You are browsing the archive for 2014 July.

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Jim Grant: “The Federal Reserve Has So Little Self-Awareness…”

July 30, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

…it un-ironically wonders aloud who’s been suppressing volatility and compressing yields. “Who could it be who’s been doing that?” Grant asks.

Grant notes there are some investment opportunities in Russia and then says “One form of investment that is almost as thoroughly hated as Russia is gold and gold mining shares.” He the nexplains that gold “is a sound inoculation against the harebrained doctrine of modern central bankers,” and important when dealing with “the likely crackup” of modern monetary arrangements.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Default, Argentina!

July 30, 2014 in Economics

By Christopher Westley

Flag_map_of_Argentina.svg

Regarding Nicolás Cachanosky’s insightful article this morning on Argentina’s coming default, I would just add that it can’t come soon enough.  Although one can only imagine what kinds of behind-the-scenes pressure Argentine President Cristina President Kirchner and central bank head Juan Carlos Fábrega are under right now to pay these bonds, Argentina should continue with its default. It’s the only moral choice. If it doesn’t default, it will (i) maintain its creditworthiness in the future, which only puts off for another day the inevitable end to the government’s tax-borrow-spend policies that only favor the political class and well-positioned cronies, and (ii) it imposes Greece-like austerity on the remaining productive sectors and other innocent parties when real austerity would imply vastly reducing the size and scope of the Argentine state. If it defaulted and the government was finally deemed a credit risk by the World Bank (and its cronies), then the government’s ability to intervene in the economy would be severely hampered and incentives for real savings and sustainable economic growth would finally reappear.

I wrote about the “upside of Argentina’s default” back in 2002 here.  The argument still stands.  A default today can only help to normalize them in other western countries, to the great benefit to future generations.  Make those establishment parties who bought Argentina’s bonds assume the risk themselves.  Using international courts to bail them out only harms the Argentine people who will have to pay for them through taxes and inflation in the future while it perpetuates moral hazards that exist well beyond the confines of Manhattan and Buenos Aires.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Governor Cuomo Highlights Urgency For Swift Implementation of New York's Medical Marijuana Program

July 30, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Need for Emergency Access is Clearer than Ever with Recent Deaths

Patients, Families, and Advocates Thank Cuomo and Urge His Continued Leadership and Action to Ensure Critically Ill Patients Receive Immediate Access to Medicine

New York — Today, Governor Cuomo called for swift implementation of New York’s recently passed medical marijuana law. Since the medical marijuana bill was signed into law on July 7, three children who suffered from severe seizure disorders have already passed. These deaths have made even clearer what we already knew – the eighteen month or longer timeline for implementing New York’s medical marijuana law is simply too long for some patients who face life-threatening or terminal illnesses.

July 30, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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July’s ‘The Free Market’ Is Here!

July 30, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

fm_july_cover

The July issue of The Free Market is now available online, with a new essay on money from Joe Salerno and an interview with Randy Holcombe about his new economics textbook.

Salerno explores some misconceptions about money and the new “gold standard” proposed by Steve Forbes:

In other words Forbes’s “stable and flexible” gold standard would facilitate and camouflage an inflationary expansion of the money supply that would, according to Austrians, distort capital markets and lead to asset bubbles. The motto of our current gold-price fixers seems to be: “We want sound money—and plenty of it.”

And Holcombe discusses his new textbook on Austrian economics designed for mainstream economics classes:

Economics students, including undergraduates, are groups I am targeting with the book. The book is not an introductory economics text from an Austrian perspective, and assumes that the reader already knows some economics. But even a student who has only taken an introductory economics course will have enough background to understand what is in the book. The idea was to write a book for people who already know some economics, but are not familiar with the Austrian School. There are lots of people with some background in economics who have heard of the Austrian School, but don’t have a good idea about what distinguishes the Austrian School from mainstream economics, or from other schools of thought.

July’s issue will also give you the latest on our new series of audio interviews, Mark Thornton’s debate at Oxford, plus the latest from our alumni and scholars.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Mises University 2014

July 30, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

misesU_portrait

The faculty and students of Mises U 2014 (many more photos here and here and here):

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Rand Paul Appears on PBS News Hour- July 29, 2014

July 30, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Huerta de Soto on the Spanish Scholastics in Chinese

July 30, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

soto

I earlier linked to this talk at the Segovia Cathedral by Jesús Huerta de Soto about the Spanish Scholastics. Now, it has been subtitled  in Chinese (presumably Mandarin) by Tyler Xiong Yue with the assistance of Mises Institute 2014 Summer Fellow Jingjing Wang. Click here for the video.  

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Border Patrols Backfire

July 30, 2014 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

President Obama’s recent request for billions of dollars to address the surge in unaccompanied children across the U.S.-Mexico border has ignited fierce criticism. Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas blame Obama’s supposedly lax enforcement policies. Democrats blame the surge on a humanitarian crisis in Central America.

While both narratives bear some truth, both miss how our immigration restrictions and border enforcement have created the current mess.

Migration from Central America and Mexico used to be circular. Migrants would come for a season or a few years to work, move back home, then return to the USA when there was more work. This reigned from the 1920s to 1986, when Congress passed the more restrictive Immigration Reform and Control Act.

Tough immigration rules lock illegal migrants inside the USA as well as locking them out.”

Before 1986, when circular migration was in effect, 60% of unauthorized immigrants on their first trip here would eventually settle back in their home countries rather than in the United States, and 80% of undocumented immigrants who came back on a second trip eventually returned home.

Since 1986, the rate of return for first-time border crossers has fallen to almost zero. The return rate of second-time crossers has fallen to a mere 30%. What happened? In the mid-1980s, the government began spending massive resources to stop unauthorized immigrants from coming in the first place. By trying to keep them out, increases in border security locked them in.

There are more Border Patrol agents chasing fewer new undocumented immigrants than at almost anytime in our history. Since 1992, the number of Border Patrol agents has increased fivefold. Apprehensions this year, a proxy measure for the number of illegal crossers, will likely be about a quarter of the 2000 peak of 1.7 million.

Border security raised the smuggling price of migrating from about $700 in the early 1990s up to $7,500 this year. That greater price means migrants would have to work longer in the USA to cover their costs, making the cost of leaving and returning prohibitive. Many unauthorized migrants, faced with the higher costs of crossing the border, decided to stay permanently, another unintended consequence of U.S. policies aimed at restricting illegal immigration.

If the parents cannot move back and forth, their children will come north. The increase in unlawful immigrant workers from Central America is being followed by their children coming …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Government's Ultimate Power: Executing Americans, with Atrocities

July 30, 2014 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

I have been reporting for years on the kinds of executions that led Justice Harry Blackmun to declare in a Feb.22, 1994, dissent (Callins v. Collins) that he would no longer vote for the death penalty:

“The problem is that the inevitability of factual, legal and moral error gives us a system that we know must wrongly kill some defendants, a system that fails to deliver the fair, consistent and reliable sentences of death required by the Constitution.”

And Justice William Brennan told me more than once: “I can’t believe that the leader of the free world is going to keep on executing people. I still believe that eventually we become more civilized. It would be horrible if we didn’t.”

In addition to the increasing revelations that some prisoners on death row are innocent, there is the increasing shock — and I mean “shock” — of how some states carry out executions with the approval of the courts, including our highest court.

I knew Justice Brennan well, and I have no doubt how he would react to this July 24 press release from the always-carefully documented Washington, D.C.-based Constitution Project:

“Yesterday, Joseph R. Wood III was pronounced dead after a nearly two-hour long execution by the state of Arizona. Media witnesses, some of whom have observed previous executions, reported that Wood gasped for air more than 600 times during the execution.

“The process was so prolonged that Wood’s attorneys filed for a stay of execution in the midst of it, which was then rendered moot once Wood was pronounced dead” (“Transparency Needed Before Executions Continue,” The Constitution Project, July 24).

I asked if Wood’s 600 gasps was a typo and was assured it was not.

Quoted in the release is the former governor of Texas, Mark White, co-chair of The Constitution Project’s Death Penalty Committee:

“This was the fourth reported botched execution of the year. And in each one of these cases, the government has concealed vital information concerning the source, safety, and efficacy of the drugs to be used in the execution, refused to reveal information concerning the training and skill of the personnel involved in carrying out the execution, while also using drugs never before used to kill humans. Meanwhile, the courts continue to look the other way.”

Keep in mind: “Using drugs never before used to kill humans.”

But an execution in Kentucky that I’d previously reported on used a way of killing that many states …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Rapid Bus: A Low-Cost, High-Capacity Transit System for Major Urban Areas

July 30, 2014 in Economics

Prompted by federal funding, more than 30 American cities have built or are building new rail transit lines. These expensive lines have debatable value as they put transit agencies in debt and impose high maintenance costs, yet they carry few riders more than the buses they replace and produce minimal, if any, environmental benefits. In a new study, Cato scholar Randal O’Toole proposes an alternative to rail transit: a “rapid bus” system that would offer fast, frequent, and comfortable transportation to most people in an urban area.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES