Links for March 21, 2010: Backlog O’Links 2

March 13, 2011
  • It just makes sense.

  • But it’s been a challenge to convince anyone otherwise. “This is the heart of the problem—money from the Byrne grants,” Piper says. It’s money for overtime. Money for promotions. It’s policing for profit.”

    This great Philadelphia Weekly cover story highlights the embarrassing racial disparity among marijuana arrestees. There is also a great discussion on police incentives to boost pot arrests to show they are making use of stimulus money. And for what? Marijuana prohibition is simply crooked all around.   Read the rest of this entry »


  • Links for July 19, 2010: To Stimulate or Not To Stimulate; What Police Can Do; much, much more….

    July 18, 2010

      Paul Krugman: Boost aggregate demand! Muahahaha!!!

    1. It’s good to hear Krugman speak and respond to questions. The thrust of this discussion is that the opposition to the stimulus is a visceral reaction, not an intelligent one. Although some guests early on questioned the empirical efficacy of the stimulus, we did really not hear from any Thomas E. Woodses or any Peter Schiffs who maintained, in quite an intellectual fashion, that the stimulus is simply bad economic policy. Krugman remarks toward the end that he doesn’t see stimulus jobs as “makework” jobs. I do not understand how this position can be honestly defended alongside the position that we now need government to “boost aggregate demand”, i.e. create demand where none existed before. What is the purpose of the stimulus if it is not to “make work”? If these were not “makework” jobs, we would do them anyway. We would not need an economic crisis as a pretense for passing $700 billion spending bills. For a response to the assertion that Roosevelt’s slashing of the deficits caused a recession in 1937, see this. For a response to the assertion that World War II spending lifted the U.S. economy out of the depression, listen here, starting at 32:17.  Read the rest of this entry »


    Links for July 12, 2010: Is the Energy Star Program a Rubber Stamp?; Much Ado About the Economy, Economics; Much, Much More!

    July 11, 2010
    1. The Government Accountability Office tested the government’s Energy Star program with phony products and found it essentially to be a rubber stamp–except that only 15 of 20 products were accepted and two were rejected.  I wish they’d explained the rejections in a little more detail.

    2. Every time a libertarian stays in the closet, an angel gets its wings ripped off.

    3. We need you out here!!! I highly recommend listening to Mises.org podcasts and watching Reason.tv. After a while, you’ll come to realize that you have ready responses to every statist argument that comes down the tube.  Also, take Christopher Hitchens’s sage advice to heart.

    4. “The Conscience of a Liberal”: Calling your opponent “bizarre” and “crazy” = Checkmate!!! See full ThinkMarkets.wordpress.com response hereRead the rest of this entry »


    Links for June 7, 2010: The Greecing of America, A Libertarian Answer to Oil Spills, Ayn Rand as a “Gateway Drug”, others….

    June 6, 2010
    1. Debt crisis: Coming soon to a country near you…

    2. Greece PM threatens lawsuit against United States investment banks for their “role” in the Greek government’s uncontrolled spending spree. Whatever. In other news, the threat made Democracy Now! headlines, sans, of course, any reference to Greece’s massive public debt–apparently 113% of GDP. Maybe they already did a show on it??

    3. There has been an uneasy dearth of commentary from my favorite libertarian sources on the BP oil spill. Here is one of the best posts I’ve come across explaining what libertarianism could have done, and can still do, for the Gulf. Read the rest of this entry »


    Links for March 2, 2010: Noam Chomsky on Ron Paul Supporters, A Marxist Response to the “Mudpie Argument”, others….

    March 3, 2010
    1. YouTube | Noam Chomsky on Ron Paul & his supporters

      A fundamental disagreement I have with Chomsky is that, whereas he seems universally to recognize the authority of democracy, I do not. Chomsky reassures us that alien forces such as government are not trying to steal our money through taxation. We should rejoice on tax day, Chomsky argues, because it is only a majority of our brethren who have voted to steal our money from us for the purposes that “we” (read “they”) have agreed upon. The assumption is that we all always assent to democracy. I do not accept that assumption. The cliche to remember is tyranny of the majority. Fifty-one percent of the people have have no inherent right to the property of the other forty-nine percent. If some members of the forty-nine percent wish to waive their property rights in the name of democracy, they may. To force this waiver, however, is simply tyranny of the majority. We all know how much Chomsky hates tyranny! Read the rest of this entry »


    Links for February 26, 2010: Consumer Advocacy Group Sues FDA Over the Right to Sell Raw Milk, Marx’s Capital gets lamer, others…

    March 2, 2010

    Raw Milk: The Assassin of Youth (Photo: Chedid)

    1. Grist | Farmer-consumer group challenges FDA authority to ban interstate raw-milk sales

      Commerce Clause challenge FAIL! These people are wasting their time. Don’t they know that the Supreme Court has essentially interpreted the Commerce Clause as a grant of general authority to regulate everything everywhere? The milk does not even need to cross state lines for the FDA to have authority to regulate and control it.

    2. World Socialist Party (US) | Socialist Guide to Marx’s Capital (3. Labor Theory of Value)

      Describing Marx’s labor theory of value begins to appear as the sprawling of a web of lies. “It is an easy thing to tell a lie,’ wrote Thomas Paine, “but it is more difficult to support a lie after it is told.” Whenever Marx is confronted with a completely disarming counter-example to his already jury-rigged theory, his solution is to invent a new term of art to describe the phenomenon, which he then “goes on to examine” in a future chapter or volume of exponentially increasing body of “work”. Here, the author of this article sua sponte offers the example of the celebrity autograph, which is often exchanged on the market at a high price, even though a negligible amount of labor went into its production. Marx’s solution, apparently, is to invent a new term of art, formal commodity, and then explain the relevance of formal commodities away through impressive feats of mental contortionism. When the dust settles, we see no explanation as to why autographs are often expensive. Read the rest of this entry »


    Studying Karl Marx’s Capital From a Libertarian Perspective, Chapter 1, Section 1: The Two Factors of a Commodity: Use Value and Value

    February 27, 2010
    (audio source: Libravox via Internet Archive)

    A given commodity, e.g., a quarter of wheat is exchanged for x blacking, ...

    Marx begins Capital by describing what I would call a commodity’s “trinity of value“.  The trinity consists of use value, exchange value, and value.  These are all terms of art that are to be used with precision.  Use value, in my interpretation, is most analogous what I would call “value”¹.  It is largely subjective and impossible to quantify.  An item’s exchange value, in my interpretation, is analogous to what we would today call fair market value, or market price, and is measurable in terms of what one might expect to receive for the item if one intended to exchange on the market.  Ironically, the term value has no analogy among my previously-held notions of “value”.  To Marx, value arises out of the “socially-necessary labor time” required to produce a commodity.  To me, the amount of labor necessary to produce a commodity is irrelevant to the commodity’s “value”.  Quite to the contrary, a potential item’s latent, pre-existing “value”, i.e demand, is usually what induces the labor necessary to make the item in the first place.  Labor is the effect of “value”, not its cause.  Nonetheless, to facilitate the proper interpretation of the term value as Marx will inevitably continue to use it, I will assign to the term value the definition that Marx has assigned it, however useless I find the concept to be.  Read the rest of this entry »