Monthly Archives: January 2013

Summary of Keynes’ Theory, and the More Obvious Flaws in it.

Wisely Written by Smiling Dave, and Expertly Edited by Lady Saiga.

We have a Special Guest from Beyond the Grave with us for this article, the famed Henry Hazlitt. Using Clayton’s Universe-as-an-Acting-Being Ouija Board, we were able to establish contact with the late, great Mr Hazlitt. What follows is an exact transcript of our communication with the Next World:

SD: Mr Hazlitt, are you basing this article on your conversations with John Maynard Keynes in the afterlife?

HH: We are not in the same place, unfortunately, so I am unable to chat with him. All I say here is from my researches on Earth, as published in my book, The Critics of Keynesian Economics, Chapter 14.

SD: Could you begin by summarizing the essence of Keynes’s theory, in 25 words or less?

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The Economy of Byzantium, State Intervention and Voluntary Exchange: Part One-Agriculture

The last two decades marked the “golden age” of Byzantine historiography. Our knowledge and understanding of this great civilization has improved immensely and has forever changed the way we look at it. The original spur of this amazing development was very simple: how could Byzantium, seen as a stale, decadent and highly inefficient Empire, stand up for so long to the new aggressive powers in Western Europe and the Middle East? How could the Emperor be regarded as one of the richest sovereigns in the world when the dominions he ruled upon were seen as mired in intrigue, bureaucracy and a general economic and social slump?
This overview will be split in sections. In the present one we’ll cover the basis of all pre-Industrial societies: agricultural production and land management. The next installments will cover such topics as monetary and fiscal policies, secondary production and internal and international trade. Given how fast Byzantine historiography is evolving at the moment I cannot assure all my sources will be up to date but I’ll do my best to present the most advanced findings and conclusions. Continue reading

The Myth of Money Shortage

Inspired by a discussion over at the libertyhq forum, Smiling Dave has decided to explain why there cannot be a shortage of money, that the whole idea is born of ignorance, as J. B. Say rightly wrote in Chapter 15 of his classic work.

To make sure there is no foul play, Dave has invited his friendly adversary, Devil’s Advocate, to debate the topic. What follows is a verbatim transcript of their epic meeting.

ID-100100894Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

DA: Up to your shenanigans again, hey Dave?

SD: If you mean am I about to debunk yet another economic fallacy with rapier sharp insight, why yes.

DA: Rumor has it you are about to take on not only Keynes and all his merry men, but a group of scholars who call themselves Austrian Economists, who purport to march under the banner of the mighty Nobel Prize winner, Friedrich August von Hayek.

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Introduction to Libertarianism (For the Left)

[This is the first article in the left-leaning LBRT101 section of the Guided Study at Liberty HQ]

The Past 12 Years

A foreign policy of war

The past twelve years have seen the US enter numerous new military engagements, many of which show no signs of fading. Iraq and Afghanistan are well known to everyone, but are far from the only ones. Despite strong evidence that the US intervention would not improve our national security − and, in fact, would worsen it − we continued to remain, at both a high human cost − all the lives lost (American and foreign) − and a high financial cost (with conservative estimates at $1.5 trillion). Besides throwing the US into these wars, Bush passed into law the Patriot Act, escalating the level of government invasion of the personal lives of the public. Suddenly, everyone became a suspect in the hopeless War on Terror. How does this square with the respect for individual freedom that Bush is supposed to have? Continue reading

Democracy as virtual Civil War

Merlin

The main idea: in terms of avoiding civil unrest, mass democracy is at the very most the fourth-best option available, and clearly underperforms systems that could quite easily be implemented tomorrow, even without doing away with the state.

Democracy, gentlemen

Democracy, gentlemen

1. High pretensions

1.1 Anarcho-capitalists are left unimpressed, if not frightened or even disgusted, by the depths of the modern worship of democracy. A host of moral and ethical arguments disprove the notion that by topping the bureaucratic apparatus with an elected echelon we make our government less of an aggressor against personal property.

1.2 An interesting debate though, starts once we accept, for the time being the existence of a government: does democracy still count a second-best alternative to a Free Society? I will try to explore the two arguments for democracy that appear to be more than poetry: that democracy avoids civil unrest and that it provides a crowdsourced second best algorithm for approaching just laws.

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South Korea and the Chaebol System: Part Two

For Part One: https://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/south-korea-and-the-chaebol-system-part-one/

The ’70s marked a turning point in the chaebol system, and not for the better. The general worldwide slump which followed the abolition of the Bretton Woods Treaty (1971) and the First Oil Crisis (1973) had a very noticeable effect on Korean exports. However there were a number of other issues which rattled the chaebol system. As a first thing, the chaebol had traditionally been very dependent on low value-added goods like textiles, footwear, low-grade steel and simple chemicals. These goods were mostly exported to South-East Asian nations like Thailand, The Philippines and Indonesia. However as the ’70s progressed these nations, especially Thailand, started to be able not only manufacture the same goods locally, but also to export them, and at prices competitive with heavily subsidized Korean goods. Continue reading

Commentating on Stone’s Untold History of the States

russianfriendfightsfreedom

Oliver Stone is an independent thinker, an opponent of American imperialism, and has spoken favorably about the Ron Paul campaign. So when he released his new history-themed documentary series it was a given it would cause a measure of interest among libertarians. Sure enough, once part one of the series was released both mostly positive and mostly negative reactions by visible libertarians followed. Here is my take on the first part of his series “World War Two” touching upon several points I found worthwhile to comment on.

  • The film begins with a shot of Stone himself, he is sitting in an armchair and explaining his motivation for shooting this film. He does so in the most patronizing, sage-like voice he can muster. What is more, the entire film has Stone speak in this oh so wise and kindly tone and pedestrian tempo as if it being narrated by an all-knowing Papa Frost. One serious thumb down here. The last thing anyone needs from their history program is to patronize them.
  • One mayor goal the film seems to task itself with is to tell more about the Soviet role in bringing about the defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII. This rubbed at least one prominent libertarian, namely Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com the wrong way. By the end of his piece on the Untold History, Raimondo had accused Stone of having revealed his “Trotskyist sympathies”.

    I believe that is uncalled for. I do not know a whole lot about Stone’s politics (other than that he strikes me as a fairly amorphous progressive). As far as I know he may indeed lean toward comrade Trotsky. However, it is impossible to establish this on the basis of his fairly innocent portrayal of WWII Soviet Union.

    The way Stone portrays the Soviet Union is not different from how it was portrayed in the United States during WWII, when Americans temporarily thought of Soviets as their friends. If viewing WWII-era USSR with somewhat sympathetic eyes means Stone is at least a Trot, then so were tens of millions of Americans who were gripped by news of ongoing Russian struggles at Moscow and Stalingrad and ate up stories about Soviet generals, society and weapons brought to them by such Trotskyste powerhouses as Reader’s Digest.*

    Continue reading

South Korea and the Chaebol System: Part One

Today South Korea (or Republic of Korea, ROK for short) has a vibrant, diversified and highly dynamic economy but until very recently her economic system was dominated by a cartel of large conglomerates which had a disproportionate weight in economic policies and politics: these large conglomerates are called chaebol.
In Korean chaebol roughly means “clan owning property”. Some chaebol are household names throughout the world: Hyundai, Kumho, Hankook and Samsung. How did they come to become so incredibly powerful and why did so many of them fall without previous warning during the Asian Crisis of 1997, allowing Korea to become a freer, more diversified and stronger economy?

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We are not the Government

This is the Introduction to The Rise & Fall of Society by Frank Chodorov. Chodorov addresses one of the most pervasive myths of modern thinking: the identification of society and government. This narrative of government as indistinguishable from society itself is of recent origin – it certainly arose no earlier than the French Revolution and is associated with the rise of democracy in the West. Democracy was disparaged by the ancients as well as by the founders of the United States government. The identification of democracy and freedom has risen to a credal dogma since the time of Wilson who aimed to make the world safe for democracy. It is the fact that democracy is freedom that, in the modern view, redeems it from the criticisms leveled against it by the ancients and all pre-modern political philosophers. In turn, since democracy is the will of the society, a democratic government is merely the expression of the Rousseauan “general will” – it is society.

god_the_father_carried_by_angels

God the Father Carried by Angels, Charles de Lafosse

What history will think of our times is something that only history will tell. But it is a good guess that it will select collectivism as the identifying characteristic of the twentieth century. For, even a quick survey of the developing pattern of thought during the past fifty years shows up the dominance of one central idea: that Society is a transcendent entity, something apart from and greater than the sum of its parts, possessing a suprahuman character and endowed with like capacities. It operates in a field of its own, ethically and philosophically, and is guided by stars unknown to mortals. Hence, the individual, the unit of Society, cannot judge it by his own limitations nor apply to it standards by which he measures his own thinking and behavior. He is necessary to it, of course, but only as a replaceable part of a machine. It follows, therefore, that Society, which may concern itself paternalistically with individuals, is in no way dependent on them.

In one way or another, this idea has insinuated itself into almost every branch of thought and, as ideas have a way of doing, has become institutionalized. Perhaps the most glaring example is the modern orientation of the philosophy of education. Many of the professionals in this field frankly assert that the primary purpose of education is not to develop the individual’s capacity for learning, as was held in the past, but to prepare him for a fruitful and “happy” place in Society; his inclinations must be turned away from himself, so that he can drop into the mores of his age group and beyond that into the social milieu in which he will live out his life. He is not an end in himself.

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Aggressors and the Citizenry – Theories on Anarcho-Capitalist Revolution

Broadness is fairly spread throughout ideologies and worldviews, with each ideology having their own “school,” or “branch.” Very few worldviews have been capable of escaping this kind of disorienting divide, a separation creating quarrels between individuals due to the fact that their sociopolitical ideologies can be expanded so broadly. The reason for this is quite simple really – these “ideologies” and “worldviews” that I speak of all target the state as a way to control the masses into doing what these individuals believe is best (or worst) for the world. Governance, as anyone with a basic understanding of political science knows, can be done in a variety of different ways, due to the fact that the state itself is a monopoly – an institution that has a monopoly on whatever it chooses through the “ideologies”. Therefore these ideologies which I speak of only vary on the level of violence they want the monopoly to utilize – this is what creates the “schools” and the “branches.” Continue reading

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