Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bernanke the destroyer

I would call Bernanke stupid, except I believe he and the rest of that bunch know exactly what they are doing. The intent is to destroy the capitalist economic system, leaving a feudal system in the aftermath, populated with serfs and elites. Bernanke believes he is an elite. He is confident you are not.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Economic Terms in Scripture

Normally I would read the following list and ask the hearer to consider possible labels for the category.

So far, I have found agreement that economics is a suitable heading for the list.

Next I ask where the list was sourced. The answers are always reasonable and sometimes correct, since it really is just a guess. Some say economics books, dictionary or Scripture.

The answer is Scripture.

The third question follows the list.


What are the subtopics within Scripture from which these terms were drawn? Please read the list and answer for yourself before advancing.

The subtopics are salvation and the relationship between God and man.

Matthew 16:26-27 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. NASB95

1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. NASB95

1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. NASB95

Psalm 49:5-9 Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me, Even those who trust in their wealth And boast in the abundance of their riches? No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him— For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever— That he should live on eternally, That he should not undergo decay. NASB95

Revelation 21:6-7 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. NASB95

Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, NASB95

Luke 14:27-29 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, NASB95

Matthew 13:44-46 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. NASB95

Colossians 2:14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. NASB95

Matthew 6:12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. NASB95

Matthew 25:14-15 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. NASB95

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. NASB95

Romans 4:3-9 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” NASB95

2 Timothy 1:14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. NASB95

2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. ESV

Much can be said about this economic correlation to spiritual and eternal things in Scripture. The implications are far reaching. It seems to me that in order to understand God's view of economics in spiritual matters, we must have a correct temporal view of economics.

I will save other commentary and illustrations for another time.

How to spot Natural Money

Natural money has at least the following two attributes:

  1. If the substance or thing were never again used or accepted as money beginning right this instant, it would still have at least one other practical, productive use.
  2. The Productivity Filter CANNOT be bypassed in bringing the substance or thing to market.

For instance, if US Dollars (which we know are costless to produce) were not accepted as money any longer, they would be useless.

Even though Gold and Silver have been outlawed as money, they continue to be mined and used.

Great nations are built and stand on natural money.

Costless money is a burden, indeed a cancer, no nation has the strength to bear.

Costless money causes us to fund our own destruction.

When we support costless money or fail to understand and defend natural money, we actually have chosen to give up Liberty in exchange for certain tyranny.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tales of Titans and Hobbits

Tales of Titans and Hobbits - Mises

Mises Daily by Juliusz Jablecki | Posted on 7/9/2007 12:00:00 AM

Literature can exert a powerful influence on our ideological views.[1]

Ayn Rand, after all, was primarily a novelist. Many people were converted to liberalism (or at least some variety of it) after experiencing in person her unquestionable charisma and magnetism, but the significance of her novels, most notably Atlas Shrugged,[2] can hardly be overlooked.

Indeed, it is only having read that expressive story that many future libertarians — among them Walter Block[3] — once and for all denounced socialism along with all the physical and mental bondage which it ineluctably imposes upon people. Hence, it was a narrative — a novel or, if you want, a fairy tale — that had managed to shape and contextualize the readers' notion of such abstract matters as freedom, l'étatism, or egalitarianism.

Another novelist who also managed to gain an exceptionally wide circle of readers and admirers was John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the author of a worldwide bestseller The Lord of the Rings.[4] Even though Tolkien's style of writing was much less obtrusive than Rand's — he never forced upon his readers any particular reading of his book, and he overtly disliked conscious and intentional allegories — the English novelist never denied that his work concerns something more than just elves or dwarves, or that it deals with certain ideas. As he wrote to Michael Straight, the editor of New Republic, The Lord of the Rings was meant to succeed first of all as an exciting and moving tale — but a tale addressed primarily to adults, involving something more than mere chase and escape, namely some reflection of the writer's own views and values.[5]

Since Tolkien considered himself a conservative anarchist,[6] it should come as no surprise that while trying to answer his publisher's questions regarding the symbolism hidden in his magnum opus, he suggested to "…make the Ring into an allegory of our own time… an allegory of the inevitable fate that waits for all attempts to defeat evil power by power."[7]

Therefore, even though Tolkien's saga is all too often interpreted as an apolitical "road novel" or "picaresque novel for children," The Lord of the Rings could very well be the source of unending inspiration for libertarians as a belletristic dramatization of Lord Acton's famous statement that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Both Rand and Tolkien, then, passionately tell their tales about freedom, but they resort to completely different aesthetics, and, in consequence, paint two entirely different pictures of the world, with different heroes and different challenges. Are those differences important? How do they affect the "moral" of the respective tales? Given that it is of utmost importance just what kind of story one tells, it is perhaps worthwhile to reflect upon the different world images depicted in Atlas Shrugged and The Lord of the Rings, comparing the characters of both narratives along with the predicaments they face, and asking the fundamental question, which of the two novels constitutes a better context, a better literary frame of reference for freedom and Hans-Hermann Hoppe's idea of natural order?[8]

The Titans

Atlas Shrugged is, shortly put, a story of a strike, although not an ordinary one.[9] Rand does not write about labor unions or working masses, but about titans whose irreplaceable work, like that of their Greek predecessor Atlas, keeps the world alive. Titans are big capitalists, owners of ironworks and mines, men of genius, people who are creative and in every respect outstanding. Such is also the main character of the novel, Dagny Taggart, the heiress to the huge railroad company Taggart Transcontinental, which she desperately strives to save against ever more impudent government attempts to lay hands on her fortune. The society in which the heroine lives is dull, envious, lazy, essentially quite helpless, and were it not for the handful of Atlases, it would have definitely plunged into despair.

Dagny loves what she does for a living. She is an extremely talented railroad executive, and directing the whole enterprise seems not to tire her at all. The real burden for her is not work itself, but the necessity — the legal obligation — to share its plentiful fruits with the rest of society — the ungrateful mob of losers. Initially, the situation, though harsh, seems bearable, mainly because the heroine carries on with all her everyday duties with the relieving thought in mind that she is not alone, that other great achievers feel and think similarly, and though they may be outnumbered, they constitute the real engine of the world.

Gradually, however, Dagny realizes that the very engine of which she considered herself a part has been abruptly turned off and the titans, one after another, seem to be disappearing. The kidnapper turns out to be John Galt — a mysterious, legendary hero, whose name elicits expressions of helplessness among the losers:

"How should I deal with it?" asks one frightfully mediocre worker.

"How should I know?" is the invariable, dull reply. "Who is John Galt?"

Galt used to be one of the titans, but greed, collectivist bias, and ingratitude from the society to which he had given so much in the past have induced him to go on strike — not to fight with the oppressive system, not even to try to change it, but simply to leave, taking others along. And so they go, one by one: the great composers, innovators, creators, directors, owners… As a result, the engine of the world stops, and the economy plunges into chaos, for when there is no one to prey upon, the society of insatiable vultures no longer knows what to do.

The Übermenschen find refuge in an extraordinary valley hidden somewhere in Colorado, where the dollar sign does not stand — as on the "other side" — for greed, bribery, and sneakiness, but instead symbolizes success, skillfulness, and creative powers. The one and only unforgivable sin there is altruism. So they live, far from the dying world, bound by a promise that never again will they let unproductive loafers gain from their work.

They await the end of history, the moment when

the creed of self-immolation has run, for once, its undisguised course — when men find no victims ready to obstruct the path of justice and to deflect the fall of retribution on themselves, when the preachers of self-sacrifice discover that those who are willing to practice it, have nothing to sacrifice, and those who have, are not willing any longer — when men see that neither their hearts nor their muscles can save them, but the mind they damned is not there to answer their screams for help… when they have no pretense of authority left, no remnant of law, no trace of morality, no hope, no food and no way to obtain it — when they collapse and the road is clear….[10]
Then the titans will once more lift the Earth — all the superior individuals will come back to rebuild the world.

The Hobbits

Tolkien's novel also ends with a theme of rebuilding the world, a promise of setting things straight, bringing back the right order of things. It begins, however, in an entirely different way: not on the platform of a huge railway station, nor in a big factory, nor in a beautiful palace. The Lord of the Rings begins in the Shire — more precisely in Hobbiton, a small village peopled by hobbits, unobtrusive, somewhat clumsy, little creatures, whose straightforward and rather friendly nature makes them very similar to humans.

One day a great magician, Gandalf the Grey, pays a visit to the village. He is concerned by the fact that one of the hobbits, a certain Mr. Bilbo Baggins, keeps there hidden a precious artifact — a mysterious ring. Forged many years ago by Sauron, the Lord of Darkness, the Ring of Power is one of many rings of power, the one, however, that controls all the others. It has apparently found its way to Hobbiton by mere chance, as Bilbo brought it with him from one his journeys, hoping to hide it there from the rest of the world, adoring its gleam and magnificence.

The ring would give Bilbo strength and vitality, unusual in his advanced age, but it would also make him dependent on the ring itself. Before he knew it, the old hobbit became a serf of the Ring of Power, never daring to part with it, he would always keep it in a pocket of his ornamental waistcoat. This state of affairs would have probably gone on for many long years had Gandalf not learned the mysterious history of the ring, and recognized its true dark nature. Gandalf understood that Sauron knew very well where to look for his long lost precious treasure, and would inevitably claim it.

The ring cannot, however, go back to its creator, since it would mean the destruction of the whole Middle-earth and slavery of all peoples inhabiting it — darkness would fall over the once wonderful world, covering the horizon with a veil of smoke. Unfortunately, that mighty source of power cannot simply be buried or hidden, since the ring itself tries to return to its master who surely will not spare strength or efforts to regain rule over the world.

Thus, the only way to save Middle-earth seems to be to destroy the damned ring. Easy as it may seem, the task is in fact extremely difficult, for being a magic artifact, it will not yield to ordinary flames or any smith's hammer — it can only be thrown into the fire of Mordor in the Cracks of Doom. First, however, somebody must take it there. This will not be easy, since the road is guarded by Sauron's soldiers, the ugly, ruthless orcs.

It might seem that only Gandalf himself or one of the great and noble knights of Middle-earth could undertake such a dangerous quest. Unfortunately, to the extent that the Ring of Power gives its bearer strength to rule the world, it also overcomes him. It is an entity whose nature is to control everyone and everything. Thus, if the ring were to be worn by Gandalf or any other of the great heroes, it would become a terrifying implement of destruction, since anyone who slips it on his finger stops being himself and becomes instead a mere servent to the ring.

Only someone so mediocre, so weak, inept, and created seemingly for the sole purpose of minding his own merry business like Frodo Baggins — Bilbo's heir — could, at least to some extent, resist the evil power. Not clearly knowing what awaits him, Frodo sets upon his mission accompanied by a few friends from the Shire along with the distinguished knights of other races: Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; two men, Aragorn and Boromir; and wise Gandalf himself.

Many times, the long journey puts Frodo's immunity to the test, showing that even such a moderate creature as himself cannot always resist the power of darkness. Once the ring eventually gets thrown into the abyss of Mordor, the sun rises again over Middle-earth, everything can be started anew, and the old world order is restored — without replacing the defeated power by a new, more sinister one.

How to Fight the System

These summaries might suggest that since the story told in The Lord of the Rings takes place in a fictitious world, while Atlas Shrugged describes a real-life situation, it is Rand's novel that does a better job of dramatizing the libertarian creed. Nevertheless, even though Tolkien creates his own world, different from the one we see around us each day, he meant the characters, the heroes of the war for Middle-earth, to be just as real as, say, the pygmies of the African jungle.[11]

Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli are all characters created for the purpose of storytelling, but this does not change the fact that they are exemplifications of definite truths, principles, and values — as are Rand's characters, John Galt and Dagny Taggart. It does not matter whether one fights to defend Hobbiton or Taggart Transcontinental. In their most profound, most significant message, the two novels essentially talk about the same things — about challenges that a man must face, about his moral responsibility for himself and for all that he loves, and about the captivating and destructive influence of power and coercion.

Moreover, both novels clearly denounce the so-called imperative of action, that is, the belief that a system can easily be changed from within. It is plainly described in Atlas Shrugged, where the main characters express their opposition to the wickedness of the world by simply running away from it, confirming with their deeds the famous dictum of Etienne de la Boétie: "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed."[12]

Even though in The Lord of the Rings it is an active fight and not passive resistance that forms the central theme of the novel, the fight is fought outside the system. Gandalf and Galadriel, both of great powers, consciously reject the possibility of defeating Sauron with the ring — they know very well that it would turn them into tyrants themselves.[13] The Lord of Darkness can only be defeated by destroying that which constitutes the very essence of his might — the Ring of Power.

Those similarities do not imply that there are no differences between Atlas Shrugged and The Lord of the Rings. Quite to the contrary — differences exist and they are the very reason why one of the novels serves better as a contextualization of the idea of natural order. To see this, we shall turn to the dissimilar structure of worlds and characters in both novels.

In Atlas Shrugged, for example, it is hard not to notice that somebody drives the world, maintains the reality in order, and without him everything would plunge into chaos. Clearly, that mysterious entity is not the state apparatus — rightly described as a machinery of exploitation — but a group of exceptional individuals who have simply created civilization — radio, television, central heating, music, law and order, etc. Luckily, the Übermenschen are benevolent and have no evil intentions vis-à-vis ordinary people. They wish neither to exploit, rule, nor control the rest of the society, but rather to impose upon it their rational project of "enlightenment" — they want to make use of their genius and bring prosperity and comfort to all.

It is totally different in The Lord of the Rings, where there is no "great plan for the world"; Middle-earth is inhabited by many different races — elves, dwarves, hobbits, men, ents, etc. — who all live, albeit separately, in tolerance, sometimes even friendship, but as a rule not interfering with each other. There is no government, central or local,[14] no industrial revolution and no uniform vision of progress or future. Even in the face of a terrible war, it is extremely hard to create a coalition against Sauron.

The world in Tolkien's novel is simply divided, decentralized to the extreme; beautiful in the diversity of various races, peoples, languages and outlooks — that is why no such thing as a "plan for humanity" could ever arise there as something good. There are, however, millions of smaller plans — for living through a harsh winter, for cultivating one's garden, for drinking a pint of beer in a local inn — drafted by millions of distinct individuals. The only unified vision that appears in the book is Sauron's plan; and let us not forget that Sauron stands for "an incarnation of Evil."[15]

It is instructive to compare also the main characters of the two novels. In Atlas Shrugged they are exceptional and it is precisely because of that quality that they became characters of the novel. Each of the Atlases is unblemished, pure, proud. Every detail of their physiognomy speaks of genius and magnificence. The Übermenschen do not simply move: they make motions full of charm and elegance. They do not simply work: they craft, always with passion and enthusiasm. They never get tired, weary or bored with what they do; they have no families, no children, no obligations; they are frightfully rational; they live only for themselves and for their occupational passions. If they happen to be businessmen, they never own little family businesses; they run huge corporations, ironworks, mines, or railway companies. In Rand's novel there is no place for moderation and inconspicuousness. Only that which is huge and effective deserves praise and attention.

Completely different, more human-like, are Tolkien's characters. In fact, the whole novel — though told from the hobbit's perspective — has a profoundly anthropocentric dimension. There are men in The Lord of the Rings, to be sure, but it is the hobbits who resemble real humans the most — they are rather clumsy, neither exceptionally smart, stout, nor courageous, but good, sociable, faithful and generally cheerful. The most important characters in Tolkien's novel are actually anti-heroes — they try to stay away from the world of big politics; however, when fate throws them in its very middle, they act bravely and ultimately bring salvation.

What the author of The Lord of the Rings seems to be saying, then, is that it is not titans who support the earth, but hobbits; each and every one of us, therefore, can answer the call of greatness and novelty, even should he live in Hobbiton spending most of his time cultivating his garden, smoking a pipe, and drinking beer in the local pub.

Every one of us struggles daily with the Saurons of his life, and maybe it is precisely those little triumphs that make the world a better place. As for respect and praise, it is not the directors of big corporations who deserve it the most — since, by the very nature of things, they are much too close to the ring — but those who, using only their own modest resources, earn their living by running little shops, kiosks, and family businesses. In those places one can sometimes still find the real, healthy spirit of capitalism. No wonder, then, that the Eye of Mordor constantly looks in their direction.


Given the breadth and length of both novels, the comparison of Atlas Shrugged and The Lord of the Rings could go on much longer, revealing many new themes and interpretations. It seems, however, that even the few differences sketched above allow for a tentative answer to the questions raised in the introduction. As much as Ayn Rand's novel, with its strictly modernist message, could have been at some point in the past an effective remedy against the plagues of socialism and collectivism, the world described in it does not fit today's reality and does not help in introducing the idea of natural order. Today, it is no longer necessary to protect big business from people. On the contrary, it is people who need protection from big business, which now goes hand in hand with Leviathan in trying to create a homogenous and completely atomized society.

The Lord of the Rings shows not only the great danger associated with all attempts to defeat evil power by power, but it also teaches that collectives do not really exist, that every one of us is the hero of his own individual story, and that law and order can easily exist without the state. Despite its egoistic message, Atlas Shrugged is full of imperatives to act, to fight, to bring salvation. Rand's characters suffer not only because the state reaches into their wallets, but because the society rejected their rational, "enlightened" vision of what is good and right.

Tolkien, on the other hand, disliked such imperatives. He hated the outlook that if something can be done, it has to be done, and once even admitted that the greatest deeds of mind and spirit are born in abnegation.[16] That is most likely the reason his characters do not look for great challenges, nor wish to change the world, and instead live quietly, fulfilling Voltaire's dictum Il faut cultiver notre jardin.

This is what makes The Lord of the Rings a much better means for conceptualizing the ideas of freedom than Atlas Shrugged. Reading Tolkien helps realize that, even after the "end of history," the world and society can move in the direction of Merry Old England rather than a soulless homogenized mass of atoms. Moreover, The Lord of the Rings conveys an extremely important and optimistic message, namely that a plurality of many different cultures, languages, societies and visions, all existing together, yet separate and independent of each other, is still viable — not in a democratic regime, but in the new world of Hoppean natural order.

Juliusz Jablecki is summer fellow at the Mises Institute, and works with the Mises Institute, Poland. Send him mail. Comment on the blog.


[1] This fact has been brilliantly captured by Jerome Tuccille who entitled his book on the birth and evolution of the libertarian movement It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand, Fox and Wilkes, 1997.

[2] Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Penguin Books, London, 1992.

[3] See Walter Block, "On Autobiography."

[4] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, HarperCollins Publishers, London, 2005.

[5] The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Humphrey Carpenter ed., HarperCollins, London 2006, p. 233.

[6] He wrote: "My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) — or to »unconstitutional« Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word state (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate!"; see The Letters…, p. 63.

[7] The Letters…, p. 121.

[8] For a detailed, socio-economic treatment of the idea of natural order see e.g. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God That Failed, Transaction Publishers, Rutgers, NJ, 2001.

[9] Indeed, "The Strike" was meant to be the title of the novel; see Leonard Peikoff's introduction to the cited edition of the book.

[10] Atlas Shrugged, p. 686–687.

[11] See The Letters…, p. 233.

[12] Etienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude (PDF), p. 48.

[13] Thus, Gandalf cries: "No! With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly! Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused." See The Lord…, p. 61.

[14] See The Lord…., p. 9–10; The Letters…, p. 272.

[15] The Letters…, pp. 151, 154.

[16] The Letters…, p. 246.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Government Motors

When will we learn?

GM -- Government Motors.

Bankruptcy settlement in four weeks, stock holders at the end of the line.

We should be asking: Who has that kind of power and how did they get it?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Benefits of Natural Money

Following is a simple but powerful chart that explains a key difference between the Austrian School of economics and the Keynesian School of economics. (I cringe when using the label "Keynesian School of economics", since it is actually a political ideology with no basis in economics, except in terms of destruction.)

What we are looking at is the way that each system views Private Property and Time.

Note: To be more brief and direct, I will ascribe positions to the Austrian School based on my own interpretation. To get a full spectrum of Austrian views, refer to the vast library of materials on the subject.

First let's briefly look at Private Property.

Austrian View

The Austrian School holds that Private Property is inseparable from Liberty.

Therefore, a just economic system will not include any scheme that forces a person to work in order to retain his private property.

Keynesian View

In the Keynesian system, property tax essentially makes a person a tenant on government property. If the present owner does not produce enough to pay the tax, the government takes the property away and assigns it to a serf, I mean citizen, who will produce enough to pay the tax.

The Keynesian system is designed to allocate property based on production. The state is to be the beneficiary of the productivity of the property manager.

(We sometimes think of the Keynesian property manager as an "owner", but a true Keynesian never does. A Keynesian knows a serf when he sees one.)

Next let's briefly look at Time.

Austrian View

The Austrian School recognizes that people are more prosperous based on quantity, quality and efficiency of production. The more people produce, the more prosperous the society becomes.

It really is a simple idea. Produce more, have more.

In simple terms, to be more productive, we use machines.

Machines enter the production system through innovation, engineering, testing, manufacturing and deployment.

In order to bring a more efficient machine into the production process, one will need to use capital. The capital will come from real savings of real property which has been produced and collected in the past.

In simple terms, if my new machine makes everyone ten percent more efficient, then our purchasing power will increase by ten percent. We will all benefit from the extra production.

If the producer's project fails, then the producer will lose his collateral.

The investor will gain or lose based on the value of the collateral.

However, since everything we spent was a result of actual production in the past, every vendor was fully paid and society is essentially unaffected. (There are effects, but the effects are positive and not important for this discussion.)

Keynesian View

On the other hand, the Keynesian approach is based on consumption. The idea is that if we increase spending, the economy will prosper. A sophisticated argument can be made, but I will keep the explanation very simple by noting two things.

First, the Keynesians explicitly state that the purpose of their system (which we have used for over 100 years) is to destroy capitalism and therefore to destroy liberty.

In other words, the consumption model is bad, to put it lightly.

Secondly, because the way the "economy is stimulated" is by borrowing against future productivity in the form of costless money, this approach is like an individual attempting to borrow his way out of debt. That doesn't work.

The Keynesian model is anti-liberty, anti-capitalism, anti-prosperity and leads to destruction. Keynesianism is about instant gratification and promises the bill will be paid with future (read "kids and grandkids") production.

The Austrian model is in agreement with Biblical principle and leads to liberty, justice, prosperity, and personal accountability. The Austrian School is about good stewardship of work that has been completed in the past.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Shane's Ship Story

We have so many problems. Which problem is most important?

Someone says: Well clearly, my problem is the one we need to fix first… We must solve the thing that is most important to me first. After all, I am working on the thing I think is most important. Otherwise I would be working on something else…

May I encourage you to think with me on this?

What if there actually is a way to solve 95% of our problems by working together to solve a certain root cause of all our problems? I know this can be done.

Join me in recognizing that problems should be prioritized. Let’s see if there is such a thing as a highest priority problem.

Let’s use a ship analogy.

Suppose there is a large, sophisticated, 4,000 passenger ship designed to sail from one continent to another over the course of three months. Suppose this ship has a several problems, including a rude captain, four thieves, a murderer, a pirate, a lazy crew, poorly prepared food, severely damaged dishes, crumbling paint and lumpy mattresses.

Which problem would you address first? And when would this happen?

Suppose there are three groups who each identify the problems they consider most important. Suppose they divide their energies and go to work. Let’s say that they all succeed or that some succeed or that none succeed. You choose the outcome you prefer.

Let’s also suppose that there is one other problem. The ship has a large hole that takes on water at a rate of 500 gallons per minute. Using every available resource, only 250 gallons per minute can be pumped out of the ship. At this rate, the ship will sink somewhere over the deep ocean about halfway to its destination.

While all the issues are important, only the hole in the ship affects every person on the ship. Only one problem absolutely must be solved or all is lost for the passengers.

The same problem will provide gain for the pirate and his associates. They like the hole.

The pirate who drilled the hole will have a vessel waiting to collect the loot and carry him on to the next adventure. He knows that the mathematical reality of water flow guarantees the ship will sink.

The only hope for the passengers is for them to know about the hole in the ship and plug it.

While they cannot remove the water fast enough, there will be no need to remove any water if they simply plug the hole before they leave. If the hole is plugged along the way, then once the hole is plugged, they have time, resources and opportunity to save themselves and the ship.

If they have knowledge of the hole and understand its effect, they will plug the hole and the remaining problems will matter again.

If for any reason they do not plug the hole, nothing else matters because good food and soft mattresses are not needed by people who have been looted and left to die.

Now let’s see if there is such thing as a root cause.

Suppose the pirate offered safe passage and part of the loot to the captain, part of the crew, the murderer, thieves and the ship owner.

Now we see clearly that the passenger’s loss is their gain. We also see that the danger we face, this group does not face.

We can also see that the reason this group of people has gathered on the ship is to steal, kill and destroy.

If the passengers were aware of what was coming, they would patch the hole and deal with the pirate.

But let’s just suppose that the passengers patch the hole and don’t even realize that this plan was in motion.

With hope of success gone, the pirate, murderer, thieves, captain and lousy crew would leave. Since now there will be no insurance settlement, the ship owner would again need to provide a valuable product and service to stay in business. To prevent loss, he would ensure that the food and other comforts were at least adequate and he would hire a dependable captain and crew.

Now we see that the hole in the ship was part of a plan to capture wealth. When the hope of gain through theft was gone, the criminals disbanded, the owner protected his property and employed his capital to gain a return. The passengers were safe and recipients of good service.

The Lesson

Some problems make all other problems meaningless and unimportant. Some problems are a higher priority.

Some problems are the hidden cause of other problems. The secondary problems divert our attention and keep us busy while our ship is sinking.

The United States is like this ship. We are nearing the deep waters. We must plug the hole. If we plug the hole, the problem you are most concerned about will probably disappear.

Do you know what the hole is?

Friday, July 3, 2009

PASS ID Act - Papers please

When will we learn?

Why are two international agencies involved in the creation of the PASS ID Act? Why is the international agency AAMVA called the hub and backbone of this system which is designed to track US citizens?

Why does this type legislation continue to be brought forward when the people of the United States always reject the ideas? Who is overriding our wishes and rights?

We should be asking: Who has that kind of power and how did they get it?

S 1261 - PASS ID Act

For one example, from the text of the proposed legislation:
(2) Subject each person who submits an application for a driver’s license or identification card to mandatory facial image capture.

This is a problem.