You are browsing the archive for 2014 July 23.

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Highlights from Tuesday at Mises U

July 23, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Tuesday was another full day of lectures and talks at Mises University. for photos, see here and here. We’ve added 8 more lectures from Tuesday in mp3 format to the Mises U 2014 archives, including:

The Anarcho-Pacifism of Leo Tolstoy by 

The Economics of Fractional Reserve Banking by 

The Place of Finance and Financial Markets in a Free Society by 

Careers for Austrians by 

Monopoly, Competition, and Antitrust by 

Product Regulation by 

Calculation and Socialism by 

Entrepreneurship by 

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Tuesday at Mises U, Afternoon Lectures

July 23, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Photos from Tuesday at Mises U (Lunch and Morning Lectures)

July 23, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How to Start Reforming the Federal Reserve Right Now

July 23, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Mises Daily Wednesday by Brendan Brown:

All too many of the reforms being proposed for the central bank are just more of the same central planning. Real reform of the Fed begins with setting interest rates free, the abolition of deposit insurance, and ending the Fed’s position as lender of last resort.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How Much Digital Reading Stays inside You?

July 23, 2014 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

For more than 80 years, reading in print has been as natural for me as breathing. Someone writing about one of my books — not e-books — described me as a “voracious reader.”

That’s why I’ve been skeptical about the growing number of online courses that students are taking and the diverse digital reading they do on their own.

How much of this kind of reading and learning, I wonder, gets and stays inside them?

I’m receiving credible answers from the author of a forthcoming book that should be a must-read for all Americans concerned with having future generations skilled in critical thinking.

The book, Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (Oxford University Press, to be published next year), is by Naomi S. Baron, a professor of linguistics and executive director of the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning at American University.

Fortunately, you can now learn much of the essence of her research from her article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “How E-Reading Threatens Learning in the Humanities” (July 14).

As the title indicates, the scope of Baron’s research goes beyond online courses: “With the coming of e-readers, tablets and smartphones, reading styles underwent a sea change.”

In all the intense arguments about educational reform, I’ve seen very little about this “sea change” in reading and how it will affect the depth and range of thinking by future generations of Americans.

Baron continues: “For the past five years, I’ve been examining the pros and cons of reading on-screen versus in print. The bottom line is that while digital devices may be fine for reading that we don’t intend to muse over or reread, text that requires what’s been called ‘deep-reading’ is nearly always better done in print …

“Digital reading also encourages distraction and invites multitasking.”

Her survey research included university students here and in Germany and Japan. And “among American and Japanese subjects, 92 percent reported it was easiest to concentrate when reading in hard copy (was necessary). (The figure for Germany was 98 percent.) …

“Imagine wrestling with ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ while simultaneously juggling Facebook and booking a vacation flight.”

Of course, earlier in her article, Baron questions: “Are students even reading Milton or Thucydides or Wittgenstein these days?”

Or, I would add, how about Dostoevsky, Dickens, Mann and Tolstoy?

Among the common responses she got from students regarding what they most liked about reading in print (when they had to take time for it) was:

“I …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Polish Translations of Mises Daily articles at Instytut Misesa

July 23, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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The good people at the Polish Mises Institute (Instytut Misesa) inform me that my recent article on Scottish secession has been translated into Polish.

There are numerous other translations there as well, such as this one, a QJAE article by Thomas DiLorenzo.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Advocates Mourn the Passing of Anna Conte, a Child at the Center of New York's Battle for Medical Marijuana

July 23, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Death Fuels Demand for Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana for Critically Ill Patients in New York

New York — Anna Conte, a nine year old from Orchard Park, NY who passed away last week after falling into a coma following a severe seizure, was laid to rest today. Anna suffered from Dravet Syndrome, a life-threatening seizure disorder that has been treated with medical marijuana in states where it is legal. Medical marijuana has dramatically reduced the number of seizures in many children with similar seizure disorders.

July 23, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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D.C. Forgets about the Debt

July 23, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Although it is expected to top $17.6 trillion by August 1, the national debt has dropped out of the headlines recently. Out of sight may indeed mean out of mind, especially in Washington, but that hardly means the problem has gone away — as a new report from the Congressional Budget Office makes clear.

Let’s start with the good news. The annual budget deficit continues to decline. This year’s deficit is expected to be just $492 billion. Of course “just” is a relative term — a $492 billion deficit still means that we are borrowing 14 cents out of every dollar that we spend. Even so, this represents a marked improvement from the $1.4 trillion deficit that we ran as recently as 2009. And, next year’s deficit is projected to be even lower, possibly as low as $469 billion.

Unfortunately, this respite is expected to be very short-lived. As soon as 2016, the deficit will begin growing again. By 2023, it is likely to once again top $1 trillion.

These ongoing deficits mean that our national debt is only going to get bigger too. The CBO report reminds us that the debt has been growing by leaps and bounds recently, doubling over the last six years.

Today, every taxpayer owes $151,000 as his or her share of this debt. To this ocean of red ink, the CBO estimates that we will add an additional $9.4 trillion over the next ten years. And that’s the good news; after 2024, things really get bad.

The CBO estimates that debt held by the public, the portion of our national debt that economists consider most worrisome, will hold steady as a percent of the economy for the next few years, falling slightly from 74 percent of GDP, then rising slightly to 77 percent of GDP by 2023. But by 2039, it will rise to 106 percent of GDP.

Remember too, this represents only part of our national debt. If one includes intragovernmental debt (debt owed to government trust funds such as Social Security and Medicare), our national debt today is more than 103 percent of GDP, and will reach roughly 118 percent of GDP by 2025. The future unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare, beyond what is owed to the various trust funds, add another $66 trillion to that (in discounted present-value terms), bringing our real indebtedness to over 480 percent of GDP.

The CBO report also points out …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Who Pays for Public Employee Health Costs?

July 23, 2014 in Economics

The cost of health care for state and local government employees is increasing rapidly, as it is for workers across the economy. But adjusting to these cost increases is more difficult for state and local governments than for private businesses. In new research, Jeffrey Clemens and David M. Cutler examine how these governments adjust their budgets and services to handle the increasing burden.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Pointless Lying about US China Policy

July 23, 2014 in Economics

By Justin Logan

Justin Logan

In his book Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics, John Mearsheimer argues that because there’s so little trust in international politics—high politics in particular—there isn’t very much lying in international politics. That is, lying wouldn’t really do much good.

Yet American leaders constantly lie about US-China policy. They consistently protest when people claim the United States is encircling or containing China. But, in fact, Washington is encircling and containing China. In 2012, Washington declared it would devote 60 percent of its naval assets to the Asia-Pacific region. Washington is expanding its relationships with all countries that have territorial disputes with Beijing, and taking side with them in those territorial disputes.

The Obama administration justifies its Asia policy on the basis of an array of problems ranging from piracy, humanitarian needs, drug trafficking, and proliferation, among others. Except it’s ridiculous to argue that all these needs together require, or could be fixed by, 60 percent of US naval assets. In other words, the official justification for US military posture in Asia is ridiculous.

The biggest danger would be if U.S. policy elites began believing their own rhetoric about not containing China.”

The latest offender is Secretary of State John Kerry, who puffed up in outrage yesterday at a press conference during the Strategic and Economic Dialogue:

When I read some of the commentary about the United States and China, when I listen to some of the so-called experts, and they talk to us about our relationship, too many of them suggest that somehow the United States is trying to contain China, or that things that we choose to do in this region are directed at China. Let me emphasize to you today the United States does not seek to contain China. We welcome the emergence of a peaceful, stable, prosperous China that contributes to the stability and the development of the region, and that chooses to play a responsible role in world affairs…

Kerry’s statement is in keeping with a long list of American leaders and policy analysts who express similar exasperation at being accused of containing China, or even that US policy in Asia is driven by concern about China. So what’s going on here?

First of all, a Clintonian reading of the above could exonerate Secretary Kerry from charges of lying. (Mearsheimer may characterize Kerry’s performance as ambitious “spinning,” not lying.) In particular, the clause where …read more

Source: OP-EDS