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Economic Freedom and the Early American Republic

June 7, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Shawn Ritenour writes:

Three days ago I had the honor of delivering the Founders Lecture in Pittsburgh sponsored by the Center for Vision and Values. My topic was “Economic Freedom and the Early American Republic.” I gave the audience a whirlwind tour of the variety of economic ideas that were current in the minds of the founders. I highlighted the distinction between the mercantilism of James Steuart and the political economy of Adam Smith. I also cited the ethics of property affirmed by Samuel Willard and John Witherspoon, the economic analysis of American Pelatiah Webster and the importance of the early French Liberal school.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Negative Interest Rates– Only The Start?

June 7, 2014 in Economics

By Hunter Lewis

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As Ryan McMaken noted on June 5,  the European Central Bank has instituted negative interest rates for member banks. This could soon spread to the US and also to consumer accounts. If so, you would find money taken out of your bank account each quarter unless you spend it. Some observers think that in the US at least it will start with higher account fees, which will be stealth negative interest rates, and then move to overtly negative rates.

The idea is that if low rates are not yet persuading you to spend, then why not punish you even more for saving. To make this more effective, there would also be a push for all electronic money, to keep you from stashing any away from the confiscation agents. Ken Rogoff, leading Harvard (and Republican) economist has just recommended this to facilitate negative interest rates and in general to increase government control over cash.

This is far from the only “innovation” that could be coming our way. In a speech on June 4, San Francisco Fed Chairman John Williams suggested that the Fed should at least take a look at “nominal income targeting.” He said this could be “a creative way to bend the curve in terms of macroeconomic and financial stability trade-offs.” What this gobbledegook means is that the Fed would simply create money and then distribute it to parties in danger of bankruptcy and foreclosure.

Isn’t that a great idea? Why stop with the bail-out of big banks when you can bail out anyone who gets in financial trouble? That would guarantee the zombification of the economy that is already well underway. Bad business ideas and badly managed companies would live forever at the expense of good ideas and well managed companies.

Here are some other daft ideas being discussed in central banking and other circles:

1. Take a leaf from Japan by forcing banks to lend in return for Fed support.

2. Hold interest rates down but simultaneously drive inflation up to as much as 5-6%. With real interest rates at negative 5%, borrowing will soar. What isn’t clear in this scenario is why lenders will want to lend, but they can always be forced to do so.

3. Create even more money and use it to buy corporate bonds, stocks, real estate, anything that can be bought, which will flood the economy with money.

Some of the ideas waiting in the wings are not …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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New York First: Patients and Caregivers Build & Drive Medical Marijuana Float at Marcellus Olde Home Days Parade to Urge Action on Compassionate Care Act

June 7, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By mfarrington

Comprehensive Bill Currently Stalled in Senate Finance Committee Chaired by Senator John DeFrancsico, Who Represents Marcellus and Surrounding Areas
As Senate Leadership Delays Action, Patients and Families Continue to Suffer

Marcellus, NY – Today, dozens of parents of children with epilepsy and patients living with multiple sclerosis and other serious, debilitating medical conditions paraded down Main Street in Marcellus with a float to draw attention to the Compassionate Care Act (S.4406-C/Savino and A.6357-B). The group also hosted a booth at the festival following the parade to educate parade goers about how the bill could help alleviate the suffering of New Yorkers with serious illnesses or debilitating conditions.

June 8, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Technology Will Not Save Us

June 7, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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States have a long tradition of bringing the best and the brightest into its sphere. The National Socialists, for example, certainly had no shortage of highly qualified and ingenious intellectuals on its side, from a great many medical doctors and engineers, to brilliant intellectuals like Albert Speer and Leni Riefenstahl. The Soviet regime employed no shortage of more-than-adequate engineers, physicists, filmmakers, and musicians. Some of history’s greatest advertising minds and writers (i.e. propagandists) have worked for states. (Of course, the US government had no problem with hiring Nazi scientists.)

The private sector may have invented aviation and wireless communications, but states were the ones who stole billions in tax revenues for the purpose of pouring billions into development of new technology for use by the state and its many highly-intelligent employees.

Robert Higgs knew all of this when he recently wrote:

Many of my friends think of the state as stupid, and therefore an easy foe for determined dissidents to defeat. I have a different view.

For one thing, the state has always had ready resort to those with cutting-edge expertise in the private sector, from the days when it hired Eli Whitney to manufacture muskets with interchangeable parts to our own time, when it hires Oracle, Microsoft, and a host of other high-tech companies to help it spy on us. History has shown that no task is so revolting and criminal that the state cannot attract private contractors to carry it out.

True enough. It is naive in the extreme to think that some new invention will render the state irrelevant, as if the state were in incapable of figuring out how to use new innovation to tighten its grip on on the taxpayers. If no one at the state knows how to do it, then the state will simply hire someone who can.

The state was already hard at work making Silicon Valley its latest adjunct when Julian Assange penned “The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil” in response to the fact that Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Jared Cohen, a former adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now director of Google Ideas, were being warmly welcomed into the bosom of the American national security state, where they are “advisors.”

The new digital age of the global techno-elites is just the next step in a global order run by states for states. Says Assange:

“The New Digital Age” is a …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Five Libertarian Ideas #19 – Ron Swanson, Troops for Ron Paul

June 7, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster