains in air quality since 1970 exclusively to federal intervention, and Krugman is wrong to claim that a rollback of federal regulations would return us to the air quality prevailing in 1970.

Notice that Krugman is trying to have it both ways. Although room didn’t permit me to quote it, Krugman brought up global climate change as an area where (of course) he thought a Trump/Pruitt policy would be disastrous. But then he pivoted to focus on local issues of air quality, arguing that Americans would directly experience how bad a laissez-faire world would be.

Yet as I’ve just shown, this makes no sense. If the people in LA or Pittsburgh are happy with the current level of government intervention when it comes to air quality, they can mimic current federal standards at the state and/or local level. This would solve most of the issue, except possibly for people in one state living next to factories located in another state with looser standards. Yet Krugman wasn’t making such a sophisticated, secondary argument; he was writing as if we either had the EPA or complete “anarchy” in air quality.

There is a huge benefit of leaving local conditions up to local jurisdictions: experimentation and choice. Perhaps some Americans would rather have slightly lower air standards in exchange for higher rates of wage growth. Under the current system, they don’t have this option; Washington imposes a one-size-fits-all standard.

==> Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

==> I am “sampled” in this ditty.

==> This is a classic SlateStarCodex post from two years ago, explaining why special interest groups seem to inexplicably pick really weak illustrations of their principles. (E.g. feminists going to the barricades over a dubious rape allegation, rather than holding up obvious victims whom no one would doubt.) I’d seen people referring to it, but I only recently read it. Just give it a chance and see if it grabs you. But you need to have a good 10 minutes to read the thing.

==> Russ Roberts’ interview with Thomas Leonard was really eye-opening. I vaguely knew that the early Progressives were racists and even into eugenics, but I learned some things from this.

==> Nick Rowe has an interesting (though somewhat obscure) discussion on modeling money. The interesting thing for non-economists (I gather) is that many leading models don’t even have money IN them.

33 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Andrew_FL says:

    As Nick well points out, if modern NK models are not implicitly models of monetary exchange economies, they are logically incoherent.

    • Andrew_FL says:

      Professor Robert Murphy. Blogger/Economist , searching for a way to tap into secrets of the science of human action. Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation interacts with his unique body chemistry. And now, when Bob Murphy grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs. The economist is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter.

      • Bob Murphy says:

        Nice Andrew. I thought at the end you were going to say that I’m driven by rage and pursue a NYT reporter.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      That was awesome.

  2. Darien says:

    I assume you’re going to start a new cooperative podcast with Lou Ferrigno now. “Contra Dr. Doom,” perhaps.

  3. Bob Roddis says:

    The “classic SlateStarCodex post” suggests that people would rather fight and scream than solve problems and/or just walk away.

    The reaction I get when I propose block-by-block covenant communities is usually hysterics and name calling. One neighborhood could have tranny bathrooms. The next neighborhood could have pious evangelicals.

    The horror.

    But isn’t that precisely what people claim they want? Or is what they claim they want just a ruse to beat the other guy over the head for not doing things “my way”?

  4. Aisling says:

    Writing a proper response to your “Did the Federal Government Give Americans Clean Air?” article will take some time, but I’d like to state sooner rather than later that Krugman is either a faux environmentalist or an extremely incompetent environmentalist. I have no way of knowing which, and though I could guess, I couldn’t prove it, but what I can say is that the message he is sending fails to resonate with the heart of any serious environmentalist who has actually been paying attention to what’s been happening in the US anytime within the past 11 years (at least).

    If you are serious about being an anti-environmentalist or pro-industrialist or whatever label resonates best with you, then you should pick a fight with a real environmentalist sometime.

    • guest says:

      The Earth is an inanimate object, so it doesn’t care what you do to it.

      The claim that #AnimalLivesMatter is a religious claim in that an appeal to a higher authority must be made in order to make the claim – as is the claim that human lives are more important than animals. I mention it to say that this particular debate won’t be settled by appeals to science, but rather to religion.

      If we’re talking about environmentalism for the sake of other humans’ lives, that requires the claim that other humans are entitled to resources they wouldn’t otherwise have access to if they had to use their own bare hands.

      That means that environmentalism is just another way of saying socialism.

      Someone finds the means to make mining more productive, and can make more things as a result, and somehow this means that the guy who can only cut down trees with broken rocks is entitled to the miner’s resources.

      That makes no sense.

      • Aisling says:

        If you had clicked on the link I left to my blog (Aisling is highlighted, if you care to do this now), you might’ve had an easier time figuring out what to pick a fight over. Not that I don’t appreciate the effort. It’s the thought that counts, I guess.

        You got closest with “the sake of other humans’ lives”.

        Tell me, do you consider farmers to be part of the “capitalist” constituency (for some definition of capitalism)? (And am I correct in presuming you self-identify as a capitalist?)

        If so, please consider watching Lee Camp’s interview with Cyndy Coppola, the first 16 minutes of this video:

        And if you would like to let us know what you make of that, that would be great.

        • guest says:

          This is before watching the video.

          Yes, I believe farmers to be capitalists, both in the sense that they own capital (shovels, etc.) and in the sense that being a laborer does not preclude one from holding capitalism to be the best system.

          If it helps, I also hold that real capitalism precludes cronyism.

          Ok, I’m going to watch the video.

          • guest says:

            Ok, I watched the first 16 minutes, and here are my thoughts.

            I’ve always opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline on the grounds that it infringes on private property rights.

            But this Iowa lady opposes it for all the wrong reasons.

            The corporate structure can exist without government assistance, so this incident doesn’t provide adequate reason to oppose corporations: That this lady would be forced to buy bonds if she made the pipeline go around her is a problem of government intervention, not the corporate structure.

            (In fact, that’s the same reason capitalists oppose Obamacare. Forcing people to buy bonds/insurance is wrong whether it’s on behalf of corporations or the poor.)

            Regarding the Sioux (sp?), to the extent that the land isn’t privately owned, they have no right to prevent people from homesteading it.

            If individual Sioux members want to claim that pieces of land are privately owned, then those individuals have a right to prevent the pipeline from going through their property.

            And finally, the lady says “I’ll believe a corporation is a person when they execute one”.

            I also believe that the corporation is not a person, but is nevertheless can be a legitimate business structure based on contracts between each (I emphasize “each”, not to be confused with “all”) individual in the structure.

            Corporations ought not to be held liable for crimes because only individuals can commit crimes.

            And the Iowa lady’s clever remark about corporations is actually internally inconsistent.

            What she’s saying is that corporations are NOT people, but they should be executed – but only living beings can be executed.

            • Aisling says:

              When I asked if you thought farmers were capitalism’s constituency, I was mostly wondering if you believed capitalism was meant to appeal to, represent, and/or stand for farmers.

              Wrong reasons? You don’t think having “rare, wonderful soil” (~3:52) and “trying to be a good steward of the land” (~6:42) are good reasons for not wanting a pipeline crossing her property? And if you are all about “private ownership”, and assuming you do not reject her claim of ownership, is there any particular reason you are judging her reasons?

              Corporations can exist without government assistance? Really? I haven’t seen any corporations that exist entirely in the shadow economy. Sure, many participate, but at least part of their business is out of the shadows in that case. Being entirely in the shadows is different. The closest I’ve seen are groups (often nomadic) who travel and/or live together for protection and the occasional gang that lacks any sort of a legal front. Tell me, would you count a gang as a type of corporation?

              And sure a sufficiently powerful entity could execute a corporation. Such an entity could, for example, revoke the corporation’s corporate charter and seize the corporation’s collectively held assets, which, if I understand correctly that you seem to oppose non-individual ownership, shouldn’t be a problem for you. If you want to play up the corporations are made up of individuals card, you could look for inspiration to how various governments deal with the issue of organized crime.

              Also, she was asked to pay just to get a stay, in other words, for them to delay constructing the pipeline until after her court date. The option to pay to get them to go around wasn’t on the table. (It’s at around 2:30 in the video if you want to go back and check.)

              I also oppose Obamacare, especially the lack of an opt-out, but that does not make me a capitalist. (For example, even though I oppose it, I wouldn’t advise someone to turn it down if they genuinely believed it would aid in their survival, whereas I suppose an idealistic capitalist, for some definition of capitalist, probably would tell them to turn it down.) However, that’s an entirely different topic.

              The Sioux and homesteading. Now there are interesting choices for conversation. So… do you subscribe to some sort of more or less Lockean theory of homesteading?

              If so, it just so happens I wrote a blog entry detailing my objections to Locke’s theory, though I do apologize for the length.

              • guest says:

                “… I was mostly wondering if you believed capitalism was meant to appeal to, represent, and/or stand for farmers.”

                Not as such, no.

                If a farmer loses business to a large, private, agribusiness firm, that’s because consumers chose “cheaper prices” over “working harder for no reason”.

                Minus the government privileges Walmart enjoys, that’s the same reason Walmart is so awesome.

                “… and assuming you do not reject her claim of ownership, is there any particular reason you are judging her reasons?”

                Yes, because I don’t want my support of her to be confused with opposition to capitalism, or with support for environmentalism.

                “Tell me, would you count a gang as a type of corporation?”

                I suppose. Technically.

                But I would say the same thing about Unions, even minus their government-privileges.

                “… which, if I understand correctly that you seem to oppose non-individual ownership, shouldn’t be a problem for you.”

                I have a nuanced view of the corporate structure.

                So-called collectively held assets are actually just unowned/abandoned assets since they’re not being claimed by any individual.

                But the government has no authority *as a collective* to just go in and homestead those assets.

                I would argue that any single person has a right to homestead unowned things.

                “(It’s at around 2:30 in the video if you want to go back and check.)”

                I’ll take your word for it. My mistake.

                “… whereas I suppose an idealistic capitalist, for some definition of capitalist, probably would tell them to turn it down.”

                The government is responsible for high health insurance and health CARE costs (two different things).

                And since the government restricts who can or can’t provide health care, try not to poo-poo too harshly the capitalist who feels forced to take government care that is paid for by the robbery of his fellow citizens in order to save his life.

                Yes, it is inconsistent, but the government crowds out private competition which would lower health care costs (so that you might not even need health insurance).

                See the Tom Woods Podcast #481

                On the issue of homesteading, I skimmed your blog post (didn’t finish it), but I believe there is so much to unravel in it, and you seem to misunderstand some of Locke’s points, that I’ll just go ahead and give you my view of homesteading and you can decide if it’s Lockean or not.

                (For example of a misunderstanding, you say:

                (“… Locke seemed intent on convincing others that this claim of eminent domain was harmless, for there was plenty left still for everyone else …”

                (That wasn’t his point at all. He’s saying that the abundance that was produced using the fraction of land he mentioned in the prior quote was available to the Indians, but that the Indians weren’t working it like the settlers.)

                My view of homesteading is this:

                No one has a right to make you their slave, so if you transform an unowned object, no one else has a right to use what you transformed, as if you labored for someone else’s purposes.

                That is, to tell someone that you have a right over what someone else transformed is to dictate to them the reason they labored was for your benefit.

                Which is slavery.

          • guest says:

            Oh, and I think the whole shale thing was originally a Leftist cause intended to force people to use cleaner fuel against their own economic interests:

            Google Books: The Mountain States of America: People, Politics and Power in the Eight Rocky Mountain States by Neil R. Peirce


            P. 49:

            “The exploitation of this vast underground bonanza presents exciting possibilities, not only in satisfying the nation’s energy requirements but in meeting environmental problems. Chris Welles, author of the Elusive Bonanza and a foremost authority on shale development reports [in an article entitled “Keeping Shale Under Wraps,” The Nation, July 20, 1970]:

            “Though resembling it physically, shale oil is not crude oil but a potential competitor of crude oil …”

            “… Shale, according to recent studies, may also be an economical source of natural gas …”

            “… Substantial shale production could eliminate the country’s eventual dependence on foreign imports. Unlike most crude, shale oil is very low in pollution-causing sulphur. And shale production would be free from many environmental hazards of crude, such as off-shore well ruptures, oceangoing tanker disasters, and despoilment of wilderness areas such as Alaska and the Arctic. …”

            “… After extraction, the resicual ash could be used to fill in the open pits and nearby gullies and canyons and new grass cover begun on top of it. Balanced against the hazards of crude oil production and its sulphur content, Welles told me, the dangers to nature from shale production would not be a major environmental problem.”

            I believe the shale boom is (was?) a false boom caused by the punitive regulation of “dirty” oil, making shale seem affordable by comparison.

            The recent bust in shale oil is consistent with this view.

            The Left was very much in favor of shale/fracking before they were against it.

            • Aisling says:

              If by “the Left” you mean US Democrats, they are still in favor of it and that is one of many reasons why they are either faux environmentalists or incompetent ones, or, in many cases, openly admit to not caring about environmental topics. (Not counting “lesser evil” voters who didn’t really believe in Hillary but voted for her anyway.) 8 years of this nonsense has been going on during Obama’s watch. Hillary looks to be no better. Here:

              Syrmopoulos, Jay. “Hillary Turns Her Back on Standing Rock Sioux: ‘Path Forward Must Serve Broadest Public Interest’”. TheFreeThoughProject.com, October 29, 2016. http://thefreethoughtproject.com/hillary-turns-back-standing-rock-sioux-path-forward-must-serve-broadest-public-interest/

              McCauley, Lauren. “‘What a Crock’: Clinton Breaks DAPL Silence With Statement That Says ‘Literally Nothing’”. Common Dreams, October 28, 2016. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/10/28/what-crock-clinton-breaks-dapl-silence-statement-says-literally-nothing (retrieved December 27, 2016).

              Telesur. “You Won’t Believe Hillary Clinton’s Response to the Dakota Pipeline Protests”. Telesur, October 28, 2016. http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/You-Wont-Believe-Hillary-Clintons-Response-to-DAPL-Protests-20161028-0001.html (retrieved December 27, 2016).

              Qiu, Linda. “Does Hillary Clinton support fracking?” Politifact, April 13, 2016. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/apr/13/bernie-s/does-hillary-clinton-support-fracking/ (retrieved December 27, 2016).

              • guest says:

                “If by “the Left” you mean US Democrats, they are still in favor of it and that is one of many reasons why they are either faux environmentalists or incompetent ones, or, in many cases, openly admit to not caring about environmental topics.”

                In that you seem to be an environmentalist only to the extent that it helps other people, US Democrats are just as environmentally aware as you.

                The purpose of shale/fracking is to end the non-problem of wealth inequality that oil producers/refiners enjoy due, generally, to how much the consumer values their product.

                Shale is seen to be “sustainable” – that is, not a resource that is susceptible to being cornered by efficient entrepreneurs.

                Your egalitarian environmentalism logically commits you to support for shale/fracking.

                However, there’s a problem with egalitarian environmentalism, which is that it ignores the fact that it is current consumer demand, within the context of current scarcity, that makes it SEEM like shale would be sustainable.

                That is, preferences change, and todays sustainable shale projects could be tomorrow’s malinvested resources.

                If you aren’t attentive to consumer demands, you’ll find yourself to be producing the wrong things.

                And in order for production to have the flexibility to match changing consumer preferences, you have to have property rights and the profit motive in capital goods.

                In other words, only a free market is flexible enough to not result in system-wide malinvestments (the boom-bust cycle).

              • Aisling says:

                My apologies for not seeing/replying to your message sooner.

                I did get my reply to Mr. Murphy published about a week ago here ( https://beinglibertarian.com/reply-robert-p-murphy-clean-air/ ) and the references list separately on my blog, but to clarify a few points for you personally…

                I am not egalitarian in any hedonistic sense of the word. I do oppose war and corporeal violence. Helping people is of less concern to me than not harming people… I’m not trying to say that helping people is unimportant, merely, that we have already failed “First, do no harm” so terribly that it feels like a distraction.

                Even setting aside the issue of fracking, the Democrat party is a pro-nuclear party. (Some individual Democrat voters and even politicians may be anti-nuclear, but the Democrat party as a whole at least is pro-nuclear.) I should think that opposition to leaving the planet for the cockroaches to inherit should be the bare minimum requirement for being called an environmentalist. On top of that, the US was bombing 7 countries under Obama, a Democrat president. There’s nothing environmentalist about dropping bombs on people.

                The problem with heeding consumer demands if that if the consumer wants war, or is ambivalent to war, or simply not informed enough to know about war, then heeding their demands often runs contrary to reducing the amount of war in the world. Indeed, many consumers are rich because of war to begin with. While I care for all people, my primary concern is not for the electric supply of consumers, but rather, the people referred to in your capitalist literature as “externalities”.

                I oppose the fossil fuel industry (coal, oil, and ‘natural’ gas) in large part because they seem to be incapable of operating without war — war against countries that do not have nuclear weapons, war against indigenous people, war against other local communities, war against individual landowners/landstewards and other residents.

                The issue of scarcity is a lower priority to me than the issue of war. If the price of reducing war is rolling blackouts and increased electric bills, I’m fine with that, just as I’d be fine with lowered chocolate supply and increased chocolate prices if that is the cost of reducing chattel slavery. The efficiency of war does not justify it to me. As a realist, I do not expect most consumers to martyr themselves to the anti-war cause, but I would make several points: 1) electricity is not essential for life; air, water, and land to live and grow crops on is, 2) there are alternative ways to get electricity, like solar and wind, 3) individual consumers who control their home’s roof could install solar panels there; those who don’t but at least pay their own electric bill could sign up for wind/solar electricity in most places, and if all else fails, there are always renewable energy credits than can be purchased separately, 4) conservation efforts can help reduce the electric bills to make up for any increased cost of renewable electricity. Consumers could also help by moving their savings out of the banks financing DAPL, and, while they are at it, out of all the pro-nuclear banks.

                I have little interest in economics beyond its relationship — past and present — to war and corporeal violence. (Not no interest beyond that, but at least, insufficient to risk the attention of rich people as I am doing now.) The only reason I am taking such an intense interest now is because I am baffled why the far right-wing libertarians — the anarcho-capitalists — who are usually anti-war on other topics — do not seem interested in showing much solidarity with us on these issues.

                I am uncertain if you consider yourself anti-war or libertarian or anarcho-capitalist, but you sound sort of like one and in any case you seem the closest willing to engage in any prolonged discussion on the topic. I am unclear how the topic of landownership relates to the anarcho-capitalist conception of war. Our people — Sioux, people of other tribes, and many non-indigenous — have been getting pepper sprayed, water cannoned, shot with rubber bullets, etc — while trying to non-violently defend Sioux treaty territory against DAPL. Just yesterday Eric Poemz cried out on his livestream something about his hip being broken.

                So, why the lack of solidarity? If you or anarcho-capitalists or whomever do not view the Sioux as rightful landowners, then what rights (if any) would non-landowners have in your ideal world? Does it only count as war if a landowner is harmed? Or does war against non-landowners count as “just war” unless the local landowner objects? Am I reading too much into things? Have you/they simply not noticed the violence against the water protectors in the Sioux treaty area? And, for that matter, why does it bother you so much if the Sioux and many other tribes have a different conception of landownership than your capitalist one? And even if you do not support the Sioux and other water protectors, is the violence against those you do recognize as landowners, such as Cyndy Coppola and many others, not sufficient reason for a boycott against the fossil fuel industry?

              • Aisling says:

                Also, to make a pragmatic argument in addition to the moral argument, I would point out that serving warmongering consumers tends to be unsafe.

                This fable explains the point nicely:

    • Aisling says:

      (Replying to guest’s “Not as such, no. […]” for which there is apparently no reply button, because apparently we took the replies as far to the right as they would go.)

      You seem to have a lot of different topics you would like to discuss. Would you like to pick one or two to focus on so I can try to give you a quality reply instead of a bunch of short bad ones?

      For example, you seem to have a great deal of interest in the shadow economy (and I do prefer the term shadow economy over black market), looking not just at your conversation with me but with others as well, but you seem to be saying that you have never participated in the shadow economy, and seem to be sad about this. Furthermore, you don’t seem to have much understanding of how the shadow economy functions. Regarding the last bit, I think I can guess your problem. Every Austrian economist I have read, who discussed the barter economy, comes off sounding like he has never seriously participated in barter culture, and by seriously, I mean as if his life depended on it. Their theories just do not match up to the ways people usually barter. If you understood barter culture better, then you could understand the nonviolent part of the shadow economy better, including the parts of it that actually do use currency. Currency is just another thing you can barter with, assuming you have any, which is absolutely not required. I assume you are less interested in the more violent portion of the shadow economy, or else I don’t see how you could call it a “free market”. If you pick this topic though, please be aware that it’s a blog post unto itself and will take a bit of time to finish writing. It’s been on my list of projects anyway, just, low on my list of priorities. I could move if up if you like, though. Do you have any favorite authors or speakers (preferably available online) who discussed bartering you would like me to read or listen to before I finish it off?

      Alternatively, we could talk about consumer-centric thinking, which, in my opinion, is at least partially responsible for the fact that there are still an estimated 45 million slaves in the world today.(1) And by slavery, I should specify chattel slavery/forced labor, since you apparently have a broad definition of slavery.

      I’m glad you support Ms. Copolla. Honestly, I care less about why you support her than the fact that you do, except in so far as your reasons matter to you and, as they say, if it matters to you then it matters. In any case, going in that direction, we could discuss other issues related to eminent domain and questions surrounding land ownership related to the oil and gas industries.

      Regarding individual homesteading versus collective homesteading, I would just like to point out again that a corporation is also a collective.

      If you wouldn’t advise someone to willingly succumb to death in the name of the ideal of avoiding accepting help from sources you consider immoral (in this case, the US government), that actually improves my opinion of you. Idealists are frightening. There may be a seed of realism in you yet! Then again, basically all friends are frightening in one way or another, so, no worries.

      Regarding Obamacare, all that stuff about it being so much more expensive than it ought to be is a smokescreen. (Not that I’m saying that you don’t genuinely believe it, but, you are being distracted by the smokescreen.) Barring issues relating to lack of access to clean air, clean water, and clean food (none of which is covered by health insurance anyway), healthcare isn’t that expensive, and if you think it is, you’re looking in the wrong places. Just to list one example, Mexico really isn’t that far away.

      If you want to talk about taxation, then why are you not mentioning the portion of your tax dollars that is being spent bombing other countries, like, nearly every time you bring that up? Neglecting to do so weakens your argument. Even if you want to focus on the healthcare portion of your taxes, there’s still forced drugging, forced hospitalization, forced institutionalization, etc.

      I am aware that Locke argued that the American Indians were not making proper use of the land and I disagreed with him and gave a few examples. Also, “you’re not using the land the way we think you should for the benefit of ‘society’ so we’re just going to take it from you” is the essence of an eminent domain argument.

      You can tell a lot about why Locke wrote his second treatise the way he did if you also look at his first treatise, which was a response to a Sir Robert Filmer… here, let’s look at what you wrote.

      “That is, to tell someone that you have a right over what someone else transformed is to dictate to them the reason they labored was for your benefit.”

      Okay, suppose I am sleeping on unowned land, and 4 different people build walls around me as I sleep, such that all the walls enclose me, trapping me in. Once I wake up (assuming I managed to sleep through the construction), I’m not going to say, “oh dear, I don’t want to violate these homesteaded walls, I guess I’ll just sit here and die.” No, I’m going to try to figure out how to climb them, or knock them down, or build up some rubble to help me climb over them, or whatever I perceive as being my best chance of escaping, because so far as I am concerned, this is a prison with no ceiling. Failure to respect the walls doesn’t mean I’m saying they labored for my benefit. Au contraire, they made my life much more difficult. If you replace walls with farmland instead, I’m still not going to sit there and die for fear of trespassing on the farmland, though if the farmland is unguarded, at least trespassing probably won’t involve the same level of effort as getting past walls.

      Even ignoring localized issues like that, you still run into problems when all of the land is homesteaded already. It begs the question, in such a world, what rights (if any) would non-landowners even have, according to you?

      Locke basically tried to avoid the issue by claiming that there was plenty for all and it would not come to that (so long as people avoided waste/spoilage). If you read his first treatise, you can tell how strongly he felt about the issue.

      “and how will it appear, that propriety in land gives a man power over the life of another? or how will the possession even of the whole earth give any one a sovereign arbitrary authority over the persons of men? The most specious thing to be said is, that he that is proprietor of the whole world, may deny all the rest of mankind food, and so at his pleasure starve them, if they will not acknowledge his sovereignty, and obey his will.” — Locke

      Really, Locke’s first treatise is much better than his second. It’s really quite a shame that he was an investor in the Royal African Company and had a hand in writing the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina.(2)(3)(4)

      If this isn’t an issue, then explain this: “In addition [in 1871], the military issued orders forbidding western Indians from leaving reservations. All western Indians at that point in time were now prisoners of war.”(5)

      1. The Minderoo Foundation Pty Ltd. “In 2016, we estimate that 45.8 million people are in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries.” The Global Slavery Index. http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/findings/ (accessed January 5, 2017).
      2. Quiggin, John. “John Locke Against Freedom.” Jacobin. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/06/locke-treatise-slavery-private-property/ (accessed January 5, 2017).
      3. “The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina.” The Avalon Project. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/nc05.asp (accessed January 5, 2017).
      4. Armitage, David. “John Locke, Carolina, and the Two Treatises of Government.” Harvard University. http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/armitage/files/armitage-locke.pdf (accessed January 5, 2017).
      5. Huey, Aaron. “America’s native prisoners of war.” Ted, September 2010. https://www.ted.com/talks/aaron_huey (accessed January 5, 2017).

  5. skylien says:

    Regarding Krugman podcasts. I guess with the new president it will be slightly harder to pick on him on a weekly basis since now the good economist in him might get the better of him occasionally.

  6. Major.Freedom says:

    Recessions are not caused by an increase in demand for money holding that is not matched by an increase in the quantity of money.

    When will Nick learn this?

    • guest says:

      You might try noting that demand for purchasing power is infinite and therefore that demand for money (in his worldview, it seems) is always not matched by an increase in the quantity of money.

      It could force him to admit that it’s not money, per se, that people are demanding, so the supply of money doesn’t matter.

  7. guest says:

    In the spirit of Potpourri:

    Robert Wenzel on Feb 23, 2015:

    A Warning to Libertarians: Please Do Not End Up Like Ross Ulbricht

    “In other words, if you want to advance liberty, it makes little sense to be operating a black market web site just as it makes little sense to be selling drugs from a street corner to advance liberty. And from a practical perspective, if the government snares you while running a black market site, you are going to pay dearly. …”

    “… If you want to advance liberty, you do so by writing, speaking and reading about liberty.”

    Robert Wenzel on Jan 2, 2017:

    What to Do If You Live in an Area With a High Minimum Wage

    “If you are a low productivity worker in an area where the minimum wage is high, your only chance for employment may be in the off-the-books, underground market.”


    *Takes a bow*

    • Andrew_FL says:

      I did not interpret that second one as recommendation but a statement of fact.

      • guest says:

        I’m going to start calling you The Qrugman (kidding): “I wasn’t *recommending* a housing bubble, I was just saying a crash would be inevitable without one.”


        • Darien says:

          In fairness, Wenzel in your first quotation is explicitly discussing what to do “if you want to advance liberty,” while, in your second quotation, he’s talking about something else entirely — potential job prospects for low-skilled workers in high-minimum-wage areas. It’s hardly scandalous to say that, if the government outlaws all the work one can do, one can do work only as an outlaw, and it’s not meaningfully incompatible with his first claim either.

          • guest says:

            Yeah it is incompatible.

            As long as you’re not nullifying laws which infringe on inalienable rights, you’re not more free.

            Wenzel hasn’t yet realized that even if he has it his way, where everyone all of a sudden “gets it” and stops trying to regulate the market, freedom will entail ignoring previously existing regulations; That is, engaging in what was previously considered to be “black market” (read: free market) activities.

            So black markets are necessary for advancing liberty, and just talking about it does nothing meaningful except to get us closer to actually using black markets.

            I’m not poo-poo’ing all the great work Wenzel, et al, have done with their study and speaking, by the way. That is totally necessary.

            It’s just that it’s not sufficient. Wenzel thinks it is – that freedom just magically happens without black markets.

        • Andrew_FL says:

          Even as a joke, you have wounded me deeply.

          I don’t really care if Wenzel makes a fool of himself contradicting himself. I’m just saying how I read it.

          • guest says:

            No offense intended.

            I have strong feelings about the black market issue.

    • guest says:

      Aside: Apparently, Robert Wenzel changed his definition of “Austrian-Lite” from someone who believes we’re in a depression (2016, going into 2017) to someone who believes the Fed can’t create the false-boom phase of the business cycle.

      I’m #TeamPeter, and I have always known that intervention in currency creation causes the false boom that necessarily results in a correction of malinvestments.

  8. Tel says:

    More Russ Roberts…


    It’s a bit of a long and rambling interview, but covers some important points about subjective value. They look at rising costs of healthcare (which mostly falls on employers) and what they come up with is that the supposed “rising inequality” when ypu look at wages turns into a “shrinking inequality” when you account for healthcare as implicitly part of the wage.

    The problem this reveals is that you really don’t know how much the employee values this healthcare, so the conclusion is that there’s just no way to measure inequality at all.

    Of course, healthcare is kind of high profile in as much as it has been in the news a lot, but the same concept probably applies to a bunch of other stuff.

  9. guest says:

    “The problem this reveals is that you really don’t know how much the employee values this healthcare, so the conclusion is that there’s just no way to measure inequality at all.”

    Thank you! Interpersonal utility comparisons are impossible to make.

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