The Economist's Cookbook

Recipes For A More Free Society

  • "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."

    - F.A. Hayek

My laptop is broken.

Posted by The_Chef On 10:36 PM 2 comments

See above ... God hates me.

What will you do?

Posted by The_Chef On 2:00 PM 1 comments

What happens when we are pushed far enough to start pushing back?

Rick Santelli on CNBC recently tore the stimulus and the Obama administration a new one.

What will we do? I ask this to everyone, no matter their political persuasion. What will YOU do when the government starts kicking doors in because people suggest that secession is better then tyranny? What will YOU do when SWAT teams throw your loved ones to the floor, toss a black bag over your head and you disappear into some sort of institutional camp where you'll be trained to NEVER oppose the benevolent State?

I found this over at WRSA. Watch it and ask yourself what you will do?

What will you do when they decide that you are not "American Enough"?

From the hate for personal/sexual/substance liberty on the right, to the hate for guns and economic liberty on the left. How unfortunate that our oppressors have been allowed this much power.

I hope there is a peaceful solution to this slavery. However I fear that there won't be and before long we'll be fighting in the streets.

What is Economics?

Posted by The_Chef On 3:23 PM 1 comments

What can it do? What is its purpose?

This post by Dr. Pete Boettke over at The Austrian Economists. I will quote some passages for you all.

Hayek argued in the early 1930s that the fate of the economist was to be called upon to address questions of pressing political concern only to have his advice discounted as soon as it was uttered. Why? Because economics as a discipline puts parameters on people's utopias. It gives us primarily "negative" knowledge --- we live in a scarce world, there is no such thing as a free lunch, we cannot assume what it is we hope to prove, ought cannot presuppose can, and can doesn't mean we ought, etc. In the 1980s, Hayek wrote that: "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."
But ... the politicians do not want to be told what they can and cannot design society to be. They have their views of the perfect state, their utopias. These people will cajole, wheedle, coerce, and kill those that oppose their idealized society. More Boettke:
No answer has yet been given as to why President Bush's bailout package didn't work while his stimulus package will. In fact, when pushed on that question President Obama really just said, we might even need to spend more down the road when this doesn't give us the result we want. And the claim is just that confidence has to be restored to the market and only government can do that.
Ah to steal a term from David Codrea over at War on Guns. The government are the "ONLY ONES" who can save us from this quagmire of capitalism. This is ... for lack of a better term ... bullshit. The government couldn't find its collective (and collectivist) ass with both hands and a map.

I'll summarize what Dr. Boettke thinks are the current problems and why the market is showing that investors are EXTREMELY skittish right now:
  1. "[G]overnment action has produced an uncertain investment environment."
  2. "The rules of ownership and control are unclear, or clear but counter-productive for individual initiative"
  3. "[M]onetary policy guided by the rhetoric of fighting inflation, but fearing deflation has been so loose that long term inflation that threatens the viability of the dollar should be a real concern to investors."
  4. "[F]iscal policy which is so out of control that US public debt will bankrupt the future generations with an astronomical tax burden and/or a monetization that will destroy the currency through hyper-inflation."
Boettke: fail to consider the fiscal arguments of a James Buchanan, the monetary and capital theories of F. A. Hayek, the comparative institutional analysis of law and politics in Ronald Coase, and the monetary and fiscal policy arguments of Milton Friedman. Each of these gentlemen, President Obama, won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science.
But it doesn't stop with just failing to understand or to read the arguments of these intellectual titans. Oh no, you've used your political views of equality and pseudo-Marxist view of ethics and morals to completely discount the very men that have given you a path to SOLVING THE DAMN PROBLEM!
A really radical notion of hope and change might be to get government out of the business of attempting to manage the economy, stop demanding of economics results that it as a discipline cannot produce, and lets depoliticize political economy.
Bravo Dr. Boettke! Ask the politcal class if they'd like a side salad with their entree of Whup-Ass.

Isolationism Appears To Be In Vogue

Posted by The_Chef On 11:04 AM 1 comments

So it funny to watch all of the squabbling and hand wringing about how awful free markets are in the wake of this global financial swamp we've dropped ourselves in. Here is an op-ed from the New York Times (Yes yes, I know always a bastion of free market and libertarian thought) which is trying to use this crisis to suggest that isolationism is a way to protect against the global market place tanking your local marketplace.

Hmmm well technically this guy is right. If a country doesn't globalize or throws up large barriers to foreign investment, then there is a buffer to protect a state from fluctuations in the global economy. But is this a beneficial thing? Protectionist countries usually have a much lower growth rate for small businesses because they will limit the amount of foreign investment, which shrinks up the market for loanable funds or it directly shrinks the possibility for Foreign Direct Investment. Closing down those cash flows harms businesses and entrepreneurs.

The other problem with this loon's article is statements like this:

In contrast, the countries that opened the most to the international capital markets, and that sought to bring in business with relatively lax regulations, now are suffering the most. Iceland was the wonder economy of the world; now it is broke.
Iceland is broke because the banks SERIOUSLY over-leveraged themselves and lets face it, lots of banks got into investments that they have NO business being involved in. When an institution piles itself in risk and then fails, why is anyone surprised? So the Globalization is not the problem, the malinvestment by banks is the problem not the lack of "regulatory framework".
But the world might be in better shape now if more countries had chosen that route[financial autarchy], and thus been more insulated from the credit storm that has left companies and countries around the world fearful that they will be unable to obtain needed financing.
Right, If countries had chosen autarchy, then companies would sure as hell be fearful that they would be unable to attain the needed financing. If you shrink up a market, goods become more scarce. This goes for a market for investment just like it does a market for apples. This is not ROCKET SCIENCE PEOPLE!

Oh a chart, I like charts. Pictures tell cool stories.

This kind of idiocy will bury this country and it's views like Floyd Norris' (yeah the guy who wrote the article) that will drive this economy into the ground and begin to dig. Closing our borders to capital is NOT how you prevent or even mitigate a financial mess like we have on our hands.

Don Boudreaux over at Cafe Hayek put it this way:
But the Times should be consistent and have, say, one of its medical reporters write about the upside to suicide. Suicide's practitioners, after all, inoculate themselves against all future illnesses.
[Hat Tip to Cafe Hayek]

Music: Draconian

Posted by The_Chef On 4:57 PM 1 comments

Draconian makes dark music. They play a blend of Gothic Doom Metal, so it's not terribly fast, but it is melancholic, dark, heavy, and beautiful. They deftly blend the lower growls usually found in other Doom Metal groups like Avec Tristesse and My Dying Bride. So what comes out is dark, heavy, and beautiful.

This song is titled Not Breathing off of their latest album 'Turning Season Within' (2008)

I saw this over at Vulcan's Hammer and started giving it some thought.

How to piss off our friends

Europeans are not very happy about the "Buy American" clause in the current stimulus bill:

The EU and Canadian ambassadors to Washington have already warned that the clause could promote protectionism and trigger retaliatory moves.
So I hopped over to read the BBC article.
What do I find? This:
The clause seeks to ensure that only US iron, steel and manufactured goods are used in projects funded by the bill.

A European Commission spokesman said it was the "worst possible signal".

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said President Obama had assured her the US would not follow protectionist policies.

Hmmm well right before the Great Depression there was this bill called the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. It "raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record levels. In the United States 1,028 economists signed a petition against this legislation, and after it was passed, many countries retaliated with their own increased tariffs on U.S. goods, and American exports and imports plunged by more than half. In the opinion of some economists, the Smoot-Hawley Act was a catalyst for the severe reduction in U.S.-European trade from its high in 1929 to its depressed levels of 1932 that accompanied the start of the Great Depression."(Via Wiki)

So ... we're going to try this again? Or at the least we are going to try a version of this again. This is completely asinine. It is completely out of bounds. Hell even Greenspan thinks Protectionism is a bad policy:
Protectionism will do little to create jobs and if foreigners retaliate, we will surely lose jobs.
- Alan Greenspan
When will the political parasites in DC wake up? Will they wake up if we stir them from their complacency?

Music: ASG

Posted by The_Chef On 2:10 AM 2 comments

ASG just ... kick ass. In an era when Nickelback is constantly being played on "rock" stations (how anyone can stand that awful crap is beyond me), and Pink gets more press than real musicians like OPETH, ASG refuses to go mainstream. They play a blend of Southern Stoner Rock, Alternative Metal, and Sludge Metal (ala Mastodon). These guys are amazing and what I love is that they have four albums, are relatively not known on the national stage (though they did play a portion of the '04 Vans Warped Tour), and they like it that way.

These guys are out to play music and damn do they play good music.

This is from their fourth album Win Us Over (2007)

Kurt Hoffman over at Armed and Safe has his own Saint Louis gun rights column thanks to The Examiner.

I want to quote a short bit from his article:

In short, restrictive gun laws have exactly zero likelihood of disarming criminal gangs, and instead serve only to impede those who scrupulously obey laws from obtaining the best means of defending themselves from the huge--and growing--threat of these gangs. Whose side are the gun prohibitionists on, anyway?
Go read the rest of it here.
If the FBI is right and 80% of the crimes in this country are perpetrated by gangs/gang members (most of whom are already outside the law) then ... how is "legally" disarming you and I going to "stem the tide of violence"?

On another vein, this is part of the reason why drugs should be legalized. People are in gangs to make money, feel accepted, and be "part of a group". The fact that they fund their operations not with protection rackets, but with drug sales means that by legalizing the use and sale of drugs, one can essentially dry up the VAST majority of gang cash flows.

I say this because Merck and Pfizer can produce medicinally cut cocaine for a LOT cheaper then the street price. Let's use economies of scale to put the Cartels out of business. Legalize their good, and let them supply to legitimate drug companies. Hey look, suddenly there is little to no money in being involved with a gang.

Weeeell the moral busybodies are at it again. Now I should state before I link to the Reason video on this that I'm not a supporter of this hardcore S&M porn they are referring to. However, at the same time, I think that as long as things are voluntary they have a right to produce whatever kind of adult films they want.

To steal and mutilate a phrase:

"First they came for the Bondage Websites. And I didn't speak up because I wasn't into Bondage ...."

You get the idea.

The fact that they are trying to use the PATRIOT Act to circumvent obscenity laws is just ridiculous. These people are not supporting terrorists.

Funny, in a time of economic crash they are actually putting businesses OUT of business. Funny, shouldn't they be trying to make sure people keep their jobs?


Michael Phelps Smokes Pot ...

Posted by The_Chef On 12:45 AM 5 comments

... and for some reason this is a big deal to people. Hmmmm ... really?

40% of the American public has smoked pot at some point. I fail to see how this is a problem, aside from the fact that the government wants to paint anyone that smokes pot (for medicinal OR recreational reasons) as someone who beats up old ladies to support their habit, loves terrorists, hates America, and is part of the downfall of Western Society.

Really people, stop wearing your ass for a hat.

Does anyone know WHY pot was made illegal? This is a pretty thorough and well sourced blog post on the subject. Allow me to quote a bit for you if I may.

The Mexican Connection

In the early 1900s, the western states developed significant tensions regarding the influx of Mexican-Americans. The revolution in Mexico in 1910 spilled over the border, with General Pershing's army clashing with bandit Pancho Villa. Later in that decade, bad feelings developed between the small farmer and the large farms that used cheaper Mexican labor. Then, the depression came and increased tensions, as jobs and welfare resources became scarce.

One of the "differences" seized upon during this time was the fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana and had brought the plant with them, and it was through this that California apparently passed the first state marijuana law, outlawing "preparations of hemp, or loco weed."
There's our government at work for us.

Here is what Radley Balko of Reason and The Agitator fame wants to see from Phelps.

Damn. What I wouldn't give for the most famous gold medalist of all time to stand up and tell the anti-pot fanatics to shove a large porcupine up their collective ass.