You are browsing the archive for 2014 May 06.

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Peter Klein on Power Trading Radio

May 6, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

John O’Donnell interviews Dr. Peter Klein of Mises.org on the critique of the popular new book “Capital in the 21stCentury” by Thomas Piketty. The topics include income inequality cause and effect, role of Fed intervention in capital markets, malinvestment in boom/bust cycles with anemic price discovery and the 99% vs the 1% myth. They also discuss why boomers are working longer and the impact of youth joining the workplace.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Rand Paul Appears on Fox's Hannity with Eric Bolling – May 5, 2014

May 6, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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‘Some Basics of State Domination and Public Submission’ in French

May 6, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Thanks to Contrpoints for the French translation of Robert Higgs’s article that appeared here.

See: Les bases de la domination étatique et de la soumission populaire

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Mark Thornton on ‘Butler on Business’ This Week

May 6, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Mark Thornton discusses the latest data and the current state of the economy, plus what’s in store from the Fed. Dr. Thornton’s portion of the show begins at the 2-hour mark.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Does Economic Openness Lead to Better Food Access?

May 6, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

800px-Farming_near_Klingerstown,_Pennsylvania

By Sterling T. Terrell 

Maybe better access to quality food leads to obesity and related health problems for much of the developed world.  That, however, is a non-issue for the bulk of nations and people that lack access to quality food.

My question is:  On average, would a more open nation lead to better food access, quality, etc.?

To get at this, I looked at national data rankings published by The Economist, called the Global Food Security Index.  The index considers:  “the core issues of affordability, availability, and quality across a set of 107 countries. The index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative scoring model, constructed from 27 unique indicators, that measures these drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries.”

For example, countries with great access to food include: Switzerland, Singapore and the USA.  At the bottom of the list are nations like:  Congo, Chad, and Tongo.

To measure the other side of the coin, I used country by country ranking data from The Heritage Foundation found in their latest Index of Economic Freedom.  Heritage says:  “We measure economic freedom based on 10 quantitative and qualitative factors, grouped into four broad categories, or pillars, of economic freedom.”

The freest nations are listed as:  Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia.  The most repressed nations are listed as:  Zimbabwe, Cuba, and North Korea.

The methodology of the Global Food Security Index is here, the same for the Index of Economic Freedom is, here, under Q.3.

Nations that did not appear in both series were omitted.

So, is an open economy associated with better food access and quality?  I would have guessed yes, but what does the data say?

It turns out that a 1% increase on the Index of Economic Freedom equates, on average, to about a .53% rank increase on the Global Food Security Index.

Take a look.

Rwanda, of all places, seems to be a bit off its culinary track, with a #65 freedom ranking and a #97 food security ranking.

Nations like Brazil though, (ranked 114th in the world in terms of economic freedom) do not seem to fair too badly in their access to quality food.  Brazil comes in at 29th in the world on the Global Food Security Index.

France too is ranked 70th globally on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom while coming in at number 7 on The Economist’s Global Food Security Index.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Today: Providers, Patients and Caregivers from Across State Travel to Albany to Urge Legislature to Pass Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation

May 6, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By mfarrington

Advocacy Day Follows Announcement of Growing List of Supporters for the Compassionate Care Act, including The New York Academy of Medicine
Providers, Patients and Family Members from Across NY Available for Interviews

Albany – Today, more than a dozen patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers from across New York are gathering in Albany to press for passage of a comprehensive medical marijuana bill known as the Compassionate Care Act. The advocacy day follows a recent wave of growing support for the measure, including from The New York Academy of Medicine.
May 6, 2014

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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A Note on “Human Capital”

May 6, 2014 in Economics

By Peter G. Klein

BGCTC601

Like Peter LewinWalter BlockMario Rizzo, and Peter Boettke, I greatly admire the late Gary Becker, a pioneer in many areas of economics and sociology, a strong proponent of economic and personal freedom, and by all accounts a terrific teacher, mentor, and colleague. But I confess that I have always had qualms about the concept of “human capital,” along with the analogous constructs of social capital, knowledge capital, reputation capital, and so on. These are metaphors for capital in the narrow sense, and I worry that the widespread use of “capital” to denote anything valuable and long-lived obscures important issues about actual, physical capital that can be divided up, measured, priced, and exchanged. Witness the confusion over “capital” as Thomas Piketty uses the term. Here is something I wrote before:

[O]ne of my pet peeves [is] the expansive use of “capital” to describe any ill-defined substance that accumulates and has value. Hence knowledge, experience, and skills become “human capital” or “knowledge capital”; relationships become “social capital”; brand names become “reputation capital”; and so on. I fear this terminology obfuscates more than it clarifies.

I don’t mind using these terms in a loose, colloquial sense: By going to school I’m investing in human capital or diversifying my stock of human capital; if this gets me a high-paying job I’m earning a good return on my human capital; as I get old I forget new things, so my human capital is depreciating rapidly; and so on.

But we shouldn’t take these metaphors too literally. In economic theory capital refers either to financial capital or to a stock of heterogeneous alienable assets, goods that can be exchanged in markets and analyzed using price theory. Their rental prices are determined by marginal revenue products and their purchase prices are given by the present discounted value of these future rents. Knowledge is not, strictly speaking, capital, because it is not traded in markets does not have a rental or purchase price. What markets trade and price is labor services, and it is impossible to decompose the payments to labor (wages) into separate “effort” and “rental return on human capital” components. Some labor services command a higher market price than others because they have a higher marginal revenue product. Some of this wage premium may be due to intelligence or experience, some due to complementarities with other human or nonhuman assets, some due to hard work, and so on. But …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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What the National Climate Assessment Doesn’t Tell You

May 6, 2014 in Economics

The Obama Administration on Tuesday released the latest version of the National Climate Assessment—a report which is supposed to detail the potential impacts that climate change will have on the United States. The report overly focuses on the supposed negative impacts from climate change while largely dismissing or ignoring the positives from climate change. This bias, say Cato scholars Chip Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels, has serious implications throughout the federal regulatory process.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Five Libertarian Ideas #16 – YAL Cal Con 2014, Liberty movement activism, war in Ukraine

May 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster

Ukrainian counter-terrorism operations
In my opinion the Ukrainian army is fully justified in waging counter-terror operations. Had the pro-Russian Ukrainians assembled peacefully and called for plebiscites in their various cities, then I would welcome their secession and voluntary association with Russia. Instead, Russian Special Forces infiltrated the Ukraine and have assembled militias and mobs to use violent measures to conquer eastern Ukraine for Russia. A national army’s chief objective is NATIONAL DEFENSE, and the Ukrainian army is doing what it can to defend Ukraine from an invasion. -4/19

Liberty movement activism
Fighting for liberty is a difficult road; assume it’s a lonely one. Assume the people you love will stop loving you. Assume your friends will turn their backs on you. Assume that you’ll be walking this road ALONE for 20 years. THEN you’re ready for anything that may come. Now keep walking, brothers and sisters. -4/22

YAL California State Convention 2014
YAL Cal Con was freaking awesome! It’s great to know that libertarians may argue online over stupid differences to the point where they resort to pistols at dawn, but put them in a room together and they party like combat veterans at war’s end. -4/27

Russian hypocrisy in Ukraine
So, after admitting that the “Crimean Self-Defense Forces” (a.k.a. the Little Green Men) REALLY WERE Russian Special Forces troops, KGB Colonel Vladimir Putin insists that Russia has NOTHING to do with the self-proclaimed “People’s Republic of Donetsk” in eastern Ukraine. Better yet, despite claims that Ukrainian-Russians are liberating themselves from “fascists”, the so-called People’s Governor of Donetsk is an actual Russian neo-Nazi. -4/27

Possible U.S./UN intervention in Ukraine
I don’t support sending my brothers and sisters in arms to eastern Europe to intervene in an ethnic civil war. Ukraine is GOING to lose more chunks in the east to Russia. If Kiev wants to avoid losing ALL of the east to the neo-Soviet Empire, they NEED to hold plebiscites in every eastern county, which must be administered and votes counted by neutral Switzerland. -4/27

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YAL State Conventions 2014 banner courtesy of Young Americans for Liberty

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Source: ZACH FOSTER RANTS