Thursday, November 26, 2009
However, very little, tiny, minuscule attention is given in the mainstream media to the real origins of this celebration. Standard school text books say, it is a way to celebrate the sharing of a good crop, back in the days the Pilgrims came to this continent. However, it is my suspicion, such books might suffer from Alzheimer -or something along the lines, because they constantly forget to tell how such crop came to be. They initially tried common property under the motto "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need". However as this Bloomberg columnist, Caroline Baum, reminds us: “young, able-bodied men resented working for others without compensation.” They thought it an “injuestice” to receive the same allotment of food and clothing as those who didn’t pull their weight. What they lacked were appropriate incentives.”
To read an entertaining article on how Thanksgiving is really a celebration of how the establishment of private property in the USA paved the way for progress and freedom, go here.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Now, the Public Choice School explains that although in both economics and politics it is the same people who act, they are moved by different incentives in each case. In the political arena the concern is maximizing election votes. So, they tend to fulfill the short-term requests of pressure groups to achieve this goal. Alas, in economics the concern is to generate as much profit as possible, which in a free economy is achieved only by fulfilling the consumer demands.
Ever since the present crisis was unveiled it is been said that more, puffier, fluffier, stronger (no, I’m not talking about 80’s overly sprayed hairdos) regulation is the much needed solution to prevent it from happening ever again. Think again and get back at your history books, wasn’t it the regulators with endless baloney regulation who got us there in the first place?!
BBC had reported that several banks “saved” by the “Stimulus Package” are now undergoing a politization process. As if it wasn’t enough of responsibility been accountable to the company’s stakeholders, the report also adds “...it has become clear that the banks will have to negotiate with more and more lobbyists, unions and campaign groups as government-owned companies are forced to become more responsive to issues in the public interest.” The sole more important responsibility of a private enterprise is to make profit for its owners (this, by no means imply it will be done through unethical behavior, so hold your guns anti-profit people!)
However, given the banks accepted the taxpayer’s money to bail them out of their mistakes, they will have to deal with claims as ridiculous as this: “Royal Bank of Scotland Plc has been targeted by indigenous groups from Canada. They aim to stop RBS from lending money to companies that invest in oil sand extraction in northern Canada.” On the Cadbury hostile bidding by Kraft, the bank is receiving the following claim “Trade unionists and Labour Party politicians have demanded to know why a bank that is majority-owned by the U.K. people is helping out with the dismemberment of a fine old local company.”
There is an underlying and unfortunate issue here. This very same lobbying process that is seeing bankers act like polititians, will see bankers in a future crises turning to polititians to save them again. They won’t be taking their lending decisions based on productivity, but instead in social groups complains. They will be lending money to people who won’t be fit to pay and -Yes, you have guessed that right- a new chain of insolvency will come our way…yet again.
Read the full report here...wait no, I meant here!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
However, we see the debate had reached other rather dissonancing grounds: such as school groups where kids are asked to join save-the-environment-groups if they want to show they’re moral beings. The entertainment industry had identified it as a major source of getting mass attention and we hear how almost every single entertainer who claims to defend the “right things” is an environmentalist. You can get a glimpse of that as they go errands around Tinseltown running their environmental-friendly-cars. They’re also very vocal about their concern and let you know through concerts, public speeches, marches, charity events, galas, movie premiers…the list is endless.
However, taking the debate to its more fundamental grounds, it seems it is not even near to be clear out. For a lot of years now, there are scientists who claim the planet will perish to the hands of the ruthless destroying behaviour of human beings. And there are those scientists (the minority) who claim the earth had gone through dramatic climate change throughout all its history and the impact of human beings is very infinitesimal.
These two sides are clearly identified in two videos. One is the massive promoted video by Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and the other is the BBC produced “The Great Global Warming Swindle” (TGGWS). The first states as a major claim that the alarming increased levels of CO2 had been produced by the contaminating industries of irresponsible industrialists. While the TGGWS rejects this and states CO2 is just a very-tiny-part of the green-house gases and that most of it is produced by natural processes (decomposition, breathing…mind you).
So, we have the public left without really knowing which side is telling the story right. To spice up the debate a little bit, the Wall Street Journal reported how “Hacked Emails Show Climate Science Ridden with Rancor” and it states “In several of the emails, climate researchers discussed how to arrange for favorable reviewers for papers they planned to publish in scientific journals. At the same time, climate researchers at times appeared to pressure scientific journals not to publish research by other scientists whose findings they disagreed with”. Ohhh, how very interesting, the reports continues “the tension between those two camps is apparent in the emails. More recent messages showed climate scientists were increasingly concerned about blog postings and articles on leading skeptical Web sites. Much of the internal discussion over scientific papers centered on how to pre-empt attacks from prominent skeptics, for example.”
Read the story for a full scoop here
Saturday, November 21, 2009
This is a clear example of how government officials think of the citizens as handicapped creatures that need to be told what to do with their own lives.
It is true not all cases are the same. However, health care reforms that demand more government intervention are doomed to fail. This is so because the success of such reforms depends on the accuracy of the planning done by central planners. It had been stated that the three biggest employers in the world are the Indian State Railways, the Chinese Army and England’s National Health System (NHS). Of the latter one, about 1 out of 23 English workers are in the NHS; and of those about half the employees are administrative. This means a large percentage of the budget goes to pay for bureaucracy rather than medical services. This makes it extremely inefficient: i.e. cancer survival in the UK reduces to 77% as opposed to a 100% in the US.
In those countries where there's massive government health care, waiting lists become mortal and medical tourism becomes the norm. Except that with this bill -you see- medical tourism will be over since many countries have adopted similar reforms. So much for your "inexpensive-access-to-all public-health-system". Review this piece by John Stossel for a more in-depth analysis.
Friday, November 20, 2009
So, after that smooth preamble, I state it is my intention for Libertarium to be a witty, updated source of knowledge by analyzing news -and endless ways in which people communicate- from a libertarian point of view.
Economics, business, politics, art, science, entertainment, education and even your-very-random-everyday-little-stuff are all more related than you might think. They all fall within the realm of human action which implies decision-taking, and whether this decision-taking should be left to the individual or to a higher-collective entity.
Now, before we get into business, I am pleased to say it is indeed a thrill to contribute to this space along with the witty minds of both Alfonso and Felipe. Because we share principles but continually challenge our own arguments, this shall be a fun place to stick around!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Panama is leaving the PARLACEN, and may I add, finally. The Minister for Foreign Affairs reported recently that should those countries that oppose the departure (by PARLACEN rules, if one single country opposes the exit of another member state, the latter is barred from quitting) do not withdraw their objections, Panama would leave the organization unilaterally.
Now, the process through which Panama would do that is highly dubious. The Government would be invalidating the original bill through which Panama’s National Assembly ratified the PARLACEN treaty.
Regardless, this is a momentous occasion. The PARLACEN has shown, in my opinion, to be needless bureaucracy and as far as I can tell, my life as a citizen of Panama is no better after our adherence to the PARLACEN than before.
Now, I ask, could we please get the money we will stop paying PARLACEN members back as a tax rebate. Rather than waste that money in unnecessary government expenditure, why not hand it back and let the private economy deal with it in the most efficient way?
Most likely it won’t happen, but that’s alright. In my opinion, leaving the PARLACEN is good news for all Panamanians.