You are browsing the archive for 2014 November 06.

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Böhm-Bawerk and Entrepreneurship

November 6, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Murray Rothbard always maintained that Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, the teacher of Ludwig von Mises, was one of the greatest economists who ever lived.  And Böhm-Bawerk‘s influence on Rothbard’s great treatise, Man, Economy and State was pervasive.  Yet Böhm-Bawerk has never gotten his due, even from modern Austrian economists.  Indeed prominent Austrians have referred to Böhm-Bawerk as  a “Ricardian capital theorist” and to his project in capital theory as pointing toward  ”incomplete subjectivism.”  Now Matt McCaffrey and Joe Salerno set the record straight in their article “Böhm-Bawerk’s Approach to Entrepreneurship” just published in the Journal of the History of Economic Thought

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Catalonian Secession and ‘Pure’ Motives

November 6, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

686px-Localización_de_Cataluña.svg

The Catalonian regional government has signaled that it plans to go ahead with a vote on secession from Spain on Sunday, November 9. The Spanish central government insists that the vote is illegal and the Spanish state will not recognize any vote for secession. (Such a blatantly anti-democratic move from a European government will prove to be interesting the next time the Spanish government waxes philosophical about the need to impose democracy in some foreign land.)

It is fitting that the vote be scheduled on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall since that event, of course, began a process that led to the de facto secession of numerous states from what was in practice a Soviet megastate built on a system of client states throughout Eastern Europe. Hungary and Poland, et al were de jure independent states, but we all saw the reality behind that claim in 1956 in Hungary and 1968 in Prague.

I wonder, if today’s politicians in Madrid were sitting in their little velvet chairs in 1989, would they have disapproved of the Polish Solidarity vote, which essentially declared Poland to be free of Soviet rule? Or was that a “legal fraud” as the Madrid government calls the Catalonian vote? Most of the Eastern European moves toward independence were “illegal” as far as the Soviet state was concerned.  And yet, those unruly law breakers went ahead with them anyway. Those troublemakers.

“McMaken, you hack fraud,” some of my readers will say. “Don’t you know that the secessionists of Catalonia are not pure libertarians? Don’t you know many of them are even bigger socialists than the people in Madrid?” Why, yes, I am aware of this, just as I am aware of the fact that precious few of the freedom fighters in Eastern Europe were disciples of Frederic Bastiat. In fact, many of the freedom fighters, including those in Budapest in 1956 and those in Prague in 1968 were socialists in every conceivable way. Many were simply nationalists who wished to be ruled by other Hungarians or Czechs rather than by the Politburo in Moscow.

And so what? Should we therefore condemn the Hungarian Uprising because it was insufficiently pure in its motives? Should the demonstrators of East Berlin who brought down the wall been told by libertarians to get lost because they weren’t Misesians?

This is a terrible position to take and yet it is no different …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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5 of the Craziest Conspiracy Theories that Freshman Republicans Will Bring to Congress

November 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Brian Tashman, Rightwingwatch

Hoo boy! Some real gems just got elected.


This piece first appeared on RightWingWatchand is reprinted here with permission.

It turns out that by branding themselves as members of a party that has returned to its mainstream, center-right roots after successfully stamping out a Tea Party rebellion, even “establishment” Republican candidates are able to hold all sorts of extreme views without any consequences.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that a party that regularly endorses candidates who deny climate science and denounce evolution has moved the political center so far to the right that even candidates with radical views can still be treated as moderates. These days, Republicans win kudos simply for stating that they don’t want to ban birth control or destroy the economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.

This dynamic has allowed any number of conspiracy theories to flourish in the GOP. Here are five conspiracy theories that newly elected members of the United States Congress will be bringing with them to Washington next year:

1) Agenda 21 is Coming!

Agenda 21, a two-decade-old non-binding treaty on sustainable development methods, recently emerged as the latest source of right-wing anxiety.

Ted Cruz predicted that Agenda 21 will bring an end to paved roads and golf courses and Glenn Beck wrote a dystopian thriller about its dire consequences.

Senator-elect Joni Ernst, a Republican of Iowa, shares their fears. Last year, Ernst predicted that Agenda 21 agents may start “moving people off of their agricultural land and consolidating them into city centers and then telling them that you don’t have property rights anymore. These are all things that the UN is behind and it’s bad for the United States, bad for families here in the state of Iowa.”

She later warned that Agenda 21 will compel people to move into designated “urban centers” and “take away our individual liberties, our freedoms as United States citizens.”

2) Just Making Stuff Up About ISIS

Never mind the fact that there have been exactly zero official reports of ISIS members coming to the U.S. via the southern border, “closing the border” has emerged as a leading Republican talking point when describing …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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VIDEO: The Most Amazingly Beautiful Thing Neil DeGrasse Tyson Ever Said About the Universe and Us

November 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

The new movie “Interstellar” has nothing on the actual real-life wonder of it all.


There's a reason that Neil DeGrasse Tyson is the world's most popular astrophysicist. He articulates the amazing beauty of the universe like no one else. We'd even venture to say that the “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” host can make you feel the wonder of it all better than any movie about space travel could, and that includes this year's blockbuster “Interstellar.”

In his 2012 interview with Time magazine, DeGrasse Tyson was asked what the must “astounding fact about the universe was.” He answered in pure poetry, an answer so beautiful it might even make you cry.

In essence, he said, the universe contains us and we contain the universe. ”When I reflect on that fact, I look up, many people feel small cause they're small and the universe is big, but I feel big because my atoms came from those stars. There's a level of connectivity. That's really what you want in life. You want to feel connected. You want to feel relevant. You want to feel like you're a participant.”

There's more. A Youtuber by the name of Max Schlickenmeyer set DeGrasse Tysons gorgeous words to some gorgeous images. Take a look:

 

H/T: Business Insider

 

 

 

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Would You Eat a Pizza That Came Out of a Printer?

November 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Allegra Kirkland, AlterNet

3D printing is revolutionizing what we think of as food.


The idea of artificially manufactured, mass-produced food can conjure up some negative associations. There are the human-flesh-packed wafers fed to the starving masses in sci-fi classic Soylent Green; the schoolchildren forced to eat ground-up versions of each other in Pink Floyd’s The Wall; Willy Wonka’s meal-in-one stick of gum that turns Violet Beauregarde into a giant blueberry. But outside of the realm of fiction, scientists have been working on developing nutrition-packed, artificially preserved meal substitutes for decades. New technology like 3D printing is revolutionizing how these synthetic foods can be made.

Scientists at the U.S. Army’s Natick research center are spearheading an effort to create 3D-printed foods for soldiers in the field, as NPR reported this week. Because soldiers have to carry heavy gear on their backs and are on the move for hours at a time, they need lightweight, nutritious meals to bring with them. But the Natick team’s experiments go far beyond the shrink-wrapped MREs (meals ready to eat) that soldiers currently rely on for sustenance. In their vision, soldiers would be strapped with sensors that could measure potassium and cholesterol levels in real time. Lauren Oleksyk, the food technologist leading the team, elaborated:

“We envision to have a 3D printer that is interfaced with the soldier. And that sensor can deliver information to the computer software. And then they would be able to have either powdered or liquid matrices that are very nutrient dense, that they have on demand that they can take and eat immediately to fill that need.”

The Department of Defense has approved research funding, and the meals for soldiers are supposed to be ready for implementation by 2025. In the meantime, scientists are working on developing 3D foods for those working in similarly extreme conditions, like astronauts. Last year, Systems & Materials Research Corporation was awarded a $125,000 grant from NASA to create a “universal food synthesizer” for 3D-printed foods. The technology uses cartridges of carbohydrates, protein powders and oils, which could keep for up to 30 years, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The End of QE Is Not the End of Bad Policy

November 6, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Mises Daily Thursday by John Cochran:

The Fed has ended Quantitative Easing. But this does not mean the era of easy money is over. In fact, the data shows that the Fed’s policies will continue to ensure that malinvestments, instability, bust, and economic displacement will continue.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Message for the Pope: Caring for Poor Isn't Communist, but Advancing Statism Misguided

November 6, 2014 in Economics

By Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

I’ve always objected when leftists engage in moral preening about how they supposedly are more compassionate.

Europeans statists, for instance, claim to be more compassionate because their governments have greater levels of coercive redistribution. But I ask them why they think it’s compassionate to give away other people’s money. Then I shame them by showing data on how Americans are far more generous in terms of trying to help others with their own money.

I have the same debate in America. Take the issues of unemployment benefits. My leftist friends say that compassionate people should favor extended benefits. To which I reply by asking them why it’s good to pay people to not work and assert instead that genuine compassion should be defined by policies that enable people to find jobs and become self-reliant.

I raise this topic because the Pope recently made news by urging more compassion for the less fortunate, and he specifically said that raising the issue will lead some to think he’s a communist.

If you want to help the poor, push for economic growth rather than redistribution.”

Here are some excerpts from a news report in the U.K.-based Independent.

In one of his longest speeches as Pope, the Holy See outlined his views on a wide range of issues – from poverty and the injustices of unemployment to the need to protect the environment. Anticipating how his letter would be received by his critics, Francis declared that “land, housing and work are increasingly unavailable to the majority’ of the world’s population,” but said “If I talk about this, some will think that the Pope is communist.” “They don’t understand that love for the poor is at the centre of the Gospel,” he said. “Demanding this isn’t unusual, it’s the social doctrine of the church.”

Several people have asked my opinion about what the Pope said.

My initial instinct was to be very critical. After all, various news reports interpreted the Pope’s statement as an attack on capitalismand an embrace of the welfare state.

But since I know that the establishment media is biased and would want to portray the Pope’s comments as being supportive of statism, I didn’t want to make any unwarranted assumptions. So, I tracked down a transcript of the speech. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s only available (at least as of this writing) in Portuguese, Spanish, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Why Bridging the Gap to College for Low-Income Students Is As Important Today As It Ever Was

November 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Hines, AlterNet

A Q&A with the creator of Upward Bound, a half century after its creation.


It’s been 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson launched his historic “War on Poverty,” which aimed to bolster the federal government’s support of impoverished communities nationwide. As a result of Johnson’s efforts, the mid-1960s saw the birth of notable poverty-reducing initiatives such as Job Corps, Head Start, and the TRIO program—a group of “federal outreach and student services programs … designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Upward Bound, a program that works with high school-aged, low-income and first generation students to prepare them for college, is the signature program of TRIO and in the 50 years since its creation, has served more than 2 million students from America’s underserved communities. Notable alumni include actress Viola Davis, journalist John Quinones, DNC Vice-Chairwoman Donna Brazile, and the NBA’s Patrick Ewing.

On November 8, Upward Bound alumni, business leaders, elected officials, and educational leaders will gather at the Boston University Auditorium and Atrium to participate in a 50th Anniversary Symposium to honor the program’s achievements and plan for its future. In anticipation of this event, AlterNet’s education editor, Elizabeth Hines, spoke with the man credited as the architect of the Upward Bound initiative, Stan Salett. Salett, who is also the author of The Edge of Politics: Stories from the Civil Rights Movement, the War on Poverty & the Challenges of School Reform, spoke with us from his home in Washington, D.C. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Elizabeth Hines: As you get ready to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Upward Bound, tell us a little bit about its origins. Whose idea was the program, and how did it come to fruition?

Stan Salett: Well, I'm generally credited with the idea, but it came, as all ideas do, out of a specific social and political context that maybe is unique in our time.

There would have been no Upward Bound without the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement, in addition to pressing for the Civil Rights Act and for opening up public …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Majorities Vote for Nullification in Oregon and Alaska

November 6, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

B957

Alaska and Oregon have joined Colorado and Washington in nullifying federal laws against the possession and sale of marijuana (DC also approved a more tame measure):

Voters in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use Tuesday, following in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington, which legalized the drug in 2012. A ballot measure to legalize marijuana for medical purposes failed in Florida, the Associated Press reports, where voters failed to meet the 60 percent threshold needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

Also, buy this book.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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This Saturday: Live Streaming the Costa Mesa Mises Circle

November 6, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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The West Coast Regional Mises Circle in Costa Mesa is sold out, but be sure and mark your calendars so you can join us live via Mises.org. On November 8 —this Saturday— we’ll be broadcasting all the lectures and speeches from Costa Mesa. Check here at the blog for live streams and links.

Here’s the schedule:

Tentative Schedule (all times Pacific)
Grand Ballroom

10:20 a.m. Welcome
10:30 a.m. Jeff Deist “The Case for Optimism”
10:50 a.m. David Gordon “Thinkers Who Challenged the State”
11:10 a.m. Lew Rockwell “Against the State”
11:30 a.m. Presentation of the 2014 Mises Entrepreneurship Award to Louis E. Carabini
11:40 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch and discussion, bookstore open
1:00 p.m. Judge Andrew P. Napolitano “The Natural Law as a Restraint Against Tyranny”
1:30 p.m. Ron Paul “Freedom Doesn’t Come from Government”
2:00 p.m. break, bookstore open (final opportunity to purchase books for speakers to autograph)
2:20 p.m. Speaker Panel Q&A
3:00 p.m. Closing remarks
3:10 p.m. Adjourn

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE