Posts Tagged ‘Mises Institute’

There Is a Free Lunch at The Mises Diner

February 3, 2010

One of the most common dictums thrown at one in America when one is growing from pupdom to wolfdom is “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” You hear this not only from cynical socialists, who feel that no Capitalist would ever give away anything for free unless he expected a higher return by the action, but also from hardboiled business types, who think that if a deal sounds too good, there’s always a catch in it, and who think that all other businessmen think exactly as they do.

But this duo of sceptics would be contradicted not by any swindling capitalist or even greater swindling socialist, but by the most pro-Capitalist, pro-free-market outfit in America: the Mises Institute; for what the Institute has done is not only made available copies of many of the classics of the Libertarian-Austrian School of Economics philosophical-economic outlook for free, but now, in the last few weeks, added a whole new raft of recordings to be inspected with a circumspect ear (to mix metaphors). These latest jewels of scholarship include two series of lectures delivered by Professor Murray N. Rothbard at the NY Polytechnic Institute in 1986, an excellent reading of A. J. Nock’s “Our Enemy, the State” by Jock Coats of Oxford, essays of Herbie Spencer, as well as readings by Jeff Riggenbach, who is also an excellent reader with a rich, resonant voice. (Herbie Spencer, known as Herbert to his friends, was a late 19th century British Libertarian-leaning essayist, who, according to Rothbard, became more statist as he aged. You can see this in the upper half of his face, which became like a human being later in life, while the lower half retained its wolf-like hirsuteness.) And the cherry is a brief, crisp recording of a short lecture Mises gave during an interlude in the US Steel corporation’s program in 1962, in which he explains why the free-market is so different from the old monarchies and church-dominated societies. (The reason is, if you’re curious to know, because instead of expropriating wealth by looting or taxation, which the king or church-priesthood had done is olden times, the free-market requires that a man serve his fellow men in some useful capacity by expending energy, and he will only be able to garner a living if he can fulfill some useful need. Therefore, his wealth is dependent on the consumer, not on legalized looting, and each consumer must, in turn, find something to turn his hand to so that he may procure the wherewithal to secure those commodities he needs for survival, or wants as fripperies. Thus the consumers, and not the kings, priesthood, or even the businessmen, are the real kings in a true free-market economy.Like Rothbard, Mises could make pellucid murky economic problems with a comparatively short, understandable explanation.)

The two Rothbard series of lectures feature one on a history of America from 1870 through King Roosevelt II from an Austrian School economic perspective, and several on the basics of economics like Value, and the Determination of Prices. These constitute the brown rice and beans (bread and butter for you junkfooders) of economic understanding, which can then be applied to the gallimaufry of American political history. Rothbard’s technique of historical analysis, which always asks “Qui bono?”, who benefits from a specific piece of legislation?, is one that logically explains not only the vast giveaways of the public’s wealth that were doled out to corporations during the 19th and 20th centuries, but the current massive giveaways by Obama, Geithner, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Frank, and that whole gang of “experts”, well paid at the public university’s feeding troughs, who said that the sky would fall if we didn’t bail out the megabanks, AIG, and Detroit. The same lies, the same “sky is falling” arguments, and it’s a hundred and forty years later. The same liers; the same gullible public quickly gulled, like the flocks at the seashore, with a few crumbs of bread that will be piled on the backs of the unborn. Socialists don’t give a damn about the unborn slaves that will have to slog for years to pay off the debt that they are building up right now so that those corporations they say are too big to fail can continue to give their enormous bonuses. They are the sadistic torturers of the unborn.

But the new items on the menu should not blind one to the solid, staple fare that Mises has in the pantry of its archives. There, for example, is Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty”, perhaps the first book any would-be neophyte Libertarian should read, perused aloud in excellent rendition by Jeff Riggenbach. No need to strain the eyes now, you can listen to it while taking the (subsidized) public transport, or while waiting to have your genitalia examined by a lusty Brunehilde at the airport. Thank goodness we Americans still have a “Right to Privacy”, eh what?

Anyway, there is plenty of “free lunch” for us Capitalists to stuff our brains with until bursting at the Mises Diner. Fortunately, unlike the fare at many other Brain Diners, there are no brain-clogging cholesterols of lies, no mind-hardening triglycerides of Leftist propaganda, no simplistic schemes like the money crank’s idea of printing up money and handing it out as a solution to shortages, or the Georgeist’s taxing land only. There is only economic truth, amazing in its simplicity after baffling economist theoreticians for over 2000 years, explained in the Woody Allenesque, quickfire, pace of Professor Rothbard, and always sprinkled with lots of humourous quips which usually are pretty good.

So don’t let the cynics give you any of their guff. At the Mises Diner, there is such a thing as a free lunch.

Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

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“The Freeman” For Free, Man: A Libertarian’s Dream

July 16, 2009

Silverwolf has been exposing his brain neurons to a new set of those black little smudges, arranged in conventionally fixed orders, that the humans call “words”. These words make up back-issues of “The Freeman”, a Libertarian periodical that published from the mid-50s to the early 60s which the Mises Institute has just put online for the public’s perusal. It was incredible to read the criticisms of President Eisenhower, as a born-again New Dealer, and the Republican Party as not an opposite to the Democratic big-government statists, but a collaboration outfit. It reminded one exactly of the criticisms Presidential-candidate Ron Paul made of his own party during the campaign of ’08. (That’s 2008, for those of you reading this post centuries and millenia from now.) Many were the writers bemoaning the demise of Capitalism before the onslaught of the growing Socialist State, and a few months after Eisenhower’s inauguration, that were already saying that this was just a Truman dressed as General Eisenhower. Many more predicted an inevitable collapse of America now that Socialism has been institutionalized, not only in government, but in the mindset of the masses of Americans. Thoroughly brainwashed, they maintained, the vast majority took without critical thought the axioms of the New Dealers. One finds the exact same mentality today, methinks.

Did those early anti-Statist haters of Communism and Nazism think that it would take 54 years for their prognostications to come true? Methinks not. But now, before our eyes, we are watching the de-rollment of that final descent into the chaos of Socialism, and unfortunately we have a very charismatic President who, knowing he is bright, thinks he is always right, and who has mainly made a living from the public coffers, teaching law and serving in Congress. Unfortunate America probably needs a small businessman as President, as broadly read and charismatic as Obama, but solidly in the tradition of Austrian Economics, amalgamated to the Old Right’s love of the Jeffersonian Bill of Rights and Individualism,  so she can be lead by someone who has had to earn every penny they have through the Free Market, and that after surviving income taxes reaping 25-50% of the fruits of their labor. But college professors at public universities, who know that their bread is buttered by the coercive confiscation of somebody elses wealth, because someone decides that “public universities” are a right and a good, have never had to survive in a Capitalist market from day to day. Once they have tenure, they are on easy street, as long as they show up every day, smile, and don’t get angry at anyone in public. And this, despite centuries of having multitudes of private universities and colleges, who must compete with one another for the fees, and pay their professors according to the quality of their work, depending on how much revenue their lecturing can willingly bring in.  There is no need for “public universities”, because without regulation, private schools will come about when those who have a passion for it, and see a profit in it at the same time, set them up. (However, Silverwolf would agree with Jefferson that their might be a place for government’s trying to non-coercively insure that every citizen of the Republic learn how to read, so that at least they can read the Constitution and Bill of Rights. But nowadays, this could more easily be done through the internet, instead of setting up this abhorrent Behemoth of public schools, that provides welfare jobs to the mostly mediocre teachers and staff, while stifling and boring to death the youth of America as they are brainwashed into group-think, and while taxing local property owners, many retirees living on pensions, outrageously.)

Yes, it’s a shame that this highly read, polished, and charismatic President should have and believe incorrect principles of economics. But the Public University does that to the mind because, if its “raison d’etre” were to be examined, it would have to dissolve itself immediately on the grounds of immorality. Yet it purports to exist based on principles of morality. And here we have the essence of its hypocrisy.

The President really needs to take a weekend off from stewarding America and hit the books, like Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” or Mises’ “Interventionism”. Perhaps it will hit him what he is doing wrong. But that would necessitate his repudiating the way he made a living for years, before becoming President. Yet without the experience of being a wage slave or a small businessman in America, having to cope with all the problems thrown at you by Big Government that dissipate so much of the life energy of Americans, Silverwolf doesn’t think these books would get through to him. Many who have had their Rights trampled on by racists and group-image perpetuators, seem to forget that immoral economics also violates the Rights of everyone. Rosa Parks and the American small Capitalist have a lot more in common than President Obama seems to realise.

But for those of us sick of the maudlin group-speak of the mainstream media, brainwashing the public 24-hours-a-day through commercials and news reports, the ragings of the writers at “The Freeman” penned 55 years ago, are as fresh as this morning’s forest air, at least to us Libertarian wolves.

Hooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

The “Sun King” Obama and His Minister, Cardinal Geithner:The New Mercantilism

March 30, 2009

The more things change, the more they stay the same, say the French. And it would certainly seem so, as we regard the economic consequences of what amounts to a modern rehash of the old Mercantilism of King Louis XIV and his ministers, Cardinal Richelieu and the Bureaucrat-extraordinaire, Colbert. For modern America differs very little from that ancient economic tyranny that existed in France under the “Sun King”. True, the poor and indolent are no longer whipped, or sent off to the galleys. Habitual drunks are no longer put into pillory. But the effects of what amounts to a vast system of Mercantilism, administered by the Congressional Bipartisan spendthrifts, with the cooperation and collaboration of the FED, and with the cheerleading of Obama’s rhetorical riffs, are virtually the same on the poor and middle class: unceasing toil to cope with higher taxes and loss of purchasing power, and the soon coming tsunami of inflation. This inflation will be caused by the ridiculous and completely irresponsible massive spending increases, designed to make sure that all the wealthy corporate interests, and the vested interests of the lobbyists and the Congressmen themselves, who in many cases are wealthy, and have substantial estates, are not affected by the current financial disinflation. (And please note, a disinflation differs from a deflation, in that it is a slowdown in the rate of inflation, not an across the board lowering of prices in virtually every commodity and service.)

Meanwhile, across the pond, we see the spoiled brats of the Left having their “feel-good” marches in London, and Europe. Silverwolf made the sickening mistake of tuning in to the BBC, to listen to its in-house panel discussion on the G20 meeting and the current economic crisis, before a roomful of British humans. It was the usual gallimaufry of misguided economic claptrap one hears virtually everywhere, except at the Mises Institute, in the economic statements and opinions of Congressman Ron Paul, and in the political agenda of the Libertarian Party. Of course, they blamed “the bankers”, who after all were only exploiting the system which the US Congress, and the legislatures of Europe, had set up decades ago. They blamed that vague thing called “greed”, though Silverwolf notes that they never seem to blame a poor person or a spendthrift who is skint because they have spend all their money on some greedy pursuit, be it gambling, drugs, overeating, constant vacations, or what you will. Why is it not “greedy”, to be greedy for tobacco or food, or good times? Are not the unions greedy when they demand more than their labour is worth, while their restrictionist minimum wage laws cut out labour competition, enabling them to secure those above-market wage rates at the expense of the non-union worker? Moreover, we know that the call for “full employment” is really a call for universal slavery, by the expedient of constant inflation and crushing taxations, both for income and “retirement”, which means that what the worker can manage to save in the bank after all these government excisions is never secure, because the FED, or the Bank of England, or whatever group of government professional inflationists you name, can destroy the value of the worker’s savings virtually overnight, though they do it through a constant but steady erosion of the purchasing power of fiat currency, helped along by sudden spurts they euphemistically call “blips”. So it is not surprising that the “Leftist intellectuals” call for “full employment”; not only do they have a cockroach’s intellectual understanding of economics, they also need their fellow men to be paying into the tax-welfare system to bring in the funds they live off of on their “grants” and “doles”, and “unemployment” and “disability”. But, of course, many of the journalists and presenters at the BEEB, as well as its horrendous American counterpart, National Public Radio, would be in the dole line permanently if not for their guaranteed income from the State.

Yet, in that whole BBC audience, there was not one voice that said, “This chaos is caused by Socialism itself, and the system of Central Banks that can rock the value of the money up and down at will on a daily basis. It is because of the regulation of the money supply by a Mercantilist economic system, instead of a Free-Market Capitalist system, that is at the root of the problem.” It is when one listens to the drivel that comes out of these well-intentioned protesters, that one realises why the world is in such an economic mess. And the mess, for these people, has not lead to one iota of economic insight. It’s still time for feel-good marches, sloganeering, and “Eat the Bankers” inciting to riot. Howzabout “Eat the Spendthrifts and Inflationists”?

Fortunately, there is a large sector of the American and European public who are very sceptical of Sun-King Obama XIV’s Mercantilist plan for America, and his “forgot to pay my taxes” Chief Minister, Cardinal Geithner. They realise that they have two incompetent nincompoops at the head of the world’s largest economy, and they are voting with their dollars and with their trades to protect themselves against the mad inflationists. Many of them are probably well-intentioned Milton Friedmanite Republicans, that strange combination of half-Socialism/half-Capitalism that mesmerizes itself into thinking it is pragmatic Capitalism, with some “safeguards”. But the current mess shows that there are no safeguards against the ultimate collapse inherent in Socialism, save to invest in inflation hedges (why do they grow so tall?). And even that is a tricky business, because when the money value is at the whim of a board of inflationists (the Central Banks, and chiefly the US FED) it becomes very hard to judge the value of fiat currency, or the velocity of inflation. Backing the money with an asset like a metal, or even a basket of commodities, at least gives a yardstick of measurement, rather than whatever whimsical thought may be passing through Bernanke or Trichet or Obama or Geithner’s brain in the next hour.

People across America and the EU should speak out and demand an end to Mercantilism, to State Socialism for Corporations at the expense of Individual Capitalism, and the slave labor regimes it sets up to keep itself in luxury.

When Cardinal Richelieu took office, his official salary was 25,000 livres per annum. When he ended his career, his income stood at 3 million livres a year.  Ah, Mercatilism!

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf