05 Dec 2017


Potpourri 8 Comments

==> An economist and the Pope walk into a finance class…

==> Wind and solar fans admit awkward fact about tax code.

==> My interview with David Gornoski concerned liberty and Christianity. It was not your typical discussion.

==> Richard Ebeling on neo-liberalism and then on communism.

==> Brad Birzer vs. the Senate.


8 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Matthew McCaffrey's Mimic says:

    There’s a popular misconception that giving tax breaks to industries is the same as subsidizing them. Sadly, like many economic myths, this one just won’t die.

    Decades ago, economists like Mises and Rothbard were already arguing that tax breaks are not economically or ethically equivalent to receiving subsidies. Simply put, being permitted to keep your income is not the same as taking it from competitors. Exemptions and loopholes do not forcibly redistribute wealth; taxes and subsidies do, thereby benefiting some producers at the expense of others.

    Yes, entrepreneurs who take advantage of tax breaks will incur fewer costs than entrepreneurs who don’t. But this doesn’t show that exemptions or loopholes provide unfair advantages; in fact, just the opposite — it shows that taxes penalize entrepreneurs unlucky enough to be left holding the bill.

    However, fossil fuels receive a different type of tax benefit, $775 billion to $1 trillion annually in subsidies taken from taxpayers around the globe, according to information provided by Oil Change International. Additionally, fossil fuel companies benefit from eminent domain, another form of forcible wealth redistribution. So, a great deal of fossil fuel projects occur not because the projects make economic sense on their own terms, but because the government aids the fossil fuel industry in forcibly redistributing wealth from taxpayers and landowners.

    • Anonymous says:

      The landtheft and the taxpayer subsidies are bad of course, but you didn’t mention the bloodpayer subsidies.

      For example, in Nigeria:

      And also Ecuador:

      • guest says:

        I see people protesting Shell, but not the Nigerian government.

        Their governments are the ones responsible for those violations. And there’s no way to involve the government in the economy *without* rewarding the rich. Impossible.

        Because after all is said and done, consumers have to want, on some level, to buy the product being sold. Only those businesses that are rich enough to have the resources to supply economies of scale are going to be worth subsidizing.

        (Not that there’s anything wrong with how big a business gets.)

        Again, your very own philosophy is responsible for the things you complain about.

        It’s like with the Blood Diamonds issue that Rothbard delt with.

      • guest says:

        If you’re curious, there’s a book that goes through the disasterous policies of government over the past 4,000 years, and you can read for yourself that these are policies that you strongly believe in:

        [PDF and EPUB available]
        Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls: How Not to Fight Inflation

        I haven’t read the whole thing, but I recommend the part about the Edict of Diocletian in Chapter 2, and the Controls in Belgium in Chapter 3.

        Under the Edict of Diocletian, everyone was so “greedy” that they chose to be slaughtered by the government rather than have their wealth redistributed to end poverty (rolls eyes).

        And with regard to the Controls in Belgium, they tried it your way, failed miserably, then tried it the free market way and succeeded.

        Your philosophy is what’s destroying Nigeria and Ecuador, not the richness and greed of Shell. Greed has a natural check when government gets out of the way, called “competition”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Neoliberal is frequently a term used to apply to Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton, for example in this satirical song:

    Howzit my chinas,
    you’re tuned in to the News World Order,
    With me your host Bill de Berg, hard-truths reporter
    I heard you’re seeking some form of closure,
    so here’s an update as we march deeper into glorious dystopia.

    Ja… things have taken a lekker turn hey?
    The world’s unravelling, tensions rising, sabres rattling.
    ISIS up in yo airports, fake economies faltering,
    immigrants crossing all of your imaginary borders.

    And worst of all, you oaks don’t even know what’s happening
    Since Rap News wrapped up, sending you all scrambling,
    Now there’s no more Robert Foster here to explain
    And even Prince and Bowie ascended to another plane.

    But don’t worry, I’ve come back to offer some assistance,
    in a once-off Rap News special edition,
    on the year’s final tragedy: the US election.
    Let’s get right down to action, with Hillary Clinton.

    — First Lady in the White House, bitches.
    Y’all about to witness the first ever female POTUS
    No more dicks, only ovaries up in the Oval Office.

    — Welcome Hillary, what makes you the top pick for voters?

    — Bill, the sad truth of it is we’re losing our grip
    the current neoliberal order has taken numerous hits,
    the structure is crumbling and the world is suffering under it,
    struggling, and now people have had it with the one per cent,

    Debt, austerity, all spreading like cancers.
    People are hungry for a cure and thirsty for answers,
    for a commander who cares instead of one who merely panders…

    — You mean someone like Bernie Sanders?

    — Exactly, that’s why we berned his nomination chances
    with backroom media deals and dirty slanders
    Debbie landed one of the most scandalous gerrymanders,
    And that’s why I’m the top Democratic candidate.

    So if you’re content with the lesser evil: Vote Hillary!
    It’ll fan the very flames of discontent
    that are fuelling fascist sentiments; and personally I can’t wait to see,
    how much more threatening the next Trump will be.

    – Juice Media https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxKcEsT9qLM

    Neoliberal is often frequently used to apply to imperialists who try to force violent corporate domination on countries like Ecuador, while ignoring the issues countries like Ecuador have, such as Chevron failing to take even basic safety precautions in their oil drilling operations and leaving a legacy of pollution and death in Ecuador.

    At that time, oil companies just opened pools without any plastic protection on the sides or at the bottom. Once they concluded the process of drilling the wells, they put the oil waste and drilling mud in open pools. These pools were quite spacious, large pools, 20m wide, 60m long, and 3 to 4m deep, where much contaminant was accumulated. These pools plus the rain, as you know the Amazon has a high amount of permanent water, there are months of continuous rain, so these pools with all the oil waste, began to flow into the water sources, and polluting communities nearby. The main problems identified are the impact on health, and the impact on the environment as you can see.

    Chevron you thief, pay what you owe!

    Ecuador’s anti-imperialist, anti-neoliberal policy agenda—including prioritizing Latin American regional integration, challenging the power of global financial institutions, and shutting down a U.S. air base in the coastal city of Manta—has also ruffled feathers on the international level.

    “All these things create conflict,” Long said. “Daring to be sovereign … is about the supremacy of the human being over capital, unlike what we’ve been living for the last decades of neoliberalism, which is clearly supremacy of capitalism over human beings.”
    – Telesur https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Ecuador-Fights-Back-to-Put-People-Over-Profits-Empire-Files-20160912-0011.html

    • Anonymous says:

      Singularly, neoliberalism brings in its wake a “corporate state.”

      Henceforth, the corporate state, shaped and formed by neoliberal principles, pushes the social contract backwards in time to the age of feudalism, a socio-economic pyramid with all of the wealth and influence at the pinnacle, but, over time, like an anvil balanced on balsa wood.

      Albeit, the Left, with renewed vigor, has pushed back against neoliberalism’s robbing the poor to enrich the rich. And, there are clear signals that this pushback has gained traction throughout Latin America.

      The harsh social consequence of neoliberalism’s free-market economics propels social movements in Latin America into the forefront of resistance. These social movements, including the Zapatistas (Chiapas, Mexico), the Landless Peasant Movement (“MST”) in Brazil, the indigenous movements of Bolivia and Ecuador, and the Piqueteros or Unemployed Workers’ Activists in Argentina, and the students in Chile constitute some of the more prominent groups in opposition to neoliberalism’s tendency for subjugating the people, similar to a plantation economy like the American South, circa 19th century, whereby “slaves” are reclassified as “workers.” It’s worked for decades.

      Brazil’s landless peasant movement (“MST”), 2,000,000 strong, commenced three decades ago, campaigning across the country to change a semi-feudal situation in which, they claim, less than 3% of the population owns two-thirds of the land and more than half the farmland lies idle, while millions of rural workers lack employment. Government forces have killed fifteen hundred (1,500) land reform activists. This hidden war continues to this day, as their struggle is carried out in the remote hinterlands.
      – Robert Hunziker, Neoliberalism’s Latin American Struggle

      Brazil’s land distribution problem is rooted in historical slavery and continues to be an issue aggravating contemporary slavery.

      The national plan included some excellent ideas. The law against slavery would be tightened and penalties increased. One of the strongest new proposals was also very radical: the expropriation, without compensation, of land belonging to slaveholders. If approved, expropriation would provide a significant sanction. It was suggested that expropriated land could be distributed to freed slaves and poor landless farmers, which would help prevent re-enslavement–a serious problem in Brazil. According to the Brazilian Department for Labor Inspections, up to 40 percent of people freed from slave labor had been re-enslaved and freed more than once. Lula understood that rural Brazil was caught in a cycle of poverty, economic crisis, and enslavement; providing access to land an a better chance at employment would prevent workers from falling back into slavery.

      By 2014 the plan to confiscate the land of slaveholders was still intensely controversial and hadn’t been enacted, even though it passed the Chamber of Deputies in May 2012. On the one hand, it seemed perfectly reasonable. Many countries, including the United States, allow for the confiscation of property from criminals. America’s earliest laws against the slave trade, enacted long before the Civil War, ordered the seizure of slave ships and other property. But in Brazil a great deal hinges on land, who claims it, who controls it, and what you can do with it. Over time, the historical slavery system and the vast fortunes made by the owners of slave-driven coffee and sugar plantations established an elite class of landowners, often referred to as the “landed oligarchy.” The descendants of these landowners still exert a powerful control over the country. This group is one of the key players in the drama of slavery an environmental destruction in Brazil.

      – Kevin Bales, Blood and Earth, pages 177-178

      • guest says:

        “The harsh social consequence of neoliberalism’s free-market economics propels social movements in Latin America into the forefront of resistance.”

        Corporatism Is Not the Free Market
        February 3, 2012

  3. Sam Tram says:

    There is an interesting critique of standard neoliberal views of wealth creation here.


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